Embrocation

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#1
I get ragged on because of my use of 'home pharmacy / lab experiments' - including the use of homemade 'embro'. Well, it's cheap and it works. If you want to spend 3000y plus for literally 3 rides worth of brand - (http://www.rapha.cc/rapha-embrocation-1) that's your biz - but you can mix your own for a fraction of the cost AND tune it to your likes:

Base: All embro has some kind of base ingredient. Either oil or wax or combo. I like the combo, best. I use beeswax and almond oil or olive oil primarily. But, hell, you can use anything. Corn oil, motor oil, Bacon Grease, whatever rocks your boat. Bees wax you can get online from candlemaking supplies or splurge at Tokyu Hands. How much beeswax you use is up to you - but I generally use about 1 part beeswax to about 5 parts oil. The wax-oil will really 'stick' in your pores and seal them up good. More wax, the harder it is to massage in, less wax and it will erode quicker in weather. Experiment.

Embrocation is a 'living pot' , once you get a tub of this going, you can just add to it with whatever you like. If I want a more 'massagy' potion - then I'll add more oil - if I want a more 'protective' potion then I'll up the wax content a bit.

Other base stuff you can throw in there to feel like you've done your research:

1) Shea Butter - a really good skin moisturizer and conditioner. Especially if you are shaving or epilating - shea seems to help quite a bit to avoid the 'roughies'.

2) Glycerin - another moisturizer and surfacent. Glycerin is pretty good at binding stuff together, so when you have mixed oil, wax and other stuff that has high moisture (water) content, adding some glycerin will keep it together and act more as an emollient than pure oils / wax.

Goodies: Essential Oils of this and that, hair of bat, tinctures and other stuff for good luck (and riddence) of bad juju, fungii, etc.

- Tea Tree Oil: I guess you can't go wrong with a few drops of this stuff. it 'supposedly' cures everything from the mange to rabies. It has some antiseptic properties and hey, you never know when you might need THAT! In case of road contact-to-skin, barbed wire, etc.

- Grapefruit Seed Extract: Falls in a similar category as the Tea tree Oil. Though a little stronger on the anti-fungual properties. We'll toss some of this in there, too, just to keep Mr. Toe Jam at bay.

- Bergamont, Lavender and other essential oils. More for the smell than anything, but it can't hurt, right?

ACTIVATION: You need to add some energy to the mix. So this is where you create the HOT or COLD or both side of things.

- Capsicum Oleoresin: The mack daddy of fire. You can make your own or just buy it off the 'net. A few drops of this and 'heat to taste'. be very careful when you handle this stuff - and whatever you do, do NOT handle your <other parts> after messing with this!

** Neutralizing a Toxic Capsicum Event - Use a dilute mix of Chlorine Bleach and water. Wash thoroughly with this , THEN rinse with another dilute solution of Distilled vinegar and water. Keep this around when you are home brewing! BTW - you cannot drink Chlorine, but you CAN drink vinegar. So, in case someone in your household accidentally licks the chopstick you were using to mix up the batch - you have some first aid ready. (Don't Ask)

- Oil of Peppermint : This gives your batch a bit of 'ICY' feeling. it has menthols in it. For additional COOLING kick, you can add real Menthol Crystals.

- Anything Menthol: What gives your embro the COOLING feeling. For winter, you may not want much of this. But it IS refreshing and I actually put a small amount. The whole Ying Yang thang , I guess.


Pharma: You can also add stuff that will / may have more of pharmaceutical effect as well. Though , I'm not a pharmacist - so you'd better not take this info seriously (disclaimer) and whatever you do , is your own responsibility here. (another disclaimer), So, if you end up in the 'mergency room suffering from some alien hand condition, palsy, skin eating chemical burn or whatever - DON'T BLAME ME! Go buy some 3000 Y RAPHA and trust yourself to That!

- Methyl Salicylate: Could be put in the 'goodies' category, but this is pretty strong stuff. It acts as an antiseptic AND astringent. And has a pretty good COOLING kick as well.

- Salicylic Acid: The pharma version of basically liquid aspirin. Topically its known as a rubefacient and has liniment properties. Use with caution.

- Lidocaines: Found in many numbing creames. This is a topical anesthetic and should only be used under a Doctor's recommendation (more disclaimers) . But for a special Embro, a bit of topical anesthetic is pretty darn helpful when you've got 'kit rash' or 'road rash' issues. Bear in mind - you don't normally embrocate with the HEAT type of formula on road rash or kit rash regions of your skin!

- Voltaren: This comes in gel, cream, dermapatch and even internal. As a topical gel or derma-patch, it's a very strong NSAID-type pharma. Again - get a Doctor's order for this stuff. But, I have used it successfully with my Embro especially around the knee area.

Other Special Mentions:

1) You can conbini-embro easy! Just grab some of the ubiquitous chili oil (like for gyoza) and tub of margarine. I used this at Yahiko a couple years ago. The other riders looked at me like I was insane - but hey, I was totally COMFY on the climb with water beading off my legs like the back of a duck!

