Everything you ever wanted to know about chamois cream, but were afraid to ask. Every woman cyclist should use chamois cream when they ride to stay healthy and comfortable on the bike. Chamois Cream 101 tells you more about it and how to use it.
Chamois Cream 101*
*Everything you wanted to know
about chamois cream but were
afraid to ask
So what exactly IS chamois
cream and why do I need it?
OK guys…this is where you might want to step off the bus. It’s not that we don’t love
you. It’s not that you won’t benefit from the information. There’s just going to be a good
amount of girl talk, and we know how much you love that kind of stuff. Sooooo…continue
reading at your own risk!
Chamois [sham-ee]: noun
A soft, pliable leather from any of
various skins dressed with oil
Back in the good ol’ days, the chamois pads in cycling shorts were
made with leather. You know, the buttery-soft variety used in making
car cleaning products.
But we all know what happens to that chamois after you dry your car off and it
dries out…it gets as hard as a board and as scratchy as sandpaper.
Would you want to perch your privates on that thing and ride into the hills for a
couple of hours?
That’s EXACTLY what cyclists “back in the day” discovered. Once the chamois
got wet from sweat and washings, it would dry out, making it unbearable to ride
on. By rubbing a moisturizing “chamois cream” into the leather, the chamois
would stay soft and supple…and the riders would stay comfortable and happy
on their bikes.
Fun fact: Before the leather chamois, long-distance riders would place a slab
of raw meat in their bike shorts to help relieve pressure!
Thankfully, the modern chamois is no longer made of leather (nor of raw meat,
for that matter!). Most are made from high-density foam and covered with a
plush fabric that stays soft without rubbing any sort of cream into it.
Yep, you apply it straight to your
…or whatever you prefer to call it.
Now that you are sold on chamois cream,
you are probably wondering, “How much
do I use?”
How much to apply is a really personal choice based on length of ride,
cream ingredients, skin type, moisture level, and feel.
We recommend starting with a quarter-sized application and adjusting
Longer rides might warrant applying a bit more…
(Helpful hint: some riders like to reapply chamois cream during rest stops on longer rides. You can fill a small
plastic jar (like a medicine bottle or cosmetic jar) with chamois cream and reapply as needed)
…same goes if you sweat a lot.
…Or if you will be riding in the rain.
“I should have
But don’t overthink this part. Just grab a little dollop, smear it on your
girly bits, and get on your bike. Within a few rides, you’ll get your ideal
“dollop size” figured out.
Hey, I’m a
Right about now, somebody always asks,
“But can’t I just use petroleum jelly?
Seems like it would work pretty well…”
Or at least we don’t recommend it. (We also don’t recommend bathing cats, but
that’s the subject of another discussion.)
Petroleum jelly is derived from…you guessed it…petroleum. The fossil
fuel variety. It’s considered a by-product of the oil refining process. Yep,
the same stuff that goes in your car. Ewww!
Petroleum jelly can actually suffocate your pores. It can also “seal in”
any dirt or bacteria on your skin since it puts up a barrier between your
skin and the air. Not good.
Also not good: petroleum jelly can stain or discolor your clothing and
bicycle saddle. It can also break down the foam in your chamois,
reducing its lifespan. Hey, bike shorts aren’t cheap. Don’t ruin them
doing something as silly as using petroleum jelly in place of chamois
(Note that petroleum jelly is also called “petrolatum” and is used in many skin-care products,
even some chamois creams. Be sure to read your ingredients!)
For many cyclists, just the mere thought of heading out on a ride without
applying chamois cream is the equivalent of riding with a piece of
sandpaper in their shorts.
Sounds like more fun than a barrel of monkeys, right? Not!
Once you start using chamois cream and realize how much more comfortable you
are on your bike, it’s hard to ride without it.
Remember…nothing takes the joy out of your ride faster than sore nether regions.
Keep smiling…ride further…do the right thing…use chamois cream!
PS…Spread the word. Friends don’t let friends ride without chamois cream!
Guess who FINALLY