There is a lot of advice out there to use chamois cream on long rides to prevent sores and chafing. How are you supposed to apply it?

In particular I'm curious about the following:

  • Do you apply the pad or to your nethers?
  • Do you wipe it on with your hands or a cloth? What about when you are touring and can't wash up easily after applying?
  • How much cream do you use?

There's no right/wrong answer. Just make sure you have some sort of towel available so you can wipe your hands before riding.

What I generally do is place dabs on the chamois and rub the sides together to spread it around -- keeps the hands relatively clean and doesn't require a separate applicator. Some people prefer to rub it on their butt.

I don't use a lot -- maybe a half ounce (about 15 cc, IIRC). Others use much more, maybe 2 oz.

  • Same here, I prefer to apply directly to the nethers. I probably use about the same as Daniel. A bit where my butt makes contact with the seat/chamois and some where my legs meet the nethers which helps ease any irritation from pedaling. It doesn't take much. I'll usually apply before leaving the house and just wash my hands. If I'm at a race i just use a towel (you know, the one you brought to decently change out of your kit after the race?) to wipe my hands. I usually also pack moist towelettes with me just in case.
    – Tha Riddla
    Jun 7 '12 at 14:45
  • I'll add that it's gets "interesting" when you're doing this in a small tent on a cold morning. It takes a little bit of planning to not, eg, lose the cap of the squeeze tube in the flotsam littering the tent floor. All while trying to not get the stuff on your sleeping bag or other gear. And, of course, that stuff is COLD when you pull on your shorts! Jul 29 '13 at 2:19

It really depends on the type of Chamois Cream you are using. I use Assos and that has a little bit thicker consistency than Vaseline, so it typically takes a bit more to get a good spread across everything.

The rule of thumb I follow is anywhere where friction will be a factor. That for me means most of the taint, and the inner part of the upper thigh. I don't like applying it to padding in the bib because I hate that feeling when I first put it on (worse than a wet bathing suit). I know of some riders, such as my dad, who will also apply a fresh coat after being on the bike for a couple of hours.

After applying I try to wash my hands (when a sink is handy), when it is not then I use one of the handi-wipes I keep in my saddle bag.

I agree with @Daniel, there really isn't a wrong way to do it. I would try out different ways on shorter rides to see what feels good and what does not.


Depends on the type of lube/cream you're using. For short rides, I just use Glide. It comes in a deodorant style container and can be applied directly to the nether regions. For longer rides, I use a tube+cream based lube that i apply in both places chamois and directly to the "friction zone."

One indispensable word of advice, if you are directly applying down there...remember this order of operations:

  1. Sunscreen on your face, neck, arms and legs
  2. Butt cream

do not mix those up.

  • 1
    A minor addendum to your list 1. sunscreen 2. butt cream 3. embrocation It's especially important to not switch 2 and 3.
    – Tha Riddla
    Jun 7 '12 at 18:44

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