Dr. Spalm - Can you explain why amateur cyclists shave their legs?
- Sasquatch in Spokane
Dear Sasquatch - First of all, welcome to Spokane, Mr. Williams. I loved you as Mork. Not so much at Patch Adams.
As to your question: Can I explain why amateur cyclists shave their legs?
Since I get paid by the word, I will elucidate further.
Unacceptable reasons to shave your legs:
1 - Shaved legs are more aerodynamic.
If sneezing is the difference between you being a weight that wins bike races or not, then by all means, shave off the 3 grams of hair on your legs, reap the 0.00001% aerodynamic increase and don't forget to sneeze.
2 - My legs look better in my cycling shorts.
Really? If this is your reason for going hairless then please have your legs waxed and don't forget the bronzing spray. You should be in the local gym taking steriods and gazing at yourself in the mirror and not taking up room on the local roads that real cyclists could use.
3 - I want to be taken seriously as a cyclist.
Respect is earned, not given. Floyd Landis won his first bike races wearing plaid socks and overalls. The first guy across the line or up the hill gets respect regardless of how hairy his (or her) legs are.
Acceptable reasons to shave your legs:
1 - Road rash. Scrapes and falls happen in cycling and shaved legs are easier to clean up, bandage and scab. It may not sound pleasant, but it's true.
2 - Cleanliness. Shaved legs are easier to clean up. This is particularly necessary if you are finishing a race and have a drive home. A wash cloth and water can clean up your legs and other bits to reduce some "issues." This begs the question of how high legs get shaved, but there are some things that Dr. Spalm won't discuss except in the privacy of a paid consultation.
Excellent reason to shave your legs:
1 - Your Director Sportif expects it. This is really the only excellent reason to shave your legs. The massages are easier, and the road rash/cleanliness reasons count much more when you are making a living on your bike.