Fat Biking 101 | Warm Your Hands with Technology | Winter Cycling 101
Have you ever been out riding fat bikes in the cold and had your fingers get a little too cold? A subtle numbness slowly starts to set in and your hand motor skills begin to be hampered. It's not fun and can be darn right scary. In these situations you need to stop riding and get your hands warm immediately. Frostbite can begin to set in within minutes if it's cold enough.
When I ride I always bring some extra items along for safety. No matter what the season or weather is. During the warmer months I tend to pack a small first-aid kit, lightweight portable tire pump and a bottle of sports drink like Gatorade/Powerade. Maybe even a granola bar or two as well for longer rides. I keep it pretty basic in the spring/summer.
As for late fall and winter, it's a little bit more involved. The obvious big factor is the cold weather. The basics of course are warm gloves, helmet beanie and a weatherproof jacket. If it's below freezing I may want some winter boots to keep my toes warm. Just like the warmer months, I bring a sugary sports drink, snack and first-aid kit.
Riding on or through snow can make things a bit exhausting after a while so quick sugar calories are sometimes needed to get me back in the game. I've pushed myself way to hard before and sugar with electrolytes has been my savior! Several times I have literally saved someone with a sports drink that was on the side of the trail not looking well.
Typically things go well on my rides in the winter. Of course like many of us, I have my short comings physically with the extra exertion needed. But I digress.
Sometimes I want ride when It's really cold. I know crazy right, Ha Ha! That's usually when I feel numbness in my finger tips. Just a little too cold out there at times. I think it's partially due to circulation issues from holding onto the handlebar grips for long periods of time. But regardless, as soon as this happens I know it's time to pull over and get my hands warm before continuing.
Cheap chemical hand warmer packets have been the go-to for a long time (Since before the 1980s because we had them when I was a little kid). Well it's 2023 and there's been some technological advancements in the world of hand warmers. Particularly, the newer invention of rechargeable hand warmers that last for hours on a single charge. These puppies will get your hands warm fast so you can get back to riding fat bikes!
With lots of brands now selling similar products we felt it would be good to test out a few to see which one was the best. They all sold a lot of units and have 5 star reviews. However, after trying out several there was a clear winner over the competitors we looked at. Sold in packs of two warmers, grab it here. Keep one warmer in each of your jacket pockets for emergency situations.
You never know what situations you'll encounter while out riding your fat bike. You may even need to help someone else! So it's essential that you're prepared. If your fingers get too cold then not only are you at risk of frostbite, but you also won't be able to operate the break and shift levers of your bike. This makes the situation an emergency if you're out far from where you started. Having tools at your disposal like these rechargeable hand warmers will be a life saver.
As for your poor toes... I guess last century technology is all you have for now. Ha Ha.
If they exist, the next winter fat biking product we'll look at are boots with built-in heating capability...
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