chamois cream. believe it or not, there was a time not too long ago where I would’ve been perfectly okay with riding 30+ miles in denim on a bike with 1 gear, no brakes, and a saddle designed in the 1980’s. I even rode down to santa cruz with cutoffs, chrome milo slip on shoes (man, I miss those…), mks fit alpha single straps, and a hed3 front wheel on my pista concept…ah, those were the days. after dying denim on every single piece of underwear I had, I think I came to the conclusion that there were better options out there. enter the realm of modern day road cycling. with a advent of the synthetic chamois, cycling shorts evolved into something that could actually be worn for long periods of time in relative comfort. and since padding was also introduced to the chamois for increased comfort, road saddles became less padded and more ergonomic. but there was still a missing element.
while you can increase your comfort on the bike with a modern saddle and a pair of good bibs by 10,000% (rough estimate), chaffing your crotch raw is still somewhat of an issue. this is where chamois cream comes into the picture. I’m a bit ashamed to say that the first cream I ever bought was from competitive cyclist – did you know they got bought out by backcountry.com (yea I know, read the acquisition for yourself)? it was a container of the ‘infamous’ assos chamois cream. I only say that because assos claims they were the first to create a mass produced synthetic chamois, so it would only be fitting that the cream they designed to go along with it would be equally as ground breaking. honestly, I don’t think I could distinguish awesome chamois cream from something cheaper or less thick, not back then at least. the bottom line was, anything was better than nothing, seriously. I bought the next set of creams through the bike shop, and so begun my exploration of all things creamy.
chamois cream is all about reducing friction, increasing comfort, and preventing saddle sores. I’ve been slowly perfecting my application technique in the mornings. I mean, it’s not the most difficult thing in the world, you’re basically spreading a thick lotion over your chamois. but when the sun isn’t even up yet, and you’ve woken up from a weird default chime on your cell phone after hitting snooze on it 5 minutes prior, it’s not the easiest thing in the world, either. I’m decent at it now. when you’re sitting on a small anatomic seat for a couple hours a day, comfort matters. tom boonen wore a hole in his skin ‘down there’, and had to quit the 2011 vuelta (read the delicate issue on inrng). it’s a big deal. and with so many options out there, riders can pick and choose what they want to be sitting on – everything from their saddle, chamois brand, and now chamois cream. more expensive isn’t necessarily better. like many things bike related, personal preference comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. I’ve asked cat1/2 heroes connor and travis for their opinions regarding the various creams they carry at the shop, and thus far, I’ve been riding slick in the pants. the only downfall is how much I seem to put on – I really need to start spreading it on like there’s no tomorrow. level up, so to speak.
embrace the spin and protect your crotch from excessive friction. cream it.
Tags: why I love