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Why male cyclists shave their legs

lost_in_thoughtlost_in_thought Posts: 10,563
edited February 2009 in Commuting chat
According to QI:
'It makes it easier to clean out a wound, means you can put sticking plaster on it and it will stick, makes calf rubs less painful, but mostly for aesthetic reasons. No aerodynamic improvment is made'.

Care to comment, chaps?
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  • I just use the whole cycling thing as a 'cover'. I shave my legs so that they look nice.
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,152
    It's aesthetic basically. Some claim it makes massages more comfy but I've had sports massages on my (hairy) legs and the hair doesn't add to the discomfort. I sort of get the cleaning thing but having had road rash myself I don't buy it totally and road rash isn;t something I'd want to stick a plaster on anyway!
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  • Eau RougeEau Rouge Posts: 1,118
    The pro's all do it. Roadies do it to copy the pro's. It's shallow I know, but come on, the pro's do it, so it must be cool.


    (I don't shave my legs, not yet anyway)
  • JameyJamey Posts: 2,152
    I don't shave my legs but personally I think the massage thing is probably the most convincing and logical reason I've heard of to date. Getting someone to rub a muscle when there's hair on the skin doesn't feel very nice and if I was getting free massages every (like a pro athlete) then I'd definitely want to keep the skin smooth.

    However that should be the same for runners and any other sportspeople that get leg massages so either there must be another reason why cyclists do it or it's a myth that only cyclists do it and, in fact, many sportspeople from all disciplines do the same.

    I suspect the latter is true.
  • combination of all those reasons, but yeah, vanity has a lot to do with it!
  • iain_jiain_j Posts: 1,941
    In one of the recent Cycling Weekly mags they were doing diet and weight loss tips for 4 volunteers. One of the blokes was pictured wearing lycra shorts, with hairy legs sticking out beneath. I suddenly "got" the whole leg-shaving thing.

    Although I don't do it myself :P
  • Mike HealeyMike Healey Posts: 1,023
    After many years, I have, thro' dint of much yoga-developed body control, learned to alter the lie of my leg hair as my legs move through the air, to create a laminar flow effect, much as dolphins do with their skin to speed up their progress thro' the water.

    The resultant improvement in hairodynamics (Ho! Ho!) will, I calculate, knock about 45-55 secs of my 25 time.

    Once I've mastered the art of riding my bike and doing this at the same time, that is. At present, it's either being hairodynamic and falling off, or staying on and not being hair...
    Organising the Bradford Kids Saturday Bike Club at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre since 1998
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  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,599
    Hairy legs look stupid sticking out the bottom of lycra shorts. Our legs are the only muscley bits most of us have too, so we may as well show it off...
  • gb155gb155 Posts: 2,048
    According to QI:
    'It makes it easier to clean out a wound, means you can put sticking plaster on it and it will stick, makes calf rubs less painful, but mostly for aesthetic reasons. No aerodynamic improvment is made'.

    Care to comment, chaps?

    Whats your thoughts on it Dave?
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  • It's tradition, plainand simple
  • CrapaudCrapaud Posts: 2,483
    I shave my legs so that I've got extra places to stick my nicotine patches! The buggers won't stick to hairy skin.

    Nicotine being a performance enhancing drug.
    A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject - Churchill
  • So, LiT, why do YOU shave your legs?
  • CrapaudCrapaud Posts: 2,483
    So, LiT, why do YOU shave your legs?
    Who says that LiT does shave her legs?
    A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject - Churchill
  • I wax rather than shave, it's much easier and cleaner.

    I do hate booking the first appointment of the year. I phone the beauty parlour and in my gruffest, most macho voice ask for a half-leg wax. Only to be met by a horrifed silence at the other end of the line :oops:
  • Crapaud wrote:
    So, LiT, why do YOU shave your legs?
    Who says that LiT does shave her legs?
    Its an assumption. Fairly safe, I think.
  • edninoednino Posts: 684
    I don't shave my legs, but i do have smooth balls. :roll:
  • CrapaudCrapaud Posts: 2,483
    ednino wrote:
    I don't shave my legs, but i do have smooth balls. :roll:
    You shave the soles of your feet? :?
    Its an assumption. Fairly safe, I think.
    No chance of photographic evidence then? Eh... for Don_don. *cough*
    A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject - Churchill
  • Crapaud wrote:
    So, LiT, why do YOU shave your legs?
    Who says that LiT does shave her legs?
    Its an assumption. Fairly safe, I think.

