A few weeks ago, I received a package from Classic Cycling Essentials, a small handcrafter of embrocation and cyclists’ toiletry accessories. Brad Ford, the brains behind the business, is a supporter of Pavé, and generously sent us some of his product for us to play with. Plenty has been written about embrocation before – the internet is strewn with writers of cycling websites waxing poetic about the nostalgic, evocative, romantic smell and PRO feel of “belgium knee warmers,” but for a few years, I’ve found a simpler truth. In wet weather, in in-between weather, or in variable weather, an embrocation helps keep the legs comfortable when conventional knee warmers or leg warmers get waterlogged, or hot, sweaty, and clingy.
Classic Cycling Essentials’ embrocation comes in two flavors, Mild and Warm, both of which follow a tried-and-true homemade formula – mix oils with beeswax and flavor liberally with capsicum and essential oils. The cedarwood and orange peel give it a bright, woody, and pleasantly pungent smell – not sweet or slightly fruity like Mad Alchemy (which now has to share space on my shelf). Both the Mild and the Warm blends have kept my legs in a warm, pleasant glow when I’ve stubbornly gone riding or racing without legwarmers.
Classic Cycling Essentials also sent Been-Olie Multi-Purpose Massage Oil, which I immediately placed next to the shower for post-legshaving rubdowns. The smell of clove and cedarwood combine to form an almost gingery effect, and the oil sooths and warms the legs nicely. Also occupying a spot on the bathshelf is CCE’s Odie Kallone Wash Tonic, a bright, crisp, and freshly scented tonic that’s perfect for wiping myself down after a quick ride or commute when I don’t have the need or the time for a full shower. It’s not strong enough to turn heads, but it’s a nice way to wipe off a layer of sweat, and, via your nostrils, perk you up when it’s hard to transition from the part of the day when you’re riding or training, to the rest of your responsibilities.
Having had the opportunity to try all these products – the Warm embrocation slightly begrudgingly on another unseasonably un-springlike cold and rainy race day here in Minneapolis – I’m pleased to recommend them.
Editor’s Note: As special thank you to our readers, Classic Cycling Essentials is pleased to offer a special discount to anyone who includes the code “Pave 2011” with an order. In addition to your discount, a portion of the proceeds will help support Pavé. Thanks!