What’s With the Whole Leg Shaving thing?

In an attempt to answer an age old question, which may parallel the meaning of life (or how it all began), I will do the best I can in outlining all of the reasons why some cyclists decide to bust out a large can of cream, steal their wife’s razor, and go to town on their legs.  Please, feel free to comment if you feel I’ve missed some rationale in the mysticism of cyclists and their habits.
First and foremost, there is a velominati rule stating one must shave to be a “real cyclist.”
Rule #33

// Shave your guns.

Legs are to be carefully shaved at all times. If, for some reason, your legs are to be left hairy, make sure you can dish out plenty of hurt to shaved riders, or be considered a hippie on your way to a Critical Mass. 

This being said, I do take pride in being a hippie on my way to the critical mass, but that’s another issue.  Okay so there’s a rule, but what are the reasons behind it?

It makes you more aerodynamic:

I doubt it makes much of a difference, but it might make you feel faster!  There isn’t really any research out there on the aero benefits of leg shaving, maybe if we started cycling under water it would be a different story.  This is probably the worst reason to shave.

Wounds heal better on smooth skin:

This argument isn’t bad.  The theory goes that debris and bacteria cling to the hair.  If that stuff gets into a wound, you might have a long recovery process.  Along with this, folks say that bandages are much easier to put on and take off.  In the “wound” category, it also makes it much easier to check for ticks (if you’re a mountain biker.) This I can vouch for!

Massage is more effective:

If you ride enough to warrant receiving weekly leg massages, or can afford it for that matter, kudos to you.  It is probably a better experience for the masseur as well.

My girlfriend likes/hates it:

Well, this one’s personal, but hey whatever floats your boat.  If she doesn’t like it you may be looking at some rocky roads ahead.

It makes my legs look  AWESOME!

Yes, it does.  This is probably the best reason to shave your legs.

Everyone else does it:

This last one is true as well, and may not be a great reason, but hey we all want to be part of the club.  It is a secret hand shake of sorts, when you’re walking down the street with your family and see someone doing the same with chiseled caves and legs as smooth as Tennessee whiskey, you share a bond that transcends words.  You know the suffering and hill repeats they’ve endured, the feeling of getting dropped by the fast group, the feeling of finally hanging on.

So grab you razors and cans of cream and go to town! Or don’t.  Hairy or smooth, baggy or spandex, we all ride bikes, so don’t forget that.


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