Several years ago, on my first century ride, my IronMan friend who rode with me asked me, about 3 hours in, if my butt was bothering me. I was so surprised she knew! Did she have super-human abilities? Apparently, my constant shifting and squirming on the seat made it obvious that I was trying desperately to find some rear-end comfort.
If you’ve ever spent a lengthy period of time on a road bike, you might notice a gradual butt numbing phenomena, resulting in extraordinary soreness and possible chafing in your rear-end and thereabouts. Alas, the first blog post of my Higher Gear product testing is to provide some relief and to bring attention to the great elephant in the room, the unspeakable topic most cyclists experience and avoid discussing over coffee, post ride. My friends, it’s time to talk about Chamois cream.
Chamois cream is a lubricant that helps reduce chafing and soreness from friction caused by cycling shorts and your seat. There’s a lot of moisture and friction going on down there, and it can get uncomfortable. You can apply it to your affected body parts and to the chamois as well. The viscousness varies for each brand, so you need to watch out for oozing onto the seat if you apply too much. There are a variety of creams with cheeky names that help reduce chafing, rashes, and irritation. After all, if you’re going to sit on your bum for hours, you might as well take preventative measures, so you don’t lose it, whimpering and crying on the road.
I tried three brands: Enzo’s ButtonHole, Chamois Butt’r, and Assos. In case you’re thinking, this is some kind of scam to keep me from using Vaseline or Bag Balm, fear not! If you use petroleum jelly and it helps, stick with it. However, chamois creams are designed to provide relief to chafing specific to cycling, and there are many delightful amusingly named products to try. I suggest trying several or asking for samples, using them on rides, and deciding what works best for you. It truly is a personal choice.
The Chamois Butt’r felt more like a lotion, was odorless, and absorbed quickly. I could see using Chamois Butt’r for chafing under running clothes and on my legs while running because it was not as dense as the other products. Assos was thick and a bit oily. It left some residue on the inside of my shorts that the others did not, but I preferred the consistency. Finally, while the name creeped me out, I liked Enzo’s ButtonHole best. It was thick and pasty, and I slathered it on. Once into my ride, it didn’t feel greasy or slippery. It also smelled of menthol and felt cool, not sticky. Do I want to say it was almost minty fresh on my tush? Yes, I do.
All three products worked effectively. If you ride on a regular basis, and you ride hard, I highly recommend trying them out!