Creams, Balms, Etc.

14 Dec 2011  |  Posted by GARETH  |  Categories: Curiosities, Stories

It could all have been avoided with a judicious slathering of chamois cream.

We’re only too painfully aware of the care needed to be taken with that most ample point of contact between rider and machine. The “naughty bits”, as it were.  And normally the use of a Brooks saddle is of course a sure-fire way to prevent nether-regional discomfort.

But when cycling in extreme weather conditions, or over extremely long distances, many people find it wise to take a step further than our Imperial line, and employ an additional precaution against what Mr. Brooks tactfully described a century ago as “perineal pressure”.

Chamois creams and other preparations which supposedly carry out a “chamois-cream-like function” have been snapped up hungrily by bikers since shortly after the first bicycles went into production. And of course, this was also a fairly universal quest for earlier generations too; anybody who spent an inordinate amount of time on horseback tended to be on the lookout for any relevant new treatments hitting the market as well.

Now, as then, when it comes to useful cycling-related stuff, we at Boultbee Towers cast a wide net. Often, this results in catches not necessarily cycling-specific. But no need to throw them back, when perhaps in no other area of cycling is there such recourse to products initially designed with other purposes in mind, not to mention the repurposing of their naming.

The above images of D’z Nutz and Crotchguard have been added thanks to the alert contributions from the comments section- Ed.

At any rate, nowadays, a rider looking to go the extra mile in pressure prevention can choose from among other remedies, the Pun-tastic, the Alp-Evoking, or the I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-A-Chamois-Cream. We take a look at a few today. Rest assured that anyone who uses a bike regularly will be delighted to find any of the following tubs or tubes nestling at the bottom (no pun intended) of their Christmas Stocking later this month.

Say howdy to Chamois Butt’r. For many years on the other side of the Pond, this has been the go-to paste for happy cyclists keen on staying that way. And in case the wordplay isn’t spelt out clearly enough for everyone, the Butt’r's “B” has been helpfully rendered on the tube by a commercial artist in the form of a cyclist’s rear-end.

In America, they also sell a “European-style” version of the Butt’r, which differs from the domestic one by being minty. Plans are now afoot for a new U.S. Edition of Proofide. Details to follow. (Hint- “Fruits-of-the-Forest”)

Of course, any self-respecting (and universally respected) cycling brand with a name like Assos could be justifiably charged with colossal dereliction of duty were they not to enter the perineal ointment fray. And so it is that everybody’s favourite Swiss purveyor of cycling stuff has its own cream, or, beg pardon, creme.  And a very fine (many say the finest) creme it is, too.

A cream inspired by such a landscape can only be good. Photo by Ben Ingham for Rapha.

Lavender… Juniper… Patchouli… the stunning vista of Mont Ventoux, the poetry-inducing aromas of the roadside flora… it can only be Rapha weighing in with their take on how to avoid squirming in the hotseat. With ingredients like Shea Butter and Rosemary, the buyer might easily be tempted to slather this stuff on a baked potato, but we have been assured that this is certainly not one of Rapha Chamois Cream’s recommended “off-label” uses.

Around the 1890′s, not terribly long after John Brooks’ horse died, causing him to borrow a neighbour’s bike and thereby setting in motion the chain of events which leads us to this morning’s post, dairy farmers’ wives all across America were becoming increasingly (and pleasantly) surprised at the strange, new-found softness of their husbands’ normally rough, be-callused hands.

The answer lay here. Bag Balm quickly developed from mere agricultural lubricant to veritable Panacea for the Ages, its many “off-label” uses still widely documented all over the Information Superhighway. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Balm moonlights as chamois cream.

There has been no shortage down the years of other companies getting in on the act of selling cows-teat-ointment and thence diversifying into the chamois cream game on the back of their earlier success. Some of them even bring wordplay to the table. Exhibit A. Udderly, um… never mind.

The timeline is maybe getting a little stretched, but it is none the less true to say that not long after the American Housewife was discovering Bag Balm, the German Hausfrau was becoming acquainted with Ballistol. Developed before the First World War as an all-round cleaning and lubricating material, Ballistol was a mineral-based, biodegradable fluid primarily used to oil guns, and to weatherproof leather. Like a continental Proofide, really, which incidentally also goes down rather well on Christmas morning…

Ballistol is still available nowadays in various states to pour or spray, and generally held to be wunderbar in German-speaking parts of the world, for all sorts of non-munitional purposes. And while it cannot be specifically sold as a “medicine”, Ballistol’s makers suavely point to its disinfectant, and widely remarked-upon wound healing qualities when the question arises of applying it to a chamois or skin.

We’ll leave you in this spirit of multi-purposing with a final pair of non-typical approaches to cycling soreness and Yuletide present-giving; for the Carnivores (see bottom of article) and also for any readers with offspring still in their nappies.

More gift ideas to follow…

 

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3 Comments

  1. PdxRunner 
    Posted 4:52 am
    15 Dec 2011

    The best thing for not getting saddle sores, or after you do is Crotchguard, seriously! http://www.crotchguard.com/ by Dermatect.
    There is nothing else quite like it out there. “Our name-sake product was designed to relieve skin irritations resulting from the harmful effects of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Dermatect Skin Care Oil was specifically formulated to soothe skin burn and redness, while hydrating dry chapped skin.”

  2. BREGAN 
    Posted 7:10 am
    15 Dec 2011

    If only we had known!

  3. Harry 
    Posted 7:07 pm
    15 Dec 2011

    I’ve used several different chamois creams and found that DZ Nutzs works the best. No great balls of fire and no sores on long rides. It’s made from natural ingredients as well and isn’t all greasy like some big name creams are like. The force behind this brand is U.S. vegan cyclist, Dave Zabriskie. Their logo is a saddle (ha!) and you have to love their catch phrase “Protect Your Junk!” They have a women’s version as well as an embrocation cream and shave cream for the legs (supposedly just the legs). Great stuff, fun product name, & good people behind it. Give it a try.