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leg shaving

Why do people shave their legs for IM or cycling events.......I volunteered at IMUK last year and was catching people as they 'fell' over the finish line and taking off their timing tags.....it struck me just how many people had shaved their legs.

I wonder, does it 'magically make you faster' or is their another reason............................other than vanity


  • TrisurferTrisurfer Posts: 228
    It's Wrong dude!!
  • largeadelargeade Posts: 166
    Its definitely wrong.

    Theres no aero advantage afaik, herd mentality and the best reason seems to be cleaning up road rash injuries more easily.
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    There is a bit of an aero advantage, 5secs over 40Km:

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/aero ... namics.htm

    So splash out God knows how much on an aero crank and get exactly the same aero advantage as shaving legs - got to be done.

    What tipped me towrds shaving was seeing a high def photo of me in action and all the hairs on my arms and legs sticking out creating all sorts of vortices and turbulence. Feels better as well.
  • largeadelargeade Posts: 166
    Niice bucket list that, didnt find that in my 20 seconds 'research'. Wonder if thats based on averagely hairy or wolly mammoth hirsuteness.

    I did find this quote: "You can get a bigger advantage by taping your ears back".

    Personally I'm wondering if the Pearl lzumi lycra shoe covers take more than 13 seconds to put on...
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Your right - there should be study on that.

    I find these researches fascinating as a few changes can give a decent theoretical saving for nothing or just a few quid yet we are obsessed - hands up guilty - in spending loads to get the bling gear for not much more. Well it looks good in the photos doesn't it and that's the main thing
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Leg shaving is in the same category as most of the bling we buy.

    It makes a difference to the pros: it helps them with gravel rash and is much more comfy when they're having daily massages.

    AGers do it because the pros do it. Simples.

    I don't really need a carbon frame, Ultegra, tri shoes, speed suit yada yada yada but Al, Chrissie and the gang have got it all so I have too.

    My legs are currently hairy, but I did lose the hair a few years ago for my first serious attempt at London. Have to say it feels much better for massages (so that bit is true at least). It also 'feels' much faster when training in the pool and looks better in pictures.

    Not gone sa far as the arms, but tummy is clipped, neck is baby smooth as are shoulders - it all helps make the wetsuit more comfy.

    In terms of time saved... are ANY of us really that consistent that we'd notice a 5s saving??? Anybody who says 'Yes' is full of it.

    It's like saving 10g by buying a carbon fibre bottle cage. You'd be better off trying a bit harder for your morning cock-a-doodle-poo. Carbon looks cool, though, so spend away.

    Summary: shave your legs if you want the pro TT-er look. If it makes you feel faster / more serious / more pro then it'll probably work.
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    the reason i haven't done it (yet anyway) is simple - where do you stop???? I am not a gorrilla by any means, but i have hair on the arms, legs, stomach, chest, back, shoulders, neck, (ok maybe i'm creeping towards gorrilla ) so if i do the legs, then the arms shoulders etc will look really bad, ok so i do arms and legs, and shoulders, then my back and chest look weird, so i do them too. Pretty soon i'd be in the pool and end up looking like a prepubescent child (with beer gut and slightly balding on top), oh and i have hairy toes...and fingers, and the back of my hand.... so that has to go...quite frankly apart from keeping Bic in business (and annoying the gf would would have to do most of this as i couldn't reach) i don't think its worth the effort...and that's not to mention the stubble as it grows back
  • TesseractTesseract Posts: 280
    Just take it all off, you'll save grams in weight, ok maybe mg.

    I take all body hair off, mainly because I hate being hairy, but also cos it's easier with wetsuit, you don't get chest hairs getting caught in your tri-suit zipper, it looks better, it's sooo much better when it comes to road rash (both clean up, and adhesive removal), it feels better when the water/wind goes over bare skin - so it feels faster even if it isn't, it's easier to dry yourself (seriously!), and I could go on, but if I'm honest with myself it's really just cos I like the porn star look...and I don't mean Ron Jeremy.
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    I think it was Bopomofo on a similar thread some time back saw some (German?) bloke who had shaved legs - but only to the leg gripper line, above that was pure gorilla.

    Agreed the time saved bit is miniscule but we so often don't do things that are so simple. Why spend £500 + on deep section wheels and then not wear a pointy hat? Answer wheels are bling, pointy hat infers a statement of capability that I have to live up to yet a standard helmet has 4 times the drag of the bling wheels.

    The shaved legs bit has not made me dsicernably faster but it does feel better; every cyclist I know does for the previous stated reasons of road rash etc. I have yet to find a regulation where it is compulsory so if it's not for you - no probs, but a second here a second there and one day that could just mean the difference between a PB or even a podium. If shaved legs 'theoretically' might save 5 secs over 40Km and if I then wear a pointy hat and have my water bottle in the right place all of a sudden I could save up to a minute, which is more than would be obtained from a set of Zipps.

