The idea that shaving your legs can make bicyclists faster always struck me as silly. What will it gain you — three-tenths of a second over 100 miles?
Besides the increased speed, doubtful except at the highest levels of biking, there’s another reason to do it. Road Bike Rider says shaving our legs makes it less painful to remove the bandages that you’ll have all over them after a crash. We all know how much it hurts to rip a piece of adhesive tape off a hairy leg or arm. But even so, to shave your legs so you won’t appear to be a wuss also strikes me as — well, silly.
Until this week. After my fall last Friday, I wound up with a badly skinned leg. It’s not a deep wound, but it’s enough that it must be bandaged. The open sore doesn’t seem to want to scab over, so I change the adhesive bandage pad on it every day — and it’s no fun. In fact, it’s probably the most pain I’ve had from cycling. Just the act of removing the bandages gets me hyped up and nervous.
This morning, I was able to cut back from two bandages to one. One almost covers the expanse of the wound, and maybe by Sunday, I’ll be able to cut back to regular Band-Aids instead of the larger pads. I can’t wait for this thing to heal, if for no other reason than I’ll be able to avoid my daily painful bandage removal.
So maybe shaving legs does make sense. But I’m still not going to do it.