To shave or not to shave?


** Click here for Episode 154 **

Esau was a hairy man. Jacob was a smooth man. And Michael from Leeds can’t decide whether he’s an Esau or a Jacob:

I am a very keen cyclist, and am a member of one of the local cycling clubs. On our weekly club ride a lot of cyclist from various local clubs take part, and they all have shaved legs. I know this is a common practice among cyclists, but I am unsure whether to take part in it my myself. My wife is especially against it.

So answer me this: should I shave my legs to fit in with the rest of the group, or should I keep my hairy legs as they are?

Well, cyclists obviously aren’t a vain bunch. Hence their ready acceptance of patches of arse-sweat, their willingness to wear cameltoe-inducing shiny leggings, and their adoption of helmets that make them look like Willem Dafoe in Spider-Man. All these fashion no-nos are milestones upon the road to optimal aerodynamics, as is the leg-shaving. All that air resistance dragging against your leg-hair could add ruinous numbers of milliseconds to your ride-time.

Plus, all those bald-legged cyclists will mock you if you don’t join in their depilation games. You’ll look much better when wearing fishnet tights. And if leg-shaving’s good enough for David Beckham

On the other hand, if you do decide to depilate, it’ll add ruinous minutes to your shower-time. Cactus-like prickliness will characterise your shins. Does it stop at the legs, or are you supposed to deforest your body from top floor to basement? Your non-cyclist friends will mock you, and your wife will be angry at you for clogging up her Ladyshave. And if David Beckham jumped off a cliff, would you?

There’s so much compelling evidence on both sides that we’re throwing this dilemma out to you lot.

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4 Responses to “To shave or not to shave?”

  1. Sara Says:

    I was told by a cyclist friend – who was possibly trying to “explain away” the legs – that it’s not a speed thing, or a timing thing. Apparently the reason serious cyclists shave is that if and when they fall off the bike, the hair doesn’t get all stuck in the wound and get nasty and manky. More hygenic, as you can keep the graze clean and also the sweat doesn’t stick in your haris and infect your healing scabby knees.

    Nice, isn’t it.

    So… I suppose it depends how often you fall off your bike?

  2. Fiona Says:

    Wax…trust me as a lady…

  3. Olly Newport Says:

    “All these fashion no-nos are milestones upon the road to optimal aerodynamics, as is the leg-shaving. All that air resistance dragging against your leg-hair could add ruinous numbers of milliseconds to your ride-time.”

    Actually, it’s a common myth that cyclists shave their legs for aerodynamics, it’s mostly an appearance thing… that or one cyclist started doing it, and then all the others followed.

    Using wind tunnel tests show that having hairy legs has such a minute difference to aerodynamics that it’s barely worth bothering with. Swimmers on the other hand have to travel through water, and therefore are susceptible to the woes of having to have a smooth body.

    However, good reasons for Michael from Leads to shave his legs (if he goes on long rides) is that if you do crash, it’s less painful for bandages to be applied and removed, likewise to remove dirt. You can also treat a phenomenon called ‘Road Rash’ far easier, and less painfully.

    I’d say shave them just this once, see how it goes. Maybe she’ll like it.



  4. lynn Says:

    on the cycling issue, well if they want to go faster, shaving of the legs may help slightly.

    I think it looks kind of creepy though, like a man with long nails is creepy too! Therefore my vote is NO and in the winter they will get cold!

    Hope this scientific answer helps you out!!

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