Review: Bah-Bump Electrode Cream ($8 USD)
According to my cycling social feed a couple months ago, I was dead for the opening miles of a ride. What really happened was a lack of cohesion between my heart rate monitor and my Garmin head unit. I accepted the electronic catalepsy and rolled farther into the ride. I figured the heart rate numbers would appear at some point.
A couple of Tour of Catskills ago, I received a right curious message from a cycling buddy who commented specifically on my heart rate during the event. Something along the line of, You were in the red for over 5+ hours? The truth of the matter was that I was without a heart rate monitor and the default setting said I existed in zone four for eighty miles. Jokingly I responded that I might have had several cardiac events on the road. Sometimes I am without an HRM and sometimes it does not cooperate.
I have inherited very dry skin. It probably seems counterintuitive for someone to struggle with dry skin yet pines for trips to wintry weekends in upstate New York. Dry winter air is a struggle. Often I roll late into work because I spent a dozen minutes applying moisturizer. My enjoyment of riding the road steed in cold conditions doesn’t help either. The wind and wicking fabrics wreak havoc on me. I can tell you the exact moment in a cold weather ride when enough moisture has built up on the skin – my heart rate monitor begins to register beats per minute.
Take it from a former hockey goalie that has seen plenty of gross things in his career to say licking the back of a heart rate monitor to expedite conductivity is nasty. I do understand the desperation behind it, I’ve even tried it myself, but to make a concerted habit out of it automatically contracts my face to resemble a boxer puppy’s. I resigned the fact that my heart rate monitor, both the hard strap Garmin and the soft strap Tickr, would start working when it felt ready. That is until I discovered Buh-Bump Electrode Cream.
There are numerous salves and putties on the market for the kitschy cyclist. Many of them can be quite ludicrous. Some of them, like Mad Alchemy embrocation, make sense. Buh-Bump Heart Rate Monitor Electrode Cream is certainly the latter. If you don’t want to make out with the back plate of your heart rate device, consider Buh-Bump. From the makers of Chamois Butt’r, Buh-Bump comes in a plastic tube (we had samples) that will last for months even for the most demanding consumer. We tried it in a couple of different scenarios with varying outcomes. Decide for yourself.
The first portion of rides has always been a slow uptake for the heart rate monitor and head unit to talk. In the first test case, we smeared electrode cream on the back of the Wahoo Tickr for an indoor ride. Immediately the device popped up on the Zwift device page. The enjoyment was short-lived because the HRM was not registering in the ride itself. Three minutes into the ride the monitor registered and worked until the end. The test started well but had a small hiccup in the middle. Coming back the second night the cream was applied directly to the skin in the area where the monitor rests. Not only was the device registering immediately, but it also registered straightaway in the app. Progress.
Then there was the fickle hard strap Garmin heart rate monitor. It is a device that has determined it to frustrate me. And, before I work myself up into a tizzy as to how many times it has refused to work, even this HRM was no match for Buh-Bump. It picked up the heart rate at the start of the outdoor ride. This stuff works, even with painfully dry skin and dry winter air and wicking fabrics.
I don’t normally wind it up for small products unless they come through in a big way. Buh-Bump came through to solve a frustrating situation. Taphophobia is the fear of being buried alive. At first my Garmin head unit thought I was dead for having no pulse at the start of my ride. Now I will have a full read out of my beats per minute when I jump into the Trexlertown Derby and get buried in the opening acceleration in Topton. At least I will be able to marvel at my declining beats on my return trip to the velodrome thanks to Buh-Bump.