September is a difficult month for the road cyclist. Summer is on the wane and we all have to wrestle with that perennial dilemma when we feel that first chill of Autumn - do I wear bib shorts or bib tights, short sleeve or long?
Some of our number are in denial. Glancing around my club members before a ride last weekend, some had rolled up as if dressed for a sweltering July day, clasping their arms around them to fend off the cold before we departed. Others had skipped Autumn completely and were happily ensconced in deepest winter - long sleeve jackets, rainwear and bib tights to the fore.
As we wove our way past fallen leaves and water filled potholes, under threat from darkening clouds, we were constantly reminded that Autumn is the season when one has to be prepared for inclement and ever-changing weather conditions.
Gore Bike Wear, a company with an enviable reputation built on their development of innovative fabrics for all seasons, offer a whole host of accessories that can help make our journey into Autumn a far more comfortable one. Their unisex arm and knee warmers are both items that allow you to extend the use of bib shorts and short sleeve jerseys when the temperatures begin to fall.
Both are made of 92% polyester and 8% elastane and feature Gores's Windstopper fabric membrane, which has the combined benefit of keeping you warm and dry, yet allowing your arms and legs to breathe.
The arm warmers come in black, but the black and white version, in my opinion, is a little more stylish and accentuates both the flat-lock seaming around the elbows and the elastic sleeve cuff. The knee warmers only come in black, which is very limited. There is definitely scope to extend the colour range so that both the arm and knee warmers complement the palette spectrum of Gores extensive bike wear collection. It's a minor quibble and I guess black and black/white are going to work with the wardrobes of all but the most sartorially challenged road cyclist.
Both the arm and knee warmers have excellent reflective logos visible from the front and back - essential for cycling when the days are shorter and potentially a little dimmer and what I found really useful was the addition of an 'L' and an 'R' on the respective sleeves to ensure you never put them on the wrong way round!
I wore the arm and knee warmers on a day when the temperature was fluctuating around the mid-teens; there was a dampness in the air throughout, with occasional fizzy rain. Both garments performed exceptionally well, keeping me warm in the chill of the morning and during stoppages, keeping the moisture and wind chill at bay and, most importantly, not impairing movement in my arms and knees. The seams are strong, unobtrusive and well positioned, so no chaffing or rubbingGores's unisex soft shell arm warmers in white/black and black (centre) and the black knee warmers.
They are certainly not the cheapest of their kind on the market, but quality comes at a price and when you buy a Gore garment you have the assurance that you are purchasing a product that has not only been designed to provide optimum performance, but is also is manufactured using high quality, innovative components.
Pair these for with a gilet or vest and you'll be more than ready to tackle all that Autumn can throw at you. Your thermals will be held in their Summer hibernation for a little longer and will thank you all the more for it!
Unisex Arm warmers: £39.99 Sizes: XS, S, M, L and XL Colours: black and black/white
Knee warmers: £44.99 Sizes: XS, S, M, L and XL Colours: Black only
More details on these products and Gore Bike Wear's extensive range can be found on their website.
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