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Bag Balm comes to cycling from an udder market

Published June 21, 2017

PARK CITY, Utah (BRAIN) — Bag Balm has been a Vermont-made solution for cows’ chapped udders for more than 100 years. And for ages, in-the-know folks have used it to moisturize and protect their hands and for other non-bovine applications, including as a chamois cream.

The company only learned in recent years that a handful of cyclists have found its product a necessity. Until it became more available at drug stores, some cyclists would seek it out at ag supply stores. Bag Balm is making its first real effort to reach the bike market with an appearance at Bike PressCamp here this week.

Bag Balm is based in Lyndonville, Vermont, just a few miles south of the well-known mountain bike destination of East Burke, in the state’s so-called Northeast Kingdom. In 2015, the family that had owned Bag Balm since the 19th century sold it to a group of investors.

The product has just four ingredients: lanolin, petrolatum, 8-Hydroxyquinoline Sulfate and paraffin wax. It is often used as a lip balm, or to treat cuts and scrapes, dry skin, diaper rash, dogs' paw pads, and more. The company offers different packaging for the varying uses. Dairy farmers use a big plastic tub, but its trademark square tins are common for most household and barn uses. It's now available in a small squeeze tube for lips, a larger tube for dogs, and a carry-along tube that might be just right for cyclists needing mid-ride applications. The balm itself is exactly the same in all the packages and is still made in Lyndonville. The company also recently introduced a bar soap, also made in Vermont.

The new owners, looking to expand the market, have created the new package sizes and made a small change to Bag Balm’s label. The label no longer mentions udders, to make clear the product is appropriate and safe for human use.

Compared with most chamois creams, Bag Balm is more sticky than slippery, which means it will last through long rides, even in the rain.

Bag Balm has slowly expanded its distribution in recent years, and it’s available through several large retailers, including drug stores, Walmart, Urban Outfitters and others. The company is reaching out to bike distributors now.

Topics associated with this article: PressCamp

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