Have you ever noticed the sleek, hairless arms of professional cyclists and wondered why they choose to shave? Or perhaps you’re an amateur cyclist yourself, and you’ve pondered whether you should follow suit.
The world of cycling is filled with such intriguing nuances, and one of the most debated is the practice of arm shaving. It’s not just a trend, but a choice that many cyclists make for reasons that might surprise you.
In this article, I’ll delve into the fascinating rationale behind cyclists shaving their arms. I’ll explore whether it’s merely a style statement or if it offers any tangible benefits.
So, buckle up, and let’s embark on this enlightening journey together!
Do Cyclists Shave Their Arms?
Yes, cyclists shave their arms to get them every possible edge over the competition.
While it might sound a bit weird to beginner cyclists, but shaving your arms is highly recommended for a better cycling experience by professional cyclists. There are several advantages to shaving your arms for cycling from better aerodynamics drag to safety issues.
Perks of Shaving Your Arms as A Cyclist
There are multiple factors to consider while pondering if you should shave your arms as a cyclist or not. In this section, I’ll be discussing all the different factors that’ll be affecting you for shaving your arms.
Related reading: How To Trim Leg Hair For Cycling?
The first and foremost thing that you’d need to consider is the aerodynamic drag. It’s found that while cycling at a high speed, the cyclist himself experiences 75% of aerodynamic drag, while the bicycle accounts for 25% of the drag.
The bicycle accounts for a lower aerodynamic drag mainly because of its structure. However, that’s not the only reason. You’ll also find that the body of a cycle is much smoother than the body of a cyclist. This is why making the body of the rider smoother will decrease the aerodynamic resistance to a great extent.
One of the best ways of reducing drag is by shaving the body hair. The body hair increases the roughness of the skin, which in turn increases the friction against the wind. So, shaving your legs and arms can decrease that friction and can enable you to ride faster than usual.
This is one of the major reasons why you should shave your arms as a cyclist.
Researchers Cameron Piper and Chris Yu working for Specialized found out through extensive research that shaving your arms can make you 19 seconds faster over a ride of 25 miles. Although this increase is highly dependent on several factors, it’s evident that shaving arms can provide a reasonable boost. Although 19 seconds may feel like a marginal boost, it can actually make you a winner in a sticky situation. Plus, there’s isn’t much that you’re giving away either.
Irrespective of whether it’s a warm or a cool day, you’ll be heating up considerably while cycling. While warming up is essential for cycling as it can allow you to stretch your muscles better and will help you push yourself to your limits, it’s not recommended to overheat as that can dehydrate you faster and will leave you tired easily.
Human beings mainly cool off through sweating. We sweat through certain glands on our skin, and it evaporates to give us a cool feeling that makes us feel better.
However, hair tends to retain water and salt, so it makes it tough for sweat to evaporate. As excess hair can make it tougher for you to sweat, it’ll take you more time to cool off as well. This is how your cooling system is directly linked to the body hair. The lesser body hair you have, the faster you’ll be able to cool off. This is why we highly recommend shaving your arms.
Related reading: Best Electric Shaver For Cyclist
A massage can always make you feel better both before and after a ride. With all the hair removed from your arms, there will be less tugging, and you won’t feel any pain. However, if there’s hair on you, the massage may feel painful.
This is another reason why you should be shaving your arms.
This is a major reason why you would want to shave your arms as a cyclist. As a hard-going athlete, you should only expect that you’ll experience crashes and injuries. If you ever get injured, you’ll have to tape or bandage the wound so that it heals better and doesn’t lead to more problems.
However, if you have body hair, it’ll be tough for you to apply tape or bandage to your skin because the process of removing them will be painful. In fact, most healthcare professionals recommend shaving your arm before applying bandages. However, if it’s a severe injury, then it won’t be possible for them to shave before applying the tape.
So, it’d be better if you were shaved before the ride, which would make things much simpler and easier.
Last, but not least, a shaved arm can make you look much better than usual. Body hair tends to cast shadows on your skin. This ends up blurring the edges of your muscles. So, if you want to be a showoff, you better shave your body and arms.
Shaving your arms is more than a matter of personal preference or aesthetic appeal. It’s a multifaceted decision that can impact a cyclist’s performance and comfort in several ways.
Shaving your arms as a cyclist can offer tangible benefits, from reducing aerodynamic drag to enhancing your body’s natural cooling system. It’s not just about looking the part. It’s about optimizing your body for the rigors of the ride.
The simple act of removing arm hair can make post-ride massages more enjoyable and less painful. It can also make the unfortunate but sometimes inevitable task of bandaging wounds less of an ordeal.
But let’s not completely dismiss the vanity aspect. A smooth, hairless arm can accentuate your muscular definition, adding to the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with being a dedicated athlete.
Shaving your arms might seem like a small detail, but it could make a significant difference in your cycling experience. As I’ve explained above, it’s a decision that comes with more than one benefit. So why not give it a try and see if it enhances your ride and gives you that edge over your competitors?