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Pogies

by Jeff Moser

Last week I wrote about some inexpensive pogies over on Blue Collar Mountain Biking. Pogies, sometimes called Moose Mitts or Bullwinkles, are weatherproof handlebar covers made of materials like Cordura and fleece. As cold weather cyclists know, bulky winter gloves can make it difficult to do simple things like brake and shift, adjust zippers, or grab something from your pocket. Pogies enable you to use your standard, thinner cycling gloves in cold weather. Although almost all the pogies mentioned in this post are for flat or riser bars, I did find one website that plans to sell some made for drop bars; however, it looks like they are still under development. More on that later…

Dogwood Pogies

Pogies from Dogwood Designs – Photo courtesy of Tim Woody

For my Pogie research I asked Anchorage, Alaska resident Tim Woody for his opinion on what works best when it gets really cold. If you’re not certain what really cold means, go check out Tim’s blog, Bicycles and Icicles, to see what I’m talking about. The following are some of the options Tim provided me at various price points.

On the cheap end, under $20, go check out my post on Blue Collar Mountain Biking. Cabela’s makes ATV/Snowmachine hand covers that should work ok for cycling. The design is certainly not as good as the cycling specific pogies below, but the price is right.

For quite a bit more money, but a much better design, there are the Bike Toasties available for $68 from Apocalypse Design in Fairbanks, Alaska (scroll down near the bottom of the Apocalypse Design site to view the picture). These also have a nice reflective strip across the top.

Next up are the Pogies from Dogwood Designs (pictured on this post), which Tim says are very popular with Anchorage Riders. They come in a variety of colors if you’re trying to match them up with your bike or attire, and will run you about $90. Apparently Dogwood Designs doesn’t have a website, but you can email them at dogwooddesigns@gci.net for more information.

Dogwood Pogies Closeup

Pogies from Dogwood Designs – Photo courtesy of Tim Woody

On the very high end there are the Expedition Pogies from EPic Designs. These $200 pogies are designed and hand made by Tim’s friend Eric “Bearbait” Parsons. According to his website, Eric Parsons “has over 15 years of adventure cycling experience, ranging from Alaskan winters, to high and remote Himalayan passes, to thousands of miles across South America.” These are probably overkill for most of our needs, but they are worth a visit to the EPic Designs website for a look at these robust pogies and some of the other hardcore gear designed by Eric Parsons.

Here’s another website that sells pogies, trails-edge.com. They have a pair of of mountain bike pogies for $60, and it appears they have some pogies for drop bars in development that will be $70. There’s no date on this statement, so it’s hard to tell for sure when they’ll be available. Personally, I’d love to have some for my road bike, since the wind chill is so much greater at the road bike’s higher speeds. The trails-edge website is a bit hard to navigate (and link to), so look for the winter biking products section for more details.

One of my friends let me try his pogies, an old pair from the early 90′s made by Madden. I used my summertime long fingered gloves for the test on my commute home. Before I started my ride, the sun had gone down, temperatures were in the 30′s, and the wind was blowing. I could feel my thin gloved hands getting cold quickly. With the thin gloves, my hands slipped easily into the Pogies, and my hands stayed warm all the way home. I pulled a hand in and out during the ride to verify that they were indeed keeping me warm. I also verified that I could get my hands in and out easily enough to be safe. I was impressed with how well they worked!

As you can see, there is a set of pogies for every budget. Hands can be one of the harder things to keep warm during the winter. If you’ve been suffering from cold hands, or would like the dexterity of a thinner glove while still staying warm, then pogies are definitely worth checking out!

 
Burley nomad 229

30 Responses to “Pogies”

  1. sir jorge says:

    This might be taking things a little over the edge.

  2. geefour907 says:

    I have the Pogies. They’re fabulous, especially when it’s -4F outside. Hands are nice-n-toasty. Very comfy!

  3. Mortalmatt says:

    lol, they look ridiculous!

  4. Jeff Tippett says:

    Yeah, I agree with all the above…over the edge…ridiculous…but if I had to ride at -4…I’d be ordering some. As much as I love to ride…I just can’t when it’s cold. I know I’m a weenie…but I need it to be warm!
    Jeff
    calvertcreative.blogspot.com

  5. me2 says:

    That’s awesome. Glad someone is looking out for the winter-time riders. Not sure if I could bring myself to pay $200 though.

