Well, it's that time of year...time has changed and the temps are dropping. What do you do when/if you don't feel like pulling on knee warmers, or the temps will go up during the course of your ride? Slap on some embrocation, that's what you do!
I've tried a few different formulas over the years, some worked better than others, but hadn't found anything worth recommending to others...until now.
I tripped over Mad Alchemy after reading a review on the old BKW website. After reading all of Padraig's reviews, I went to Mad Alchemy's site and read of their propaganda. Let's just say that it's not a product that's made by some faceless, greedy, soul-less corporation. It's made by ONE guy...in his house! All of MA's products are 100% natural, meaning there's no bad stuff or preservatives to harm your skin, or the environment.
After brushing up on all of the different styles of embro they offer, I decided to pull down on the Cold Weather Warming in Medium Heat. MA makes three different levels of heat in this particular style, so I figured the medium would be the best choice for all-around use in SC, where a 50 degree day can either feel really warm and nice, or ass-biting cold. I made my order on a Monday night and had my little package of warmth delivered, from Massachusetts, on Thursday. In keeping with the theme, it came in a little, brown, hand-addressed box. Inside that box was a brown, recycleable plastic jar. No frills, no extraneous packaging...nice!
Now that I've ridden it several times, in widely varying conditions and temperatures, I can honestly say that it's GOOD stuff! It smells almost edible, and seeing that it's all-natural, it very well may be. The beauty of it is the consistency. It's not watery, nor is it peanut butter thick. Because of this 'just right' smoothness, it isn't messy, goes on easily, and gives good coverage. All you need to cover your knee, and the connective tissue around your knee, is a little blob, about the size of a pistachio (in shell). Slap it on and massage it in well. The warmth will start shortly thereafter. And it looks PRO on your legs. A slight tint and sheen are evident when rocking it.
I've ridden with it on my legs about 6 times at this point and could FEEL the difference, especially last Sunday in the 55 degree rain. It seems to excel in the wet. It actually felt warmer once I was soaked...maybe that's the idea! Once home and in the shower, it washes off easily with soap and water. There's no greasy feeling or residue. The warm feeling remains for a little while though, which isn't always a bad thing after a cold ride!
It can also be used on other parts of the body...it works WELL on stiff backs! And yes, I speak from experience on this one!
There's a time and place for kneewarmers, but if it's between 50-60 degrees, the embro is the way to go.
It ain't cheap($22 shipped for 4 ounces), but as with all things cycling, the cost is relative. If you ride a top-shelf road/tri/cross/mountain bike, $22 bucks on something that works, and increases comfort levels, shouldn't really be a concern!
Buy some, save the planet, be more comfortable on the bike and support the little guy!