Smitten with mittens: I'm in love with my Bar Mitts - even if 'real cyclists' may judge them

Looks be damned, these revolutionized my winter riding

Bar Mitts in the snow
(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

This article is part of a series called 'A love letter to…', where Cycling Weekly writers pour praise on their favourite cycling items and share the personal connection they have with them. 

The content below is unfiltered, authentic and has not been paid for.  

I'd seen them for years, these gaudy, black neoprene hand sacks at the end of handlebars. But like handlebar mirrors, reflectors and kickstands, I'd filed them under accessories I would not deface my sleek, stealthy race bike with, thank you very much. I'll just keep suffering from the agony of wet, frozen hands like "a real cyclist".  

Little did I know, these neoprene hand wonders would revolutionize my winter cycling game. Cue the dramatic realization music…

I finally gave in last winter. I'd been caught out by a low snow line on a very Type 2 gravel ride and spent 10 minutes rocking and crying in my car afterward as my fingers painfully came back to life. At this point, I'd suffered through 13 increasingly cold Pacific Northwest winters, and this couldn't keep happening. I wasn't about to stop going on wintery adventures, but these Raynauld's symptoms weren't very fun either. 

Enter Bar Mitts

Bar Mitts in the snow

(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

A fashion statement they are not, but Bar Mitts have been a complete game-changer for my winter riding.

The Bar Mitts are made of 5mm thick neoprene (Polychloroprene), which has long been the star of wetsuits, waders and cycling booties thanks to its excellent waterproof and insulating properties. But rather than taking the shape of a glove, these "mitts" are more like neoprene pockets. This is actually pretty clever because, in my experience with neoprene cycling gloves, the dexterity was limited, and the closed-celled foam that fights the elements so effectively also prevents ventilation, making them entirely too sweaty for cycling use. 

The cornucopia-shaped covers slide over the bar ends, enclosing the brake levers and hoods, and attach to your bars using integrated velcro straps. The mitts remain upright and open so you can easily slide your hands in and out of them and have room to shift and brake. 

Even with the large opening, it gets really toasty inside the mitts. Protected from the wind chill, my hands warm up to the point where I can often wear mere liners or go gloveless altogether.

Installing and removing the Bar Mitts is quicker than the time it takes to decide which neck gaiter goes with your outfit, allowing you to swap them between bikes or choose to use them or leave them at home as you're getting ready to roll out. 

I'm now haunted by the ghost of frozen hands past, wondering why I didn't embrace the cozy revolution sooner. 

If I could go back in time, I'd happily accept the side-eyeing and ridicule of all "serious cyclists" for the comfort Bar Mitts offers. After all, they say that true beauty lies within, and what lies inside these Bar Mitts is warmth and comfort.

Bar Mitts, my awkward winter soulmates – together, we'll continue to conquer the icy winds and snowy roads, and my hands are forever grateful. You complete me…or at least my winter cycling gear.

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