Recommendations for protecting your legs from PO exposure?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Recommendations for protecting your legs from PO exposure?

    I've been on a few amazing rides recently where the PO is just everywhere and there is just no way to avoid touching it. I've had pretty good luck with just making sure I thoroughly scrub down w/ soap afterward, but still sometimes get an itchy rash on my lower leg b/c I'm wearing shorts w/ pads so oils are getting in there.

    I either need to start wearing pants or some type of lower leg protectors for riding in certain spots, but I still want to wear my knee pads and preferably not be too hot. What is your setup for totally covering your legs but still wearing knee pads and still getting some ventilation?

    Thanks!

    PS - Not riding in PO is not an option!

  2. #2
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    I've wondered about this as well.

    It makes me wonder if something like, "Invisible Glove" would work. I've used it prior to working on cars before and it keeps oil and grease away from your skin, so that when you clean up afterwards, everything mostly just rinses off. I wonder if you could apply to your legs before riding.
    Last edited by chuckha62; 1 Week Ago at 01:28 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Most of my riding is through singletrack with occasional bits of PO reaching across.
    I've been wearing soccer socks tucked into my knee pads for a few months on these trails, including a number of 90F+ days, and I haven't had much issue with PO on my legs. I do the dish soap + rag within half an hour of 2-3 hour rides. I wash my gear after almost every ride.

    While skin tight fabric goes against the idea that the oil will still be on your skin, it works for me, I can be less paranoid about Lyme disease, and wow, the fashion!

  4. #4
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    I've used Ivy Block in the past but it seems to no longer be manufactured. Looks like this stuff might be the new version.
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  5. #5
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    I wonder if Zinc sunscreen (it's a physical barrier) also helps block it. Bathing right after with focused attention (soap + rag) to exposed areas has been working for me so far.

  6. #6
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    Skyno- Talking about how to ward off, and not get oak (blisters) on your skin NEVER gets old..

    Dermatitis is mediated by an induced immune response. Urushiol is too small a molecule to directly activate an immune response. Instead, it attaches to certain proteins of the skin, where it acts as a hapten, leading to a type IV hypersensitive reaction.

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    I ride some *ahem* less-used trails at Pacifica and Waterdog. My issues with PO have gone away after I started using these

    https://www.backcountry.com/sugoi-leg-cooler-sug001p

    I carefully take them off after the ride, before I take off my socks (to prevent any contact with skin). They go straight in the laundry, and I do the whole scrub down with a microfiber towel in the shower also..

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by twowheelmotion View Post
    Skyno- Talking about how to ward off, and not get oak (blisters) on your skin NEVER gets old..

    Dermatitis is mediated by an induced immune response. Urushiol is too small a molecule to directly activate an immune response. Instead, it attaches to certain proteins of the skin, where it acts as a hapten, leading to a type IV hypersensitive reaction.
    That's some good tech right there.


    The other piece I'll add is skin is a barrier and time is the enemy. Every hour after contact counts. In fact, every minute.

    Thus it can be washed off easily immediately after contact. Sometimes, if I don't have clean water (like a crik), I would use powdered dirt, like a dry rub.

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post

    Thus it can be washed off easily immediately after contact. Sometimes, if I don't have clean water (like a crik), I would use powdered dirt, like a dry rub.

    Yep. Calculate dose, versus prolonged exposure and establish the needed process to remove the oil. Creeks, springs, rivers, etc are all great opportunities to wash away the olis while riding. If you live in the rest of CA that has no water features, like say, Fort Ord where PO is abundant, and there is no water, your chances blistering later on, after a 2hr ride is prob 80% without intervention.

    Everyone has their superstitions.. Tecnu, Dawn, Bleach.. Gas... For me, none of that stuff works. I think tecnu is a gimmick. Everyone buys it, spreads it around with their bare hands (how else do you apply it, I mean) and contamination into other, lesser desired areas happens.

    I myself am sold, after all these years, on 90% alcohol in a spray bottle, pressurized water, clean, sterile, white towel(s) preferably terry cloth.

