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The Purple Harry brand is perhaps best known for bike-care products such as cleaners and sponges. Now Harry offers a range of rider-care products as well, including this Muscle Cooling Gel. After a hard session on the bike you rub it on your legs and it makes them feel better next day.
Purple Harry's Muscle Cooling Gel comes in a pump dispenser, and looks a bit like a standard aerosol that might contain deodorant or shaving foam. You pump a bit of gel into your hands, and massage it into your hamstring and calf muscles after racing or training (or just a long hard ride).
The gel mainly consists of water and glycerine, with active ingredients including peppermint, menthol and aloe vera. A 100ml tube costs £10 which compares pretty well against similar products such as Spiuk Post Competition Gel (also 100ml for £10) and Ozone Post Activity Cream (150ml for about £16).
Your correspondent tested Purple Harry's Muscle Cooling Gel's effectiveness via the ingenious method of applying it to only one leg before bedtime the evening after an extremely tough sportive, then carefully analysing the difference in the morning by getting up and walking around a bit.
Despite the name, the gel doesn't actually cool the muscles. Well, not straight away. For the first half-hour after application, my leg felt hotter than usual – more like when a warming cream is applied – and they tingled a bit as well.
The smell is on the pungent side, and the peppermint and menthol in the formula is definitely noticeable, but it's not unpleasant.
The results of the experiment were clear. The day after the sportive, the leg which had the cream applied definitely felt better, with muscles more relaxed and less stiff.
But whether it's the gel that works the wonders here or just the rubbing of the muscles it's hard to say, but if you're going to rub your muscles (and you should) you'll need some kind of lubricant, and for the sake of a tenner it's well worth trying Purple Harry's Muscle Cooling Gel.
Effective gel for helping muscles relax and recover after strenuous cycling
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Make and model: Purple Harrys Ultimate Rider Care - Muscle Cooling Gel
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
This product is a gel designed to be applied to muscles after strenuous activity to help recovery.
The manufacturers website says 'Using a cooling cream after a hard ride reduces exercise-induced inflammation and really helps your muscles recover for the next session. It can also help strains and injuries by increasing circulation. Our formula contains the natural cooling elements of peppermint and menthol with the moisturising and soothing properties of Aloe Vera. Massage into tired muscles post exercise and relax!'
Based on your correspondent's real-world (though unscientific) test, the performance of this gel is very good, in that it helped muscles feel better after strenuous exercise.
Value is fair, with price on a par with similar products. However, it's the actual massage that helps muscles relax and recover, as much as the gel that's applied, and it's worth noting that other, more straightforward, massage gels are available where a tenner gets you 500ml or more.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, this gel performed well in that it helped muscles feel better after exercise.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, I'd recommend they try it.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
This gel does pretty much what it promises: it helps tired muscles feel better. On that it would score 9. The price is fair, but not a bargain, so docks a point, giving an overall score of 8.
Age: 53 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, an old steel classic My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Trail riding and rough-stuff (off road on a road bike)