Monday, 30 May 2011

Ride Plus Chamois Salve Review

Chafe is a bit of a cyclist taboo. It's like talking to men about menstruation, as soon as the topic rears it's head everyone has a sharp intake of breath whilst grimacing and the subject changes very quickly.

I got handed two tubs of freebies whilst on the way to registration at the Jurassic Sportive. The tubs were identical in size and shape. In one tub was a deep heat muscle rub and in the other tub was a 'chamois salve'.. or for the less articulate amongst us, chafe cream. I was too scared to try either of these on the day just in case a freak accident or mislabelling catastrophe caused any sort of mix up with the two products leaving me with either a very well lubricated neck and shoulder area or.. well.. I'll leave that to your imagination.

Once I'd had time to sit down and carefully analyse both pots I was ready to give the salve a road test. I took it with me to the Alps and gave it a try on our 'big bike day'. I didn't really know what to expect. The texture of the salve is like a firm-ish hair wax and I wasn't sure whether it was going to moisturise my backside and keep it soft like a baby's bottom for nappy rash or if indeed, it would be the opposite and turn my behind into a resilient, scaly, reptilian-like saddle monster. 

The wax sank into the chamois quickly and I wasn't entirely convinced that it was going to make any difference whatsoever. I was wrong. After a couple of hours on the bike and well into a big alpine climb - I was shifting around a bit as one does when sat in the saddle for such a period - and I noticed a new and unusual sensation. The best way I can describe it is "squeaky clean". Basically it was just preventing the material from sticking to my skin and therefore causing it to rub as I moved. It was almost as if a fine, tight later of cling film was between me and the padding.. but not in a horrible, sweaty and damp way, just in a comfortable, fresh and smooth sort of way.

I used the salve for the rest of the week and enjoyed a silky smooth 'sitting area' even after five back-to-back days on the bike. It's not pretty or elegant rubbing waxy stuff into your shorts but it's definitely worth it for not having to talk about chafe!

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