Putting on a pair of gloves when it’s cold out isn’t rocket science, but when the temperature drops to single digits, keeping your digits warm can be a challenge. With the colds spells in New England recently, we’ve been testing a few products meant for the coldest conditions.
Lobster Claw Gloves
The classic mitten design has all your fingers together, sharing body heat in the same space. The result is a much warmer experience than having them separated in a glove. The problem with cycling in mittens, is that it’s quite difficult to effectively operate a brake lever.
Enter: the Lobster Claw Glove. They use the same principle as the mitten, but divide your fingers into two sections. Your index and middle finger get to share heat, and your pinkie reaps the benefit of it’s neighbor, the ring finger. With this design, you can easily pull the brake while keeping two fingers around the bars.
I’ve been riding with these Louis Garneau Super Shields for the last few weeks, and they are definitely a big improvement over a traditional glove design. Usually it’s my ring finger and pinkie that start to go numb on the coldest days, but even in 10-15°F, they were just fine. I haven’t experienced any particularly wet conditions with these yet, but LG claims they’re fully waterproof. There’s a little bit of extra padding in the palms too, which is nice on those longer rides.
Sometimes you need even more protection, and when it’s ridiculously cold (I’m looking at you Minnesota), not much can top the Bar Mitt. The Bar Mitt is a neoprene mitten that mounts directly on your handelbars. Your brake levers are actually inside the mitten so you can still operate them as usual. I’d recommend still wearing a glove inside the Bar Mitt, but you can get away with a much thinner one, allowing for more dexterity, and a more natural feeling.
They’re very easy to install, too. The Mitts slip right over the ends of your bars, while a zipper and a few velcro bits secure them around the brake levers, and seal out the wind . When it gets warm they can be quickly taken off. Bar Mitts even has models specifically for drop bars (internal or external cable routing).
They’ve proven to be the most effective setup I’ve found for harsh conditions. Combine Bar Mitts with a thick glove and you can ride in pretty much anything. If something better comes along, I’ll let you know.
Describe your current setup in the comments, we want to know what you use!