2) Bacon grease or Lard. Hey, back in the day my Nonna (now more than 98yo) used to lard us up when we crashed on the road, ran through blackberries getting chased by Bears, or generally had ANY strained, bruised or other problem short of requiring an amputation. Her top secret formula is still, well top secret cause even she can't remember it anymore. But it STANK and it WORKED. My rough guess is that it had a bunch of mint oils, pepper oils, lard and maybe some Skunk Stank in it.

Stealth Pro Factor: Nothing more than embro spells, er smells, PRO. You put this on and hit the peloton and everyone knows you are PACKED FOR BEAR. The psychological effect is astounding. The other phreds are suffering in the cold, shivering, soaking up water faster than an Fremen in Seattle and you are all smiling and hey , 'what's the hassle here?'. Plus when you blow by them on the attack, you are giving them the wift and the waft off! Like they somehow forgot something - that you didn't!
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,515
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#3
Interesting!!

I've been working with this company for over 10 years now

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Yamanouchi-Gousha/268157966567593

For the last year, we have been thinking of making commercial creams for cyclists
(and other athletes).

I'm hoping to sell it through the SEO cycle chain.

Could be another 6 months away!

Lots of similar ingredients on the testing block to what you have there...

Also a chamois cream...with similar (non irritating) ingredients...
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,516
641
133
Kanazawa
#4
"Embrocation is a 'living pot' , once you get a tub of this going, you can just add to it with whatever..."

Tim--I'm wondering if you've tried adding some sourdough starter... ;)
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#5
Sounds good!

But - my point is that:

A) You don't need to buy 'brand' or special formulas. The end result is exactly the same as home-made. You just need to know what the ACTIVE ingredients are and WHAT they DO! In embro its ONLY 2 main ones - so , it's not hard! "Chili in the Winter" and "Mint in the Summer".

B) People have become too far disassociated from DIY. Especially in Japan. This should fall under the 'fix-your-own-tire' set of rider's basic knowledge and practice. You don't need a bio-chem degree to mix Bacongrease and ChiliPeppers together!


Interesting!!

I've been working with this company for over 10 years now

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Yamanouchi-Gousha/268157966567593

For the last year, we have been thinking of making commercial creams for cyclists
(and other athletes).

I'm hoping to sell it through the SEO cycle chain.

Could be another 6 months away!

Lots of similar ingredients on the testing block to what you have there...

Also a chamois cream...with similar (non irritating) ingredients...
 

Gunjira

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2009
1,003
176
83
Tokyo
#6
While I envy Tim for the depth of his poison cabinet, considering a time is money and cost/performance centric approach, I recommend Tiger Balm, which goes on my ankles and knees in Winter. Cheap enough and readily available.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,670
483
103
Japan
#7
Using chicken fat instead of bacon grease question. Does it make you a coward or like Red Bull, give you wings?
Great OP Tim.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#8
TB is awesome! But it actually doesn't have much of the capsicum going in. Unless you can get the Super Red which is kept under the counter on the kiosks selling fake phonecards , lottery and gambling books on the street corners in Harbin.

For what it's worth, here's a pic of some of the goodies I pick up on my regular trips to the outland.

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.roadfixie.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2011%2F12%2FSBSH1324-e1323063700241-240x199.jpg&hash=41586c5235079a5b8ea479816299cde0


While I envy Tim for the depth of his poison cabinet, considering a time is money and cost/performance centric approach, I recommend Tiger Balm, which goes on my ankles and knees in Winter. Cheap enough and readily available.
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
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78
#9
Great post Tim, very interesting, as you know I'm all about DIY! :D

I make a lot of my own finishes for woodworking, very often they are just stuff that is readily available and easy to blend. One of my favorites in Boiled Linseed Oil, Mineral Oil and Bees Wax, I make it myself, or Shellac, I buy the flakes and use very strong alcohol to mix my own, I can make my own cut depending on what I'm doing.

I buy the bees wax from a honey company in big 1Kg blocks, it is the real deal, slightly used bees wax, they want >> 3,150 yen for a 1 Kg block <<, but let me tell you that is a whole lot of bees wax!! BTW that company's honey is outstanding too, lots and lots of types of honey!

My daughter just made up a bunch of soap, she read about it somewhere and wanted to try it, so we let her, she enjoyed it and the soap works very well, and is all 100% natural healthy stuff.

Might make us some of this stuff, as my lovely wife suffers from dry cracked hands in the winter and we buy various things that I think are just basically oil and bees wax with something that smells nice in it.

Any recommendations for a hand balm? :D
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#10
Awesome! Well, since we're in Japan, while everyone is in their backyard beating a pile of mochi dough (MOCHI MOCHI), WE can do the cyclist thing and 'LET'S EMBRO EMBRO'.

