The weather for bike riding has been resolutely manky of late — no great surprises: it's Scotland, in winter.
My cycling revelation has come in the form of comfortably warm hands.
I think I probably have bad circulation. It doesn't even have to be that cold and I don't have to be out that long. Even a twenty-minute ride to work on a day of close to 0 degrees C and my digits can be so cold as to be useful, painfully so.
I had tried a variety of gloves, windproof, waterproof, windproof and waterproof, with thermal liners, and all to no avail. This winter I decided on one last shot at finding a decent glove. I'd been considering lobster-claw-style mittens (the idea of these being that your fingers are paired together and thus help keep one another warm) but was wary of the loss of dexterity and doubted that two cold fingers pressed together would be much warmer than having them individually wrapped.
Following a blitz of online research, and checking what my local shops had in stock (I wanted to be able to try them on before buying) led me to Sealskinz' Extra Cold Winter Cycle Gloves.
You can try gloves on for fit but there's no test like riding them a few miles into below-zero wind chill. I didn't reckon Edinburgh Bicycle Co-Op would let me take the gloves away for a test ride and so trusted the reviews and handed over my fifty quid.
Much to my pleasure that was money well spent. Their first ride was fours hours down into the Borders and back, through temperatures around and just below zero, and half the ride into horizontal rain/sleet. My hands were dry and if not toasty warm, then definitely not cold, and definitely pain-free throughout.
I've since ridden in conditions a few degrees below zero (with and without windchill), in rain and snow, and again my hands have been fine.
The ECWCGs come with Sealskinz' highest, 5-star, thermal rating “heavy-duty protection for cold climates”.
What else do you need to know? They have long, velcro-tabbed cuffs, a comfortable (for road cycling anyway) gel-padded palm and a few lines of (I'd prefer more) reflective detailing.
My only concern with these gloves is the lack of sweat/snot wipe but I will learn to live without for the sake of warm hands. I'm also a little unsure how durable the lining will be and have been careful when removing the gloves. Time will tell.