Why Do Cyclists Shave Their Legs?
Published: June 21, 2023
Gain insights into the potential advantages of shaved legs for cyclists, and how it can contribute to a more enjoyable and efficient cycling experience.
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If you’ve ever watched a professional cycling race or passed by a group of dedicated cyclists, you’ve probably noticed a fascinating trend: many cyclists sport cleanly-shaven legs. This isn’t just a fashion statement or a bid to mimic the pros; there are actually several compelling reasons why cyclists shave their legs. If you’re wondering why cyclists adopt this seemingly peculiar habit, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s delve into the reasons that explain this trend in the cycling world.
A History of Smooth Pedaling
The tradition of leg shaving among cyclists is not a recent development. It’s a practice that has been associated with cycling for many decades. Back in the day, it was primarily professional cyclists who shaved their legs. With time, however, amateur cyclists and enthusiasts also started adopting the practice, and today it’s seen as a mark of the serious cyclist.
Reasons Cyclists Shave Their Legs
There are several reasons why cyclists choose to shave their legs. Some of these reasons are practical, while others are tied to tradition or aesthetics. Let’s break them down:
One of the main reasons cyclists shave their legs is to manage road rash or other injuries. When a cyclist crashes, the asphalt can rip off hair and skin, leading to painful wounds. Shaved legs make cleaning these wounds easier and can also prevent hair from getting into the wounds. It also makes applying bandages or tapes less painful as there’s no hair to pull on.
Many cyclists regularly get massages to soothe their overworked muscles. Shaved legs make it easier for the massage therapist to perform their work. The oils or lotions used in massages can get stuck in hairy legs, making the process less comfortable and efficient.
There is an ongoing debate about whether shaved legs actually provide a significant aerodynamic advantage to cyclists. Some studies suggest that shaving one’s legs can result in marginal gains. However, these improvements are typically so minute that they would only matter in high-level professional cycling.
Aesthetics and Tradition
Let’s not overlook the fact that some cyclists shave their legs purely because they like the way it looks or because it’s part of the cycling tradition. Having cleanly shaved legs can make the muscle definition more noticeable, adding to the aesthetic appeal for some. Others see it as a rite of passage, a mark of dedication to the sport of cycling.
How Cyclists Should Shave Their Legs
If you’re a cyclist contemplating whether or not to shave your legs, it’s important to do it right to avoid irritation or cuts. Here’s a basic guide:
Start by trimming
Use a body hair trimmer to shorten the hair before you start shaving. This makes the shaving process easier and more comfortable.
Exfoliating your skin can help remove dead skin cells and lift the hairs, allowing for a smoother shave.
Use a good shaving cream
Invest in a quality shaving cream to reduce friction and minimize the risk of cuts or irritation.
Shave against the direction of hair growth
This allows for a closer shave. However, be gentle to avoid irritating the skin.
Rinse and moisturize
After shaving, rinse your legs with warm water, and then apply a moisturizing lotion to keep your skin hydrated and supple.
In conclusion, the act of cyclists shaving their legs is a mix of practicality, performance, and tradition. From easing wound care to enhancing massage therapy and even to giving the slightest of aerodynamic advantages, there are valid reasons for a cyclist to opt for smooth legs. At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice that depends on your preferences, cycling habits, and commitment to the sport.
Is it necessary for all cyclists to shave their legs?
No, it’s not a necessity. Shaving is a personal choice and depends on your individual preferences and cycling habits.
Do women cyclists also shave their legs?
Yes, many female cyclists also choose to shave their legs for the same reasons as their male counterparts.
Does shaving really improve aerodynamics?
While some studies suggest a minor improvement in aerodynamics due to shaved legs, the difference is usually so small that it won’t matter for anyone but professional cyclists.
How often should cyclists shave their legs?
This depends on your hair growth rate and personal preference. Some cyclists might find that they need to shave once a week, while others might go two weeks between shaves.
Does leg shaving help with sweating?
There’s no solid evidence to suggest that shaving legs significantly affects sweating. However, some cyclists feel that shaved legs handle sweat better, preventing it from dripping down into their shoes.