It’s cold here in the UK but that doesn’t mean an end to riding. Winter is one of my favourite times of the year to ride and whilst I love being able to go out in my summer kit and not have to worry about layering I do love those cold crisp winter mornings! There is an old saying in cycling; “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad equipment”, and whilst I don’t completely agree with this statement there is an air of truth to it.
There are a few essential items that will make your winter rides a lot more pleasurable, one of the most important is a good pair of gloves. I rarely wear gloves so when I do it means that it is getting cold. I have been using the Rapha Winter Gloves and Proviz High Visibility Gloves for the past few weeks, there is a huge difference in price on these items, the Rapha gloves retail at £85 whilst the Proviz are priced at £26.99. I have used a variety of different gloves over the years and these are two of the best winter gloves to date.
Rapha Winter Glove
The Rapha Winter Gloves have been redesigned for 2014, with a new cuff they are a slim-fitting, insulating, water-resistant glove with a Durable Water Repellent coating. Many brands state that their gloves are slim fitting though when the turn up you find they resemble a ski glove rather than a cycling glove. This is not the case with Rapha, the gloves fit incredibly well and do not look bulky or make me feel like I belong on the slopes rather than on a bike.
They are thick and the lining keeps your hands extremely warm and snug and most importantly they don’t feel restrictive in the slightest, I had no problem using my gears and brakes. They are without a doubt windproof, even in the most gale force conditions; they are also water resistant and even after a long ride in the rain my hands remained dry.
On long wet and cold rides you often get cold finger tips…or maybe thats just me. I find that the tips of the fingers or knuckles get wet and then due to the wind it rapidly decreases the temperature of my hands. Again this was not a problem with the Rapha Winter Gloves.
One thing I that always impressed me about Rapha was how long their products last, they are really well made and they can be expensive; but if something will last for years then to me its worth it. The build quality is top notch as you would expect from Rapha and the leather reinforced thumb, index and middle fingers leads me to believe me that these gloves will still be going strong for years to come.
These gloves are extremely warm, I did find that after wearing them for about an hour I needed to take them off, they heated my hands up enough to go without for the rest of the ride. If you’re looking for a full on winter glove that will keep your hands warm then look no further. Whilst they are expensive no one can argue with the quality of Rapha’s products. If you want to ride your bike in the coldest conditions then these are the gloves for you, I just hope the rest of your kit will match up to their performance!
Proviz High Visibility Glove
The Proviz High Visibility gloves are very reasonably priced, but this is by no means reflected in the quality. They are slightly thinner than the Rapha gloves, though still kept my hands warm when the temperature plummeted. I have a thing for fluorescent yellow at the moment, it is getting dark earlier you can’t go wrong with a bit of high vis for extra safety.
The tri-laminated fleece-lined protection does to keep you warm and works well allowing heat and moisture to escape. A unique thing about the glove is the fleece lining is not touching the skin, it is instead the middle layer. This helps to prevent sweating yet keeps your hands warm and allows for maximum breathability. This really helps to avoid the issue of that nice fleece lining of your gloves getting all sweaty. My hands get pretty warm climbing and I found that my gloves can end up a bit wet inside, it was not the case with these, the Proviz sweat wicking system was very effective.
They were really comfortable, the gel padding is a nice bonus, I don’t usually ride with gloves so it felt a bit weird at first but I soon got used to it. It’s really handy on long rides especially when the road surface is a bit harsh. The slim fitting design of the gloves allows your hand to move freely without feeling restricted, it was very easy to get things out of my jersey pocket and use my Garmin, but you will have to take them off to use a touch screen phone.
The water resistant fabric keeps the rain out for just under an hour in pretty crappy conditions. Though my hands remained warm even when the gloves were wet. They are a cleanly designed glove that tick all the boxes, great fitting and functional, performing as well as more expensive alternatives. A bargain for the price and will keep your hands warm this winter.