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Canari Veloce Pro Arm Warmer

Canari Veloce Pro Arm Warmer for spring and fall

Canari Veloce Pro Arm Warmer

Arm warmers are an inexpensive bit of clothing that can add a great of comfort to your cool weather rides. I live just a stones throw from the eastern shore of Lake Michigan (one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world) and in the spring and early summer the temperature near the lake is often 10 to 20 degrees lower that just a few miles inland. I usually leave home with arm warmers on and take them off just a few miles down the road—then a couple hours later on my way home I have to put them back on. The Canari Veloce Pro Arm Warmer is a very useful product that you need to add to your cycling kit.

The Canari Veloce Pro Arm Warmer is made of 84% polyester and 16% spandex and uses single-panel construction to eliminate seams. An elastic arm gripper keeps this warmer in place—I have a few other arm warmers that slip down my arms as I ride. This not a thermal arm warmer, nor is it windproof (like the Gore Bike Wear Windstopper Arm Warmer). The Canari Veloce Pro Arm Warmer is great for those days when it is not cold enough for a long sleeve jersey, but not warm enough to wear just a short sleeve jersey. These arm warmers are unisex in design—based upon sizing for men (women should order one size smaller than usual). You will also find these arm warmers are a bit longer than most other brands and you will appreciate this on cool days!

My favorite feature of these arm warmers is the color selection (Black, Killer Yellow, and Solar Orange). Black arm warmers are fine for off-road use, but I prefer hi-vis colors while on the road. The Killer Yellow not only matches my hi-vis yellow jerseys, they also make it a lot easier for motorists to see me signal for a turn.

I don’t own a lot of Canari Cyclewear clothing—mainly because none of the bike shops in my area stock their products. However, every piece of Canari clothing I do own is of very high quality. Canari also makes my favorite great lightweight cycling shell.

The Canari Veloce Pro Arm Warmer appears to be in limited supply, so you need to order them while you can. They have a retail price of around $30, but I noticed that both Sierra Trading Post and R.E.I. have them on sale for about half price.

 

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Pearl Izumi Attack Knicker For Cool Weather Cycling

Pearl Izumi Attack Knicker for cool weather biking

Pearl Izumi Attack Knicker

On those days when it is too cold to wear cycling shorts and too warm for cycling tights a pair of Pearl Izumi Attack Knickers might just be the best thing to wear. Knickers extend down to mid-calf and keep your knees warm in cool weather. You might be tempted to just “tough it out” in cool weather, but you really ought to keep your knees covered until it warms up. As Hughes and Kehlenbach explain in Distance Cycling, “The knee has poor circulation. If your knees get cold, blood won’t reach them and they may become injured. You can avoid this by wearing knee or leg warmers until temperatures exceed 60° F.” There is one other alternative to knee warmers or knickers, i.e., a warming cream like the DZ Nuts InHeat Embrocation Cream.

The Pearl Izumi Attack Knicker is extremely comfortable and the Select Transfer fabric quickly wicks moisture away from your skin. The chamois on this knicker is also very comfortable, even on very long rides. There are also several reflective elements for low-light visibility. The silicone leg grippers on these knickers keep the pant legs from sliding up as you ride.

If you wear knickers on a sunny day you should probably put some suntan lotion on your legs. Last week I wore these knickers for a century ride (100 miles) on sunny 56 degree day and when I got home I had the weirdest sunburn—from mid-calf to my sock line I was bright red. By the way, even on a century ride the chamois did not develop any “hot spots.”

The Pearl Izumi Men’s Attack Knicker is available in five sizes (S, M, L, XL, XXL) and retails for $85. I purchased two pair of these knickers from Amazon.com for $61 a pair.

 

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Performance Toesties Toe Covers For Cyclists

If you want to keep your toes warm while cycling on a chilly morning you need to buy a pair of toe covers. While there are many good toe covers for cycling shoes on the market, the Performance Toesties covers are probably the least expensive. Sadly, they are also an example of getting what you pay for.

Performance Toesties Toe Covers For Cyclists

Performance Toesties Toe Covers

Performance Toesties are made of neoprene fabric and are both windproof and waterproof. These covers fit over the end of your cycling shoes, even if you are wearing cleats, and actually do a decent job of blocking the wind and keeping your toes warm. Because the covers are thin you can easily put them in your jersey pocket when you don’t need them. I’ve used them with both Look Keo and Shimano SPD cleats.

Performance Toesties Toe Covers For Cyclists

Performance Toesties lack any form of reinforcement on the bottom

The major downside of Performance Toesties is that there is no reinforcement on the bottom of the covers. If you walk very much at all in these covers the neoprene will start to shred. Not only that, but every time you clip in you will probably do a bit of damage to the covers—it doesn’t take long for them to wear out completely. I look at these covers as being disposable after a dozen or so rides.

