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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 09-29-08, 11:44 AM   #1
smessvader
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Arm warmers -- worth it?

This is my first fall/winter cycling, and I'm trying to stock up on cold-weather gear now -- I have knee warmers, a pair of tights, some fleece-lined trackpants, long-sleeved shirts, a few fleeces, a convertible rain jacket/vest, a polypro headband, and shoe covers. The main things I still don't have are arm warmers and a balaclava; I'm pretty set on getting the balaclava, but are arm warmers worth it? At this point in the year, if it's cold, I put on a long-sleeve shirt, and if it's getting hot, I roll them back. What do you think -- are they more handy than I realize? Any other tips on cold-weather riding? Thanks!
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Old 09-29-08, 11:47 AM   #2
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I love mine but Colorado's temps are a tad schizophrenic at best. Wool is a good thing to have.
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Old 09-29-08, 11:55 AM   #3
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Balaclava is highly advised. You will need this when it gets really cold and a skull cap is not enough. You might also consider a pair of clear or light colored lens, ski goggles. As the winter get going, threads will pop-up regarding fogging. I found that a pair of ski-goggles was the best for when it got really cold.

Personally, I never bothered with arm warmers. (I ride through the Cleveland winter).
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Old 09-29-08, 11:56 AM   #4
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Yes.
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Old 09-29-08, 11:59 AM   #5
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We had our first cool mornings this past week. One morning I did fine and wore arm and leg warmers - it was about 51 degrees. The next day I wore a LS base layer and almost roasted to death when the temps rose to almost 60 degrees by the time I got in. I'm all about flexibility in layering.
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Old 09-29-08, 12:22 PM   #6
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Yes, Spring and Fall of the year especially, The difference in temps can be 30 degrees from morning to afternoon commute. They are so easy to peel off or roll down. I wear them in the morning with a SS shirt. I also use them frequently on long road rides to start out, they are really easy to stow in a jersey pocket they're cheap too.

Balaclava, for sure if you are going to ride in the real cold.
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Old 09-29-08, 12:34 PM   #7
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I think that arm warmers are too bulky to carry when not in use, move around too much when they are on for me to be comfortable with, and only have limited use.

I prefer a polyester shell bicycle jacket. It balls up smaller and lighter than arm warmers (easily fits in jersey pocket), is more comfortable, and is much more versatile. Leave it unzipped, and it warms and cuts the wind along your arms. Zip it up if it gets colder or starts raining. If it is a size too big, you can wear more layers underneath for when it drops below freezing.

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Old 09-29-08, 12:41 PM   #8
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Bulky? Mine fold up to where they fit in one jersey pocket with room to spare.
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Old 09-29-08, 01:05 PM   #9
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Arm warmers are cheap enough to be worth trying. I really like mine. And they are easy to push down to your wrist without stopping if it gets too warm on the ride. A bit tricker to pull back up without stopping but can be done.
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Old 09-29-08, 01:16 PM   #10
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This is the time of year (in Denver area) that arm warmers are the bee's knees --and again in the Spring. Cool in the morning, warm in the afternoon. I'll wear them on the way in, and go without on the way home. And I keep them (as well as leg warmers) in my commuting backpack all the time, just in case --it is Colorado, after all....

You will need a balaclava. Once December rolls around it's cold enough in the AM that it's worth it.
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Old 09-29-08, 01:37 PM   #11
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I <heart> my arm warmers.
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Old 09-29-08, 01:38 PM   #12
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I made my own cheap crappo arm warmers... and i love em. 2 things that are nice about them... 1) they put the heat were i need it, my core tends to overheat and my extremeties (arms included) tend to be cold. 2) Once you warm up, you may decide you don't need them.... you can strip them off without stopping and of course the opposite holds true.

I recommend them.
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Old 09-29-08, 02:13 PM   #13
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Plus you can roll them down and up easily while riding.
Now if I could figure out how to put on and take off leg warmers while riding...
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Old 09-29-08, 02:17 PM   #14
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I'd get armwarmers before a balaclava. I know it gets cold in DC, but I really only need to cover my face when it gets into the low teens. A hat and scarf usually works till then
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Old 09-29-08, 02:56 PM   #15
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Yes. I never take my arm warmers off, and I never stuff them in a jersey pocket (bulging jersey pockets are SO not attractive). I just leave them scrunched around my wrists. Besides, I'm so fickle about temperture, I tend to pull them back up whenever I hit a patch of shade anyway.
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Old 09-29-08, 02:56 PM   #16
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Yes, they are worth it. Fall/winter/spring. For those days when it's cool in the morning, warm in the afternoon and you just don't need a full jacket. Also good for cold days when you want extremities warmer than your core. Not bulky at all.
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Old 09-29-08, 03:01 PM   #17
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I use arm warmers a LOT more than knee/leg warmers. They're especially useful if you start out in cool temps (48-60 degrees F), but expect it to warm up later on. Unlike jackets, they can easily be shed while you're riding and stuffed in your rear pocket.
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Old 09-29-08, 03:13 PM   #18
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I stopped using mine once I got my first nice winter jersey. Constricting elastic bands bug the crap out of me. The fewer, the better.
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Old 09-29-08, 03:37 PM   #19
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Get the arm warmers, you wont regret it.

I bought both sets of 'DeFeet' arm and knee warmers several years ago and they're great. I live down here in Florida and sometimes it gets cold no matter what people think. The warmers can also be rolled up the size of a 'maxi-pad', so I dont want to hear any crying about them being too bulky.
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Old 09-29-08, 03:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizzylou View Post
Yes. I never take my arm warmers off, and I never stuff them in a jersey pocket (bulging jersey pockets are SO not attractive)...
\

Try shoving them down the front of your shorts.
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Old 09-29-08, 03:47 PM   #21
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I just don't like how they fit me. I've tried getting used to mine, but always end up fidgeting with them too much to bother. And I DO find them bulky in my jersey, considering that they take up that much room and only cover my arms. A shell jacket, or even better a shell jacket with zip-off sleeves that becomes a vest, is much more versatile.

Having said that, a pair of mine saved me a lot of discomfort one Fall day. It was 75 F when I left the office for a group ride, and a cold front came through. It was below 50 F, with a steady headwind on the last hour of that ride. I wore them a few more times after that, but got tired of them. Too much bother for how much I get out of them.
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Old 09-29-08, 05:00 PM   #22
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yes
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Old 09-29-08, 05:07 PM   #23
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I haven't bothered with a balaclava. A skull cap and taping the helmet vents work for me.

I don't have arm warmers. I use either a long sleeve base layer or add a jacket with removable sleeves or pit zips depending on the weather.
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Old 09-29-08, 05:34 PM   #24
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For winter, I don't see arm warmers as being very useful. For spring and fall, they rock. Today, for instance, it was about 55F when I rode in to work -- not too cold but a little too chilly for a short sleve jersey. Right now it's 91. I won't be wanting a long sleve jersey on the way home.
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Old 09-29-08, 05:39 PM   #25
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Yep. Around here you could easily have a 35-40 degree temperature difference between the ride to work and the ride home in the afternoon.
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