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Old 10-03-06, 06:58 PM   #1
agarose2000
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Leg warmers versus normal clothes?

I noticed that the bike stores always sell these fancy-looking leg warmers and arm warmers for the cooler weather. They're also remarkably pricey, and cost more than full pants and shirt sets.

Does anybody find these to be really that effective? Especially versus regular clothes, which are a heck of a lot cheaper? What's the benefit?
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Old 10-03-06, 07:07 PM   #2
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easy to take off after you warm up I guess. They are kinda silly really.
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Old 10-03-06, 07:12 PM   #3
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I like them. They are warm and yet they breathe well. The thing I like most about cycling clothing is that it is usually well designed for breathability and moisture wicking yet it moves well with you as you ride instead of getting in the way. Plus with arm and leg warmers you can quickly pull them off if you get too warm and they don't take up much space in a jersey pocket.

In the colder winter months I usually wear my bib shorts, a short sleeve jersey, arm and leg warmers and a windbreaker vest along with full finger gloves and wool socks. This is for those cold early morning commutes between December and February when it is in the low 40s in the early morning hours (yeah, that's about as cold as it gets here in San Diego).

BTW-I've started wearing the arm warmers in the morning but for the ride home in the afternoon I'm still wearing bib shorts and a short sleeve jersey.

Last edited by SDRider; 10-03-06 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 10-03-06, 07:16 PM   #4
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Horribly expensive? I got my leg warmers for maybe $18 and my arm warmers for $15. But then again I always buy ahead (buy for next season at the end of the previous one) when things are on clearance.

But overall they rock for me personally. Arm warmers can easily be taken off while riding. Leg warmers not so much but they are still easy to take off.

-D
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Old 10-03-06, 07:16 PM   #5
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If you start on a cool fall morning they make perfect sense. Last sunday it warmed over 20* over the course of about 30 miles. Being able to peel off warmers and stuff 'em in my jersey pocket was the solution. I would have roasted the last half of my ride in tights & LS jersey and frozen the first half (instead of mildly uncomfortable the first 5 miles).
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Old 10-03-06, 07:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agarose2000
I noticed that the bike stores always sell these fancy-looking leg warmers and arm warmers for the cooler weather. They're also remarkably pricey, and cost more than full pants and shirt sets.

Does anybody find these to be really that effective? Especially versus regular clothes, which are a heck of a lot cheaper? What's the benefit?
If by "full pants and shirt sets" you mean cycling specific clothing, then you're shopping in the wrong bike shop. You should be able to pick up basic arm/leg warmers for $15 - $30 a set. That's a hell of a lot cheaper than a set of cycling tights and a long-sleeve jersey.

As for why they're better, that depends on weather conditions. Their biggest advantage is versatility. If your ride starts early, when it's nice and cold, but warms up later on you're going to be overheating halfway into your ride if you dress in tights and a long-sleeve jersey. With leg & arm warmers you can simply shed them. If you're a halfway decent bike-handler you can even shed them without stopping. This is useful for longer group rides with infrequent stops.

That said, they're probably of limited utility for a lot of commuters. (Though I do use them. Oftentimes, during spring or fall commutes, it'll be cold enough to need them in the morning, but not for the ride home.). If you live somewhere where a winter commute is cold in the morning and evening you're probably better off with tights and a long-sleeve jersey, 'cause you're not going to be needing to shed the leg/arm warmers halfway through your ride.

Here in SoCal, my clothing for my coldest rides consists of a base layer under my jersey, some lightweight long-fingered gloves, leg warmers, arm warmers, and a vest. A *cold* morning in SoCal is somewhere between 40 F. and freezing. On those days I'll also throw on some toe-covers and a headband to cover my ears.

Frequently, during what passes for "winter" around here I'll start out early in the morning wearing all the above mentioned clothes and be stripped down to shorts & jersey within an hour or two. The vest, and leg/arm warmers are rolled up and stuffed in a jersey pocket.

*That's* the advantage of leg/arm warmers.
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Old 10-03-06, 07:26 PM   #7
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I picked up arm and leg warmers from performancebike for a relatively modest cost (something like $22 for the legs and $25 for the arms). That seemed reasonable enough, and like SDRider noted, you can use them with existing shorts and jerseys. Good for layering too.... and they truly take up very little space in your bag when not in use. (or stuff them in a pocket)
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Old 10-03-06, 07:40 PM   #8
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I took some old cotton tube socks (worn through the feet from fencing in them) and cut off the feet. Voila! Instant arm warmers!

When I get too warm, I roll them up and stick them down the front of my shorts...kidding!
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Old 10-03-06, 07:47 PM   #9
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Old women's tights make great arm warmers. Leg warmers, hmmm, know anyone who knits?
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Old 10-03-06, 08:03 PM   #10
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what about when temps get to around 0? tights and leg warmers?
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Old 10-03-06, 08:26 PM   #11
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Cool. I didn't know that the leg/arm warmers could be stuffed up so well into a pocket - I had assumed they would need to be packed like a shirt.

I guess the last question is how often do you have to wash these things? I'm hoping that since you're supposed to strip'em off before you start sweating, you don't have to buy multiple sets unless you're a real clean freak.
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Old 10-03-06, 08:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agarose2000
Cool. I didn't know that the leg/arm warmers could be stuffed up so well into a pocket - I had assumed they would need to be packed like a shirt.