Performance Toasties retail for $15 and are available at Performance Bicycle (both online and in their brick and mortar stores). The covers are available in four sizes: S (6.5-8.5), M (8.5-10), L (10-11.5), and XL (11.5+). I have found these covers run a bit on the small size, so you might want to order one size larger than your shoe size.

In my opinion the best toe covers on the market are the Planet Bike Dasher Toe Covers. These covers are a bit more expensive, but I think you will get a lot more use out of them.

 

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The North Face TNF Apex Gloves

If you ride your bike the rain you really need to buy a pair of The North Face TNF Apex Gloves. While these gloves are not cycling-specific, they will do what very few cycling gloves can, i.e., keep your hands warm and dry in the pouring rain.

The North Face TNF Apex Gloves

The North Face TNF Apex Gloves

The North Face TNF Apex Gloves are the best gloves I’ve ever owned for riding in the rain. They are highly water-resistant, breathable and windproof. The first time I rode with these glove the temperature was around 45 degrees (Fahrenheit) and the rain didn’t let up during the entire three-hour ride. I was simply amazed at how comfortable my hands were during the ride—they were warm, but they never got wet and there was no moisture build-up in the gloves when I got home.

The shell for this glove is made of TNF™ Apex ClimateBlock with DWR (durable water-repellent). The interior lining is brushed tricot. The palm has silicone grippers that are fantastic for allowing you to grip the handlebars even in a heavy downpour—I don’t know of any cycling glove that has as good a grip in the rain.

Since The North Face TNF Apex Gloves are not specifically made for cyclists they do have three slight problems. First, you will not find a strip of terry cloth on the thumb to wipe off your sweat. More importantly, they do not have any padding in the palms. However, even after several hours in the saddle with these gloves my hands did not go numb. In addition, they lack any reflective piping like you would normally see on winter cycling gloves.

These gloves are available in four sizes (S, M, L, XL) and The North Face has a sizing chart available on their Website (see link above). The gloves seem to be true to size, but I would suggest you get them in one size larger than you normally wear just to allow a little more air to circulate around your fingers.

You will probably not find The North Face TNF Apex Gloves at any bike shop, but they are available at most sporting good stores, like Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and REI. These gloves retail for around $40, but you can buy them from online merchants like Amazon.com for around $28.

 

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Planet Bike Comet Shoe Covers For Winter Cycling

You don’t have to hang up your bike when cold weather comes if you wear the right jacket, gloves and footwear. Several companies offer excellent shoe covers for cyclists, but the one I would recommend for temperatures from 25 to 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) is the Planet Bike Comet Shoe Cover.

Planet Bike Comet Shoe Covers

Planet Bike Comet Full Neoprene Shoe Covers

Planet Bike Comet Shoe Covers are made of neoprene and offer great wind and water resistance. Neoprene is the same material used in wetsuits and not only is it waterproof, but it offers excellent insulation. I’ve spent several hours riding with these shoe covers in both snow and rain and not a drop of water has soaked through this material.

These covers will fit almost any cleat/pedal platform you can throw at it. I’ve used these covers on my MTB shoes with Crank Brothers Egg Beater cleats and on my road shoes with Look Keo cleats. The bottom of these covers is made of a very rugged material, so you don’t have to worry if you run into a convenience store while out on a long ride. In the winter my MTB shoes have toe spikes and there is enough room between the toe box retention strap and the front of the shoe cover for these toe spikes to fit in easily.

As I said earlier, I like these shoe covers for temperatures between 25 and 40 degrees. However, your comfort level might vary—not only because of personal comfort zones, but because cycling shoes have a great deal of variation in the amount of ventilation they provide. While riding with the Planet Bike Comet Shoe Covers the one place my feet did get cool was on my sole because there is no insulation there (this is true of every brand of shoe cover you find). The best way to overcome this is to replace your regular insoles with 3M Thinsulate Thermal Insoles (available at most sporting goods stores).

The back of these covers is secured with a wide Velcro strip which not only makes the covers adjustable for different sizes, but if your feet get too warm you can open up the top a bit to let some air in. These covers also have reflective side logos for better visibility to motorists.

Planet Bike offers these shoe covers in five different sizes. The small cover will fit a man’s size 6.5 shoe (40 European) and the XXL will fit a man’s 11.5+ shoe (46+ European). Planet Bike has a size chart available on their Website if you are not sure what size you need. I have found the listed sizes to be accurate, but if you are on the border between two sizes go for the larger one (tight clothing in the winter is a very bad idea). I wear size 11.5 cycling shoes and these covers fit perfectly and have a bit of room to spare. Nearly every other brand of shoe cover I have ever purchased was too small to fit my feet (the Bike Nashbar brand shoe covers run about two sizes smaller than advertised).

These shoe covers come with a limited lifetime warranty against defects in material or workmanship (see the Planet Bike Website for complete details). The warranty does not cover normal wear and tear, but they are very well made and I think you should get many years of use out of them.

