Musing on the Razor's Edge

Aug 17, 2007
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Yotsuya, Tokyo
#1
Just a couple of quick questions about shaving - legs, that is! I just read a comment on a cycling site that suggested that shaving one's legs was more a matter of culture than performance edge (decreased wind resistance) or road-rash prevention.

My questions - before I whip out the razor blade & leather strop:

How many of you shave your legs?

How often?

Why?


Sorry if these sound a little personal! ;)

Andrew

P.S. I don't think I'll be shaving any time soon, as I calculate that I lose approximately 30 hours a year from my morning ritual (5 mins a day, 365 days... that's over 63 days, if I shave for 50 yrs!). Now, at an average speed of 25 kph, I could cycle nearly once around the earth at its Equator (37,800 km of 40,075 km). Need I say more? :eek:
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
#2
nothing to do with aerodynamics....

How many of you shave your legs?

Why?

...at least not for amateur cyclists / hobby roadies who crash their bikes all the time (?). Cuts, scrapes, grazes and shallow wounds following frequent (?)crashes simply heal faster + less risk of infection. For me at least - that's the only reason.

How often?

...every Friday evening but not in the colder months when I have the protection of legwarmers.
 
Jan 14, 2007
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japanichiban.com
#4
I only do my legs occaisonally and I know it is probably of no benefit, but the act of doing it motivates me to ride more and ride faster...and to beat the guys in our club with hairy legs....just to give them something to think about. ;)
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
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Kita-Ueno
#7
Just from what I've read...

If you take the main reasons for shaving:
1. Faster healing of road-rash.
2. Increased aerodynamics.
3. It feels good & gives you extra motivation.
... I'd go with No.1 first! That seems like the most logical reason for the blade - unfortunately, I only have a "crash-ratio" of once-every-two-years, and personally, shaving would only seem to give me an excuse to crash more often, which doesn't justify the extra time shaving.
No.2 also has its merits! >TOM: I think studies show that it depends on your "constant average speed" as to whether it makes a difference or not.
At speeds under (I think) 15-18km/h, there is very little benefit - and for a hill-climber like myself, there's really no advantage to be gained by shaving.
HOWEVER, if you're into longer rides at around or over 30km/h on flat terrain, particularly for the guys into Time-Trials or long sustained rides (Phil, Philip, Thomas, TOM, Deej, Christoph etc.), I believe the time differences can be quite substantial - (3 seconds per kilometer over 160km would add up to 8 minutes).
As for No.3, I would daresay that the physical act of pulling out a razor and getting rid of the micro-grams of extra weight would certainly make you ride faster the next day! It's not so much the tiny weight-loss, so much as the mental aspect of each carefully performed blade-stroke putting you into a trance-like state - similar to self-hypnosis - to have you go over the ride/race mentally, and help prepare you for the task at hand; ie. Give you the "edge", so to speak (pun intended).
Finally, there is the "shame-factor"... You simply cannot turn up to a race with gleaming shins & thighs, only to be beaten by all the gorillas around you!

Personally, I don't shave; But I also have nothing against the guys who do.
It's a personal choice, and I really do think it looks cool. As stated above, my reasons for not shaving are:
A). I don't crash that often - touching wood again!
B). I'm not fast enough on flat-ground for it to make that much of a difference.
If there were to be a "C).", I'd refer everyone to the recent "insect/bug" thread: I don't get bitten half as much as my exotically-bare-thighed buddies... Hair is the first line of protection for the skin.

Personal choice rules!
T
 
Aug 17, 2007
121
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Yotsuya, Tokyo
#8
Additional Incentives

Just read a brief article in this month's Bicycling mag that added one more reason for shaving one's legs: to facilitate massage.

Didn't occur to me as I do not retain a personal physiotherapist, and my wife usually has scant sympathy for me when I return after hours on the road. I suppose only the pros can claim this one!

Doing my best to live on the edge...:bike:
Andrew
 

thomas

The Crank Engine
Nov 1, 2005
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多摩区
#9
Why I Shave

I found this interesting article from Bicycling.com on the Positivo Espresso blog.

Why I Shave

I believe that cyclists should shave their legs, but they don’t have to. It makes massage better, and bandaging road rash is easier, but for most of us even those claims–not to mention the ridiculous claims of better aerodynamics and stuff–are justifications rather than authentic reasons. Leg shaving is closer to taking the sacrament or singing during the seventh-inning stretch. You’re performing an action that helps you belong to something, and at the same time you’re paying homage to whatever that something is. When you shave your legs, you’re admitting something about yourself, and to yourself. But even that isn’t quite accurate.
My thoughts exactly. :D
 
Jan 14, 2007
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Noda
japanichiban.com
#11
I'm having better success in racing with shaved legs. I usually only shave when I'm in a serious mode...shaved for the Tsukuba 8 hour race...first time to shave in about 6 months. (we won).
All my good results have been with shaved legs...
Need to shave more....

When you see somebody with hairy legs pass you in a race, there is only one thing to do... pass him back and keep the hairy ones in their place....

I saw one guy yesterday at the TT with a titanium leg... that's taking things to the extreme...
 

Davad

Warming-Up
Oct 15, 2008
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Koto-ku, Tokyo
#13
Two more reasons to shave: One, application of sunblock. The surface area of all the hair on my legs must be several square meters; without that, sunblock goes on faster `n easier and I use less. Two, cooling. When I shave my legs with a trimmer I`m left with a poodle`s worth of wool. In winter under tights it`s easier to keep from overheating, and in summer it`s more comfortable ALL the time...

And considering our legs are much thicker than the tubes of our bike frames, it doesn`t seem logical to disqualify the aerodynamic effect. If you`re on an aero frame like a Cervelo, it seems crazy NOT to shave.

My two cents.
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,516
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Noda
japanichiban.com
#14
Two more reasons to shave: One, application of sunblock. The surface area of all the hair on my legs must be several square meters; without that, sunblock goes on faster `n easier and I use less. Two, cooling. When I shave my legs with a trimmer I`m left with a poodle`s worth of wool. In winter under tights it`s easier to keep from overheating, and in summer it`s more comfortable ALL the time...

And considering our legs are much thicker than the tubes of our bike frames, it doesn`t seem logical to disqualify the aerodynamic effect. If you`re on an aero frame like a Cervelo, it seems crazy NOT to shave.

My two cents.
If hair was beneficially aerodynamic they'd make hairy frames.