I’ve had a rubbish winter of cycling. My fingers and toes have been wincing at the temperatures. Actually, wincing is massive understatement; I have Raynaud’s Disease and it’s been really bad this year – so bad that I’ve not been able to cycle at all since October and consequently I’ve lost loads of fitness from the hard work I did last summer and I’ve been like a bear with a sore head recently because of it.

Yesterday, the temperature in Notts hit a lovely warm-feeling 11 degrees; the sun was shining and I’d been to a really positive meeting about my cycling club and Go-Ride. I came back buzzing and my hubby had an afternoon off work so we thought we’d venture out together and enjoy the Spring like weather. I layered up in preparation.

All wrapped up

11 degrees and Spring! Yet, because of Raynaud’s Disease, I was dressed for Winter

I don’t have any super duper gloves – someone has recommended some amazing sounding ones but they cost Β£100 and I just don’t have that to spare on a pair of gloves right now – so I wore my Thinsulate woolly winter gloves, two pieces of Buff head wear – one around my neck and over my mouth and one for my head, under my helmet. I can totally recommend these by the way – great for wearing in a whole host of ways and they have some fabulous Tour de France ones available now, which I love! On top I placed a winter cycling jacket with a cosy base layer and my lovely warm Le Col bib tights and topped it all off with some over shoes. 11 degrees outside? I looked ready for crossing the Arctic!

Buff Headwear
Buff ‘Le Tour France’ Headwear – these are pretty cool, right? And great at keeping your head and neck warm. Check out the video on their site for some pretty nifty ways to wear a Buff!

What’s all the fuss about?

For those that have never heard of Raynaud’s Disease it’s a circulatory condition that affects the blood supply to the extremities; in me, it tends to affect the fingers and toes mainly. Regular readers will be aware that I’ve had a lot of lower back surgery in the past and I have some nerve damage to one leg, so perhaps that is why one foot tends to be affected worse than the other. But the fingers on my right hand have been agony this last winter. During an attack (which can affect both hands and often does but my right hand is worse) they become white and dead looking, then blue, then red and burning as the blood supply comes back. I can’t describe the pain to you. Suffice to say it makes me feel sick and it has actually made me cry this year! As a freelance writer, not being able to type because of numbness or pain is not good, I can tell you!

So, back to the ride…we did a quick 20 miles before school pick-up. My body was sweating within a couple of miles but about ten minutes in and the toes on my left foot had lost all feeling and my finger tips on both hands were starting to go. By the end of the ride, both feet were completely numb in all toes and I couldn’t feel six of my ten fingers. It’s official! I hate Raynaud’s!

A little tipple

But I love my bike! So, today, fed up with a GP who I feel isn’t really being very helpful (time for a new one I think), I ventured to the health food shop. I’ve bought some maximum strength Aloe Vera juice – not from the health food shop in the end as I managed to pick it up at a far cheaper price at the local ‘sells everything’ shop’! I’ve no idea if it will work. But I am willing to try anything. I’ve heard it works wonders on all sorts of ailments…and I have a skin condition too, so finger’s crossed (yes, I can cross my fingers… when I can feel them! Ha!) it will be beneficial for both things. Honestly, it can’t hurt can it? Raynaud’s Disease is making me so miserable, and I’m sure my fellow club riders think I’m just making excuses not to go out, but honestly, this condition is soooo painful. It’s Spring! 11 degrees and I still feel like I can’t ride my bike. πŸ™

So watch this space….all I can report so far is that it tastes foul!!




12 Comments on Raynaud’s Disease in Spring!

  1. Sorry to hear you have that. That sounds quite tough on cold days. Hopefully the weather will get a little warmer. I know a woman who has Raynaud’s disease. I know she uses very specific gloves but I am not sure what else she does. She regularly goes to Norway in the wintertime, which must get pretty cold so I will ask her what other measures she takes, in case there are any other tips. Hope the aloe vera juice is working.
    Maria David recently posted…10 soundbites from…. Dani KingMy Profile

    • Please do let me know, Maria. Any advice is greatly appreciated, although I am hoping the weather will get warmer very soon now – it would definitely be good to be prepared for the next Autumn and Winter!

  2. I don’t have Raynaud’s, but am perpetually cold, and the best solution I found for cycling to work all winter long was thin merino glove liners inside Bar Mitts — there are a number of different companies out there making similar products — but the idea is that they are a little sleeve thing that fastens to your bars (easy to take on and off) and because your fingers are all together in it, your body heat keeps the inside of the sleeve warm — I found this to keep my hands MUCH warmer than thick insulated motorcycle gloves…

    • Hi Jessica, thin merino glove liners sound brilliant! I’ve not tried them or bar mitts – I was worried about changing gear with bar mitts on a road bike so never really looked into them. Perhaps I should! Thanks so much for the tips πŸ™‚

      • I was worried about changing gears as well, but it turned out to be fine — the only problem with them was I couldn’t use my bell! πŸ™‚

  3. Sorry to hear about your troubles, i have the same issues and even in summer i need a thin full finger glove as wind chill can set my hands off, up around Dovedale at the weekend it was 18-19 degress and when i tried fingerless mitts my hands were white .
    With gloves i have found that silk or motorbike glove liners work a treat .On my feet i gave up with winter boots ( curse of wide feet ) and found a thin thermal sock, sandwhich bag over that , shoes , toe covers with an overshoe over that worked pretty well.Mid winter i have even used ski gloves for commutes but obviously they are bulky.Poggies are brilliant if you really suffer with your hands .

  4. Hi

    Nice blog – I share your pain! I have tried cycling through the winter and it’s a bit of a nightmare as I also have Rayanuds. I usually wear 3 pairs of gloves and even have heated gloves from Blazewear. So glad it is now Spring and I can get off the Watt Bke and back on the road.

    I just started my own bog last week, one amateur post so far…..


    • It’s a horrible thing isn’t it Felix! It really impacts on your ability to get outside and enjoy the outdoors in the colder months. I’m also really pleased to see the arrival of Spring!

      Good luck with your blog!

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