Saving Our Skin: Butt Balm Benefits Biker’s Buns
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Butt Balm
By Jim Thompson
Some folks might wonder about butt balm. Yep, we riders use that stuff, also known as chamois cream. There are different flavors – err, brands – and most folks have their favorites. I've used one brand (recommended by my ACT II mentor) from the start and never felt the need to try another. While other brands may have cute names like Butt Butter, I'm loyal to the one that's saved my posterior numerous times - Assos. The name says it all for me... the Ass OS (operating system) has never failed me.
Let me describe my first encounter - a memorable Johnny Cash moment. Assos contains menthol - when I first put it on I began to wonder if this was a good thing as my butt initially felt like the proverbial ring of fire was smoldering down there. Within ten minutes or so the sensation of heat diminished, or I got used to it.
Is butt balm really that important? If you had witnessed the amazing case of diaper rash that I saw in the locker room, the answer would be obvious. One guy's butt was such a bright red, it was hard to imagine being able to sit on anything other than a snow bank or a bag of crushed ice. Getting onto a bike for several hours of riding looked like the last thing a person in that condition would want to do. I’m no medic, but one might guess that the guy didn’t feel the immediate need for butt balm and perhaps a raging infection of opportunistic plant life took over the area.
Those who take the "use it later if you need to" approach might provide an ideal environment (warm, moist and dark) for flora to begin to grow on the skin. Once that starts, the colony can grow with incredible speed and present a real problem when it comes to stopping the growth and reducing irritation.
Here's what I do to avoid such problems.
My routine is to finger one healthy dab of Assos from the jar onto some toilet paper; then I close the jar to avoid contaminating the supply. I then lubricate the areas most susceptible to developing problems - the crotch for each leg. After lubing both sides, I'll step into my biking shorts, bring them up to half mast and apply the remainder of the Assos to the chamois pad – most of it goes on the wider part in the back.
How much to use? Remember that butt balm is a lubricant, not a marinade. It gets worked into the chamois to reduce chaffing and reduce the chances of hosting a colony of invaders. After the lube job, my butt is ready for 100+ miles with no additional balm.
Don’t forget the exposed skin, where sunscreen is highly recommended. On sunny days, more than one application will probably be needed.
We’re still in the conceptual design phase for a new product - a combination sunscreen, butt balm and dessert topping, but have not found our venture capitalists, developed a prototype, nor filed our plans for clinical trials (perhaps we missed the dot com boom). For the moment, it looks like you need at least two separate products.