    Because girls should do so. But that's true of an entire gender, not a small sporting group.

    When I used to swim, a lot of shaving/waxing went on, but that was actually for aerodynamic gain. We all thought we were fast enough that it would make a difference... :oops:
  • I wax rather than shave, it's much easier and cleaner.

    I do hate booking the first appointment of the year. I phone the beauty parlour and in my gruffest, most macho voice ask for a half-leg wax. Only to be met by a horrifed silence at the other end of the line :oops:

    Never tried waxing. Would this be best done at a beauty parlour or are the kits for doing it at home any good?
  • SewinmanSewinman Posts: 2,131
    Where abouts does the shaving/waxing stop?
  • When I used to swim, a lot of shaving/waxing went on, but that was actually for aerodynamic gain. We all thought we were fast enough that it would make a difference... :oops:
    ...... or did you mean hydrodynamic?

    In fact, I think you have got quite close to the mark with the "we all thought we were fast enough...." comment, as regards cyclists.
  • When I used to swim, a lot of shaving/waxing went on, but that was actually for aerodynamic gain. We all thought we were fast enough that it would make a difference... :oops:
    ...... or did you mean hydrodynamic?

    In fact, I think you have got quite close to the mark with the "we all thought we were fast enough...." comment, as regards cyclists.

    Alright, alright, hydrodynamic. Fair play! :)

    But on a bike, according to Mr Fry, it makes no difference aerodynamically whatsoever...
  • edninoednino Posts: 684
    Sewinman wrote:
    Where abouts does the shaving/waxing stop?

    about weist height
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    The reason I heard is that it's what cyclists do. The pro's shave, so if we can buy carbon road bikes with carbon aerobars, lookalikey pro race tyres, headphones that make it look as if we're in touch with race control via the team car even if it's just Led Zep Vol III on the Walkman on the way to work, then we can go that one extra step and shave the pins as well. It's what cyclists do.
  • ednino wrote:
    Sewinman wrote:
    Where abouts does the shaving/waxing stop?

    about weist height

    Err, not really. There's the chest, armpits and, of course, ones face. All above the waist.
  • hisokahisoka Posts: 541
    Ok, the idea of waxing makes me wince but for charity I have offered full body wax, aka sell a strip for a quid to people.

    Been told though that it might cause a riot due to shortage of wax for others afterwards. :lol:

    I go for pure vanity on the shaved legs though for male cyclists, but that is purely layman talk from me.
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  • SewinmanSewinman Posts: 2,131
    ednino wrote:
    Sewinman wrote:
    Where abouts does the shaving/waxing stop?

    about weist height


    So does it include the naughty bits!?
  • jongingejonginge Posts: 5,945
    When I used to swim, a lot of shaving/waxing went on, but that was actually for aerodynamic gain. We all thought we were fast enough that it would make a difference... :oops:
    ...... or did you mean hydrodynamic?

    In fact, I think you have got quite close to the mark with the "we all thought we were fast enough...." comment, as regards cyclists.

    Alright, alright, hydrodynamic. Fair play! :)

    But on a bike, according to Mr Fry, it makes no difference aerodynamically whatsoever...
    Perhaps. But to prove it you'd need significant low-speed wind tunnel time, which is expensive. For road races the difference between shaved/unshaved would be masked by the lack of aerodynamics of the standard jersies, uncovered shoes etc. For TTs it may be more of an issue. They put dimples on sections of skinsuits after wind tunnel testing so I'm sure leg hair may have an aero impact, albeit small
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  • Sewinman wrote:
    Where abouts does the shaving/waxing stop?

    well indeed since i'm one o those very hairy men where it's easier to mention the areas that don't have hair than not the idea of shaving my legs would end up looking very silly.
  • iain_jiain_j Posts: 1,941
    DragQueen wrote:
    Err, not really. There's the chest, armpits and, of course, ones face. All above the waist.

    /recalls episode of Jackass where Steve-O got EVERYTHING waxed, head to toe

    :lol:
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