Monday, February 16, 2009

To Shave or Not to Shave

Of all the crazy, quirky things that cyclists do, this has to be the most hotly contested.

I first shaved my legs back in 1996. I remember my wife (then fiance) walked in on me and kinda flipped out. She called all her friends to tell them I had been in the shower for over an hour shaving my legs (yes, it took that long, there was a lot of hair!) I like to think some of her friends understood, most probably thought I was crazy. That was over a decade ago and I've kept my legs nicely shorn since.

The wife has gotten very used to it, maybe even likes it... If anything, she's quick to give me a gentle reminder to shave when the old legs get a little prickly. My friends (non-cyclists) gave me shit at first, as do co-workers, relatives, etc. but they all get used to it. Or maybe I just get used to their crap.

Let's take a look at the reasons why cyclists shave and the reasons not to. Maybe this will help someone who's on the fence about the whole topic.

Reasons To Shave:
  • Better aerodynamics - this is probably more myth than anything. If there is an aerodynamic benefit, it's gotta be pretty minuscule.
  • Makes road rash easier to clean, heals faster, etc. - Road rash on a shaved leg is definitely easier to clean and care for, plus no hair getting caught in bandages...
  • Massage is nicer, less painful - This has got to be true, although I've never had a massage on an unshaven leg so I have no basis for comparison.
  • Less irritation from shorts - not too sure about this one, maybe there's something to it.
  • Easier apply/remove embrocation - no doubt in my mind...
  • Looks cool - I think so, but it's all a matter of opinion
  • Feels fast - Yes!
And reasons not to:
  • It's a hassle - yup, but not that bad. Two to three times a week.
  • Ingrown hairs - not too much of a problem personally, unless I let the hair grow too long...
  • Looks girlish, not manly, etc. - If your masculinity is threatened by shaved legs, you best not be riding in spandex, because that certainly isn't helping your cause. Try a wife-beater and a pair of cutoffs, that will show 'em your a man!
  • Ridicule - yeah, and people don't make fun of the spandex shorts...?
For me, shaving is the embodiment of my commitment to the sport. It's a regular (or semi-regular) affirmation of my love for cycling. I always shave the day before races as a part of my ritual. Helps put me in the right frame of mind. Plus, I think it gives the whole cyclist a very put together and well polished look. And it's PRO, need I say more?

1 comment:

  1. I am in the Marines, and my fellow lance coolies give me shit all the fucking time. They call me fag and all the mean mean words! hahaaa good article.