Apparently, male cyclists have been shaving their legs for at least 100 years. It became a tradition within the cycling sport whereby each generation of pro cyclists adopts the culture paved by their predecessors. It seems like if you want to be taken serious within this sport your legs must be shaved. But why getting the legs shaved? It is actually quite difficult to understand the real reasons behind this. There are some practical benefits attached to this. At some point cyclists can suffer a bike crash and treating road-rash injuries are easier when wounds are hair-free. Another added bonus is that muscle recovery massage feels more pleasant if there are no hairs to be pulled in the process.
Yet another factor is the related to aesthetics and vanity. Some cyclists would shave their legs to show their toned muscles, which would otherwise be hidden under a layer of hair. The leg-shaving culture among cyclists has also a rather unusual explanation: aerodynamics. Yes, aerodynamics has also been used as an explanation for the predominant leg hair removal culture among cyclists. In 1987 Chester Kyle carried out a study on this issue and found that there is an approximately 0.6 percent aerodynamic improvement, which could result in a savings of around 5 seconds in a 40km time trial ridden at 37kph. However, the science behind this is still questionable and open to debate. Currently, most cyclists still don’t really know why they shave their legs, but because everyone else is doing it, it kind of just ‘feels’ right.