Whilst leg-shaving may sound like an odd ritual for the majority of guys, if you’re into your cycling, it’s a pretty common phenomenon. In fact, even before it was commonplace for women to shave their legs, professional cyclists were already sporting silky-smooth pins.
Why do cyclists shave their legs?
Pretty much all the pros do it, so it has to be legit, right? Well, cyclists shave their legs for a number of reasons. Firstly, to increase aerodynamic ability. According to a study by one of the big cycling brands, a fuzz-free cyclist can “shave” on average 70 seconds off a 40km ride. The same study also concluded that no significant time savings were made from being free of facial hair; excellent news for you fuzzy-faced fellas!
Another reason for cyclists to shave their legs is that injuries are much easier to treat when there’s no hair to get in the way. Cleaning grit and dirt from a wound after you’ve taken a tumble on your bike is a lot less of a burden when there’s no hair to get in the way. Not to mention the avoidance of the classic eye-watering impromptu leg wax that comes with ripping off a dressing. Ouch.
Professional cyclists have regular sports massages to help them recover from their gruelling rides and training sessions. Smooth legs make this task a whole lot easier for the person administering the massage and is of course, a lot less painful when there’s no hair to be tugged on.
All of this aside, arguably the main reason why cyclists shave their legs is that, well, it’s just a thing that cyclists do. It’s natural to want to look the part when you really get into a sport or hobby, and in the world of cycling, having hair-free legs is like wearing an invisible badge of commitment. The fancy bike and the rest of the gear is all well and good, but nothing says “I’m a serious cyclist” quite like a pair of satin-smooth legs.
Should I shave my legs for cycling?
We’d hope that falling off your bike isn’t a regular occurrence, and, let’s be honest, how often do you really go for sports massages? For the average amateur cyclist, leg shaving certainly isn’t a necessity.
That being said, there’s certainly no harm in it either, so hey, if it makes you feel good then go for it! Channel your inner Hoy and flaunt those pins with pride.
How to shave your legs for cycling
Just like you wouldn’t jump straight into shaving a full beard with a regular razor, if it’s your first time opting for a clean-shaven look, we’d recommend starting off with either an electric beard trimmer or a pair of scissors. You’ll find the experience a whole lot easier if the hairs are trimmed down first.
For the sake of avoiding any awkward bending, it’s usually best to shave your legs in the bath rather than the shower. Don’t worry too much if you don’t have a bath though, just be careful you don’t slip over mid-shave. Make sure you lather up before you begin. You can use your regular shave gel for this, but shower gel or hair conditioner will also work a treat. Legs usually aren’t as sensitive as faces, so you do get a little more leeway – just avoid using standard bar soap, as this won’t give you the lubrication you need.
Use a similar technique to what you would on your face. In case you need a reminder (we won’t judge) – that’s short, light strokes, with the grain (usually downwards on the legs), and make sure you’re rinsing your blades between strokes. Take extra care around your knees and ankles – the lumps and bumps make these areas more prone to cuts.
Once you’re hair-free, gently pat dry your legs and apply plenty of moisturiser. If you don’t have body moisturiser, after-sun lotion works just as well. A quick word of warning, it’s probably going to feel very strange at first, but you’ll soon get used to the trouser on skin feeling. Maintain your new silky-smooth look by repeating the routine once/twice a week, depending on how fast your hair grows.