Anyone cycling through the winter is likely no stranger to cold extremities, and while nothing like the screaming barfies familiar from ice climbing, it hardly raises the spirit. To cope with sub -10°C temperatures I’ve usually added layers and worn thicker gloves and mittens, to the point of losing all dexterity. To regain the control of my hands, I started to look into pogies which have proven themselves over and again for winter motorsports, and have also been gaining popularity among cyclists.
There is no shortage of options when it comes to pogies. You can find them from motorcycle and quad/snowmobile stores, various general stores, and of course online. Bar Mitts and Dogwood Designs products are examples of well-designed pogies built for cyclists, but there are also several others. As spotted at Fillarifoorumi, my neighborhood general store Biltema also has a pair - labeled for motor vehicles, but well suited for bicycles also. Being a no-name product loyal to store’s pricing scheme, these pogies are dirt cheap (€13.99 a pair), and based on the initial experience the build quality appears to be very good, offering excellent value.
As these come in one size only, they are rather large all around, and the first dry fitting brought up some simple improvement ideas. Although they do work as intended out of the box, I chose to tighten up the cuff diagonally (up to few centimeters) to have a closer fit around the lower arms and moved the velcro to allow it to close around an oversized handlebar. Replacing the flimsy cord with a reflective parachute cord and double-stitching few crucial seams finished the modifications (though I might add a piece of reflective fabric still on each).
Temperature was around -12 °C when I got to try these pogies for the first time. I wore a pair of thin liner gloves underneath and during a 2-hour ride had total comfort - even tried riding with bare hands for some time, and it was ok (neoprene grips are great). After the modifications there are no big openings anywhere, pogies fit the handlebar snuggly and stay in place, and cuffs close around the lower arms comfortably. Looking forward to test the limits of these once the temperature drops somewhere below -20 °C, assuming they won’t disappoint me.
Bottom line, if you ride through the winter, get pogies. Any of the available models will for sure increase your digit survival rate and in addition to being really warm, they also make fiddling with camera and other gear a breeze, compared to the layered lobster/mitten setup you would normally use.