For cracked skin - I'd suggest heavy on the Shea Butter, Glycerin, H2O and light on the Bees Wax. Maybe just a touch of Bergamont and Tea Tree to give some aromatic and antiseptic. Use this for a week or so, with silk or tightly woven gloves AFTER you apply at night and your hands will be silky smooth. Guaranteed!

For slightly more heavy duty cream - just add in some Coconut Butter and/or a little more Beeswax. Or you can add some Petroleum Jelly - but I'm less a fan of mineral and petro oils than I am of the seed butters.

Great post Tim, very interesting, as you know I'm all about DIY! :D

I make a lot of my own finishes for woodworking, very often they are just stuff that is readily available and easy to blend. One of my favorites in Boiled Linseed Oil, Mineral Oil and Bees Wax, I make it myself, or Shellac, I buy the flakes and use very strong alcohol to mix my own, I can make my own cut depending on what I'm doing.

I buy the bees wax from a honey company in big 1Kg blocks, it is the real deal, slightly used bees wax, they want >> 3,150 yen for a 1 Kg block <<, but let me tell you that is a whole lot of bees wax!! BTW that company's honey is outstanding too, lots and lots of types of honey!

My daughter just made up a bunch of soap, she read about it somewhere and wanted to try it, so we let her, she enjoyed it and the soap works very well, and is all 100% natural healthy stuff.

Might make us some of this stuff, as my lovely wife suffers from dry cracked hands in the winter and we buy various things that I think are just basically oil and bees wax with something that smells nice in it.

Any recommendations for a hand balm? :D
 

snoogly

Maximum Pace
Oct 14, 2007
695
48
48
Machida, Tokyo
#12
slightly used beeswax? Pray tell!

Great post Tim, very interesting, as you know I'm all about DIY! :D

I make a lot of my own finishes for woodworking, very often they are just stuff that is readily available and easy to blend. One of my favorites in Boiled Linseed Oil, Mineral Oil and Bees Wax, I make it myself, or Shellac, I buy the flakes and use very strong alcohol to mix my own, I can make my own cut depending on what I'm doing.

I buy the bees wax from a honey company in big 1Kg blocks, it is the real deal, slightly used bees wax, they want >> 3,150 yen for a 1 Kg block <<, but let me tell you that is a whole lot of bees wax!! BTW that company's honey is outstanding too, lots and lots of types of honey!

My daughter just made up a bunch of soap, she read about it somewhere and wanted to try it, so we let her, she enjoyed it and the soap works very well, and is all 100% natural healthy stuff.

Might make us some of this stuff, as my lovely wife suffers from dry cracked hands in the winter and we buy various things that I think are just basically oil and bees wax with something that smells nice in it.

Any recommendations for a hand balm? :D
 

zenbiker

Maximum Pace
Mar 4, 2008
802
228
63
Chofu
#13
I use a methyl, salicylate, camphor and menthol mix bought in the Philippines. Works well and smells great.... and about ¥300 yen for a bucket!
 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
2,435
883
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#15
B) People have become too far disassociated from DIY. Especially in Japan. This should fall under the 'fix-your-own-tire' set of rider's basic knowledge and practice.
That in my opinion is one reason why Japanese cars are so reliable - they have to be! Nobody here knows anything about what goes on under the bonnet. Everybody here leaves everything to the "experts".

I remember an incident, soon after I moved to Japan, when I borrowed a light truck to go to some warehouse in Shinagawa to pick up furniture shipped by sea for my new home. Afterwards I stopped at the local petrol station to refill the tank before returning the vehicle. This was back in the days before the government deemed Japanese motorists capable of self service.

I asked the attendant to fill up with regular. My wife was puzzled: "Doesn't it run on diesel? It's a truck!" Her doubt threw the attendant off balance. Now he wouldn't go ahead without making sure what the correct type of fuel was.

I told my wife I knew what a diesel engine sounds like and this one didn't sound like one. So the attendant asked us to release the bonnet catch and we got out of the car, all three of us looking into the engine bay. I pointed out the distributor and the spark plugs to the attendant. Still, he wasn't convinced. I only managed to get my "regyura mantan" (fill up with regular) after his manager had checked the truck too.
 

Malte

Maximum Pace
Sep 26, 2011
496
54
48
Tokyo
#16
Stealth Pro Factor: Nothing more than embro spells, er smells, PRO. You put this on and hit the peloton and everyone knows you are PACKED FOR BEAR. The psychological effect is astounding. The other phreds are suffering in the cold, shivering, soaking up water faster than an Fremen in Seattle and you are all smiling and hey , 'what's the hassle here?'. Plus when you blow by them on the attack, you are giving them the wift and the waft off! Like they somehow forgot something - that you didn't!
Ahh, I remember my old Cyclecross days when I arrived at the race-site with my parents and the smell of embrocation was all over the place, it felt similar to walking over a Christmas market. I actually loved it for it's smell and putting it on was like a ritual.