This is another "WW4M" post. That means "What Works For Me" and it may not work for you. So, take that with the following words into consideration..... Also- Standard Disclaimer.
|Whisky Winston Bar
One thing a lot of folks disregard, or don't even think about, is how the touch-points of your bicycle, and even other parts of your bicycle, will affect whether or not you stay warm. Well, you can really enhance your experience riding in the cold if you employ the following ideas.
Carbon Fiber Components: Carbon is a notorious material from the standpoint of light-weight and strength. But did you know that it also has terrible heat transfer properties? Yes! And that is a good thing for cycling in cold weather. Carbon handle bars make a huge difference in hands staying warm or not. Part of this is also what grips you use, but carbon versus aluminum is no contest when it comes to hand warmth. Aluminum will transfer heat quite well, and because it can do that, it also conducts heat from your hands to the bar. This is bad news for longer term cold weather outings. However; not everyone can get, or afford carbon handle bars. For you there are more ideas. Read on...
|Ergon Bio-Kork Grips
Cork: Cork, which is a type of wood , makes a great grip material. You maybe have seen cork grips on fishing rods and understand that they are comfortable and that they are not too hot or too cold to hold in any weather.
Well, those same traits that make cork good for fishing rods also works well for a bicycle grip. You can get traditional cork grips, ergonomic ones, (shown), or you can get cork drop bar tape as well.
Cork does a great job as a grip. It's lightweight, doesn't transfer heat well, and it is soft to the touch. You may even decide that cork grips are for you year-round instead of just for cold weather riding!
One interesting anecdote: I used Ergon Bio-Kork grips on one of my fat bikes for years. (Grips shown here for reference) They worked great, and if you had any doubt that they were keeping your hands warm all you had to do was to touch that metal collar with the pinch bolt through it. You'd find out that the cork was indeed doing a great job at keeping yer mitts warm and toasty!
The answer is to use a composite pedal which cuts way down on heat transfer. A great example that doesn't cost an arm and a leg is Fyxation's Mesa MP pedals. I've been using these pedals for over a decade now and I have several bikes set up with them. Great bearings, decent grip, and of course, no heat sucking metal.
The bonus here is that with a good set of flat pedals, you can wear whatever footwear you want to keep your feet warm. I'm partial to insulated, waterproof hiking shoes or my go-to really cold weather choice- the Keen snow boot, (whichever model they seem to have is good, usually)
I have a big roll of gaffer tape. It's tape used in the visual arts field, but it has many other practical usages. One is to cover levers made of metal to allow you to have a barrier between fingers and heat-sucking metal. Plus, it gives you a better grip!
It is cheap and can be purchased in wide enough rolls that you can customize your tape to fit almost any lever. Just make sure that you clean the lever first with isopropyl alcohol to get any dirt or skin oils off the surfaces you want to cover up. Gaffer tape is pretty sticky and should adhere to any anodized aluminum surface well. And the tape is cheap enough that you can replace worn bits of tape without feeling like you are throwing money into a fire.
You can find a ton of uses for a roll of gaffer tape so the investment is well worth it. I use my roll for camera grip, labeling tool boxes, and even for marking a skills course for bike rodeos I do. It's pretty amazing stuff, but I digress....
But by far, the leather covered saddles I have are better in terms of feeling warmer. So, give something like that a try. It doesn't have to be a Brooks either, or even that type of saddle. Just anything with a leather cover seems to be better for me.
Finally fenders won't directly keep you warmer, but by deflecting water, snow, slush, or ice, fenders can keep those precipitates from getting on you, which would keep you warmer. Most likely, anyway, and besides, fenders do a great job of keeping that chemical soup they squirt on roads these days from destroying your drive train. (If you get full coverage fenders, that is)
Okay, that's a wrap for now. Got any great tips to share? Hit me up in the comments!