    I will say that whenever I backpack into the Ventana Wilderness, and know the trials are going to be overgrown, I just pack a Tyveck pesticides suit.. $6 on Amazon, non-permeable and packs to about 4", weighs 1.5oz.

  10. #10
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    I am super allergic to PO, and I bike a lot in area where poison oak is everywhere, so i use long socks (baseball or soccer) and I use my knee pads all the time. Since I have done that I have not have poison oak.

  11. #11
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    I've been thinking about getting a pair of DH pants to wear, preferably something very stretchy to allow pedaling. The Fox Flexair look like they'd fit the ticket, but I'm having a hard time finding them in normal size (32). I have the Flexair Delta LS jersey and it's really nice.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  13. #13
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    I work in PO a lot and have heard just about everything. Apparently there used to be some liquid you were supposed to drink that would immunize you over time. I guess it was a low dose of an urushiol solution or suspension. Anyway, he said it was much like the day after eating super hot salsa, except for a couple weeks. Sounded like a horrible experience but it was a great story. He also said it seemed to be only marginally effective. Some other guys swore by rubbing Tecnu on their skin and using it like Ivy Block and then washing well after exposure.
    In the way of clothing, I would think something like long spandex would work being sheer and having less for the oil to cling to.
    Me, I just gave up and get it when I get it. My reaction isn’t horrible like some people so I just deal.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ananth View Post
    I ride some *ahem* less-used trails at Pacifica and Waterdog. My issues with PO have gone away after I started using these

    https://www.backcountry.com/sugoi-leg-cooler-sug001p

    I carefully take them off after the ride, before I take off my socks (to prevent any contact with skin). They go straight in the laundry, and I do the whole scrub down with a microfiber towel in the shower also..
    Lots of good info here thanks a lot!

    Ananth do these "leg coolers" actually have a cooling effect? These could be just the ticket - also interested in some DH pants , but those do look pretty damn hot - temp wise that is!

  15. #15
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    I do find them cooler than bare skin in the sun. They are very similar to the Underarmor heat-gear stuff if you are familiar with that. The big advantage being they don't interfere with your bibs/liners.

  16. #16
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    Tecnu and tick check after the ride.

    If adamant about blocking exposure, a silk-weight base layer.

  17. #17
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    Softshell pants is what you want.

    https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...-pant/p/13457/Recommendations for protecting your legs from PO exposure?-13457_b_1_omw_softshell_pant.jpg

    This Bontrager one is very pricey but very good. It offers good knee and abrasion resistance as well with all those bushes creepin in.


    And.... the other thing that's good to have is an ebike. That way you can focus on protective pants and top without having to compromise too much for pedaling efficiency and cooling issues.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyno View Post
    Lots of good info here thanks a lot!

    Ananth do these "leg coolers" actually have a cooling effect? These could be just the ticket - also interested in some DH pants , but those do look pretty damn hot - temp wise that is!
    I use calf sleeves (often marketed as compression products) since I already wear knee pads and along with (underlapping) calf length socks gives me 100% skin coverage on the legs. Doesn't look very stylish, but keeps stuff off (PO and ticks) really well. Oh, and also often use arm sleeves as well for the same purpose....

    In terms of feel, I don't think I feel "cooler" when I wear the sleeves on legs or arms, but they don't make me feel hot either, and they provide the additional benefit of protecting from UV as well. So neutral from a comfort perspective. You just have to get used to wearing them.

    Other things:
    - I keep large size alcohol wipes in my pack in case I need them on the trail
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M650DVS
    - I keep old cotton T-shirts (rags) as well as a bottle of Isopropyl in the car for when I return, in case I need them for cleanup.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyno View Post
    ...

    Ananth do these "leg coolers" actually have a cooling effect? ...
    I sweat way to much to consider any pants-based solution, glad Ananth and Shinjon already wrote about "coolers" or sun sleeves. Hadn't considered this to be one of their benefits, but it's true that I haven't had PO since I went to these things full time. Also good for spotting ticks.

