Guys, this is where you might want to step off the bus. Not that the information on this page won’t benefit you, but it’s really geared for just us girls. If you choose to read on, you’ve been warned.
Back in the good ol’ days, the chamois (pronounced “sham-ee”) pads in cycling shorts were made of leather. This meant that moisture from sweat and washing would leave the chamois as stiff as a board and as scratchy as sandpaper after it dried out. Not exactly something you would want to perch your private parts on and ride into the hills for a couple of hours. By rubbing a moisturizing “chamois cream” into the leather, the chamois would stay soft and supple.
Thankfully, the modern chamois is no longer made of leather. Most are made from high-density foam and covered with a plush fabric that will stay soft without rubbing chamois cream into it.
However, just because your chamois is as soft as a she-mouse’s belly doesn’t mean you still don’t need to apply chamois cream before you ride. There’s a LOT going on “down there” while you are in the saddle. Heat. Friction. Pressure. Sweat. Bacteria. All of which can cause pain, chafing, discomfort, saddle sores, or other maladies.
So what’s a girl to do? By applying a dollop of chamois cream before you ride, you’ll be MUCH more comfortable and can potentially avoid painful saddle sores and chafing.
A few questions might be coming up right now:
“Where do I put this stuff?!?” Unlike the chamois creams of yesteryear, today’s chamois creams are designed to put directly on your body, anywhere chafing and friction may occur. You guessed it…chamois cream goes “down there”. Yep…on your girly bits, crotch, nether regions, hoo hoo, flower, tweeny, privates, lady parts, junk, booty, bum, or whatever you prefer to call it. Be sure to work the cream into the “folds”, but remember…external use only!
“How much do I apply?” How much to apply is really a personal choice based on length of ride, chamois cream formula, skin type, moisture level, and feel. We recommend starting with a quarter-sized application and adjusting from there. Longer rides might warrant a bit more. Same goes if you sweat a lot, will be riding in the rain, or applying before the swim in a triathlon. Just grab a dollop, apply it to your girly bits, and get on your bike. Within a couple of rides, you’ll get your “dollop size” figured out.
“OK, I get it…but can’t I just use Vaseline or diaper rash ointment?” Ummm…no. Or at least we don’t recommend it. Vaseline and many diaper rash ointments contain petroleum jelly. Petroleum products like petroleum jelly can break down the foam in your chamois, therefore reducing its lifespan. Plus, petroleum jelly can stain or discolor your clothing and saddle. Note that there are some chamois cream brands on the market using petroleum jelly (also called “petrolatum”) in their creams, so read the ingredients label carefully!
For many cyclists, riding with chamois cream is as essential as riding in cycling shorts. Once you start using it and realize the comfort it brings, it’s hard to ride without it. Nothing takes the joy out of your ride faster than sore nether regions. Keep smiling…ride further…use chamois cream!