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  1. #1
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    COLD......a cycling phenomenon?

    Have you ever wondered why your hands and feet get to dang COLD when cycling?? I have........I`ve been pondering it lately........... every day I have been on the bike. I`m beginning to think that cold hands and feet are a cycling-specific phenomenon.

    I was wearing my 5 10 freeride shoes, and they would keep out a light shower, but not a downpour, so my feet would get wet and then cold. Solution? Wear something waterproof. Well, on with the Rachlie leather hiking boots with sock liner and heavy merino sock. Volia! Dry feet! But.......wtf.......they STILL get cold? As in really cold.

    I wear the same boots and sock combo hiking, in the same weather temps and conditions, and my hiking is as aerobic as is my riding, but my feet do not get cold like they do on the bike. Circulation to the extremities ought to be the same for both hiking and cycling. The only factor that I can think of is the wind chill factor when cycling.

    The situation with my hands is similar. I wear neoprene paddling gloves on the bike, and still get cold hands, but do not when hiking wearing the same gloves?

    Cold..........a cycling phenomenon?

  2. #2
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    Try using a small trash bag over your shoes.My bike shoes has spd and this will let you still have your spd on and it does keep your feet dry and it helps to stop the cold weather too.In cold weather I take a few small trash bags to put over my cycle shoes I know it looks funny but I am not looking for the cool look I want my feet to stay dry and warm.My 2 cents anyway.This is the cheap way too lol

  3. #3
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    I don't know if it's a phenomenon but my understanding is the body send the oxygen rich blood to the muscles that need it most especially during the climb. Hands and feet is not taxed as much as your leg/calves, and core as well as your back.

    Plus the fact that cycling apparel are designed to wick away moisture and breath the combination promote more airflow to both gloves, sock and shoes. I still remember the first descend on my MTB ride it was a hot day on the way down it was like my shoes has air condition

  4. #4
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    Standard Raymauds phenomenon fron the sound of it. Airflow cools things faster so probably the culprit in your case.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LunaC View Post
    Standard Raymauds phenomenon fron the sound of it. Airflow cools things faster so probably the culprit in your case.
    no, I don`t have Raynauds syndrome
    Raynaud's phenomenon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I just wonder why, wearing the same footwear as when hiking, my feet get so cold when cycling, and not so cold when hiking? The motion of the legs shunting blood to the distal extremity? Windchill? I keep the boots fairly loose fitting to ensure that circulation is not compromised.

    Anybody else notice this?

    I typically run my dogs on the mtn bike from 14 to 26 kms daily. But I do it twice, as each dog goes separately. 52kms when it`s 2.5 deg C and raining = cold feet!

  6. #6
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    I think your hands and feet get cold because your core temp is down, mostly from the windchill. That causes reduced circulation to your hands and feet in an effort to keep your core warm, which in turn makes your extremities feel cold.

    A similar thing happens on motorcycles due to windchill, but on a motorcycle there is the opportunity to run a very quick and easy way to demonstrate the situation. If you ride on a cold day, your hands and feet get cold to the point of numbness. Now put on a heated vest. Wearing a heated vest and warming your core keeps your hands and feet warm because the full normal circulation to them is maintained. It is really surprising, at least to me. But no kidding it works. With a heated vest I can wear summer gloves in freezing temps.

    It sounds like you are already wearing good shoes and gloves. Obviously you are not going to use a heated vest on a mountain bike, but I would try a vest of some sort to get a bit more warmth to your core. Give it a shot and report back.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spokerider View Post
    no, I don`t have Raynauds syndrome
    Raynaud's phenomenon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I just wonder why, wearing the same footwear as when hiking, my feet get so cold when cycling, and not so cold when hiking? The motion of the legs shunting blood to the distal extremity? Windchill? I keep the boots fairly loose fitting to ensure that circulation is not compromised.

    Anybody else notice this?

    I typically run my dogs on the mtn bike from 14 to 26 kms daily. But I do it twice, as each dog goes separately. 52kms when it`s 2.5 deg C and raining = cold feet!
    Blood is directed to muscles not feet and hands...

    When hiking heat loss is much lower than when biking...less wind.

    Hands and feet get cold...

