I’ve never shaved my legs. Even when I was a new roadie, the snide comments from my indoctrinators only served to harden my resolve against shaving. And then I stopped thinking about.
In full disclosure, I have hairy legs. There’s no real way to know where to stop once you put a razor in at the ankle. If I only went to my bibs’ hem line, then it would look like I had hair shorts on. That wasn’t even a thing in the ’70s, before Western Civilization undertook a wholesale rejection of body hair.
Very few of my friends race road bikes, so the common tropes about it making massage more comfortable or speeding the healing of road rash don’t play. Has anyone seen my soigneur? No. Me neither.
Much has been made of the aerodynamic advantages of smooth legs, but if I’m depending on a weekly rending of hair for a few seconds gained on whatever group rides I can drag myself to during a week, then I have my life priorities out of order.
That leaves two possible motivations. One is attractiveness. Some say shaved legs look better. I won’t resummon the visuals from above, but my personal aesthetics are not going to be improved with a Bic and a can of Barbasol. My wife has emphasized this to me every time the subject of leg shaving has arisen, which is not much at my house.
The last motivator? Tradition. We do this, because we’ve always done it. It would be pretentious to call myself an iconoclast, so I won’t. But I’m not really interested in upholding other people’s traditions either. The more they want me to, the less I want to do it.
This week’s Group Ride asks, have you ever shaved your legs just to fit in? Are you hirsute or polished? Hairy or sleek? Do you believe that whatever you do relates to your cycling in some real and tangible way? Or is it just the propeller beanie of our particular club?