Wednesday, 2 July 2014

7 Unlikely Excuses Why Cyclists Shave Their Legs

shaved legs photo

Spend a decent amount of time chatting to some semi-serious cyclists or browsing internet forums and the contentious subject of shaved legs will at some point arise. It's a controversial subject, which along with wearing team kits and slammed stems always seems to provoke quite a strong opinion either way.

Just for a bit of fun we decided to focus on some of the 'less convincing' justifications we've heard for why cyclists shave their legs...

1. My wife/girlfriend/partner likes it
Ah yes, the ol' blame shift. Subtly implying that you were only moderately keen on the idea but were coaxed into it by the will of your better half.

2. The legs on my bib shorts stay in place better
"The silicon grippers work much better without hair in the way." Well, maybe, but did you have any problems with them riding up before?

3. It stops bugs getting caught in my leg hair
The more hairy among us will be familiar with finishing an evening ride with half an ecosystem stuck to their legs, but this is a mild irritation at worst. On century rides or where insufficient food was packed they may provide a much needed protein boost.

4. It makes road rash easier to treat
If you're a pro, jostling for position at 35mph then it is expected you will take a fair few tumbles and the regular treatment of road rash might just justify being clean shaven. However, for the club rider who does a bit of racing and a few sportives each year, you must be doing something wrong if you are hitting the tarmac more than a couple of times a season.

5. It makes me feel faster
Psychology is, of course, a big part of any sport so I can't really argue with that one. Anything which makes you feel faster will probably make you perform faster.

6. Mud and dirt wash off easier
Pfft.

7. Hair poking through lycra looks horrible
Unless your hair has been infused with copper wire I just can't see this being an issue. If anyone other than you can see that then you are riding too slow anyway and this should be your number one concern.

The truth...
No cyclist in the world really shaves their legs for any of the above reasons and the real reason is much less pragmatic - shaved legs are a sign of dedication and commitment to the sport, a badge of honour instantly recognisable to other riders that you are serious about cycling.

I think the cyclists who shave their legs feel pressured to give a practical reason behind their decision, especially to non-cyclists. Unfortunately, there isn't one, which is why they will sometimes scrap the barrel for any conceivable practical reason to answer the jeering comments of the unversed.

So the next time someone asks "Is it really more aerodynamic?", you can simply reply, "No, I am a cyclist, and this is what we do."

Are you a smooth legged roadie, hairy and proud, or secret trimmer in denial? Leave your comments below.

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