If you’re a fan of cycling, then perhaps you’ve seen that a ton of professional and amateur cyclists tend to shave their legs. They are so diligent with this routine that it’s rare to find even a single strand of hair on their skin.
Is there any scientifically proven reason why cyclists shave their legs? Even if there is, is it limited to vanity only?
People ask all sorts of questions regarding the benefits of shaving body hair. Of course, cyclists who shave their legs are also found to be shaving their arms.
So, there must be some sort of benefit that is practical. To find out how shaved legs can help you while cycling, I decided to delve deeper into this topic. What I’ve found will be shared with you in this article.
I believe that reading this article will help you understand this concept better and will help you choose what you should be doing.
Why Do Cyclists Shave Their Legs?
During my research, I found that there are multiple reasons for cyclists shaving their legs.
In the following sections, I’ll go through all of the factors and explain how shaving or trimming leg hair can affect your cycling performance.
Makes Massages More Comfortable
One of the most amazing experiences of riding professionally is the massage that you get after you’re done with the ride. Massages are amazing, but things may get a bit painful if your body hair gets in the way, as it’s not rare for the one providing the massage to tug your body hair while massaging.
Shaving your legs means that the therapist will be able to massage your body more freely, thus allowing you to have a more pleasant experience that doesn’t include occasional tugs on your body hair.
Although this may not sound too convincing for everyone, this is definitely a good reason as to why you should shave your hair as well as your arms. However, even if this isn’t enough to convince you, there are four reasons that you should definitely check out.
Easier to Clean and Treat Wounds When Shaved
Another major reason for hair removal is that hair makes it tougher for you to remove your hair. While cycling, you never know when you’re going to fall and hurt yourself. It doesn’t even have to be a major injury. You’ll need to bandage up yourself even if it’s a minor bruise or cut.
If you have body hair, removing the bandage off of you will become extremely tough. This is because the band-aids stick to our skin with glue. When it’s time to peel them off, they tend to take the body hair along with them.
This not only makes it tougher for you to heal, but it may also damage the wound further, forcing you to recuperate for a longer time than actually necessary.
If it’s a minor injury, then you’ll have some time to shave the surroundings before applying the bandage. However, if it’s a major one, then the bandage will have to be applied as soon as possible, and there won’t be any time to shave or prepare the skin.
This is why it’s highly recommended that you stay shaved so that you’re ready for any situation that befalls you.
This is perhaps one of the most important reasons why professional cyclists tend to shave their leg hair. When we ride our cycles, we tend to face a ton of aerodynamic resistance that slows us down. Studies suggest that only 25% of this aerodynamic resistance comes from the bike, and our bodies are responsible for the rest of the 75%.
According to the laws of physics, the smoother a surface is, the lesser the resistance of that surface will be. Now, if you have body hair, your body naturally becomes coarse, which leads to higher resistance. On the other hand, a shaved body is very smooth, thus leading to lesser aerodynamic resistance.
The lower the resistance on your body, the faster you’ll be able to drive. So, in other words, shaving your legs can help you ride your bike faster!
This isn’t the only speculation of course. Through scientific research, it was found that a cyclist with shaved legs can save up to 19 seconds on a 25-mile trip. Yes, although this may sound like a diminishing return, this small change is enough to decide whether you’ll emerge as the victor or not.
So, a lot of professionals actually use an electric razor on their legs for the minor speed boost it offers.
Another important factor is cooling. While riding a bike, you’ll definitely sweat a lot. Sweating is necessary as it can keep our bodies cool even when we’re facing adversaries. However, if that sweat fails to evaporate, things can get much worse for our bodies.
This is where body hair tends to make things worse. Generally, hair tends to hold water on the surface of your skin. So, if you have body hair, it’ll be tougher for the sweat to evaporate from your skin. This will cause the sweat to accumulate on your skin, which in turn will prevent the glands on your skin to sweat further, thus keeping your body from cooling itself.
So, another reason why cyclists tend to shave their legs is that it helps the sweat on their skin evaporate easily while riding, thus allowing them to cool off easily.
Although not the most practical or important of the reasons, vanity is still one of the reasons why cyclists tend to shave their legs. Body hair can make your body look hazy, and that will ruin the tight calves you’ve been waiting to show off! So, if you want the whole world to see the fruit of your hard work, you should definitely shave your legs!
Another major reason behind cyclists shaving their legs is that it’s like a rite of passage. If you join any group of bicyclists, you’re likely to find that most of them shave their legs regularly, and if you don’t, they’re going to make sure you do. In fact, most cyclists spot other serious cyclistsby judging if they have body hair or not. If you do, you’re not that serious about cycling, and probably not worth their time.
So, if you’re a good cyclist but feeling left out from your buddies, try shaving your legs for a change.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does shaving your legs make you cycle faster?
No, shaving your legs does not make you a faster cyclist but there are several other benefits I have explained above.
In my exploration into the reasons why cyclists shave their legs, we’ve journeyed through a variety of reasons that extend far beyond mere aesthetics. With my cycling experience, I can attest to the practicality of these reasons. I hope that this article has shed light on this intriguing aspect of cycling culture.
Firstly, we delved into the comfort factor, particularly in relation to post-ride massages. Shaved legs, devoid of hair, make for a smoother, more pleasant massage experience, free from the discomfort of hair tugs. Then, we considered the practicality of wound care. Shaved legs simplify the process of cleaning and treating wounds, a common occurrence in the world of cycling.
We also explored the role of aerodynamics in cycling performance. Shaving leg hair can reduce aerodynamic resistance, potentially giving cyclists a slight edge in speed. While the difference might seem negligible, in a sport where every second counts, it can be a game-changer.
The article also highlighted the cooling effect of shaved legs. Sweat evaporates more easily from hairless skin, helping to regulate body temperature during intense rides. And let’s not forget the role of vanity and tradition in this practice. Shaving legs can accentuate the muscular definition earned from hours of pedaling, and it’s a rite of passage in many cycling communities.
Next time you see a cyclist with shiny, hairless legs, you’ll know it’s more than just a fashion statement. It’s a testament to the multifaceted world of cycling.