By Ed Pavelka
We’re not going to debate butt balms! Lots of roadies have their favorite and won’t ride before a liberal application. What matters is what works for you. The all-star list includes Bag Balm, Udderly Smooth, A&D Ointment, Noxzema, Vaseline, Assos Chamois Creme and corn starch.
Of course, lots of roadies ride dry, too. Fred and I did for years. Then in the mid ’90s we tried a new product called Chamois BUTT’r. It rather instantly became a pre-ride staple. We found that rubbing a quarter-size dollop into crotch skin (then wiping fingers on the shorts liner) reduced the risk of abrasion and irritation. It lubricated and soothed. Ahhh!
How could guys who average 8,500 and 13,000 miles a year not love a product like that?
We’ve tried most of the crotch creams mentioned above, too. We like Chamois BUTT’r better because it’s not greasy. It washes completely off skin and shorts. It won’t clog pores or impregnate liner fabric.
But for the same reason, Chamois BUTT’r is not the ideal choice for wet-weather rides. It doesn’t hold up against excessive moisture.
You can easily offset this in rainy or humid conditions by packing a tube or handy 1/3-ounce packet for in-ride applications. I often use the packets, which cost $4 for 6, for “freshening up” during brevets and other long rides.
Or, if a wet ride is at hand, you can switch to a heavier lube that isn’t so soluble, such as Vaseline, A&D or Bag Balm. These do a better job of stopping moisture from softening your skin and increasing the risk of abrasion.
(Quick aside: One cycling dermatologist we know recommends Vaseline when you’re touring and unable to clean your shorts every day. He says you can safely wear the same unwashed pair for a week if you slather petroleum jelly onto the liner each day.)
For you chemists, Chamois BUTT’r contains several ingredients you’llprobably know but we can’t pronounce. For the rest of us, it has things like mineral oil, aloe, lanolin and vitamins E, A and D. This formula is also effective on any chafed or irritated skin — any place that could use light, soothing, non-greasy relief.