Happy Pi Day! Yeah, I'm a math nerd at heart.
Despite the bitterly cold temperatures, 30 mph wind gusts, and sideways snow here in the North East, spring is right around the corner. We've sprung the clocks forward and have that extra daylight in evening, just begging us to get off of our trainers and out on the road and trail. Let's go get that fresh air!
Many of us are fully conditioned to the cold weather at this point of the winter, and even a 60 degree day feels pretty darn warm. Unfortunately, as liberating as shorts may feel, our legs can actually take on damage if we ask them to work exposed to the cold temps.
In an effort to keep you riding strong and healthy, I bring you my PSA of:
"If your arms are cold, cover your legs."
Turns out, we have a lower density nerve receptors in our legs compared to our arms, and that's why our arms can feel cold but our legs feel fine.
And I know...it looks "pro" to have a long sleeved jersey with bare legs but it looks like you're a complete "noob" if you have leg warms with a short sleeved jersey.
Bonus tip: Just wear a long sleeved jersey AND leg warmers and you'll be fine.
I've seen it time and time again. As I go our for a ride in these transition seasons, the veteran, accomplished cyclists will almost ALL have their legs covered. On the flip side, the weekend warrior is out there with bare legs. I've seen it as far as ear covers and bare legs, or even winter shoe covers and bare legs!
Another example that is forever etched in my memory was an early season training race. It's a Tuesday night, probably right around 60 degrees, and we're all rolling around with bare legs and a jacket warming-up. In rolls this legit pro with a jacket a leg warmers on. "Surely this guy must be soft." Nope. He was just smart. He proceeded to lay down the smack on us all and for many seasons to follow. I would imagine the philosophy of really taking care of his body and not making things harder than they need to be was a pillar of all of his training.
Below is my post from last fall as well as a link to a great podcast. If you're not sold on protecting your body, check it out!
One of my goals as a coach and lover of all things bike, is to help make sure people can ride bikes for as long as they live. It's a great sport for longevity, but there are some precautionary measures that need to be considered to keep us all rolling.
A joint in our bodies that potentially takes a toll from riding a bike is our knees. There are steps we can take to help keep our knees healthy and functioning well starting with a proper bike fit and avoiding large increases in volume and/or intensity.
But protection from the environment is important as well.
As the temps drop, we also need to consider protecting our knees. Not only our knees, but all of the hard working muscles in our legs.
I've long been a proponent of keeping knees and legs covered, but this podcast from Fasttalk really gets into the "why" and how damaging that pushing our muscles and joints in the cold can be.
Cold, Bare Legs Make You Dumb, Not Tough
The title is perhaps a bit harsh, but really drives the point home.
Although it looks "cool" to wear a long sleeved jersey and shorts, it's just not a good idea. And I fully agree that just knee or leg warmers with a short sleeved jersey is not particularly stylish. In that case, just cover your arms and legs.
If it will be warming up during the course of your ride, you can always stop and take the warmers off and stash them in your pocket.
My own personal rule is 65 degrees or below, my knees and legs are covered.
Do what makes you feel good, but keep in mind the words of Coach Connor that if you're overdressed you're maybe uncomfortable, but if you're underdressed, you're doing damage. Who wants to do damage?
So get yourself a set of leg warmers and maybe some knee warmers and keep your legs happy.
What's your take on covering your legs? Post a comment or question below.
Ride on and enjoy these great early Fall days!
Coach B.L. is the head coach at BJL Coaching and an avid racer and cycling enthusiast himself.