  6. Jen (SLC) says:

    I have a pair of Dry Bike pseudo-pogies:
    http://www.drybike.com/weathershields.html

    They cost about $30. They’re not nearly as warm as traditional pogies, but they definitely help with wind and rain. I can get by with them and liners down to about freezing. Below that, my fingers get way too cold, but I’m really sensitive. One advantage of them is that they leave the end of your handlebar open. I can fit them on over the mirror on the end of my handlebars.

  7. Quinn says:

    They definately fall into the “stupid cold” category!!

    Personally I would just ride flat-bar with grip shift, MX hand gaurds and super thick gloves.

  8. Michelle says:

    Some of you guys must obviously don’t live in a cold climate and have no experience in cold weather cycling. It’s definitely NOT stupid or over the top. Super thick gloves don’t work, even with grip shifters (tried that). Also have to account for wind chill in addition to low temps. Pogies are actually a very SMART idea. I have CliMitts and are between $30-$50. They work great. We don’t “have” to ride in cold weather. We choose to ride in cold weather and take the appropriate steps necessary to stay warm. Better than sitting on our asses or spinning to nowhere on a trainer all winter long.

  9. Quinn says:

    Michelle-

    Obviously you have never heard the term “stupid cold”, the concept is great I like the idea, how ever it is one of those products for people that are going to stay warm no matter how stupid they look on a bike.
    as far as not riding in cold weather, I live in Reno, single digit temps, w/ a 30+ mph wind.
    Oh and any outdoor expert will tell you to Layer clothing that’s why I wear 2 pair of liners and a midweight glove, which is good down to about 15.

  10. Jeff Moser says:

    The pogies do look a little strange, but so do some of the other things we use for cycling. Lycra and helmets are two goofy looking cycling accessories, but they work quite well! Non cyclists pretty much think we look goofy no matter what we’re wearing or riding.

    Quinn, I live pretty close to you in Carson City. We’re right on the edge of needing something this robust to stay warm. January can get pretty cold, but most of the time, a nice pair of gloves works pretty well here. At least for me… My wife has a hard time keeping her hands warm with the same gloves I’m wearing. I think these would work great for her.

    Michelle, on the other hand, is another Anchorage, Alaska resident. She knows all about cold! They’re probably a requirement for her.

    But part of the message here, is that they can keep you warm while wearing thinner gloves. If you’re commuting by bike, this may make everyday activities a little easier without bulky gloves getting in the way.

  11. Quinn says:

    I think another thing here is,
    1. IM a minimalist and those look anything but minimal.
    2. I see them on a flat bar, not a drop bar, How well would they fit a drop bar? how easy is it to switch hand positions, if they were on a drop bar?

  12. Jeff Moser says:

    It’s all about what your requirements are. I just think they’re a great idea if you have the need! For some, the Pogies could be the difference between riding and not riding if they have a hard time with cold hands during this toughest cycling month of the year. And it’s only a temporary fixture on the bike…you can ditch them when it warms up.

    You’re right about the flat bar. The “trails edge” link in the post takes you to a company that is supposedly working on a drop bar version. I’ve done some very cold road loops out in the Carson Valley where I would’ve killed for a pair! Long distance plus wind chill takes its toll…

  13. Anonymous says:

    http://www.jlrowing.com/pogie.html

    google “rowing pogie” or “sculling pogie” – theres lots of options out there. they are commonly used in rowing, where a glove would just result in blisters.

  14. Brian says:

    If its warm, USE IT!! Who cares what it looks like! The above reply was correct, we get laughed at by all of our none cycling freinds. My SWAT buddies love to crack on the spandex and bright colors( they dont laugh so much when I spank em on a road run). I live in a climet of cold riding for minimum of three months of the year. I have had a pair of these on my atv for 15 years plus. Every Oct., for hunting season, I put them on. They are worth their weight in gold, a ride to the tree stand with no gloves on, when its 20 or 30 out. Yea, they work. Me, I’m heading to the sewing machine to customize a set for the drops. Ok, manly SWAT/outdoorsman/scuba guys love to sew, how do you think Eric Parsons got started. If you cant find it, build it!!! Happy cycling.

  15. Jeff P says:

    “Lycra and helmets are two goofy looking cycling accessories”

    And I thought I looked cool in my baggy lycra.

  16. Michelle says:

    Stupid Cold isn’t a term used here, cuz then we’d have to admit we’re all be stupid for living in a place this cold . We prefer to live in a state of denial…or maybe our brains are frozen and numb…but our hands are warm in our pogies :)

  17. Michelle says:

    Stupid Cold isn’t a term used here, cuz then we’d have to admit we’re all be stupid for living in a place this cold . We prefer to live in a state of denial…or maybe our brains are frozen and numb…but our hands are warm in our pogies :) It looks much more stupid to be frostbitten.