    People, aero savings benefit mere mortals such as myself more than it does for elites. If it doesn't cost anything or a couple of quid then why not adopt some aero practice? These things crop up time and time again in studies yet we dismiss them as not for us' and then we go out and buy carbon bottle cages, titanium bottle cage bolts whose benefit is negated by carrying a g'el that we do not use.

    These things may not show a difference individually but collectively there is some serious time savings to be had for just a little thought and effort.
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    I'm with MD on this one.... I'm really hairy and I hate it but then I'm skinny, and pale skinned and I think I'd look like an idiot with no hair on my arms, legs etc.....

    Tesser has also painted pictures in my mind of images I don't want..
  • Back in the early to mid 90s when I used to race and train a bit more often than now I used to shave my legs - as did all of the triathletes I knew. If I remember correctly the aerodymanic arguments for doing so were not really pushed if anyone asked why we did it - probably because we didn't really believe it ourselves - but the issue of road rash was strongly put forward. In reality, however, I think the real reason most of us did it was to get the "look" of a triathlete to go with the race singlets and aerobars etc. Some might say that this is vanity or very shallow but I think that there is a real psychological benefit to looking the part - it's like putting on a uniform or a suit and can affect the way you feel both within yourself and as part of the triathlon group. It also felt really nice especially in the water, although I had a bit of the same issue as mentioned earlier in that I am pretty hairy so I had quite a contrast between my stomach and my bald legs. I would probably consider doing it again now except it did take up a bit of time (not to mention the loss of quite a bit of skin now and again) and I train so little compared to then that I would probably feel like it was false advertising
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Yes I can see where you are coming from if you are quite hairy, it will be quite a bind to keep it up and the contrast with the unshaved bits ... well lets not go there. Fortunately I am not hairy so it's not too much of a chore with me now that I have been doing it for a bit and it doesn't look at odds with my equally hairless chest and bum fluff arms ... bet the girls are loving this thread.

    As for the aero ... welll can get a bit swept up in that but anything is worth having if its free or low cost, if it will save me 5secs - cool, if it saves 1sec - better than a poke in the eye, even if it doesn't I feel better and that in itself has got to be a +

    Antonyfromoz I can also see that it is part of the image thing. I mean we all need eye protection for the bike but why do people spend in excess of £100 for Rudy Project or Oakley shades when a pair of Bolle Contour safety glasses/shades can be had for £6? .. its the bling thing.

    So shaved or unshaved good luck to us all.
  • wyno70wyno70 Posts: 189
    I have a number of serious cycling buddies and the main reasons they do it are:

    - cleaning up gravel rash (as already stated).
    - Also when you've come off and it's healing, it does take longer and is more prone to infection if there are lots of hairs either in the wound or depositing dirt in it.

    Having recently had a big off myself, which took over an hour to clean up the various bits of gravel rash in A&E, I'd certainly agree that anything that helps is good. As both of my knees were badly scraped up and subsequently dressed, I found it damn painful with the dressings pulling on the hairs, more painful than the wounds in fact. As such, I took off the dressing (which in itself was painful as they only came off with a load of hair), shaved the areas round the wounds, hence no hairs for dressings to cling on to and then had them redressed. Much more comfortable!!

    The above are really the only reasons to do it. 5 seconds over 40kms, like anyone would notice. A 1mph breeze would make more difference than that! Tosh!
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    OK as an experiement I am going to shave one leg, and see if it goes faster than the other - just to end the aerodynamics argument for good
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
  • TesseractTesseract Posts: 280
    OK as an experiement I am going to shave one leg, and see if it goes faster than the other - just to end the aerodynamics argument for good
    That'd be good for a velodrome...assuming you shave the right leg...or the left one...
  • If you have a wetsuit free swim then you might find yourself swimming in circles...
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    antonyfromoz wrote:
    If you have a wetsuit free swim then you might find yourself swimming in circles...
    I do that anyway - my sighting isn't great
  • so theoretically, if you choose the correct leg it could mean that you are better at gliding through the water and swimming straight! Of course, if you choose the wrong one then the circles will just get quicker...
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    antonyfromoz wrote:
    so theoretically, if you choose the correct leg it could mean that you are better at gliding through the water and swimming straight! Of course, if you choose the wrong one then the circles will just get quicker...
    good point!
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Well absolutely! As you always favour one leg the hydrodynamic/aero difference could either compensate or you end up going around in circles.

    In fact what you could also do is to have a tri suit one half smooth lycra and the other knitted wool - dpending on ... ahem which side you dress ... that could get quite itchy!
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