Cycling arm warmers are designed to be slipped easily on and off the arms so that cyclists can stay comfortable no matter what kind of weather they’re facing. The cyclist who starts out in the morning when it’s cool wears the arm warmers knowing that they’re easy to take off if the day heats up later. Likewise, if the weather changes in the opposite direction, a cyclist wearing a short sleeve jersey can easily slip the warmers on if the air becomes too cool. That’s far from the only benefit of wearing cycle arm warmers, however.
A Cycling Arm Warmer Protects the Skin
Cyclists who plan on spending a lot of time on their bike can suffer from a variety of problems associated with being outdoors. Sunburn and wind burn are two of the most annoying problems, but even things like being hit by bugs can prove to be irritating. While sunscreen can offer somewhat adequate protection from sunlight, wind burn and things like bugs are best protected against by covering as much skin as possible.
Cycle arm warmers help to cover more of the skin. And while someone could simply wear a long sleeved jersey, many people really prefer the comfort and freedom of movement they feel with a short sleeved cycling jersey instead. Using arm warmers with something like a short sleeve jersey still allows for that freedom of movement while protecting the skin against wind, sun and other irritants. For those who prefer to wear a short sleeve jersey, they also offer added protection against heat and cold. They can be purchased in light weight materials like Lycra that will let them stay little bit cooler if they’re wearing the warmers just for skin protection, or they can include materials like fleece and other warmer fabrics for those cold days when warmth is what they’re after.
Cycling Arm Warmers for Comfort
A cyclist who wants to stay warmer and protect his skin but is uncomfortable in anything with long sleeves can easily turn to cycling arm warmers as an alternative. Cycling leg warmers work on the same principle. While some people might prefer cycling tights that go all the way to the ankle, other people are much more comfortable in shorts. When it’s cold, cycling leg warmers can easily be slipped on. Those who preferred the feeling of shorts in any weather but don’t want their legs to get too cold can slip the leg warmers on without feeling restricted in tights.
Buying Arm, Knee and Leg Warmers
All the usual suspects in cycling manufacture these cosy items. And the standard model is to find a really cheap pair, and use them for a while until you realise they are not great in the wet. Then you go and buy a really good pair and find they are excelent both for warmth on morning rides in spring and fall, and they also wick sweat away and repel rain in bad weather.
The names you’d normally associate with cycling, like Pearl Izumi, Sugoi and Louis Garneau make their own versions, as do many of the running brands like Saucony and Asics – runners and triathletes also like to keep their arms warm in cold spells, and have the ability to quickly strip to bare arms if they get too warm!
For the most part, you will find regular plain fare when shopping for arm warmers; you know, black or white or sometimes even red, with the company name on them. But you’ll also be able to find replica pro team versions – you’ll just have to do some shopping around the team websites for them.
Here’s a great video review by Andy at Competitive Cyclist of the Castelli Nanoflex arm, leg and knee warmers. I haven’t tried these out, but his review is seriously compelling:
If I was going to buy myself a new set of warmers now, I think I’d have to give these a try as it’s impossible to escape the rain in the UK! You can also check them out for yourself here.