By Lou Melini
I had a lot of opportunities to use cold-weather tactics during the single digit weather during the winter of 2012-2013. For some people, low temperatures create cold feet, for others, such as my wife, a cold face. I personally have issues with my hands. I have a rather large inventory of gloves that I’ve used over the year. My commute also involves traveling past the 4500 South-1300 East area, a peculiarly cold spot relative to the rest of my commute, so I have to prepare for that area which is 5 or more degrees colder (or more) than my start. In addition, those that ride in the cold know that some days 20° can feel warm yet on other days it can feel cold which I attribute to factors involving humidity, slight wind chill and other non-specific variables.
To obtain warm hands for those days below 20°, I have a pair of bulky ski gloves and a pair of REI mittens (a fleece lined mitten with a shell). The mittens work great below 15° but obviously one loses “2-finger” dexterity. I have also used Bar Mitts (Barmitts.com) with success for those below 15° days, but I need to use a thinner (less warm) glove to fit into the Bar Mitts. The Bar Mitts do affect your ability to grab the brake lever and operate shifters, though minimally if your glove isn’t too bulky. One can easily adjust to the Bar Mitts. (There are other options on the market for BarMitts. I just met someone that had handlebar mounted inserts sold to the small motorcycle (scooters) market that worked well.)
My son Ben bought me a pair of Giro 100-Proof Lobster Mitt gloves for Christmas 2011. He said that the gloves were good to 15° and should fit into my Bar Mitts. My son is a good salesman, so I was naturally skeptical, especially when I saw the sleek profile of the Giro glove. But I thought I would give the gloves a try.
The Giro glove consists of a very soft and comfortable full-fingered liner that inserts into a Thinsulate XT-S 2-fingered outer fleece lined glove also very comfortable. Both are warm individually and very warm in combination.
With a relatively warm 2011-2012 winter season, I didn’t get to use the gloves much, but they did seem to work well for me with temperatures in the high teens. This year, the gloves have been put to a lot of use. The promised 15° rating is spot on. I’ve even had them function well for my uphill ride home in temperatures slightly less than 15. Their sleek profile allows compatible use with my Bar Mitts, a fortunate combination one day when I left home with the thermometer reading minus 1°. For temperatures approaching 10°, the Giro glove and Bar Mitt combo kept my hands toasty warm. At this time, I haven’t been brave enough to see how far I can push the glove below 15°. Only on one occasion have my hands felt a little chilled passing a bank that had 16° listed on the electronic message board on one of those “cold” 16° days though the bank temperature could have been incorrect.
There are other tricks one can use to have warm hands. I’ve heard that one of the local pro riders uses dishwashing glove under a bulky glove. I’ve used chemical hand warmers, but they didn’t seem to help my fingertips and you have the daily expense and trash of the hand warmer. I’ve also tried using exam gloves from my office but they didn’t slide into my regular glove very well and they don’t last long.
So don’t let the cold be a deterrent. If you get cold hands, get an attitude, get equipped and get to work knowing that you will have warm hands with the Giro Lobster Mitt. With the combination liner and outer glove you will only need to buy this one glove for temperature ranges of 15° to 60°. Maybe I should say that this Giro glove is “Melini Approved.”