This summer I have been biking more than ever. And I have really been enjoying it! For me it is just easier on the body then miles of trails. I don’t think I will ever give up my trails though, just saying that biking has been a nice alternative.
So, I have been giving thought to buying myself a better bike. One more suited to doing roads, then my cyclocross. That thing is built like a tank, but it a bit less than forgiving when it comes to comforting the rider. I still haven’t made up my mind on a new bike or not, but one thing that I have noticed is I am paying more attention to cyclists around me to see what they are riding. So this leads me to my next question. Why do bikers shave their legs? I mean besides showing off their muscles, there must be some practical reason for it. Doesn’t there?
Reason # 1 – It makes you faster
The first time I saw shaved legs on a cyclists, someone told me it was to make them more aerodynamic. I guess that makes sense if you are talking about elite levels. Bicyling.com asked the same question in 1987 and found that shaved skin could account for a measly .06% increase in aerodynamics. Perhaps a more compelling reason is a study done by Specialized, where they were able to cut between 50 -82 seconds on a 40km course. So, I guess if you are road racing this makes sense, but why do mountain bikers do it then?
Reason #2 – Your massage hurts less
I add this reason because bicycling.com included it as a reason why some pros shave. Apparently, having the hair pulled on your legs during a massage hurts a lot. I wouldn’t know though, since I don’t get nor can I afford to have massages on a frequent basis.
Reason #3 – Wounds heal faster
Ok now we are talking. This sounds reasonable. But, again how many times does the average rider get road rash during a season? I don’t ride a ton, maybe 1000 to 2000 km a year, and I rarely hit the ground.
Reason #4 – It looks better
There is no doubt that muscles pop better on shaved skin. And hell, if we are going to put in all those hours working hard AND eating well. Then we should be proud to show off the results.
Reason #5 – It is tradition
I would think that this is the reason that most weekend warriors shave. They simply think that it is the way things are done. And professional road bikers have been shaving their legs for at least the last 100 yrs, probably just as long as the ladies have been shaving.
Anyways, these are some of the reasons I was able to dig up. If you know of any others, I would love to hear about them in the comments.