I generally feel the cold, but get me working hard on the hills and I easily overheat. What that means in practice is that I start out fully kitted up to keep my legs warm (by wearing long leggings under my shorts) but then part way through the ride, I feel too overheated and there’s not a thing I can do about it. The alternative scenario is that I harden up and head out in my long shorts and then spend the whole ride with cold knees.
Occasionally, I’ve resorted to wearing a pair of knee length socks (not a good look), knowing that I can at least roll them down if I warm up – but to be honest they have never been, ideal especially in wet/muddy conditions, and they don’t protect my knees (where I feel the cold most).
I figured it was just one of those modern day problems (ie. a minor issue in the grand scheme of things) and something which I could do little about.
Then one day, I went mountain biking with somebody new and she started pulling on a pair of knee warmers before we set out. It turned out that she had the exact same problems as me and had resolved it by having the versatility of something that she could easily put on/take off depending on how her temperature regulation was feeling – and this amazing little bit of kit was so small and light that it didn’t take up much space in her rucksack.
Until that day, I’d always thought of knee warmers as something road cyclists wore, but for some reason just not appropriate for mountain biking (don’t ask, I’ve not figured that one out either). However, as soon as we chatted about them it made perfect sense and I immediately invested in a pair.
They were like a dream come true!
Fleece lined and covering my leg from where my liner shorts ended to just below my calf (obviously if you’re taller than than my 5’2″ height, they’ll come up shorter on you), they kept my knees toasty warm without the overheating I get from wearing full length leggings. The other thing that I loved about them is that as a technical piece of kit, they performed better in wet/muddy conditions than a pair of normal socks.
I had initially wondered whether they would end up falling down around my ankles as I cycled – but the silicone gripper elastic at each end held them in place perfectly. My only gripe is that the first time I wore them, I was left with some red marks around my thigh for a couple of days from the silicone gripper but to be fair, that was the only time it happened.
Before I’d considered knee warmers, my other option had been to look for some 3/4 short liners, so at just £14.99 they not only worked beautifully and gave me more versatility (easy to take off), but they also saved me money.
Product Tested: Endura Thermalite Knee Warmer (size: S/M)