Cycling through the winter can be rewarding, but cold hands can be painful and ruin the experience.
A good pair of cycling gloves will keep chills at bay, but what else can you do to enjoy getting out on the bike during the colder months without suffering from freezing fingertips?
We’ve drawn on our bitter(ly cold) experience to bring you our top tips, as well as this year's best winter bike gloves for every kind of cyclist.
Keep your core warm
When it’s really cold, your body will automatically prioritise keeping your vital organs warm so they can still function and keep you alive. If this means diverting warm blood-flow away from fingers and toes, so be it. You’ll live even if you’re missing a few digits.
Wear warm layers and remember to check the weather forecast. Take a waterproof if you’re expecting rain - you'll be surprised at how quickly a chill can set in once you get soaked!
Layer up your gloves
Adding some thin liner gloves will trap a layer of warm air. Choose a pair that features touch screen compatibility, like the GripGrab Merino ones. This way, you'll be able to operate your phone and any other devices without completely exposing your hands to the elements.
Consider the conditions you'll be riding in when you choose your outer-layer. If you'll be riding in the dark, the Altura Nightvision range features plenty of reflective elements and bright colours. If you live somewhere with particularly harsh winters, the Castelli Estremo offers excellent protection from wind and rain.
Don't restrict your circulation
Make sure clothing, and particularly gloves, aren't so tight that they're restricting your circulation. If you'll be layering up, you might want to consider buying outer layers in a larger size.
If you're commuting, make sure your backpack straps aren't cutting off blood flow to your arms, or you could even consider carrying your bags on your bike.
Remember to give those fingers a little wiggle every now and again. If it's safe to do so, you can even try a few arm circles - anything to get the blood pumping will help.
Rain can make the effects of the cold feel so much worse. Look for winter gloves with water repellency. If you're expecting a prolonged drenching, consider carrying a spare, dry pair under your jersey so it will be toasty-warm when you need it.
You might enjoy those long, leisurely rides in the summer but shorter, faster rides are great for building speed over the winter and riding harder means you'll generate more heat.
You could also consider changing your route. Long climbs can warm you up but all that heat is lost on a long descent, particularly if it's wet. If possible, stick to flatter routes on colder days.
Keep the heat sealed in
It's easier to stay warm than it is to get warm. Don those gloves before you step outside, or at least have your glove liners on if you need to do fiddly things like lock up.
If you've got toggles, zips, velcro, anything to cinch those gloves and sleeves, use them and keep the cold out!
The best glove liners
Merino wool is well known for its breathability and wicking qualities. Touch-screen compatible fingertips allow you to use your devices without getting cold.
These robust liners will see you through the chilly autumn days on their own, then layer them under your heavy-duty winter gloves as temperatures plummet. The silicone palm print has been added for increased grip.
These 100% silk gloves feel beautifully soft on the skin and add an extra layer of insulation with minimal bulk.
The best gloves to protect against wind
The lightweight construction makes these gloves perfect for milder winter days. The Windslam rear panel keeps the chill off and the inner fleece feels soft and comfy.
As worn by the winner of the 2018 and 2019 Men's Elite Cyclocross World Championships, these lightweight gloves were made for racing in the toughest conditions. InsideGrip™ technology and silicone palm grippers mean your hands won't slip and the non-padded palm improves your feel for the bike.
Available in a choice of colours, these gloves have a three-layered softshell construction which blocks out wind and light rain. The stylish print glows in headlights which makes the Nightvision Windproof a perfect choice for commuters.
The best gloves for rainy days
Your hands will feel toasty and dry thanks to the waterproof membrane and brushed fleece lining. The stretch neoprene cuff keeps wind and rain out. A reflective decal makes these a perfect choice for anyone who commutes through the dark, whatever the weather.
GORE-TEX fabric offers complete waterproofing without sacrificing breathability. Warm air is trapped between the thermo lining and fleece inner face.
ROS stands for 'Rain or Shine' and these gloves will see you through winter however wet it gets. The GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ shell is completely windproof and water-resistant and silicone zones on the palms mean your hands won't slip.
The best gloves to get you seen in the dark
Whether you go for the hi-viz yellow or the more subtle black with blue, red or white, these gloves will light up in headlights and street lights, increasing your visibility on the road.
3M™ Scotchlite™ reflective logos provide dazzling visibility in low light conditions. Silicone grippers on the index and middle finger, as well as a padded PU suede palm, help you to stay in control even in wet conditions.
The stretch cuff and 60g thermal insulation trap the warmth in, whilst the soft-shell backs shut out the chilly wind. Perfect for those who carry on riding deep into winter.
The best gloves for when it gets really cold
The brushed fleece lining feels lovely and cosy against the skin whilst the hollow fill insulation provides a layer of warmth. Grippers on the index and middle fingers mean you'll retain control over the brakes and shifters, even in wet weather.
The Estremo features a Gore WINDSTOPPER® membrane, keeping the wind out whilst maintaining breathability so that your hands don't become clammy. The DWR water-repellent finish means rain and road spray simply beads off.
For the coldest Nordic winters, these windproof and waterproof lobster-style mitts will keep your hands toasty. GripGrab's 4mm DoctorGel™ padding cushions your palms against bumps in the road for additional comfort. A pull-cord means you'll be able to get them on and off easily.