Thursday, September 10, 2009

Review of Smartwool arm warmers

Most people think of arm warmers as a spring and fall accessory. Not so around here. During the third week of July, it was finally warm enough to ride the Alpine Loop in the morning without arm warmers. It lasted two weeks. We’re back to wearing them again. They’re essential at Leadville, and equal needed at Lotoja.

You’d think that if they get so much use, I’d be picky about my arm warmers. But until recently, I was not. I always used the same pair of thermafleece arm warmers. They worked fine. Or at least I thought they did.

Then at Leadville I forgot my arm warmers and had to borrow some from Elden. The loaner pair were the seamless knit variety, which I was skeptical of in the past because I didn’t know how they’d do if it was wet or windy. Leadville was wet and windy, and they did fine. Better than fine, actually. Every bit as warm and no uncomfortable seam. I didn’t want to wear thermafleece arm warmers anymore.

So I asked Zach at Smartwool if he wouldn’t mind hooking me up with a pair of their arm warmers. He sent me arm and knee warmers. Thanks, Zach!

Smartwool_armwarmers

If you’ve owned a pair of Smartwool socks, you know how comfortable they are. Comfortable enough that you don’t want to take them off. Breathable when it’s hot, warm when it’s cold. Everything a sock should be.

Now imagine that feeling on your arms, and that’s how I felt riding the Alpine Loop on Saturday. It rained on the ascent. We went 40+ mph on the descent. I thought for sure when we turned around that since I was wet and the road was wet and we would be going fast that I would get cold on the descent. I didn’t.

When the ride ended, I didn’t want to take them off. So I left them on until about 10:00 when the sun was finally out and warm. The ride was long over, so I wore them with a t-shirt. Try that with lycra-looking arm warmers.

I hesitate to consider arm warmers a cycling accessory, because accessory implies that it’s not needful but just nice to have. If arm warmers are just a “nice to have” thing where you live, then stick with what you’ve got. But if you use them most of the season like I do, these are the only ones you’ll ever want to wear.

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