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  1. #1
    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    cycling shorts and cycling butter clarification

    OK I've been searching the forums and I just need a little clarification:

    1) You rub cycling butter (or whatever you chose to use - vaseline is OK right?) on your chamois. But looking at the chamois in my shorts, its pretty big. Do you just put the butter on just the part of the chamois that is actually in contact with the seat? Or are you really meant to put it over the whole thing?

    2) You cycle for a day, then you camp, then you cycle for another day. Whilst camping, there is not enough water to spare to wash your shorts. You only have one pair. Do you:
    a) Rub cycling butter on your shorts for the first day, and then have to put on used buttery shorts the next day, seems kind of gross...
    b) Skip the cycling butter thus negating the used butter issue but potentially ending up with saddle sores
    c) Skip the cycling butter for the first day, but then the second day rub in some of the cycling butter...

    Thanks heaps...

  2. #2
    Slowpoach
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    Not sure if there is an "official" way to do it, but on occasion I've used sorbolene cream directly on me. Lots of it, so some is left over after most soaks in. Seems to get onto the right part of the chamois that way.

    Does Assos have a web site with instructions?
    Tried searching the Road forums?

    If you do start chafing, there's some stuff called "B3" that is apparently very good. Haven;t tried it myself. Found at chemists, I'm told.

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    1) IF you opt to use any sort of creams (vaseline is NOT a good choice), you put it on YOURSELF, not the chamois. However, unless it is so hot that you are sweating profusely, or unless it is pouring rain, you should not need any sort of creams on rides of less than 100K. I use Ozonol in one tiny area of me, and a non-zinc diaper cream on the odd occasion when it is hot or wet.

    2) As mentioned above, skip the creams altogether unless it is very hot or very wet. You don't need them! All they do is to provide an extra layer of protection over your skin in conditions when your skin is extra fragile, such as when it gets wet.

    3) For any lengthy tour, it is a very good idea to have two pair of shorts.


    Incidentally, when I toured through Australia for 3 months, I frequently went 5 or 6 days in the same shorts without showers and without washing the shorts. You get used to it after a while. Then I'd change shorts, and wear my second pair for several days before we'd finally arrive somewhere where they could be washed. I rarely used any sorts of creams, and I did not develop any saddle sores at all during that whole time.

    If your bicycle is set up correctly, and if you have a good saddle, you shouldn't have any issues (or certainly not significant ones) with your contact points (hands, butt, feet). In fact, if you've got your bicycle set up correctly, and if you've got the right saddle, you could ride in any kind of shorts, or whatever, without problems. I've done a few 80 km days in the heat of Queensland wearing a bathing suit and beach shorts with no saddle sores or any other discomfort. Bicycle fit is VERY important!

    IF you happen to start to develop a saddle sore, put a little bit of zinc oxide cream on it (found in the baby department of your local department store or pharmacy) just before you go to bed. By morning you'll be fine.


    BTW - have you had a look over the packing list link I posted? It is extensive, and includes pretty much everything anyone would want on a tour. You might not want to carry all of that, but it might give you a good idea what sorts of things cycle-tourist do take with them: http://www.machka.net/packinglist.htm

  4. #4
    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    ok cool, thanks Cave and Machka, I understand now. I'll skip the butter.

  5. #5
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    Tea tree lotion (not oil, or cream). Thursday Plantation. Trust me.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  6. #6
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Is This a Chafing Question?

    I often get chafing. When I rode the RAGBRAI (80 miles a day in heat and humidity) this became quite an issue. I usually use Vaseline, but it didn't work that time. What finally worked was Elocon - a cortisone-like steroid - prescription only. I had some for my seborrheic dermatitis.

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    I dont understand why anyone wouldn't carry 2 pairs of shorts? Its not they they take up space or weight.

    Also, I find diaper rash cream does the trick, and is dirt cheap for a big tube.

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    As a female, I can not use creams down in the neither regions, I'll get a bladder infection. I take medication each time I have intercouse to prevent bladder infections. If you don't usually have problems with soaps, lotions, etc., you may be fine. I would absoutely never wear biking shorts more than one day of sweating.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    Another query... when you're walking around in cycling shorts, do they sometimes feel like they are falling down a bit because of the giant chamois thing? Mine feels like I keep needing to pull them up when I am wandering around the house in them... They're still an OK fit right?