    On the subject of their cooling effect, I suspect that has a lot to do with what sun protection program they are replacing. As an OCD ginger riding in Norcal sun, I am way more comfortable during and after a ride replacing SPF 45+ smears with thin fabric on my arms and legs for my rides.

    That alone has kept me notably cooler, but in the right conditions, splashing them with water creates some more immediate evap cooling sensation.

    Peel them off at the car/home at the end of your ride, and you don't need to worry about grease all over your dashboard/car doors/kitchen table before you have a chance to wash sunscreen off. If you suspect PO contact, throw these in a the wash and you're done.

    Almost forgot: Cons:
    - you will look ridiculous.
    - family and friends will remind you

    Good luck!

  20. #20
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    you could try the sun leg covers like these ($50)
    https://www.amazon.com/Outdoor-Resea...64036073&psc=1

    I use arm sun covers and they work well. The nice thing is you can turn them inside out as you take them off to minimize touching anything PO
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  21. #21
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    Lots of good advice here - just ordered some leg and arm coolers - seemed like the easiest solution so going to start w/ those and see how it goes - thanks again!

  22. #22
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    I use sun arm and knee covers combined with knee high compression socks. You could also use calf compression covers with shorter socks.

    Clean everything post-ride. Bike, shoes, helmet, fanny pack. Too many opportunities for cross-contamination. Don't leave your dirty clothes in the hamper.
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  23. #23
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    Hiking / snow ski gators would be ideal. Lose fitting, not uncomfortable tight neoprene like warmers. Plus they would allow for easy knee movement between the gator and shorts.


    https://www.amazon.com/Tsonmall-Gait...ateway&sr=8-17

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    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  24. #24
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    pantyhose. i'm partial to leggs.

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    I use smart wool compression socks. They go to me knees. Being mostly? wool they stay pretty cool. I have some pearl izumi road arm suncovers that stay cool. I didn't know they have leg versions.

    One thing to consider is the socks, pants whatever is covered with the Urushiol may be all over your clothes. You should consider it toxic.

    Anyone ever had an issue of cross contaminating the other household laundry?

    Just wondering.

    J


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    Quote Originally Posted by jeph View Post
    One thing to consider is the socks, pants whatever is covered with the Urushiol may be all over your clothes. You should consider it toxic.

    Anyone ever had an issue of cross contaminating the other household laundry?
    It's an oil, and as long as you use the normal amount of detergent, it should completely dissolve in the water and get rinsed out.

    At least, that's the assumption I've been operating under, and no issues so far

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ananth View Post
    It's an oil, and as long as you use the normal amount of detergent, it should completely dissolve in the water and get rinsed out.

    At least, that's the assumption I've been operating under, and no issues so far
    I took a hard fall into some PO branches a couple of winters ago. Didn't realize it was PO (no leaves) until the rash broke out on my hip and a few other places a few days later. Had washed my cycling clothes the normal way after the ride not knowing I had landed on the PO. After a couple of weeks the PO on my hip cleared up.

    Happened to wear those same shorts for the first time since washing them after the PO cleared, and a couple of days later I had a new breakout in the exact same spot on my hip!

    Seems obvious that all of the PO oil didn't get washed out the first time...

  28. #28
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    Yikes! Good to know.

    But I also think the amount of exposure you get if you crush the leaves/ break the stems is way higher than if you just happen to brush against it. If you crash into it, all bets are off. Just burn everything and stay away from the fumes

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ananth View Post
    It's an oil, and as long as you use the normal amount of detergent, it should completely dissolve in the water and get rinsed out.

    At least, that's the assumption I've been operating under, and no issues so far
    it's really like a grease in tenacity.

    So the key is using a washcloth or abrasive and then some kind of detergent. Wipe with conviction as if you had grease on your skin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    it's really like a grease in tenacity.

    So the key is using a washcloth or abrasive and then some kind of detergent. Wipe with conviction as if you had grease on your skin.
    And then what washcloth do you use to wash the contaminated washcloth?

