Sun Sleeves: The Cyclist’s Unsung Hero in Summer

by | Aug 13, 2021 | Gear

As anyone who rides with Peter has probably noticed, we really like white sunsleeves over at Consummate Athlete HQ, and last week when I was speaking with heat + exercise researcher Chris Minson, he casually mentioned that as a cyclist, he really likes sunsleeves in summer for skin protection and—in some cases—heat dissipation. I was so excited, since obviously, we’ve been talking up the value of sunsleeves for ages! Minson says he wears them on most rides and thinks they’re super useful, especially when you know you’re out for a while with no way to reapply sunscreen.

Now, Minson did admit that when it hits critically hot temps, unless you can constantly soak the sunsleeves with a squirt of water to help with cooling, bare skin will be cooler-feeling. But in terms of sun protection, when you’re on the bike for long hours, it’s hard to beat sunsleeves. (I do love the tip about squirting water on them, though!)

Bonus: They also help avoid cyclist tan lines, which I know some people love/rock with pride, but personally, as a runner/cyclist, I end up with such a mess of tan lines that I prefer to skip the whole thing entirely.

READ MOREReminder to Wear Your Sunscreen

You can get cycling-specific ones, or you can grab them super cheap right here on Amazon (Canadians: this set is $22 for 6 pairs!)

We’ve done both: Cycling-specific ones can be nice, but since they do get dirty/bloody/lost, the cheap option is pretty excellent as well. And most that are one-size will fit cyclist arms, unless you have particularly thin arms, in which case you may want to look for children’s size options.

If you do have ‘slide down’ issues in ride, I’ve occasionally just used a safety pin to pin them into the arm of a jersey and avoided any issues. But since so many jerseys are made with a bit of a rubberized grip on the inside of the sleeves now, I find that’s usually enough to keep them in place.

And of course, most people who ride with me know that in most conditions—until temps hit 85+ F—I’m usually just wearing a long sleeve jersey!

READ MORE: Review-Machines for Freedom Long Sleeve Palmera Jersey and Endurance Bib Shorts

When it comes to care, they’re definitely washer/dryer-friendly. With our white sunsleeves, we also bleach them fairly regularly, especially since someone (ahem, Peter) manages to get mud and blood on them with distressing regularity.

Want more ideas about our favorite gear? Check out our book, Becoming A Consummate Athlete, right here:


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