Question: Is it better to wear leg warmers on a cool day or coat my legs with some type of oil or embrocation? -- Keith L.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: I'm a fan of warmers. I think fabric does a better job of holding in heat. There's a mess factor, too. Greasy stuff on legs invariably collects road grime and gets on your bike and clothing.
That said, an embrocation is useful in racing when you don't want to risk overheating or the slight extra wind resistance of warmers. Racers coat legs in rain because fabric can collect water and get heavy. Once soaked, warmers can feel colder than coated legs.
On winter rides, I've used balms before, in comibnation with warmers. I rub it on my knees, then cover them with tights or leg warmers. The balm has a light, non-greasy feel. It makes my knees comfortably warm, not hot.