    We're talking about whether you do anything special for the clothes you wear during your ride. Regarding skin, I'm totally in agreement.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by cassieno View Post
    I wonder if Zinc sunscreen (it's a physical barrier) also helps block it.
    Zinc sunscreen does not seem to block PO for me, I still get it on my legs. For my arms I use some pearl izumi sun sleeves, that seems to work pretty well.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ananth View Post
    And then what washcloth do you use to wash the contaminated washcloth?

    We're talking about whether you do anything special for the clothes you wear during your ride. Regarding skin, I'm totally in agreement.
    So for clothes, especially if you really go through poison oak groves, what you need to do is treat it like surgical clothing contaminated with ebola. You take it off like a doctor would, exiting the surgery room. Then put it in a plastic bag, straight to the wash.

    This is VERY important. If you ignore it and put the tainted clothes in the bike bag, or drive home with it, you will get oak, for weeks to come.


    Kinda like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6qbhCBHq7o

    for washing oak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oyoDRHpQK0
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckha62 View Post
    I've wondered about this as well.

    It makes me wonder if something like, "Invisible Glove" would work. I've used it prior to working on cars before and it keeps oil and grease away from your skin, so that when you clean up afterwards, everything mostly just rinses off. I wonder if you could apply to your legs before riding.
    I don't see why this wouldn't work since PO leaves an oily residue. Also why the common shitty advice to wash with cold water is shitty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    So for clothes, especially if you really go through poison oak groves, what you need to do is treat it like surgical clothing contaminated with ebola. You take it off like a doctor would, exiting the surgery room. Then put it in a plastic bag, straight to the wash.

    This is VERY important. If you ignore it and put the tainted clothes in the bike bag, or drive home with it, you will get oak, for weeks to come.


    Kinda like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6qbhCBHq7o

    for washing oak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oyoDRHpQK0
    Strange in the degowning video - why wouldn't you take the gloves off last, AFTER you touch the hair net thingy, etc. (I am not a medical professional, nor do I play one on television).

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    Thanks all for the advice in this thread so far - I'm brand new to mountain biking and new to California and the Bay area and poison oak - so I'm probably going to die sooner or later. Threads like this help increase the odds it'll be later

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Hiking / snow ski gators would be ideal. Lose fitting, not uncomfortable tight neoprene like warmers. Plus they would allow for easy knee movement between the gator and shorts.


    https://www.amazon.com/Tsonmall-Gait...ateway&sr=8-17

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    Good outside the box thinking, but besides the "style-point deduction" factor, the straps going under the shoes are a non-starter! I'm sure you could use a version w/out that strap, but I'd also be worried about those things getting caught up in the drivetrain or pedals!

  37. #37
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    Recommendations for protecting your legs from PO exposure?-80s-leg-warmers.jpg
    Last edited by 5k bike 50cent legs; 1 Week Ago at 11:34 PM.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyno View Post
    Good outside the box thinking, but besides the "style-point deduction" factor, the straps going under the shoes are a non-starter! I'm sure you could use a version w/out that strap, but I'd also be worried about those things getting caught up in the drivetrain or pedals!
    I lost my mind there for a minute.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  39. #39
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    I bought a bunch of these Wrangler Outdoor pants for work- I wonder if they would work over bike shorts. They're light and stretchy (96% nylon, 4% spandex). They're the NW780 model.

    Got them at Walmart for around $15, I think. Very comfy.

    https://www.wrangler.com/go/outdoor-pants Read the reviews!
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    I bought a bunch of these Wrangler Outdoor pants for work- I wonder if they would work over bike shorts. They're light and stretchy (96% nylon, 4% spandex). They're the NW780 model.

    Got them at Walmart for around $15, I think. Very comfy.

    https://www.wrangler.com/go/outdoor-pants Read the reviews!
    Should work!


    Like all the other pants, one key is to have a convenient belt/adjustment system. It’s always gonna get pulled down by pedaling so handy adjustment system is important
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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Should work!