I guess the last question is how often do you have to wash these things? I'm hoping that since you're supposed to strip'em off before you start sweating, you don't have to buy multiple sets unless you're a real clean freak.

I only have one set. When it is medium (take them off as I warm up) I rarely keep them on until I sweat.

-D
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Old 10-03-06, 08:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adiankur
what about when temps get to around 0? tights and leg warmers?
Tights and lightweight Capilene. Actually the tights I bought are damn warm even without anything else.

-D
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Old 10-03-06, 09:01 PM   #14
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I use arm/leg warmers in fall and spring. I use them on days when its cool in the morning, and nice on the way home. Lets me have sleeves in the am, and short sleeves in pm.

Also they take up minimal room so I dont have to carry 2/shirts for the trip, just a short sleeve and arm warmers.
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Old 10-03-06, 09:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agarose2000
I noticed that the bike stores always sell these fancy-looking leg warmers and arm warmers for the cooler weather. They're also remarkably pricey, and cost more than full pants and shirt sets.

Does anybody find these to be really that effective? Especially versus regular clothes, which are a heck of a lot cheaper? What's the benefit?
The benefit is when you have a cold morning ride...but a warm evening ride. However, I find that a thin tight with bike short underneath serves the same purpose and they're easier to swap out before and after work.

I don't know about you, but the less loose stuff to carry, the better!
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Old 10-03-06, 09:19 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by donnamb
Old women's tights make great arm warmers. Leg warmers, hmmm, know anyone who knits?
Leave granny's thights. She might need 'em Just take a pair long sport socks with worn out toes, and cut 'em off. Save $20 bucks and if you don't like 'em chuck 'em
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Old 10-03-06, 09:20 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDRider
This is for those cold early morning commutes between December and February when it is in the low 40s in the early morning hours (yeah, that's about as cold as it gets here in San Diego).
Yes, I was going to say "cold winter months - in San Diego?"
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Old 10-03-06, 09:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adiankur
what about when temps get to around 0? tights and leg warmers?
Farenheit or Celcius? I've done both.

I have a relatively short commute, 5 miles each way, so I realize my requirements are a little looser than some peoples'. I wear very little cycling specific clothing. I have platform pedals so I can wear normal shoes, or boots in winter. In any temp under 60 F, I wear long pants of some sort, usually the casual work slacks I'll be wearing in the office that day. Above that, I don't need leg warmers, and below that, the slacks are enough, unless it's down in the 0C to 0F (or below) range.

Probably because I wear boots in the winter, I don't find a need for leg warmers; the long pants and ankle-high boots are enough. If it's below about 10F, I'll wear thicker socks or two pairs to keep my feet warm.

Actually, I've thought about leg warmers, not to keep my legs warm, but to protect my long pants from grease stains! In milder weather I roll up my cuff on the right, but in colder weather I'll have to either tuck them under my sock, which doesn't always reach up far enough, or go totally dorky and rubber-band a rag to the inside of my right calf, which I started doing last winter!
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Old 10-03-06, 10:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBrooking
Yes, I was going to say "cold winter months - in San Diego?"
Believe it or not, I've set out in the morning and seen temps in the high 30s here on rare occasion. BTW-I'm originally from upstate NY. At least I can ride year round here.

Oh, and my commute is just under 10 fairly hilly miles one way.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:09 AM   #20
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I made some leg warmers by cutting the legs of some really old MEC poly long johns I had at the back of a drawer. I put them on with the top tucked under my bike shorts for cooler mornings (the shorts keep them from falling down since there's no elastic at the top). I usually put them on if it's below about 8C when I leave in the morning. It was a cheap solution using the materials I had on hand. They pack up really tiny so I can leave them in my bag in the afternoon. Eventually I'll buy/make some proper tights when the weather gets colder.
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Old 10-04-06, 11:38 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDRider
BTW-I'm originally from upstate NY. At least I can ride year round here.
Where? I grew up in Massena, up north of Watertown on the Canadian border. (We call ourselves Northern New York, as opposed to mere "Upstate", which in NYC means anything north of Manhattan! )
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Old 10-04-06, 11:53 AM   #22
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Arm warmers are probably my favorite piece of cycling clothing. Very comfy and very functional. Plus you get mad street, errr, OCP cred. No, really, I <3 my arm warmers! Knee/leg warmers are also great.
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Old 10-04-06, 12:46 PM   #23
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I can't wait until it gets cold enough to wear leg warmers. I've never worn them before, but I've been watching "The L Word" on DVD lately, and I've fallen completely in love with Jennifer Beals and want to be just like her.
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Old 10-04-06, 12:54 PM   #24
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Stupid question here, but has to be asked - how many of you take off your shoes if you're stripping off your leg warmers? (Seems kind of inconvenient, to say the least)
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Old 10-04-06, 01:00 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agarose2000
Does anybody find these to be really that effective? Especially versus regular clothes...
Regular clothes? I wear regular clothes at home and work. On the bike I wear bike clothes.
Arm warmers are life savers. No need for a L/S jersey until it gets REALLY cold. Same with knee warmers and leg warmers.
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