  18. Erpo says:

    Haven’t you heard about gloves?

  19. Chicken Mike says:

    I’ve been looking for these things for years. I live in Minneapolis were the temps routinely get down to zero and below. Riding on cold days (aka -12 or so) is super fun. When it’s super cold you have to put on the face mask, goggles and the super big “i don’t give a fuck what I look like” mitts, and even then you have to head inside to warm up every half hour or so. This is almost always because of fingers or toes. These Pogie dudes would go a long way towards keeping warm.

  20. J-J says:

    Hang glider pilots use similar bar mitts all the time. A fine product.

  21. Paul in Minneapolis says:

    This will be my first winter with a longer commute. Even in cold temps, 3 miles and under is a cake walk. Now my ride is ~8 miles and in -15f I need every little something to keep me from sitting on a bus or owning a evil automobile. Pogies are at the top of my got to have list…. When other keep handing out hundred dollar bills to every fool they can find (car loan, insurance, repairs, tires, batteries, wiper blades, cup holders, speeding tickets, car washes, paint and body shops, coating the drive way, and funding terrorism-(GAS)!, on and on..) I’ll just keep smiling at them.

  22. Paul in Minneapolis says:

    Last weekend, I got two milk jugs (gallon size) and cut them in half at the corners, so the mouth piece is cut in half, all the way to the bottom, then cut around the bottom so the handle side is free. You don’t need the handle part. The other side is the pogie. Up at the mouth piece, cut down the middle and then cut out a place for the cables. Next on the bottom, at the corner with no sides, cut out a hole for the end of your handlebar. Last open the slit for the cables and slide over the bars and put the cables in the hole. A hose clamp around the mouth piece and handlebar end in the hole will hold it in place. A milk jug is a good size; at it allow room for brakes and shifters. Then with something warm you can finish off the pogies. The milk jugs are not only wind and water proof they are free.

  23. Terry says:

    Just returned from Hangzhou, China, where they say you get frostbiten before recovering from sunstroke. We saw lots of bikes, scooters, electric bikes, bike commuters, and quite a few pogies. I’d never seen or heard of them! Ah-ha! A great gift for a bike commuter in occasional snow who gets Reynaud’s Syndrome–very cold hands indeed! Thanks for your comments in general and on specific products.

  24. Ken says:

    Riding at 0*F isn’t cold. Really, it’s not.
    Riding at -40*F is cold.

    Greetings from Fairbanks, AK.

  25. PR says:

    Riding at -58F with the windchill is cold too. Hi from Calgary, AB [~2000 mi southeast of Ken].

  26. Ward Graham says:

    I introduced Bar Mitts last year at Interbike. They are designed for drop bars.Made of neoprene and work really well.Check us out at http://www.barmitts.com We guarantee it.This fall 2009 we will introduce campy/sram specific and a mountain/commuter version.Hope you enjoy our product

  27. Ken says:

    Ward!

    I met you last year at interbike. I won’t be in Vegas this year, but I’m glad to hear you’re going to do a mtb version. I’ll be in touch.

    Ken, Fairbanks, AK.

  28. Aaron says:

    You guys making comments about looking stupid, or “haven’t you heard about gloves”, etc; you sound more ignorant than you realize. I commute by bike in sub-zero temps and the wind chill is absolutely vicious. I’ve worn all sorts of gloves, and even the big puffy winter lobster gloves don’t work well enough for me. I’m going to get a set of these things soon.

    They won’t look too out of place on me anyway since I’ve already got a ton of lights, insulated helmet cover, balaclava, and ski goggles, while riding with boots on.

    Really, try riding in the Vermont winter sometime. It will change your whole perspective.

  29. Mike Flack says:

    Just an update on our Pogies. The Moose Mitts have been out since last winter 08. Were getting lots of god feedback on them as well.

    We still make them by hand in our shop in Michigan (yes it gets cold in Michigan). The standard version (mountain bike AKA flat bar) are still the most popular.

    Glad to see there are people posting this information for the hard core commuters.

    Also here is a better link than what was posted above

    http://trails-edge.com/retail/moosemitts/moosemitts.htm

    Thanks again
    Mike Flack
    Trail’s Edge Cyclery

  30. baz says:

    really strange bit of equipment, but i would rather strange than be cold

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