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Why Do Cyclists Shave Their Legs?

Updated on July 9, 2012

It may seem strange but...Men shave their legs!

Male cyclists shave their legs- it's official

Chances are you have seen a number of cyclists with shaven legs. To the un-initiated it may seem perplexing. I know lots of female friends that say "men shave their legs!" in complete disbelief as it has not yet even become a part of metrosexual male culture.

Yes it's true- Men shave their legs.

Men shave their legs for a reason. Why do Male cyclists shave their legs?

The reasosns are documented below including a common misguided myth as to why we shave.

Leg shaving and cycling

Smoother legs are certainly easier to clean from the mud from cyclocross racing
Smoother legs are certainly easier to clean from the mud from cyclocross racing | Source

Why do they do it? Why does a cyclist shave his legs?

1. Ease cleaning of ‘Road Rash’ and dirt

Road rash is the painful areas of grazed skin that result from cyclists falling and at speed sliding along the tarmac. Shaved legs means that the cleaning of such wounds is simpler and it means that chance of infection is lower. For those that venture off the roads and into the forests smooth legs allow easier cleaning and removal of dirt.

2. Smooth legs are easier to massage

Many competitive cyclists use massage as a process to enhance the healing of damaged muscles- whether it be self massage or by a professional. Hairy legs potentially lead to a painful experience as the masseur will not be pulling on the leg hair when they start working the muscles.

3. Aerodynamic Advantage and leg shaving

The less aerodynamic drag a cyclist produces, the faster they can potentially travel. The thinking is that less hair means less drag. However the effect is minimal and in fact some studies have previously shown that it makes no discernable difference. The key to this may be psychological- a rider believing that they are more aerodynamic may have the effect of making them ride quicker.

4. Appearance and leg shaving in cyclists

Having shaven legs is often seen as being more attractive and it is often seen that musculature looks enhanced by having smooth skin. This may help in negatively affecting opponents who see a rider’s leg musculature and become intimidated. Bodybuilders shave to show off every nook and crevice of their honed bodies.

If you pick up a cycling magazine you will see that many professional cyclists do whatever possible to make themselves look good and shaving can be seen as part of this culture and tradition. Some mountain bikers however choose not to follow this tradition and choose to keep their 'mohair tight's' on!

A shaven legged cyclist leads the bunch

Shaven legged cyclist leads the peloton. Why do cyclists shave their legs?
Shaven legged cyclist leads the peloton. Why do cyclists shave their legs? | Source

The common myth of male cyclists shaving their legs- reducing drag

Do shaved legs make you cycle faster? This is a common misconception that many non cyclists believe. It sounds like it could be true to the uninitiated.

Contrary to popular belief- Smooth legs on a cyclist do not actually make a cyclist ride faster due to reduced drag. Studies have shown that a small amount of hair on the legs actually makes a rider travel slightly faster due to reduced drag.

Thanks for reading- for more cycling articles please visit CyclingFitness at Hubpages


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    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Go for it dobo700- you'll feel like a real cyclist!!

    • dobo700 profile image

      dobo700 5 years ago from Australia

      I'm new to cycling, but not quite ready to shave my legs.

    • capon profile image

      Tony Capon 5 years ago from Upminster, Essex, United Kingdom

      I once shaved my legs for Cycling reasons. despite my great age at the time, I managed to get myself into the National British Time Trial Championships for 10 miles. Then showing a lack of character, I wanted to look the part! So I shaved my legs. As things turned-out race day (end of May) was a most filthy day. Raining and cold, so much so that I elected to wear knee-warmers, thereby covering-up my smooth and well oiled legs. Life EH!

      I did receive some nice comments from female cyclists about my legs, but overall I shan't be shaving them again. I hated the way they felt under trousers, so I spent most of that summer in shorts!

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks Micky. I'm sure you're often asked the same question!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      Beautifully done. Yes, massage is a great reason and for injury. God bless.