Now that I am entering the realm of true long-distance cycling, I thought it best to really make a concerted effort to properly look after bike and body. Anyone who has spent extended periods of time in the saddle, day after day, will know just how bad friction build-up can be and will fully appreciate the importance of proper protection.
Basically, a good chamois cream is essential. I have read about people using Vaseline for this purpose, but not having used it myself, I can't really comment upon its effectiveness. I have, however, used Assos Chamois Cream and I think it's wonderful!
Admittedly it is possibly one of the most expensive choices on the market, but I figured with something so important, it was worth making the extra investment. I am glad I did as it has performed perfectly. Without cream, once you start developing pain in that area, the only way to solve the problem is to stop cycling until the tenderness has gone. If you have to cycle for several days in a row, in order to reach a destination, this could have a disastrous effect upon your schedule. Use this cream from day one and you can't go wrong. Sometimes I even apply a second coat during a cycle when I can feel the effects of the first coat wearing off. You really can't be too careful!
Back in The Saddle Again
"Essential for longer rides, Assos Chamois Creme is formulated to reduce friction, inflammation and discomfort. Applied to the skin, it gives a soothing, cooling effect and applied to the short it helps maintain suppleness, elasticity and freshness.
ASSOS Chamois Crème reduces friction and cools the skin for a fresh, comfortable feel. It also prevents inflammation and irritation due to its antibacterial properties.
Apply directly to the skin (avoid intimate areas) before each ride. You should also apply a thin layer of creme to the pad of your shorts after every wash, this helps to maintain suppleness, elasticity and anti-microbial properties.
Assos Chamois creme is used by a huge number of professional and enthusiasts alike, regardless of the brand of their shorts, don't set off without it.
About Chamois Cream
Chamois crème is a must for any cyclist, it improves rider comfort and reduces the chance of saddle soreness. Most will have anti-bacterial ingredients to keep the delicate skin protected and to repair any damage that may occur during a ride. Chamois crème and a good pair of shorts are probably the most important item of cycle wear you will buy.
About the Assos brand
Assos are one of the world's pioneers and specialists in producing high quality cycling clothes and accessories. They are located in a region of Switzerland that has maintained a long standing tradition in first class textile engineering. In the 1970's, Toni Maier-Moussa, founder and chairman of Assos accidently invented lycra cycling clothing, whilst trying to create the ultimate bicycle. During the wind tunnel tests of the first ever carbon-fibre bike, Toni inadvertently found that lycra downhill ski racing suits had much less drag than the woolen-knitted cycling clothes of the time. To this day Assos firmly believe in total product competence, delivering optimum function and comfort, by researching and making its cycling clothing and accessories from the very best materials."
Review from Road Cycling UK
"Okay so you've never used Assos chamois cream before maybe because you don't use their shorts or in some belief that such products are for past times, but in doing so you have missed a real gem.
Way before the modern synthetic chamois was invented all shorts had a leather based outer to the pad which made contact with your skin. In the same way that leather shoes need to be treated to keep them supple and clean so you had to treat the leather chamois. The most popular products were various body moisturisers, as long as they had some lanolin content. Not only did this treat the chamois but it also reduced the friction against the skin, which resulted in a more comfortable ride.
Leather may no longer be used for chamois, but that doesn't mean there's no longer any use for chamois cream. You can use this product in two ways. First, treating the chamois - in doing so you are allowing the pad to soak up all that lubrication and store it for release throughout your ride. I have found this to an absolute godsend especially after five hours in the saddle nearing the end of a Sportive ride. The second way, and probably the most frequent way I use it, is to put the cream directly onto the skin. Due to the menthol in the cream it can leave the applied area feeling cold, not so bad in the heat of summer but less enjoyable in the colder months. This cold sensation soon wears off leaving the treated area protected for whatever the elements may throw at you.
Having used this product for over a year now both in Assos and other branded shorts I can't believe how simple yet effective it is. With ingredients such as Almond Oil (to soften the skin) Witch Hazel (cleansing, healing and soothing) every angle has been covered to improve a rider's comfort. I would recommend anyone to try this product; it could be the best money you spend all year."