Skincare & embrocation
Donkey Label Chamois Balm isn't much like your ordinary chammy balms but not in a bad way; it does a very good job in spite of my initial concerns about its longevity. Anyway, if you don't think it's up to the job, iL Soigneur will give you your money back. So it's a no-risk one to try, really.
There are two ways to buy it: in the £19 premium metal tin we've got, or a £15 glass pot. It's the same stuff and the same amount of it. If you get the premium tub you can have 15% off your next purchase and decant.
Bristol's Butt'r Anti-Chafing Cream has a thick consistency and organic antiseptic ingredients making it comfortable mile after mile.
With the advent of the modern synthetic chamois, there's less need for ointments and creams to prevent and relief from chafing. Spending hours in the saddle isn't always the most comfortable way to spend your spare time though. If you've ever suffered from sores or chafing after a couple of hours out riding, a chamois cream could literally save your butt.
Available either as a generous 50ml for £11 pot or in a handy portable 15ml portion for a fiver, Joshua Tree Organic Cycling Salve is one of those nebulous products that many will love, while some will be less enthused. It is intended to be a multi-purpose balm, there to address all the scratched, grazed, chapped, dry and sore bits a cyclist might experience.
I'll put my cards on the table: I'm not a world authority on shaving cream. So sue me... I'm a bike journalist. It hasn't been especially important before. I've used plenty over the years, though, so here's my take on Rapha's version...
First, it comes in a neat little screw-top tin that matches their chamois cream and embrocation tins. Good start. I like that. Looks classy. Just don't get them mixed up.
Next, it smells good. Well, it smells good to me. I'm getting lavender. I'm getting a hint of rosemary.
I'm not too sure what makes the recipe of this lotion from Reflect Sports better suited to protection of a woman's, erm, hoo ha, than most standard formulations of chamois cream, but it is marketed as 'formulated by women for women' in response to the female manufacturers' having only been able to find 'nut cream'.
Already producing a successful and comprehensive range of oils and unguents for your bicycle the Juice Lube boys from the west country now aim to keep your body well lubricated with their new Chapeau chamois cream.
Elite Ozone Endurance Protect Cream is a chamois cream which does its job well, although you'd hope so, sitting as it does at the top end of the price scale. The thick consistency and added menthol help bolster the cream's status as a premium product. If your derrire deserves only the best, Ozone is probably it.
If you're a fan of long hours in the saddle then you've probably got a favourite chamois cream already. Even if you swear by one particular unguent or another, you should give this Sportique Century Riding Cream a go. Because it's brilliant.
Before a long ride in bad weather, I faithfully anoint my ageing legs with embrocation to get the blood flowing and keep the cold at bay, I've used various brands over the years, so when a little pot of Hot Stuff Herbal Heat Rub, from Kiwi outfit Nature's Kiss, landed on my desk, I was happy to give it a try.
Recovery cream? This has to be a gimmick, I thought. But I'm always partial to a dash of sweet-smelling unguent, so I gave Nature's Kiss Recovery rub a try. And here's the thing: it works.
Usually after a long sportive or a hard all-day training ride, I have a protein drink, then do a bit of stretching, then have some proper food, and then retire to the bedchamber. But my leg muscles often take a long while to relax, and twitch at night, keeping me (and my long-suffering wife) awake.