Personal Hygiene and Skincare for Bikepacking and Cycle Touring

Tim Wiggins Bikepacking
A question often asked in the bikepacking and cycle touring community is “how do you keep clean and maintain good personal hygiene on a multi-day cycle tour?” The secret for me, lies with a few products and techniques. These are my tips for healthcare, hygiene, and skincare on bike touring expeditions.

The first thing to consider is the potential problem areas for hygiene and healthcare when clocking a lot of miles in the saddle. All these problems can be traced back to three root causes: bacteria, weather, and bodily fatigue. These three factors solely or jointly cause issues like saddle sores, infection, sunburn, windburn, and gastrointestinal discomfort.

To protect from and help cure the above ailments, I use a simple choice of products that come with me on most bicycle touring adventures…

1. Mum&You Biodegradable Baby Wet Wipes

These wipes are an essential for cleaning yourself and your equipment when on a bicycle tour. You can use them to wipe away sweat and bacteria from your body, as well as cleaning cutlery and cooking equipment at camp. While you should always follow the 'leave no trace' mantra of wilderness adventures, it is reassuring to know that with these wipes if you have mopped up something particularly nasty then you could bury the wipe and it would rot down in a few weeks thanks to their plastic-free composition.
>> Shop M&Y Biodegradable Wet Wipes


2. Weleda Calendula Shower Gel

A small travel size tube of this shower gel is a miracle product for bike touring. Calendula is a natural homeopathic antiseptic—so this shower gel can act as a hand wash, body wash, and kit wash; cleansing and refreshing you and your jersey and bib shorts, whether you have the luxury of a warm shower, or you are washing in an alpine stream. This Weleda body wash is also biodegradable, so it is kind to nature if you are washing outside.
>> Shop Weleda Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash


3. Weleda Weather Protection Cream and Mum&You Face The Day Stick

I cannot claim to have a baby face, but these two products are superb for outdoor adventures; when your face is bombarded by wind, spray, and grit. They are both designed to protect baby faces but are equally good for adults (especially those with sensitive skin); they avoid you returning from a long bicycle tour with a face looking like reddened rubber.
>> Shop Weleda Weather Protection Cream
>> Shop M&Y Face The Day Stick

4. Weleda Edelweiss Suncream

Just as windburn will cause real problems on long distance bike tours, so too can sunburn. Most sunscreens leave a sticky synthetic layer on your skin, which is hard to remove and builds up day on day. The Edelweiss sunscreen from Weleda is a natural mineral-based cream, which uses particles of titanium dioxide to shield your skin from UV rays. It is super sweat and water resistant, but does not leave an unpleasant residue like most suncreams.
>> Shop Weleda Edelweiss Suncream

5. Weleda Calendula Nappy Change Cream and Cut and Grazes Salve with Mum&You Bottom Balm

The above four points / products should keep your face and hands happy and clean on a bikepacking tour, but one other area you also need to pay special attention to is your undercarriage. There are a lot of ‘chamois creams’ on the market, but for the most part they are simply heavy-duty moisturisers; the ones to hunt down and use are the creams that have natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

For many years, my choice was Sportique's Century Riding Cream; but unfortunately, the brand ceased to distribute to the UK a few years back, and eventually my stock ran out. Since then, I have been searching for another natural way to prevent and cure saddle sores. My new formula uses three products, each with different strengths; they are all again baby care products by name, but then it is undeniable that a bicycle short chamois is rather like a nappy in many ways.

The first product is Mum&You's Baby Bottom Balm. This comes in a large tube, and for daily rides it is an effective zinc oxide based barrier cream—to help reduce friction and discomfort in the saddle. The final two products come again from Weleda’s natural baby range: their Calendula Nappy Change Cream is (naturally) antibacterial and anti-fungal, and is my choice for times when bacteria build up is more likely; such as when you are forced to wear the same pair of riding shorts on back to back days on a bike tour. I combine this with Weleda's Calendula Cuts and Grazes Salve if I need to treat problem areas that arise. This salve is also great to use on any minor cuts you suffer anywhere on your body whilst touring; it will help to prevent infection when your body and immune system can be fatigued and faltering.
>> Shop M&Y Baby Bottom Balm
>> Shop Weleda Calendula Nappy Cream
>> Shop Weleda Cuts and Grazes Salve


The above products are my turn-to personal care products for cyclists. Most are available in small travel size tubes and can be stuffed in your saddlebag for a bicycle touring expedition. Endurance cycling is undeniably hard on your body, but using products like these helps to reduce the strain and risk of infection that could make or break your next big bike tour.


Useful Further Reading

Personal Hygiene and Skincare for Bikepacking and Cycle Touring Expeditions

Tim Wiggins Bicycle Touring Bikepacking


Comments

  1. Face mask ? Hand sanitizer ? You may need to stop and enter a building before rides-end . Covid . Just saying

    ReplyDelete

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