    Like all the other pants, one key is to have a convenient belt/adjustment system. It’s always gonna get pulled down by pedaling so handy adjustment system is important
    Doesn't Camelbak make a water belt? Only holds 4oz, but should hold the pantz up ok. And having the hose coming from the crotchal area is a little awkward...
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyno View Post
    Good outside the box thinking, but besides the "style-point deduction" factor, the straps going under the shoes are a non-starter! I'm sure you could use a version w/out that strap, but I'd also be worried about those things getting caught up in the drivetrain or pedals!
    They don't, they are well behind the cleat and I use the, all winter long with spds. That said, I'd never wear them for summer, they would be crazy hot in any warm weather.
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  43. #43
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    Years ago an old BLM guy from the Ukiah office gave us some advice on a trail building party (blue ridge trail). He recommended using "Fels Naptha" soap after PO exposure. It seemed to work pretty well because the inner coast range is about 98% PO by weight!

    When riding in brush or weeds that come out into the trail, I wear some Columbia convertible pants over Sugoi bike shorts. I can take the legs off and put them back on when needed. However, you MUST wash any clothing that came into contact with PO before riding with them again. And, use a good soap (Fels Naptha?) as soon as the pants come off.

    PS: Don't pee after you strip until you've washed your hands! How would I know this?
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  44. #44
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    Problem solved:

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    'nuff said.....
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    Is that left side drive? I can't take this seriously

  46. #46
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    Wash with something like this anywhere you might have been exposed:

    GOJO NATURAL ORANGE Pumice Industrial Hand Cleaner, 1 Gallon Quick Acting Lotion Hand Cleaner with Pumice Pump Bottle – 0955-04 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000CCOK6Q..._sUE3CbY02MSVW

    Zolex Water Activated Hand Cleaner for Working Hands| Stain Remover for Heavy Duty Workers | Grease Remover for Mechanics and Heavy Duty Workers - Non-Toxic Petroleum Free - 1.5 lb Tub https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007YX5164..._rWE3CbH2PK6Z7


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    Osha recognized prevention

    IvyBlock is the stuff. It is used by utility fees and is the only lotion that will block the urishiol (tenacious oak oil that causes the allergic reaction) from reaching your skin. Stuff is basically emulsified clay—hard to make and thus expensive and hard to find. Unless you have a cleptomaniacal friend who is a line worker or firefighter 🤓

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by livermore View Post
    IvyBlock is the stuff. It is used by utility fees and is the only lotion that will block the urishiol (tenacious oak oil that causes the allergic reaction) from reaching your skin. Stuff is basically emulsified clay—hard to make and thus expensive and hard to find. Unless you have a cleptomaniacal friend who is a line worker or firefighter 🤓
    "Product is not currently being produced."

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    Hogan Lake blog. A section of Hogan Lake trails here.

  49. #49
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by telemike View Post
    Years ago an old BLM guy from the Ukiah office gave us some advice on a trail building party (blue ridge trail). He recommended using "Fels Naptha" soap after PO exposure. It seemed to work pretty well because the inner coast range is about 98% PO by weight!

    When riding in brush or weeds that come out into the trail, I wear some Columbia convertible pants over Sugoi bike shorts. I can take the legs off and put them back on when needed. However, you MUST wash any clothing that came into contact with PO before riding with them again. And, use a good soap (Fels Naptha?) as soon as the pants come off.

    PS: Don't pee after you strip until you've washed your hands! How would I know this?
    Very good advice!!! And use a washcloth. And treat your clothes like it's contaminated with Ebola.
    IPA will save America

  50. #50
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    ivyX

    I haven't seen IvyBlock in years. I use IvyXhttps://pksafety.com/cortex-ivy-x-pr...CABEgLtN_D_BwE Pre-contact Solution & Tech-Nu Extreme Religiously.

  51. #51
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    Individually wrapped alcohol wipes have been working well for me the past several years. Easy to carry on a ride and $7 for 200.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy f View Post
    Individually wrapped alcohol wipes have been working well for me the past several years. Easy to carry on a ride and $7 for 200.
    Dammit- I've been buying the ones that are $200 for 7.

    What a rip. That's what I get for not looking around.
    Hogan Lake blog. A section of Hogan Lake trails here.

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