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flic
    Another query... when you're walking around in cycling shorts, do they sometimes feel like they are falling down a bit because of the giant chamois thing? Mine feels like I keep needing to pull them up when I am wandering around the house in them... They're still an OK fit right?
    Mine never feel like they are falling down.

    How snug are they around your thighs? Loose? Then they are probably too big. Tight to the point of feeling a little uncomfortable? Then they are probably too small.

    How big is the padding? Some shorts manufacturers like to put a massive amount of padding. That is completely unneccessary and will lead to a very uncomfortable feeling while walking around, and also an uncomfortable feeling on the bicycle because when there is too much padding it tends to bunch and chafe.

    Ideally a person who is embarking on a long ride, and may be more or less living in the cycling shorts for a while, should try on as many different pairs of cycling shorts as possible in the store. While trying on shorts, it is advisable to walk, sit, squat, straddle something and sit (like a bench), bend, stretch, move, etc. to see how the shorts move and feel. Then the person should buy a pair of the two or three most likely pairs, and try them on the bicycle, on a fairly lengthy ride, to decide which one is the best. If the person is lucky, maybe all of them will be OK. If the person is not so lucky and only one works, then that person will have to return to the store and buy a second pair of the good ones.

    It took me a while to find a decent pair of shorts. Most have way too much padding or padding in all the wrong places.

  11. #11
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    There is another alternative that allows a lot of people to get by in touring without being self-conscious in cycling gear -- don't use padded bike shorts and go with what you normally wear -- undies and loose or baggy shorts or tracky dacks over the top. Try to ensure the undies don't have a seam across the gusset -- I think women are more fortunate in their choices that men in that regard. If you aren't sensitive to synthetics, then get a fabric like lycra or something smooth... do *not* use cotton for underwear because it retains moisture and will chafe you like nothing else. But that no-seam thing in the gusset is vital.

    By the way, you aren't wearing undies under your bike shorts, are you?

    There are all sorts of issues in bike short fit, as Machka has stated. Plus, when you start sweating, those issues can all change very quickly... for example, heat rash is an issue if you have *any* allergy to sythetic fibres, plus if you have grippers on the legs of the shorts, these can press into your flesh, and become uncomfortable. You can feel fine walking around the house with bike shorts on, but you may find bunching in places you don't want; the waistbands flopping forward to under your belly; rubbing on the groin areas right adjacent to where the leg joins; and you can get pressure pain in the outside muscle just above the knee if the leg hem is too tight.

    The ability of the pad to wick away moisture is dependent on how the pad is made and of what materials, too. Have you tried to see how comfortable the shorts are by sitting in a pool of water and seeing how long the pad takes to dry out? Rain on a ride is not fun if your shorts are not up to scratch.

    If you had asked beforehand, I would have suggested that for both practicality and modesty reasons, you would have been better to have opted for a pair of MTB shorts with built-in padding. I wouldn't guarantee they would have been any more comfortable, because the issues are the same, but you would have had pockets with Velcro enclosures.

    You can still achieve the same effect with a pair of Taslon or microfibe overshorts (smooth fabric), or maybe a cheap pair of zip-off trousers (the pants of which you are still likely to need in some regions, anyway). The Taslon or microfibre in particular are good because they offer some semblence of wind and cold protection, even when wet (at least, in my experience).

    If you are to wear bike shorts, you might also consider taking something like a wrap-round hockey skirt in addition to or instead of overshorts... the skirts are short enough to give you freedom on the bike, provide plenty of ventilation, yet provide some modesty points.

    I'd also seriously think about getting some light cotton tops to wear. I find that in really hot weather, bike-specific cycling gear made of synthetics can make you too dry with their wicking, resulting in you sweating more and not realising it, with the resultant lag in rehydration. Cotton tops will be more cooling in hot weather because of their more open weave and ability to evaporate moisture more slowly. Long-sleeve tops also are suggested if you are at all fairskinned (and you know about sun protection emphasis as an Australian, anway).

    Obviously cotton is not much good as you get to the higher latitudes and it gets colder. I'd suggest wool but it might be a bit late in the piece to hunt around for light wool stuff in secondhand clothing shops such as Vinnies and the Salvos... but they are a good source for that type of clothing. Of course, you could lift a few tops from the outdoor shop where you work... maybe even some silk ones!
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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