Introduction: Warm Feet and Hands for Winter Cycling

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first to…

My feet and hands get cold before anything else when I ride my bicycle in cold weather. I also avoid buying bicycle specific clothing, preferring to use things I already have. Sometimes I buy things from the hunting section of a sporting goods department. Hunters need to stay warm in cold weather, too. My winter cycling shoes are a pair of walking shoes with leather uppers. They have more padding and are warmer than the canvas shoes I use in mild weather.

Step 1: Learn From the Homeless

The homeless use newspapers to stay warm in the winter. I find four plies to be just about right. More plies do not really help.

Step 2: Tear a Strip of Paper

Tear a strip down a full sheet of newspaper so it is about the width of your foot.

Step 3: Tear Again at the Fold

Make two strips by tearing again at the fold.

Step 4: Fit Around the End of the Toes

Fit the paper around your foot so it begins just behind where you toes attach to your foot. Bring it around the front and over the ends of your toes. Then let the rest fall onto the top of your foot. These are the parts of my feet that get cold first. A little extra protection here makes a big difference. It helps to crease the newsprint where it goes over the ends of your toes.

Step 5: Prepare to Push the Paper Into the Shoe

Put your toes into the crease so your toes will drag the newsprint into the shoe.

Step 6: Drag the Paper Into the Shoe With Your Foot

Push your foot into the shoe as you normally would. The paper will go in with your foot. Keep the paper from going far off to one side or the other.

Step 7: How It Will Look

This photo shows how your shoe will look when the paper is in place. Lace up your shoe as normal, but not too tight. Any extra air around your foot is additional insulation. A shoe that fits a little loose is better than one that fits too tightly. When I ride for an hour or so, my feet will get cold, but not nearly as soon as without the newsprint. I do wear a woolen sock I got in a hunting department. Between the socks and the newsprint, I can ride down to about 15 degrees F., maybe even colder. I add newsprint to my shoes when the temperature drops below about 25 - 30 degrees F.

One set of newsprint strips will last for a couple of weeks, maybe longer before it needs replacement. Leave the newsprint inside your shoes when you remove the shoes at the end of your ride.

Step 8: A Warm Winter Glove With Mitten Cover

I got this glove/mitt from a hunting section at a sporting goods store. It has Polar Fleece gloves inside a water repellant mitt. The mitt fits loosely so it holds and traps insulating air. It has a slit opening so the hunter can use his gun at critical moments.

I wear cotton jersey gloves below about 45 degrees F. When the temperature drops below 40 degrees F. I wear these glove/mitts, but I am apt to pull the mitt cover away from the fingers until the temperature drops below about 35 degrees F. When the temperature drops below about 25 degrees F. it is time to add something extra. My extra is strips of newsprint, just as with my shoes.

Step 9: Add Newsprint Inside the Mitts

Tear newsprint strips exactly as before for your shoes. Stuff it between the glove and the mitt to cover the back of the hand.

Step 10: Fold Over the Fingers

Bring the newsprint around over the front of the fingers.

Step 11: Close the Glove/mitt

Close the mitt flap over the fingers. I find my fingers still have enough flexibility to operate my STI (Shimano System Total Integration) shifters. I have not ridden in temperatures colder than 18 degrees F. with a wind chill of 11 degrees and my hands were comfortable, although cool. I was out for a little longer than an hour on that ride. I would like to get or make a large pair of mitts to go over these glove/mitts. A lot depends on how acclimated I am to the cold. You can leave this newsprint in your glove/mitts for most of the winter before it will need replacement.

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