    Magic buy some winter biking boots....yeah the ones with cleats

    Shoes

  8. #8
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    I generally get poor circulation in my hands for some reason. and When i'm riding singletrack it's harder to keep my fingers moving to warm them up. generally after about 30 minutes my hands are warm but the first 30 minutes I'm usually pretty chilly. otherwise you run the risk of having your sweat freeze and within an hour you're going in for being too cold.

    I'm sure diet can play a part in this as well as i notice when I don't eat properly before hand when doing any sort of aerobic activity in the winter my hands and feet are cold.

  9. #9
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    Your hands and feet get cold because you're not using them, you're touching metal, and they have more wind hitting them due to your speed on a bike. You're feet flext a lot when you walk. Not so much when you pedal. Your hands getting cold is partly because of your handlebar, partly because you are barely moving your arms when riding, and slightly more because the wind ir pulling your body heat away faster than you can replenish it. When your feet get cold, get off and run for 5 minutes, or at least flex and unflex your feet while pedalling for 10. Pogies are the solution for cold hands.

  10. #10
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    Shoe covers work well for me. $15.

  11. #11
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    I wear the pearl izumi toe covers and glove liners. Both seem to work well for me. My toes and fingers usually get extremely numb on night rides here in the Bay Area, but adding the toe covers and glove liners has helped take the chill off.

  12. #12
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    P.I. booties and a pair of wind proof gloves extends my riding time is colder temps. Booties and Smartwool socks down to about 20 degree's F. or so. When it gets really cold, Lake winter shoes or Pac boots and flat pedals and Pogies to keep the hands toasty.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spokerider View Post
    no, I don`t have Raynauds syndrome
    Raynaud's phenomenon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I just wonder why, wearing the same footwear as when hiking, my feet get so cold when cycling, and not so cold when hiking? The motion of the legs shunting blood to the distal extremity? Windchill? I keep the boots fairly loose fitting to ensure that circulation is not compromised.

    Anybody else notice this?

    I typically run my dogs on the mtn bike from 14 to 26 kms daily. But I do it twice, as each dog goes separately. 52kms when it`s 2.5 deg C and raining = cold feet!
    How much caffeine do you consume?

    Too much coffee has contributed to me having cold feet on rides.
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  14. #14
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    When your core is warm everything else should be warm. Try wearing an extra layer. I had the same problem riding and skiing. I put on one extra layer and it made a huge difference.

    As for why our hands at feet get cold, its because our body prioritizes where the blood flow should go. If you are normal the majority of your blood will go to your legs. That is why your exterimities get cold. If you notice on the way downhill or when you soft peadel back to the car your hands and feet should warm up.
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  15. #15
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    As we say in Michigan, if your hands and feet are cold, put on a hat.

    The majority of heat loss is through the head, the rest of your body is covered up pretty well. As others have said, the body prioritizes temp regulating and the extremities lose first. But the heat loss is not at the extremities, it is elsewhere, likely your head, but you feel it at your hands and feet first.
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  16. #16
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    When cycling blood does not return from your legs as fast when hiking... I have read there is a mechanism in the calve/leg that when it fully contracts it actually squeezes blood back up to your heart. People wear compression garmets to counter-act this while they are seated... some people i know even use compression socks and leggings in the winter.

    If your shoulders hunch while riding you are restricting the thoracic outlet, this reduces circulation to your arms.

    So, up the core coverage, shoulders square, grip light, try some compression gear if you feel like it, make sure your saddle isn't causing numbness.

    Do not "tough" out the cold, it only reduces your sensitivity it does not improve cold induced vasodilation response. That means toughing it out only increases the chances of cold injury by gradually deadening your sensation to it.

  17. #17
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    be careful not to wear your shoes too tight or wear gloves your fingers come to the end of.

    Tight shoes compress your feet, and when your body tries to increase blood flow to the area, there is not enough space for your feet to expand. That compresses any insulation you might have from your socks. Helps keep your feet colder, among all the other issues you might have.

    Similar issue with gloves. If your fingers or thumbs go all the way to the ends, you are compressing the insulation there and your fingertips will get cold. I have longish thumbs, so I have to be careful with the gloves I buy because it's very easy to wind up with gloves that have short thumbs and then my thumbs get cold even though the gloves are plenty warm and/or windproof otherwise.

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