Shaving legs

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.


  1. says

    I have always felt like the shaving of legs was a silly pro cyclist wannabes act . Why even worry about the bandage removal problem? For pros falling is a regular occurrence.

    If the rest of us are falling so often that we need to shave our legs in order to make wound care easier, maybe we just better stick to walking.

  2. Nick says

    I had always heard that the idea behind shaving your legs was to make it easier to wash out the inevitable grit/dust/what-have-you from your legs after being on the road all day. Also, I think it’s supposed to decrease chafing. I know many distance runners (college level and up) do it, and don’t consider it a big deal, just par for the course. for a recreational rider who only rides 20-30 miles at a time, it’s probably an unnecessary hassle, but I can imagine that for someone riding 200mi a day, there’s no avoiding it.

  3. says

    After a couple of bandage changes it should be easier because there shouldn’t be any hair left.

    I haven’t shaved my face in years and don’t plan to start shaving any other parts.

  4. says

    I’ve shaved my legs for years. I don’t shave in the winter. When spring rolls around I think, it’s too much bother to shave but one ride in shorts with unshaved legs makes me ready to shave.

    It’s more comfortable with shaved legs. I find bugs like to hang out on hairy legs. Cleaning up after a muddy mountain bike race is much easier with smooth legs. Washing off dried mud pulls the hairs.

  5. Bikedunc says

    Legs covered in black hairs look very unpleasant and dirty. I used to shave my legs (too old now) just to look clean and fit. You get a sun tan quicker with shaved legs and you muscles are more noticable.

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