Of course you can douse yourself with sunscreen, reapplying as often as practical, but that's also problematic, especially when sweating in hot, humid environments. Or you can wear long sleeves if the weather's cool enough. Yet, it's the summer months when the weather is hotter and the sun is higher in the sky that you need more protection.
So what can you do to protect yourself from sun exposure and stay cool?
Stay cool with sleeves
Enter De Soto's revolutionary Arm Coolers. Much like arm warmers that most cyclists don in the winter, these fabric sleeves are designed to keep you cooler than warmer. The cooling effect is based on evaporative cooling, the premise behind sweating. De Soto's Arm Coolers are constructed from a special moisture-radiating material that offers a more effective cooling effect than traditional sweating.
I've tried the Arm Coolers in all sorts of warm and hot weather conditions on rides lasting six hours or more and found them to be incredibly comfortable and cool.
Even in extreme conditions, such as a four-hour ride in Phoenix this past July, where the temperature was 110 F by ride's end, I found the arm coolers an incredible benefit. Many of the local Phoenix cyclists were amazed I could be wearing long sleeves under such extreme conditions.
While there's no question it's going to be extremely hot anytime the thermometer goes over 100, I can attest that I certainly don't feel any warmer with my Arm Coolers. I'd argue quite the contrary since bare skin tends to get even warmer once exposed to hot, sunny conditions.
Say good-bye to the farmer's tan
Not only do my arms stay cool wearing Arm Coolers, but I get the added and more important benefit of reduced exposure to the sun. While De Soto doesn't have an SPF rating yet for his arm coolers, there's no question they're more effective than sunscreen.
No matter how much sunscreen I apply to my arms, it's impossible for me to not get any color on rides that last several hours. Regardless of what sunscreen you apply, it wears off when you're training hard and sweating profusely. You're inevitably going to end up with the classic "farmer's tan."
Last Saturday, I rode 114 miles, most of it in direct sunlight, and when I got home you would have never guessed I was out exercising in the sun for more than six hours. Remember, there's a big difference between hanging out at the beach wearing sunscreen and exercising hard at your anaerobic threshold for several hours.
As added protection, and because I've just had skin cancers surgically removed from my arm and shoulder, I also apply a little sunscreen to my arms underneath the arm coolers. And I never apply again. Other cyclists I know, who now also wear arm coolers, don't even bother with the sunscreen and claim they get very little or no sun exposure.
So for those of you who are conflicted on whether to look for indoor alternatives, rather than spend hours training in the sun, Arm Coolers may well be the answer you've been seeking. Not only will they keep you cool, but your skin will thank you for the protection.
For more information on De Soto's Arm Coolers, call 800-453-6673 or visit http://www.desotosport.com/products/accessories.asp.