Ah, the world of Chamois cream, it can be a sore topic (pardon the pun), so here’s a quick blog regarding all the questions that people secretly google but never ask, don’t worry we are all friends here!
Chamois cream was developed back in the day when the pads in cycling shorts were made of leather, so any moisture from sweat and washing would leave the chamois as stiff as a board. A tough itchy chamois pad, not what you want around your private parts (for anyone new to cycling, we leave our underwear in the draw). So, by rubbing chamois cream into the leather, the chamois would stay soft and supple.
Lucky for us we no longer sit on a dry leather pad, the modern chamois is made up of high-density foam and covered with a plush fabric that will stay soft without rubbing chamois cream into it. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply any cream before you ride, there is still a lot going on down there; heat, friction, pressure, sweat and bacteria. All of which can cause pain, chaffing, saddle sores and several other maladies. OUCH.
Unlike back in the day we no longer have to use the chamois cream on the chamois (even though some people still do – and that’s ok). I recommend you put it directly on your body where chaffing or friction can occur, that’s right you guessed it, down there. The amount you use is a personal preference based on the feel, your skin type, length of ride and of course the chamois cream formula. Don’t be scared to use it, just grab a dollop and after a few rides you will figure out the right amount for you.
Well you could, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Vaseline and many nappy rash creams contain petroleum jelly. This is known to break down the foam in the chamois pad which could reduce the lifespan, plus it can stain/discolour your clothing, which is never a good look.
For many cyclists including myself, riding without chamois cream is not an option, once you have used it and realised the comfort it brings you will be the same! Nothing takes the joy out of a nice ride faster than a sore #@%*.
So, slap on your chamois cream, pull up your bibs and enjoy a nice comfortable ride!