Sunday, December 07, 2008

DIY Chamois Cream

so there was a time when i didn't know that something called "chamois cream" existed. and you know what my life was like?

the summer of 2007. i had just acquired my second pair of cycling shorts. i wasn't feeling so hot, needless to say.

so the first time i heard about "chamois cream" was from fred. if you don't know who fred is, he is kinda my mr. miyagi of biking. we'd get up a few mornings and we'd do laps around lake merritt. this was in the summer of 2006. this was actually before i owned any cycling shorts. but i knew cyclists were supposed to wear i'd put on my running spandex (sans chamois) and hoped that no one knew the difference.

well, when we were biking home one morning fred says something along the lines of: "bethie, so we need to talk about hygiene. so, if you don't keep yourself clean you can get these sores. and in my day i didn't have a doctor so i'd lacerate them with a knife."

i couldn't really tell you what was more weird... have a 65 year old talk to me about sores in my personal area.... or the lacerating things with a knife part...

but moreover, i really didn't understand what the hell he was talking about. it was kind of like the sex talk my mom gave me. it took about three years later for me to have the: oh, that's what sex is! realization, as things weren't quite clear from the sex talk. so anyway, after this talk, fred gave me an old tube of "chamois cream" that was probably sitting around his apartment since 1972. i just threw it in my closet, cause i really didn't want to be using any ointment of an old man's...even if it was a gift.

so december ('06) rolls along and i was convinced i finally contracted one of those saddle sores. but it turns out it was actually hemorrhoid.... as you can tell, the "sex talk" wasn't quite clear enough for me. uh, yeah. if you care to read about that story, here it is.

fast forward to summer '07 (the picture above). i guess i finally figured out the difference between a hemorrhoid and a saddle sore. so i dug up that old ointment the old man gave me. i don't think it helped at all...

december '07 i went to ADT with some women and jen coler gave me a slather of something called "assos chamois cream." this changed my life.

i love assos chamois cream more than anything. the thick consistency....the hint of menthol. yes, i think assos chamois cream is better than sex. "bold statement?" you say? well, maybe so. but it is pretty awesome. and maybe i'm just not very good at sex. (hi mom!)

anyway, back to the title of the post. last week i ran out of my assos chamois cream. and that shit is expensive, so i knew i had to make due with some stuff around my house:

chamois cream DIY style!

now, i am all about the DIY. this is partly because i really liked watching "this old house" when i was little. and also because i of course went through my riot grrrl punk rock phase probably a few years too late to be cool.

so the first few days i tried some expired sun tan lotion as chamois cream. this seemed logical..... not that i would need the SPF or anything, but it seemed like suntan lotion would be safe for that region. the SPF 30 wasn't bad, but not great. i'd say it was a bit too runny of consistency.

by friday it was clear that i really needed some real chamois cream. i was at work and i thinking about my ride home... knowing i really needed some more balmy substance for application.

my friend told me try "bag balm" so i went to long's drug store during lunch and looked around for it. but i couldn't find it. so i asked the sales clerk "where is the bag balm?" and she gave me a weird look and asked what it was used for. ....and i really didn't know what it was conventionally used for.... just what i wanted to use it for. so i kinda explained and she was a bit weired out and told me: "i don't think we carry that" and clearly thought i was sick pervo.

so i walked around long's drug stores.... looking in different isles and trying to pick my poison. something had to be appropriate.

i came across the diaper isle.... specifically, the diaper rash cream. there was one in a jug for $5.95 called "balmex." i picked it up happy about my new find. in fact, i thought i had discovered the new assos chamois cream for 1/4 the price. balmex had vitamin E and was proven to fight diaper rash. if it was good enough for babies, it had to be good enough for me.

i was quite excited for the application.... so when it was time to bike home, i eagerly opened the jar in the bathroom expecting to shove my finger tips into the cool mentholy cream like assos chamois cream. except this was a bit more balmy. maybe balmy isn't even the right word. perhaps sticky peice of shit is a better word.

so i scooped up a chunk and let me just say balmex doesn't exactly spread. it is kind of more like the consistency of a glue stick. and i knew that this should would be a bitch to get off. let me just say, balmex didn't do crap regarding the chaffing. first off, balmex is not the type of chamois cream you should use when you plan a ride date with someone. and second, in fact, balmex should not be used by any resident of california, considering we are in a water shortage at the moment, and removing balmex is not an easy endeavor. it is not only non-functional as a chamois cream...but it is also problematic in other ways.

so, moral of the story: while i am all about the DIY ethic -- rock on kathleen hanna -- balmex is no assos chamois cream. it could never be, as a product intended for diaper rash could never have the sophistication to invoke the neutrality that swiss menthol invokes on your saddle contact region.


twinkiepatissier said...

hey, i have been trying to pass on my chamois cream tubes (these, i figured, aren't quite donation-worthy at salvation army for tax deduction) to you. i have 3 tubes of beljum budder (1 tube at work, 1 tube in my car, 1 tube for my apartment; taint protection anytime, anywhere!), which after going through about 1.5 tubes worth of cream, i realized that my taint ages prematurely with it...or my taint seems happier with paraben loaded ceam and needs to feed on it. anyway, i personally wouldn't accept anyone's leftover chamois cream, but you are more than welcome to have mine...or if you don't want them, i will take them to salvation army. said...

beljum butter is the new love of my life.

michiko-san has very good taste and you should take up that offer.

and trust me, when you race enough ... you'll take chamois creme off ANYONE who offers. from the bottle, or the bum.

