Today’s QT springs forth from an email I received last week from RBR product reviewer Paul Smith, who, like me, lives in the “heat and humidity belt” of the South (me in Georgia, he next door in North Carolina).
Paul wrote to complain about what a sweaty and stinky mess his riding gear was becoming this summer, which has been among the hottest I can recall in my 30 years living here.
Just for kicks, I looked up the high temperatures here in Atlanta this summer. In June we had 18 days with highs of at least 90 degrees (32C). In July, 27 days. In August, 26. That’s 71 out of 92 days that were, simply, blazing hot. And the kicker is that our overnight low temperatures in the summer rarely dip below the low 70s (around 22C). Which means it never really cools off, even on morning rides.
Extreme heat is bad enough. But when you add in the ever-present high humidity we live with, it makes for a veritable sweat-fest throughout the summer. When you’re literally dripping and sometimes nearly pouring sweat during a ride, you come home with soaked gear that can get really funky and nasty if you don’t stay on the top of the problem.
Which was the issue Paul was writing me about. Namely, he wondered if maybe we could ask readers for tips about how to deal with helmet padding and how to clean off bar tape.
READERS: Any tips to share on cleaning dirty bar tape? Share your secrets in the Comments below the Newsletter version of this article, or use the Contact Us form.
I’ve Used Stuffitts Products for Years
I immediately wrote Paul back and told him I had a solution for his helmet – and for his shoes – that would keep them smelling fresh ride after sweaty ride: Stuffitts (click to read my product review).
I’ve used Stuffitts since first discovering the products in 2012. They are cedar-chip-filled inserts for your shoes, helmet and gloves that both suck out the moisture and leave them smelling fresh (with the faint odor of cedar when the Stuffitts are new; later that odor fades, but your gear still doesn’t smell funky).
I use both the shoe inserts and the helmet insert. After every ride, I simply pop in the shoe inserts and store my shoes in the closet. And I do the same with the helmet insert.
Extra tip for helmets: I’ve found that by carefully folding over my helmet straps so that they are in contact with the Stuffitts insert, the moisture gets (mostly) sucked out of the straps, too. Instead of the nasty white sweat stains I used to have, my straps stay black and clean like the padding inside the helmet.
I’ve never used the glove liners, because I have always thrown my gloves into the washing machine along with my jerseys, shorts and headbands. I know some riders are very particular about how they wash and dry their kits, but I’ve never had any laundering-related issues, so I’ll continue to take the easy way out and launder them. (My wife and I do segregate and wash our workout gear together, often doubling up on the soap “pods” to ensure they get de-funked.)
But for my shoes and helmet, neither of which can be easily cleaned otherwise, I’m sticking with Stuffitts. Here’s a link to their store: Amazon.com: Stuffitts.