In a previous post I had some fun probing the various reasons cyclists give for shaving their legs. A few more reasons were given in the comments:
- As a way to "join the club"
- To avoid the pain of pulled hair when pulling on the shorts
- Because shaved legs are just so sexy
- More comfortable post-ride massage
I have a different approach. I like to be the underdog. The Clark Kent. When I ride with new people they don't see anything impressive. My bike is not fancy, new or carbon. My clothing is functional, but not exotic or trendy (like J.C.Penny or maybe Old Navy, but not Nordstroms or Macys). And my legs are not shaved. Most people looking at me would assume I'm just another 40-something out for a joy ride. But once we get rolling, I let my riding do the talking. This is not to say I'm hot stuff - I'm not. But I think I'm an above-average recreational rider. I like to think that most people I ride with are impressed that: I can do a 20+ mph pace, I know what to do (and not to do) in a paceline, I don't just up and die on climbs, I make some technical mountain bike moves, and I really enjoy riding.
In some ways I admire you leg-shavers for being bold enough to announce to the world (through your hairless legs) that you are a serious cyclist. Perhaps it helps you go harder because you feel you have to live up to that statement. A gutsy way to go.
Maybe I'm just being a wimp for going low-key since it's easier to impress people and if I get dropped the humiliation isn't as deep. If so, that's not my conscious decision. For one I'm cheap so I just don't buy a lot of new or fancy gear - just the OK-looking functional stuff. It seems to work about as good as the expensive stuff and I'm happy with it. I bought my road bike used, and it's a bit worn, but it fits me like a glove and it has a good drive-train (Ultegra). My mountain bike is a bit nicer (2005 Cannondale Prophet), but it was also used and has it's share of dings and I'm slowly fixing it up, but I love how it rides. I'm pursuing cycling in my way - that's all.
OK, back to the list. Two reasons for shaving relate to reduced pain or discomfort. Well, if that works for you, but it seems weak to me. I'd rather put up with a little pain than have to shave every week, but maybe that's just me. Todd did note that he frequently receives post-ride massages and the shaved legs make the massage nicer - even I might shave if it meant frequent post-ride massages - hard to argue with that.
Because shaved legs are sexy. I'm not sure what to make of this one. Sexy in a general sense? Or the ladies find shaved legs sexy? Or other guys find guys shaved legs sexy? To not go too far afield, I'll assume sexy in general. Yeah, I can see that, but for this 40-something married guy, that just doesn't mean much to me anymore. Sure, everyone likes to feel attractive, but that's not enough for me to put up with the hassles of shaving more of me than just my face (which I use an electric razor in the car so it's as easy and uses my least valuable time).
So all you leg-shavers can keep your razors, cuts, razor burn, stubble and 15 minutes of life wasted each week. I'll stay au natural, thank you.