Saturday, June 25, 2011

To shave or not to shave?

Not a single hair here....
There is a debate raging amongst my friends about whether or not I should shave my legs for the Etape. A recent string of emails even included one of the girls who rode with us in Montauk. Needless to say, it's a little discomfiting to have other people discuss whether I should shave my legs or not.

I'm still torn about the whole idea though. Oddly enough, it's not that the idea of shaving is foreign to me... I used to do it when I swam competitively. But that was back in high school. There's a lot you can get away with when you're 16 and on a team with other id-driven swimmers.

Since this is apparently an issue that my friends want me to address, I've given it a little thought:
  • Professional cyclists do it. Therefore it is PRO. However, I am not a professional cyclist. And I am certainly not PRO. In fact, the only time I can see the letters P-R-O being used in reference to my cycling abilities would be in combination with the letters S-E-U to form "POSEUR".
  • Shaving makes you more aerodynamic. Just like in swimming, you want to minimize any drag that might slow you down. Let me assure you, dear readers, that hair will not be what makes my climb up Alpe d'Huez tortuously slow. There are two other reasons why I'll be slow... namely "right leg" and "left leg".
  • Having hair makes it more difficult to treat road rash when you fall. This actually is a very good reason and if I were racing regularly, I would actually consider shaving just for this reason. It also makes the post-ride massages easier... except I've never had a post-race massage so I wouldn't really know.
  • It's a tradition. Cyclists at all levels do it because it shows commitment to the sport. As a recent Bicycling article stated, "showing up hairy to a serious group ride is akin to wearing shorts to church." Tradition is important. Especially at the Etape, one of the reasons this event is so special is because the climbs are steeped in tradition. History has been written on the climbs of the Galibier and Alpe d'Huez.
  • Women who are cyclists find it sexy. Women who are not cyclists do not.
I'm still undecided though. I think one of the best suggestions I've received so far is to bring a razor, see what all the other riders at the Etape are doing, and just go with the crowd... the whole idea of "when in Rome." Which makes me suspect that ultimately I will be breaking out the razor. We'll see.


  1. If you can't decide, just shave one leg and leave the other unshaven. That will tell everyone that while you take cycling seriously, you only take it seriously half the time.

  2. I think its really a matter of preference ,some people like it in a certain way and some don't like it at all.But shaving or not shaving shouldn't really be the issue here,I think we should focus on the performance,guys please do not loose focus.