reusable hand warmers for winter cycling

Spoiled by the mild weather that so pleasantly extended the cycling season in the New York City area, it was tough to adjust to riding in 30-degree temperatures last weekend. Specifically, I ran into trouble keeping my hands warm. Before the mercury takes its next dive, I want to share the hand warmers that saved my aching fingertips.

What I particularly like about Wonder Warmers (photo above) is that they’re reusable — more than 100 times, according to the website. They’re activated by flexing a thin steel disk inside the PVC pouch. This sets into motion a chemical reaction in a solution of water and non-toxic salt that generates heat for between 30 minutes and 3 hours, depending on pad size. (The reaction is particularly fun for kids to watch because the solution gradually turns opaque, hardens inside the pack and heats to approximately 130 degrees F.)  To reuse, boil the pouches 5 to 12 minutes until all the crystals dissolve and the solution turns back into a liquid.

Inside tight cycling gloves, I got about 25 minutes of warmth from the small-size Wonder Warmers, which was enough to keep me comfortable until the morning temperature rose. Insulation, found in thickly padded gloves, for example, may extend the effect, according to the manufacturer.

Beyond bike commuting and road cycling, these would make great stocking stuffers for anyone who’s active outdoors for work or recreation during the winter.

Do you use warming products for winter bike riding?

Wonder Warmers, Reusable Heat Pads, small 3.5 x 3 inches $14.99 pair. Many more sizes available.

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