{and the word verification is: "asteses"

... ass teases is how i pronounced it, of course}

Jen said...

I had to post something just because the verification word is "hooking"
Do you get to pick these out, Beth?

sorry your Assos is empty!

Malissa said...

In true DIY spirit, I ride with a guy whose Cherry ChapStik you never want to borrow....

Gilby said...

After looking through every aisle at CVS, I found Bag Balm on the bottom shelf of the facial lotions & potions aisle. It's a little too greasy for my taste.

(Word verification was "bactici".)

Fiber Optic Cable said...


Merkeley Bike said...

Noxema works...for boys anyway.

privateer said...

Jen said...

p.s. it was ok for you to take a slather of mine - I strictly enforce the "no double dipping" rule.

jAndy donka-donk said...

I ran into a nice sale on the noxema knockoff from Right-Aid this weekend, big tubs for $2.50....

Feels just like the assos, but creates a type of pre-wash cycle to my after ride shower and leaves my nads super super soft, may do the same for hoo-ha?

Walter said...

Chamois Butt'r now has a "Euro Style" (read Assos knock-off) that's about $10 less than the real thing and a pretty good imitation.

jean said...

Udder Cream is pretty cheap at the supermarket. It, like Bag Balm, was originally meant to be used on cows' teats.

Anonymous said...

Assos Creme is about $80/lb and from bike shops only.

Eucerin Original Creme, very close Assos, for at least 32 miles anyway, is about $10/lb and available at Walgreens.

Walgreens in store brand, Therapuetic Moisturizing Cream, about $5 / lb, or less on sale, also good for 32 miles at least.

I ride the east bay, Pleasant Hill to San Ramon every morning and back again after work.

twinkiepatissier said...

by the way, i am surprised that fred had not passed on the old school crisco/olive oil application.

Jay Parkhill said...

Someone else already posted Keith Bontrager's DIY recipe: vaseline, antibiotic and pain reliever.

I keep meaning to try it. He says it'll keep your saddle nice n shiny.

deprogram said...

My verification word: 'tatione'. How very Star Wars... ish. I'm not sure why I have to provide word verification when I'm already signed in to blogger, but ok. Your blog is worth it.


Gotta say, lots of good info in the comments section today. Good post - this is, after all, why we come to beth bikes! To recieve useful information, humorously presented, with a good dose of self-deprecation.

I also think it's funny that you get cycling advice from some old guy named Fred. But, I'm easily amused.

Jen said...

I was thinking.... since team unattached's Carlos says he'd sponsor you if he had money, maybe he's just sponsor your hoo-hoo? that would be a good exchange since you are like all over his website sporting his goods. He could prob. get Assos for cost, eh??

p.s. Euro style butt-butter not good - I can get that for cost and would rather spend full money on Assos.

Ben said...


thanks Mr. Zabriskie, I am laughing my well protected ass off

check out the YouTube commercials for this stuff, too funy!

karla said...

Awesome. First time I tried Assos was a fricking chilly day in Los Altos, so I wasn't all too pleased with my hoo ha getting even colder. I love the belgium butta!

And my word verification is "kerds". Seriously?

X Bunny said...

udder balm at tj's is $2.99

or it was

cuz last time i was there i couldn't find it

the jars are big and last me about a year but by then it starts to get runny (?too much heat sitting in cars?) and that's just no good

and this post, btw, ROCKS!

i mean, you made me think of the sex talk my dad tried to give me (at 18) and laugh all at the same time!!

Grey said...

So Beth, did you ever figure out what Bag Balm is? Isn't intended to lube dairy cow udders? Ya know, all that milking chafes a poor cow.

I just went about 2 weeks without Beljum Budder, and realized why body lotion doesn't work--it's absorbed into the skin within a few miles of riding. No Bueno.

Melbee said...

I use Bag Balm...comes in a square green tin and I got it from the recommendation of ms gator herself. I got this tin about 3 years ago and it's still 1/3 full! A little goes a long way and I love it. Just a thought...

Marian said...

I won a tube of Hoo Haa Ride Glide last fall and used it all spring. Worked pretty good and it's kind of menthol-ee. When I've been riding for a while and it gets warmed up I get these whiffs of mint and think, "oh great, I'm smelling my own vagina." Could be worse, at least it's minty.

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