So a certain guy who works for a certain very large american bike corporation with it’s own wind tunnel (and overly active legal department) who happens to have a lot to do with said wind tunnel and testing bikes/athletes was in our shop on tuesday.
very long, boring, triathlon oriented story short, shaving your legs makes a legitimate, measurable and repeatable difference to a riders wind resistance. apparently a reviewed paper/thesis is to come.
For non-pros, it seems to me that it represent a measure of your seriousness/experience regarding competitive cycling.
Shaved legs = serious guy; hairy legs = beginner/unexperienced/fred
It’s also a way of belonging: you’re one of the serious guys. Sort of like part of the uniform.
There are very few of the really good riders who don’t shave legs in my club. I was talking with one of them the other day, he gets teased for not shaving anymore. He says maybe he’ll shave again if he gets back into A grade.
Gotta say I love being a hairy bastard and smashing hairless folks of varying ages and abilities.
So I would say it’s a small joy to be a big bearded dude with hairy legs & arms passing folks on #actuallyBeachRd or anywhere else.
Not to mention that any aero I “could” gain from shaving my legs is absolutely negated by a few inches of beard. So there’s no point.
There’s been all this bullshit in the mainstream press recently about brazilian waxing and shaven pubic regions and all that, heaps of stupid fucken conjecture about why it’s so popular and why people want their sexual partners to look pre-pubescent.
Pro-tip: it’s all fashion.
Men shaving their faces to look pre-pubescent? Fashion. Women shaving armpits? Fashion. Women shaving legs? Fashion. My old hairy housemate who got his arms/back/shoulders waxed? Fashion. Cyclists shaving their legs? Fashion. The pre-Mardi Gras rush on back/sack/crack waxing? Fashion.
People see what other people are doing and want to look like those other people. It’s how we got Crocs, and undercuts, and HMC wearing his sister’s jeans.