A man mountain biking in snow during a Scottish winter.

Are your fingers freezing after a few minutes on the bike? You’re not alone. Even the warmest hand warmer cannot protect you from the coldest weather. You can cycle without fear of freezing your fingers off – and it is much easier and cheaper than you may think. Below are the best tips for protecting your hands from the cold when you are on a cycling trek.

Get The Right Gloves

It might be tempting to go straight for the super-insulated mittens right off the bat, but unless temperatures really are dire, look for a riding-specific glove that will still allow you to shift and brake with ease. Finding the best glove can be challenging.It may be tempting to go for a cheap winter glove from a department store, but a cycling-specific glove will ultimately serve you better: They’re designed specifically to keep your hands warm and comfortable while they’re on the bars.

Know Your Weather

Temperature can be deceiving: It’s important to check the windchill factor to figure out how cold it will actually feel during your ride. If you live in a breezy area, look for gloves that have wind-blocking material on the front. If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, opt for a waterproof glove, since the warmest glove in the world won’t keep your hand cozy if it’s soaked.

Mittens v. Gloves

The answer depends on your route. If you’re just doing a relaxed, straight ride on a bike path, then mittens will keep your hands warmer than gloves. But for serious riding that requires a lot of shifting and braking, gloves will give you the dexterity you need. But remember: When your hands do start to get cold, your dexterity is decreased anyway. A lobster-style glove (which has two pockets for two fingers each) will give you mitten-like warmth with more control.

The Best Gloves For Your Exertion

A mitten might be great for that recovery ride on the towpath, but if you’re doing anaerobic interval efforts, gloves may be necessary. If you’re planning on doing hard efforts later, the best way to avoid overheated hands is to start with a pair that feels chilly at the outset.

Shake Your Hands

Before your hands get numb or cold, periodically take your hands off the bars—one at a time—and shake them out to promote better blood flow.

Buy The Right Jacket

Gloves won’t help much if you’re wearing the wrong cycling jacket for your ride. If your core and arms are cold, your hands are sure to follow, no matter what gloves you’re wearing, Fryda says. If temperatures are really low, make sure both your arms and torso stay warm; this may mean swapping your wind vest for an actual winter riding jacket.