arm warmers. quite possibly the next most important cycling clothing item past the essential jersey, bibs, and socks. most arm warmers have a thin fleece lining to help keep the warmth in, and the cold out. there are others that are much thinner to help block out harmful uv rays. there’s even wool arm warmers. with so many options out there, keeping your arms warm never came so easily. out here in san francisco and marin, temperatures can easily fluctuate up to 20*F through the morning, while you’re out on a ride. and nothing is worse than being under dressed for mother nature (hmm, don’t read too far into this one). the best part about arm warmers is that even if you’re wearing them, and the temperature begins to rise, the tight-fitting fabric element is made to wick sweat away from your skin, evaporating it on the surface of the material itself. your arms remain in their optimum temperature range, and you are comfortable – obviously, comfort is a subjective feeling, but you get the idea. it’s the equivalent of having a second skin to help your body breathe. and if there comes a point where the arm warmers need to be stashed away, they fold into a neat pile that can fit in your back pocket. they’re so compact and convenient.
back when I had my track bike, I came across a clothing layering combination that worked perfectly for city riding. a regular (cotton) t-shirt with arm warmers, and a northface venture jacket (gore-tex lined) with the pit vents unzipped. the arm warmers would help retain body heat, wicking the sweat away from my skin, and evaporating it from the internal draft created from the air traveling from the arm holes out towards the pit vents. and the same concept worked on yesterday’s rainy ride. I was wearing my arm warmers (and wind vest) underneath my rain shell, and the arm warmers did a stellar job keeping my arms insulated, dry, and comfortable. I’m particularly fond of voler branded cycling clothing because they’re durable, fit well, and they’re located in california (support your local!). prior to this, I had a couple pairs of capoforma arm warmers, but I found that they faded and stretched out over time. either way, arm warmers are key for layering when it comes to cycling clothing. and they come in a plethora of colors, if matching is your thing.
and not that I condone crashing, but in the unfortunate event that a cyclist goes down, having a bit of insulation around the arms probably wouldn’t be a bad thing. in the end, I just don’t like being unnecessarily cold while riding a bike. it’s as simple as that.