What, you can't ride fast because you haven't shaved your legs?

What, you can’t ride fast because you haven’t shaved your legs?

Hogan Kobelski has said ‘Shaving your legs is a symbol of being a cyclist.’

You may have a question after hearing this, what does cycling have to do with leg hair? In this article, let’s talk about the impact of leg hair on cycling. 

1. Shaving your legs improves aerodynamic performance

Shaving your legs will make cycling more aerodynamic. If you look at the rider’s profile from the front and look at their legs, you will find that they are in free airflow. If the legs are hairy, they will undoubtedly increase air drag, just like no bike has a hairy frame.


Getting rid of the hair on your legs is more valuable than putting on aero socks. For most people, the benefits of shaving your legs may not be as obvious as those from aerodynamic cycling suits. However, at a speed of 30km/h, the power you save is not only a few watts but as high as 5 to 6 Watts. In 1987, a study concluded that shaving your legs can increase aerodynamic force by about 0.6%. If you ride 40km at 37kph, you can save 5 seconds. This plays a vital role in professional competitions. Therefore, nowadays, professional cyclists shave their legs when riding. 

2. Shaving your legs can prevent wound infections

Another important reason why professional cyclists shave their legs before a race is to prevent wound infection. When cyclists ride long distances or participate in intense competitions, their legs are prone to wounds due to friction and impact. The presence of leg hair may increase the risk of bacterial growth, exacerbating the possibility of wound infection.

A study of cyclists found that those who shaved their legs were less likely to develop wound infections during competition. This is because shaving your legs reduces the buildup of bacteria and dirt on your skin, reducing the risk of infection. Secondly, shaved legs are easier to clean and treat in the event of a crash or other unexpected situation, helping to reduce the risk of infection and promote faster wound healing.

3. Cycling Culture and Tradition

In cycling culture, shaving your legs has become a symbol and tradition. For many cycling enthusiasts, shaving their legs is not only a pursuit of better cycling results but also a form of recognition and respect for cycling culture.

Competitors who shave their legs in cycling competitions are often considered more professional and dedicated. The phenomenon is closely related to the development of cycling. In Europe, where cycling has a long history, shaving your legs has become a tradition and etiquette during competitions.

In summary, the impact of leg shaving on cycling is reflected in cycling speed, prevention of wound infection, and cycling culture. However, cyclists should decide whether to shave their legs based on their needs and circumstances.
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