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Oregon Connections: bluerub

We love to tell bike stories with Oregon connections and in business partners Dave Veldhuizen and Val Sanford of bluerub we found two outdoor enthusiasts and riders with family histories in the state going back many generations. Their company makes “natural body care for all athletes” such as chamois cream, shave cream, and recovery products- and they do it right here in Oregon.

Just in case of the possibility that my high school English teacher is reading this blog, the official name of the company we are profiling here is correctly spelled bluerub, one word, all lowercase.

Tell us a little bit about how and where bluerub products are made:

The formulas are all developed in Portland at a Certified Organic facility in the NW District where we also do our packaging. Being a Certified Organic Facility is a pain in the butt 🙂 but worth it. Oregon Tilth is the certifying body and they do a complete audit of the facility every year. Especially in current times, special cleaning solutions, quarantining of organic ingredients, and detailed labeling remains incredibly important to us.

We source from all around the world but we try to use PNW ingredients when we can, like the Meadowfoam Seed Oil in our new MASSAGE+ oil.

BUT … what is cool, is that bluerub is a Leaping Bunny Certified no-animal cruelty company. Every ingredient, every product, every supplier must be an approved Leaping Bunny company, too, so our entire supply chain is cruelty free.  

Hah, “pain in the butt”, that’s funny. Chamois cream is an important part of eliminating the pain from movement-based friction and we’ll get to that in a moment. On your company’s website are the phrases “for everyone that moves” and “natural body care for all athletes” -there’s a sense that bluerub is deeper than just race results.

Moving for us is essential to a happier life. In part, that’s about being active — from walking, hiking and kayaking to endurance cycling, mountain biking, marathons or triathletes. But we want, too, to promote other kinds of movement,  including for people who have disabilities or limited mobility in some way.

The founder focused on endurance athletes, (which is why the chamois cream is so good, by the way), but when the two of us took over the company we talked a lot about what it meant to be an athlete because we felt the emphasis on competitive endurance was too narrow. We wanted to create a brand that was inclusive of anyone who thought of themselves as an athlete— no matter the definition. We love helping people get out and be in the world via their bodies and we think all activities are worthy.

Dave knew I had been an athlete prior to my cancer surgery. I had a tumor removed from my sciatic nerve, which left me with limited feeling, chronic pain, and limited mobility. So when I bought into the company as a co-owner, it was important to be authentic; we could not simply sweep away the work I did to regain the ability to walk as non-athletic.  So we defined athletes as people who deliberately move — for whatever reason. There are days when walking half a mile is excruciating for me. And that triumph is no less important than someone running a 100k. The work is different, but the ability to push our mental and physical capacity is similar.

-Val Sanford

OK, chamois cream… as it says on your blog, this can get awkward, “we’ll be talking about your butt”. This is one of those things that even the most dedicated rider may not have heard about or think isn’t for them. We encourage folks to read the Do You Chamois? post on your blog but what are the highlights?

We see CHAMOIS as our best foot forward in getting to know us and a lot of that has to do with how it’s made. It is an organic, aloe-vera based product. No petroleum. No ozokerite. No Mineral Oil. No Silicone or Dimethicone. It’s actually really good for the skin, plus it really does the job of protecting sensitive body parts. And it doesn’t stain expensive bike shorts. 🙂

For those new to the concept, chamois cream is a viscous, thick, protective cream that helps eliminate friction between skin and clothing that naturally occurs while cycling. Cyclists, and equestrians, too, use chamois cream to prevent saddle sores from the friction of heat, pressure, and sweat. Some riders apply the cream to the pad of their shorts while others prefer application directly to the skin in the affected areas. However you do it, the benefit is greater comfort and stronger movement.

Oregonians love the outdoors but don’t often think of using sunscreen. Despite the reputation for being cloudy throughout the year Oregon’s diagnoses of melanoma is 36% higher than the national average. Your company took an interesting, and highly commendable, approach in that you promote and sell another brand’s product rather than making your own.

We wanted to create a reef-safe and body-safe lip balm and sunscreen. When we looked around, we found Stream2Sea and decided to back their play in sun protection instead of making our own. They have tons of research backing their formulations, they give back to the ocean and help save and rebuild reefs with their community work. We wanted to support that rather than detract from it.  Stream2Sea is the only mineral based sunscreen on the planet that’s been tested and proven safe for freshwater fish, saltwater fish, and coral larvae, and has passed the stringent HEL Labs Protect Land + Sea certification. Their values fit with ours, and so we decided to support them, market their products, and help save our seas.

Thank you, bluerub, what’s ahead for 2021 and beyond?

In April we are introducing HIKE, an anti-friction balm, to help hikers and backpackers prevent friction, chafing and blisters. Just after, in May, we are releasing a line of charcoal-based hair and body washes for swimmers & triathletes along with a mango scented deep moisturizing hair mask. 

But we don’t just want to limit movement to the physical realm.  We also support moving in our minds and hearts to be more compassionate, supportive, thoughtful and mindful.  We support 1% for the Planet as part of that commitment, as well as local non-profits like Girls on the Run PDX.  We look for ways to support organizations that are committed to helping people move forward by removing barriers.

To help get the Cycle Oregon community moving we are offering a 20% discount for shopping online. Please use the code CYCLE20 at checkout.

Give ’em a follow on Instagram!

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