Richard the Lionheart

Arm Warmers

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Training and competing in the winter months in South Africa is perhaps not nearly as harsh as countries that lie further from the equator and thus have much colder winters, but it still gets very cold here, specially in the early mornings or evening when most of us do our training. Thus you need to dress warmly when you hit the road or trails – especially if you’re going to be moving fast. Whether you’re a runner or a rider, the wind chill factor can come into play, where exposed skin is cooled rapidly by the wind passing over it, causing the body to lose heat. The faster the wind, the more heat lost, and the more heat lost, the less efficiently your body works, since it will divert energy to the skin instead of your muscles, in an effort to warm you up again.

For that reason, dressing warmly and covering exposed surfaces is important when training in cold temperatures, at least initially, before you warm up properly, which is why arm warmers are such a great product. Aimed more at cyclists than runners, because a rider’s arms are more immobile and less likely to warm up, and also endure faster wind and a higher wind chill factor, these slip-on sleeves can easily be put on early in a ride and then removed and tucked into a pocket or a waistband once you are warmer. However, even runners can benefit from arm warmers, especially for early morning starts in races when we tend to wear sleeveless running club vests. Here are a few arm warmers we found for you to look out for in sotres and online, and we’ve also thrown in one or two sleeves to consider for the coming summer months, as they are designed to protect your arms from harmful UV rays.

Nalini Manicotti Ventimiglia & Manticotti Pippo Arm Warmers
Nalini has been manufacturing quality Italian cycling sportswear for over 30 years, and several professional cycling teams riding in the Tour de France wear their products. These high-quality thermal insulation warmers have a fleece inner and seamless design for superb warmth and comfort.
R290 – available through Tifosi Cycling Agency, call 011 326 6449 to find your nearest stockist.

CAPESTORM UV Arms
With a UV protection factor rating of 50, these arms will protect you from the harsh summer sun while the wicking fabric helps keep you cool on those long training rides. There are two designs available, plain white and a slightly more expensive but eye-catching white with blue or green print near the wrists.
R195 and R235 at CAPESTORM stores, or call 021 761 2021for more info.

First Ascent Thermal Arm Warmers
A snug-fitting thermal fleece spandex design with gripper elastic to prevent the warmer from shifting while riding or running. Also features a reflective logo as well as three strategically positioned reflective dots to improve your visibility in darker conditions. Available in a variety of sizes.
R199 at First Ascent stockists, or call 021 787 9380 for more info.

First Ascent Sun-Off Arm Protector
Tired of coming home with a typical ‘cyclist tan?’ Then preserve your skin – and social standing – with these arm protectors. Made from a densely knitted elastane fabric that provides a UV sun protection factor of 50-plus, this porous nylon/spandex combination still allows natural breathability and moisture management on hot days. Gripper elastic bands at each end then prevent slipping.
R199 at First Ascent stockists, or call 021 787 9380 for more info.

Primal Wear Thermal Arm Warmers
The American Primal Wear company makes these warmers from Gavia thermal micro-fibre, which provides not only warmth but also factor 50 UV protection, and Influx Gripper seams ensure a snug, comfortable, non-slip fit. The Team Eleven model has a more conservative style, whereas the Tattoo model’s distinctive look will really make you stand out from the crowd!
R349 at www.buycycle.co.za as well as selected cycling stores – see www.tura.co.za for a full listing, or call 083 230 8573.

Salomon XT II Sleeve
Lycra is designed to provide a snug, warming fit but still offer great flexibility and movement – up to 600% stretch – so these arm wamers will fit any arm. The actLITE properties of the material wick moister away from the skin to make sure you don’t get damp and cold on your winter ride or run, and the wamers also provide factor 50 UV protection.
R369 at Salomon Concept Stores, or call 031 313 1400 for more info.

Continental Team Cycling Arm Warmers
A Swiss-made arm-warmer imported by the online cycling retailer Buycycle for the South African market, these well made arm warmers feature silicone top grippers to keep them securely in place, and the stitched orange panels of the forearm provide superb visibility in all light conditions.
R215 at www.buycycle.co.za, or call them on 086 199 0001.

Note: Prices listed are only recommended retail prices supplied by the various manufacturers or importers, and thus may differ from one stockist to the next.

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