For those of united state who grew up idolizing the pro racers, your lean, chiseled legs came to be etched indelibly into memory. Those legs were symbolic of fitness, suffering, sacrifice, freedom, panache, and victory. And it to be only since they gift themselves in the cyclist’s unique and evocative aesthetic: They were shaven.

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Even now, you’d it is in hard-pressed to discover a professional road cyclist v hairy legs in the peloton (besides Peter Sagan on occasion), and also this tendency trickles under to the Thursday night hammerfest crowds and also the non-competitive weekend warriors among us. If you’ve found yourself here, you additionally might it is in wondering exactly how to shave your foot to get that agree look.

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But first, why is this clean-shaven tradition even a thing? Spandex appears like enough of a faux pas, why throw males with shaved legs right into the mix?

No one knows which cyclist very first shaved his legs or why. In his blog, the framework builder and amateur cycling historian Dave Moulton writes that racers have done so for at least 100 years and also surmises that the practice likely predates the adoption of the tradition by Western ladies (which is commonly believed to have started in the at an early stage 1900s, v the popularization of quick hemlines and also more-revealing swimsuits). The authenticity of the often-cited motivations—cleanliness, style, massage facilitation, aerodynamics, and ease the treating roadway rash—is similarly murky.


Nevertheless, the action of shaving has become routine because that many. For males like Alex Howes, a expert cyclist because that EF education First-Nippo pro Cycling, the act was like a rite of i at a young age.

“I began shaving my foot maybe about 14,” claims Howes. “I did it for a pair of races because I believed it would make me go faster. I won my same share the state championships together a junior, so it must have actually worked,” that jokes.

Surprisingly, the case that smooth skin equals an ext speed actually has actually some validity. Dedicated tested the aerodynamics the a cyclist with shaved legs versus ungroomed gams. In a test with experienced triathlete Jesse Thomas, wind tunnel data verified smooth legs “reduced traction by about 7 percent, permitting Thomas come exert 15 watts less power and also still walk at the very same speed.” What walk that mean out top top the road? That’s a save of 79 seconds over a one-hour, 49-kilometer time trial, i m sorry is absolutely not nothing. Various other tests showed a save of 40 come 90 seconds over 40-kilometers.

As for the other reasons, Howes confirms stigma and also aesthetics space at the height of the perform (everyone’s doing it!), adhered to by massage—especially for Grand tourism riders who receive about 25 massages a month.

In terms of roadway rash, “the abrasion appears to it is in a tiny little bit less bad with shaved legs, and the smooth skin is easier to treatment for afterward,” states Howes. “It can sound silly hearing the we cut our legs for safety reasons, however we’re additionally a team that considers thin unpadded gloves, mesh undershirts, and also arm warmers valuable pieces of body armor.

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Yet, cut is clumsy and often a chore. In small showers and also bathrooms, we battle to bend over to reach our ankles, slipping and sliding, cutting and also bleeding. Also for a pro, who by need repeats the process so regularly it becomes automatic, shaving needs patience and attention. And, together though a rat has actually been sheared, a shave frequently leaves a ring the hair in a tub or sink.

For these reasons, it’s vital to keep in mind that just since you think about yourself a roadway cyclist and also ride with various other serious cyclists, that doesn’t mean you have to shave your legs. It’s certainly not a requirement, and also even pros favor Howes slack off at times.

“You can always tell when my last race was based on how lengthy the leg hair is,” that says. “If I’m not racing, I’m not shaving.”

Still, many of united state view ours legs as sculptures, monuments to our love that cycling, and it is only right that they must not be covered. So, here’s exactly how to cut your legs choose a complete pro.

Hair removed Essentials

Stock her shower or bathroom v these go-to tools for obtaining smooth, silky, hair-free legs.

Safety Razor


Pros: If you’re shaving your legs, using a women’s razor is the way to go—it’s far better engineered come navigate the curves of the human body (i.e., legs), vice versa, a men’s razor is designed because that the sharper angles of the face. Razors are relatively inexpensive (especially the disposable versions) and also can it is in purchased just around anywhere. Watch for 3 to five blades and a moisturizing piece to obtain the closest shave with minimal razor burn.

Cons: Razors, especially when shaving big body components like your legs, have actually a brief shelf life, so you can burn through several disposable chisels throughout the season (particularly if you have actually thick hair). There’s additionally the danger of razor burn and the sometimes nicks.

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Wax Strips

Pros: Wax is one of the least-practiced methods to remove leg hair, but due to the fact that it gets rid of the hair native the root (versus chopping it turn off midway choose a razor), it’s really effective and keeps her legs emotion smooth for the longest amount of time. Each individual hair grows in cycles, so the longer you wax, the easier (and less painful) that gets as there is seemingly much less hair that grows earlier over time. Individual strips are much less messy than complimentary wax. Pro tip: struggle them conveniently with a hairdryer to heat the wax faster.

Cons: wax can’t it is in done an extremely regularly—in order because that the wax to be effective, her hair requirements to it is in long sufficient to stick to it. This method you may need to go a few weeks feeling stubbly before you can wax again. That can also be messy, labor-intensive, cause irritation, and painful in ~ first.