I have often been asked why cyclists shave their legs. There are actually several reasons – usually not what most non-cyclist figure.
7) It is not due to aero-dynamics, that actually has the least to do with it, although it may have a psychological benefit.
6) There is a rumor that if you have hair on you legs and have a crash, then it will actually pull off more skin than if there is no hair – I can’t say if it is true or not.
5) Tradition: There is a certain amount of peer-pressure – your not a serious road cyclist until you start shaving your legs.
4) The easier it is to clean road-rash the less likely it will get infected.
3) Yes, I do it because I ride a lot, and honestly I like the aesthetics of it.
2) A big reason that I shaved my legs was because I have been sponsored by several massage therapists at different times, and it is MUCH easier on them to massage legs that are shaved.
1) The main reason that cyclist shave their legs is that when you do crash, it is much easier to clean the wound and to apply bandages.
Some of my friends will remember a crash that I had. I was racing a Pro,1,2 race around a neighborhood – well, the race promoter decided to place an Orange Cone over a particular man-hole cover that was in the middle of the lane that we were racing. On the 2nd lap of this race, the field ahead of me suddenly split and the gent ahead of me suddenly swerved, leaving me to take full impact into the cone. I was suddenly ejected from the saddle, over the handle-bars in a awkward half super-man. I landed on my right arm, which was tucked into my side, so full body-weight grinding into asphalt. I ended up having to shave the area on my arm that was around the wounds in order to get them cleaned out, and to get bandages to stay on.
I have crashed a couple of other times, and it is much easier to clean the wound and stick on and take off bandages if the area has already been shaved.
Crashing sucks, but having the area shaved makes for easier clean-up – and massages are Awesome, so I’m still a shaver.