For ages I resisted, I refused to shave my legs. I would actively make fun of any of my friends who did do it, I just thought it was dumb.
Then over time, that opinion softened somewhat, then a lot, and now I have silky smooth legs all of the time.
Hell I shaved in the shower earlier today so I would have smooth legs on my non-cycling related work conference in the tropics.
Words - Dave Edwards
I take pride in my smooth guns. Part of me thinks I'm a sell-out, but when I'm cycling, I don't care. These days if I see someone with a hairy set of pipes on a bike, it looks wrong. Why? Every single non-cyclist person you know thinks that a man who shaves his legs is a total tool. You are made fun of to your face as well as behind your back, so why do it?
CRASHES AND INFECTIONS AND STUFF
Heaps of guys will say that cyclists shave because when you crash, the wound will heal quicker if you have no hair. RUBBISH. Prove it. If this was the case, why not shave your whole body? People get grazes on their arms and torso, and they don't shave those areas, yet they heal just fine.
I think it was the brand with the big S that conducted some basic research in their wind tunnel about whether shaved pipes have a significant advantage over hairy. They found that there were indeed decent gains to be had. Great.
So if you race a lot, then awesome. You can add it to your skinsuit, aero bike and super-lame aero road helmet, and be a bullet-like champion. But most guys I know are on a climbing bike, wear a regular helmet, and don't race often, or even at all, yet still shave. Aerodynamic advantages do not matter to these cats.
OK, so I used to hate the way dudes looked with shaved legs. It was so effeminate. A man should be a man, and shaved legs was a step away from that. Then I shaved for the first time. Mind blown. OMFG does it feel so awesome! The smoothness is incredible, when you have freshly shaven legs, you feel a million bucks.
And so now I look at them on others, and appreciate what it's like. Without hair, legs look ready for action. There's something about the sculpted pipes of a regular rider that goes so well without hair clouding the view.
Yes, I am perfectly comfortable to say as a married man that I can thoroughly appreciate the look of another bloke's legs. The muscle that ripples across the quads, and the lines of a strong calf, it's energy just waiting to crush the pedals on a bike, and destroy the road underneath them. This I can appreciate.
This is the reason I started shaving. When you turn up to ride with people you don't know, they will invariably look at your pipes, and judge your ability based upon that view.
Now of course when on the bike, those judgements are often proven wrong, and that is the point. With hairy legs, I felt I had to prove that I was a good rider. I felt that I was automatically judged as a sub-par rider, and so had to ensure that I would be burying myself on the front of a bunch ride, to prove that my hairy legs weren't telling the full story about me. So I shaved. Then I was able to relax. I could turn up to a ride, and ride as I felt. On the front, tucked into the pack or getting dropped, it mattered little, I had far less point to prove.
I have to admit it, now that I'm on the other side of the fence, I do the same thing. If someone has hairy legs, I immediately dismiss them as a good rider. The same as a visor on your helmet, a groupset under Ultegra level, a baggy jersey, or an aluminium bike. Someone with these musn't be any good.
That's how my mind works, and so do many people's. It isn't true, I got whipped by a bloke with all four of those things just the other week, but it's how we think. And this judgement is the largest reason that we shave our legs. It was why it was such news that Sagan rocked up in Argentina with hairy legs. Champion. In the rainbow stripes and he rides with a DGAF flavour.
So quit giving any other excuse to smooth legs, other than you like it, and we do it because it looks cool. If you don't shave your legs, just train your guts out, and enjoy the thought that you are proving wrong the scores of people who are judging you.