“Why do cyclists shave their legs?”

P1070796I love some of those coffee break conversations at work and one started the other day with a colleague asking “why do cyclists shave their legs?”.  This led to an interesting conversation with a number of theories and opinions on the subject.  I held back from expressing my own view at first, instead I was content with seeing what other people thought.  Here’s a few of the points….

Vanity? Most of my colleagues thought it was all about looking good.  The main view was expressed that a nicely toned, slim body and wearing Lycra, would be spoilt by some horrible looking hairy legs. The general view was this applied mostly to over-weight men who should know better!

Image? As Lycra might be part of the “look” many road cyclists will aspire to, some wannabe cyclists fancy the idea of the clean shaven roadie image.  It’s a sort of badge, an identity on the road and being a “proper” cyclist.  Myself, I’m not quite sure what a “proper” cyclist is meant to be.  Back to the conversation, it was about being taken seriously on the road and being identified with the cool sleek cyclists who wear cool shades and cruise effortlessly along at precisely 31mph in urban areas.

Aerodynamic? Well, believe or not, this turns out to be a valid reason for some cyclists to shave their legs.

“Man” someone said “you’d have to be incredibly hairy for this to be an issue, I would have thought.  Nah, can’t see that making any difference myself, even for when a split second makes a difference between winning and coming second”.

The question popped up about whether Wiggo and his team shave their legs?  Perhaps they do but surely it’s not to be aerodynamic?

Road rash? Unexpectedly a colleague pipes up with “Now you’re talking!  Ever tried falling off your bike and getting a load of grit and dirt mixed in to a raw flesh wound?  Not nice.  Ever tried getting that bandaged, perhaps a few sticky plasters and then taking those off later on?  Ever tried cleaning those wounds on hairy legs?”  Well that took us by surprise but actually he had a point but it does then depend on how often you think you’re going to fall off, I suppose.  Or maybe, some of us thought, this was an excuse for a grown man to shave his legs…..

“That’s all very well but what about actually doing it?” The conversation then got serious on behalf of absolutely nobody present.  Waxing, shavers, razors etc were discussed with their pros and cons.  “What happens if you’re in a hurry and you only do one leg?” followed by “or miss a section?” or even “how far up do you go?”.

At that point my colleagues remembered, in an unspoken kind of way, I was one of the cyclists in the office.  I could tell each one was wanting to ask me whether I shaved my legs but were too awkward to ask.  They were racking their brains trying to think what I look like in my shorts but nobody could quite remember.  I decided to come clean, no I don’t shave my legs, I’m not a very hairy person.

What’s your view?  Are you for or against cyclists shaving their legs?  Whichever view you hold, please leave a comment below…


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1 Response to “Why do cyclists shave their legs?”

  1. Dee J Harmon says:

    It’s a indavidaul choice all cyclist make to shave or not. I have been on rides where there are hundreds of cyclist and of corse you won’t see any ladies with visible hair on there legs and I ask why should it be only ladies with clean smooth cycling legs, and they all look so good and I see lots is men have shaved too. I do know its so much easier to apply sun block on legs with no hair on them in the state of CA you need protected from the sun. One employee of a contractor at work is a serious cyclist I have never seen hair on his legs as he is always in shorts. Sadly I can’t where shorts at work. I have shaved for a long time now. Check with all swimmers in the Olympics you might find a lot of shaved bodies cause they don’t want to even have a hundredth of a second to keep them from winning. And the road rash thing that is quit a true thing but we all want to keep the tires under us at all times. So every body out there please ride as sensible and as safe as you can shaved or not.

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