Feet and fingers

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Mick F
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Feet and fingers

Postby Mick F » 16 Mar 2013, 9:06am

During this cold weather, I've noticed a strange phenomenon about my feet and my fingers. Leaving home I'm toasty warm all over. I wear warm fleecy gloves and thick warm socks .................. amongst other clothing too! :D

5miles out and my fingers are freezing but my feet nice and warm.
10miles see a sort of "equilibrium" of fingers ok and feet ok too.
15miles and my hands are boiling hot and my feet are freezing!

I'm not really fussed about this, I can cope and the rest of my body is fine and warm - I'm just intrigued by why this happens.

Any ideas?
Mick F. Cornwall

reohn2
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Re: Feet and fingers

Postby reohn2 » 16 Mar 2013, 10:04am

Two words,pressure and sweat.
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Mick F
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Re: Feet and fingers

Postby Mick F » 16 Mar 2013, 10:08am

Sweaty feet cooling them off?
Pressure on the hands warming them up?
Or the other way round?

I don't sweat much at all, but I do suffer from pressure and stress. :wink:
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Feet and fingers

Postby reohn2 » 16 Mar 2013, 10:59am

Mick F wrote:Sweaty feet cooling them off?
Pressure on the hands warming them up?
Or the other way round?

I don't sweat much at all, but I do suffer from pressure and stress. :wink:


Everything's warm to start.

Walking causes some friction as each step is taken by the bending of the foot and slight rubbing of footwear movement of toes etc.
When cycling the foot remains in a static position with little movement of the foot itself,it is also under almost constrant pressure as you pedal ,this reduces blood flow circulation and also the front of the foot is being cooled by air flow .The only movement/friction is the ankle,if you wear neoprene overshoes you may notice they are damp in the ankle area after a ride.You may also be aware of the immediate effects of warmth as blood flow resumes if you stop and either stamp you feet or just walk the bike for 100m or so.

The hands are on the move all the time,braking changing h/bars position,etc and can become uncomfortably warm if insulated too much,they then sweat and become more uncomfortable. They are also nearer to the core body heat and aren't being robbed of useable blood/energy such as is the case with the feet,the legs needing the warm oxygenated blood to turn the pedals and the restricted flow to the feet due to pressure restricting blood flow.
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Mick F
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Re: Feet and fingers

Postby Mick F » 16 Mar 2013, 1:17pm

Ta!
Makes sense.

Just come back from a quickie 15mile ride, not cold today, just damp and dreary. Feet and hands were fine.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Feet and fingers

Postby Ayesha » 16 Mar 2013, 4:13pm

+1 reohn2 has it.

In the cold, when push comes to shove, the body's system will sacrifice the small appendages on the feet to save the small appendages on the hands. :D

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Re: Feet and fingers

Postby Vorpal » 16 Mar 2013, 4:56pm

I get the same thing. I can prevent my feet from getting cold by two means. The first is just wiggling my toes now and again. I have to think about it, but it does help. The other is warmer shoes. I cycle in insulated winter walking boots and two pairs of wool socks, now. My feet stay fairly warm for a couple of hours, even at -10 C. Much longer than that, though and I have to walk around for a bit.

My ride home from work starts downhill, so I wear lined ski mittens until I warm up, then switch to winter cycling gloves (kept inside my jacket to keep them warm).
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Re: Feet and fingers

Postby Geoff.D » 16 Mar 2013, 7:09pm

This is a post that interests me, because I suffer from Reynaud's Disease. Once my fingers and toes have become cold (and lost all colour) I know that I'm eventually going to have to go through a period of pain as the blood comes back. So, I've developed my own ways of keeping warm.
For my hands I use an inner pair of fleece gloves and an outer shell of waxed cotton over mitts. As long as I remember to keep the inners on at all times (eg not be tempted to quickly open my pannier with naked hands in the biting wind) I can maintain comfort - fleece for warmth and outers for windproofness.
For my feet, I wear a size shoe bigger than normal, and so I can get two pairs of socks on. Because hey're not tight, they all still full of air pockets, and therefore warm. Again, on the outside I wear overshoes for both warmth and wind insulation. The principles for both are the same - multi-layers; insulation material; wind protection.

Whilst riding I can sometimes still feel my fingers "going". So I stuff alternate hands in my crutch to maintain warmth. It works. But, my ageing joints don't allow me the flexibility to do the same for my toes !!

szegerely
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Re: Feet and fingers

Postby szegerely » 16 Mar 2013, 9:58pm

I just thought I would let people know about my solution(s)
I really suffer on cold rides, so much that I had almost decided not to do any riding on cold days.
Last September I bought some Hotronic insoles and Hestra heated gloves. I have used them right through the winter and they have completely transformed my cycling. It was quite an investment, but I doubt I would have ridden through much of the last six months without them. The best day though was a really miserable wet day when I punctured. My hands got a bit cold changing tubes, and on any other day I would have begun to suffer, but putting the warm gloves on was akin to settling in front of a warm fire.
The insoles have a 4 setting function, and I have only had to resort to level 3 for a short while, but level one keeps my feet warm without overheating quite well most of the time.
I don't use the heating elements in the gloves all that much, but find a quick blast of heat from time to time keeps the gloves (which are really beautifully made in any event) warm for ages

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Re: Feet and fingers

Postby Geoff.D » 17 Mar 2013, 3:12pm

szegerely wrote:I just thought I would let people know about my solution(s)
I really suffer on cold rides, so much that I had almost decided not to do any riding on cold days.
Last September I bought some Hotronic insoles and Hestra heated gloves. I have used them right through the winter and they have completely transformed my cycling. It was quite an investment, but I doubt I would have ridden through much of the last six months without them. The best day though was a really miserable wet day when I punctured. My hands got a bit cold changing tubes, and on any other day I would have begun to suffer, but putting the warm gloves on was akin to settling in front of a warm fire.
The insoles have a 4 setting function, and I have only had to resort to level 3 for a short while, but level one keeps my feet warm without overheating quite well most of the time.
I don't use the heating elements in the gloves all that much, but find a quick blast of heat from time to time keeps the gloves (which are really beautifully made in any event) warm for ages


Thanks for this, szegerely. I hadn't really thought to explore the idea of heated gloves and insoles, mainly because I didn't imagine the power source would last long enough. But, your experiences sound really positive.
In the 1970's heated gloves and insoles came out for motorcycles. Being unwilling to part with cash, most of which would go to marketing, packaging, etc (and being a Yorkshireman, I admit), I decided to make some. I got an old heated blanket, and stripped out the elements. Onto the back of an inner glove, I sewed a length of element in a zig zag and going up/down each finger. I glued a "snake" of an element onto a normal cork insole. I wired each extremity up the inside of my Belstaff two piece and out to a plug just under my saddle. It worked a treat, and it transformed my winter riding, as you describe. Too hot for continuous use. But, no more stops at motorway areas to stuff stiff, insensitive fingers under the hot air driers!

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Re: Feet and fingers

Postby Audax67 » 17 Mar 2013, 5:58pm

Have we got time for another cuppa?