Arm-warmers are just arm-warmers, right? A couple of feet of overpriced material with a logo on it? Maybe, but they can also be the first step onto the road to cycling specific financial ruin.
When starting out cycling, it takes quite a leap of imagination to see a time when you might consider spending £30 on a set of arm-warmers. ‘Who the hell needs arm-warmers’ you think, ‘if I want arms, I’ll buy them already attached to my jersey thank you very much’.
But once you’ve spent long hours in the saddle pedaling through the seasons, the times of day, and the longitudes and latitudes, the weather becomes more than just wet or dry, windy or still, or hot or cold. Over time, you may find yourself developing an appreciation for your surroundings on a par with an over-excited Bear Grylls.
Not convinced by the need for arm-warmers? Here’s an example:
Imagine you head out for a four hour ride at 8am on a summer’s day. When you leave the house there is a chill in the air, so you wear your summer kit – a short sleeved jersey – with arm warmers. By 10am the sun has burned off the cloud and starts to warm the skin. Not only are you starting to overheat a little, this is now an excellent opportunity to get to work on your cyclist’s tan, and so you swiftly remove the arm warmers (while pedaling, no-handed if possible), and voila…they have become the ultimate piece of practical kit, a snip at £30.
If you had gone out wearing a long sleeved jersey to ward of the early morning chill, you either become boil-in-the-bag for the rest of your ride, or you are forced to press on with jersey pockets bulging with the clothing you’ve just removed (which cramps the style somewhat!)
Once you’ve accepted that you need arm-warmers in your life, you’ve opened the door to a whole new world of accessories. How far you go from here is up to you.
Knee-warmers are obvious, doing the same job for your knees as arm-warmers do for your arms. Overshoes? Essential kit for cold and wet conditions, but what about Belgian booties? These are simply a traditional knitted version of the overshoe, for days when you just need that extra bit of feet protection…but no more. Great for displaying your love of cycling heritage, but practical?
And the list goes on; helmet covers? kidney warmers?…not for me, but each to their own.
Of course, you can get by perfectly well with standard issue cycling kit and to hell with all these frills and fripperies. If that’s what you choose to do, good for you. Me? I like to cherry pick. As it stands, I have no desire to get into buying toe warmers, for example…
…but then again, I said that about arm-warmers.