Planet Bike Comet Shoe Covers retail for around $40, but you can save a few dollars by purchasing them online. If you are riding in temperatures above 40 degrees I would recommend the Planet Bike Dasher Toe Covers (my all-time favorite toe cover). For temperatures below 30 degrees I would recommend the Planet Bike Blitzen Windproof Shoe Covers.

 

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Planet Bike Aquilo Windproof Spring-Fall Cycling Gloves

If your goal is to find one cycling glove that will work in any weather condition you are out of luck. It has been my experience all cycling gloves are meant to function within a fairly narrow temperature range or within a specific weather condition. The Planet Bike Aquilo Windproof Cycling Glove is no exception, and I think the ideal market for this glove would be a commuter riding on windy days when the temperature is between 40 to 55 degrees (Fahrenheit).

Planet Bike Aquilo Windproof Spring-Fall Cycling Gloves

Planet Bike Aquilo Windproof Cycling Gloves

The Planet Bike Aquilo cycling glove is very comfortable and the gel padding on the palm works extremely well at reducing road vibration. The outer shell is made of a windproof four-way stretch material and the fingertips are reinforced. There is a bit of reflective piping on the back of the glove that should help motorists see your hands when you are signaling for a turn (you do use hand signals don’t you?). Since fall and winter bike rides often lead to riding in the dark, I wish all fall and winter gloves had a lot of reflective piping.

These gloves also have a soft fabric (80% cotton, 20% polyester) that runs along the index finger and thumb area that you can use to wipe away sweat or to wipe your nose (if you chose not to use the air hanky). Fortunately, these gloves are also machine washable.

The Planet Bike Aquilo cycling glove has a similar comfortable temperature range to that of the Planet Bike Orion glove, but the Aquilo is meant to protect your hands on windy days. If you are unaccustomed to riding on windy days this might not seem like a big deal, but to those of us who live around Chicago (AKA, the Windy City), this is very important. A bike ride on a 50 degree day with high winds can just about make your hands go numb!

I am not really sure why, but the Aquilo glove has a lobster claw, i.e., both your little finger and ring finger are in the same opening. Normally, lobster claw designed gloves are meant for extremely low temperatures, but this glove is not since it has no insulation. The lobster claw on this glove is not necessarily a bad thing, but it was not exactly needed either.

The sizing on the Aquilo gloves seems to run about one size smaller than advertised. The Aquilo glove does not have a liner, so if you buy a glove liner somewhere else you can wear it under this glove and extend the comfortable temperature range down to at least 35 degrees.

Sometimes people confuse windproof with waterproof, and hopefully you know that these two features are not the same. Planet Bike does not claim these gloves are waterproof (very few gloves are). I got caught in a heavy rain about 20 miles from home while I was testing the Aquilo glove and the results were not pretty. The gloves remained dry for the first 30 minutes, but the last 30 minutes of the ride the gloves were soaked all the way through. However, I set them on the glove dryer I keep in my man cave and the next morning they were are good as new.

A pair of Planet Bike Aquilo cycling gloves retails for around $35. If your local bike shop does not carry this glove you can order it from the Planet Bike Website or from online retailers like Amazon.com.

 

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Louis Garneau Neo Protect Cycling Shoe Cover

The Louis Garneau Neo Protect Cycling Shoe Cover allows you to wear your summer cycling shoes in temperatures well below freezing. Cleat openings on the bottom of the cover make it compatible with most pedal systems used in both road and MTB shoes (I’ve used these covers with Look Keo, Shimano SPD and Crank Brothers Egg Beater cleats).

Louis Garneau Neo Protect Cycling Shoe Cover

Louis Garneau Neo Protect Cycling Shoe Cover

I used these covers on at least 20 rides last year that were longer than three hours each and they kept my feet warm down to around 20 degrees. I need to mention that this protection was provided with the aid of some nice wool cycling socks and Grabber Toe Warmers Heating Packs (these disposable warmers cost about a dollar a pair and are available on Amazon.com and at most sporting goods stores).

Garneau’s Website claims this cover “protects your feet from the wet and extremely cold temperatures,” and this mostly true. You should not have any trouble wearing these covers in snow or light rain, but they are not waterproof—your feet will get wet in a heavy rain. These covers also give great protection from the wind.

This shoe cover is made from 3-mm neoprene and closes in the back with a thick strip of Velcro. There are several shoe covers on the market that close with a zipper and I have not had much success with any of them. The reflective logos on this shoe cover add some visibility, but because of their position on the top of the cover I don’t think this is much of a selling point.

The Louis Garneau Neo Protect Cycling Shoe Cover is available in four sizes: Small (39-41), Medium (41.5-43), Large (43.5-45), XL (45.5-50). The sizing on these covers is good, but I would recommend you buy a size larger than you normally wear so you can get them on easier. This product retails for $20 and is certainly worth the price.

 

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