Why do cyclists shave their legs? I know that this is a question which has been on your mind a lot so I thought I’d let you in on the secret.
Yesterday I wound up in the hospital. While cycling I’d been driven into by a man in an SUV and, deprived of my balance, my shoulder and then the rest of me collided rather messily with a typical piece of LA tarmac travelling at approximately 20mph. Everyone who was there agrees on the result of the collision: SUV 1, cyclist 0.
As I lay alone and bleeding in ER, stripped of my dignity and my rather eye-catching and fully matching Italian Alessio Wheels cycling kit, I wondered if my dream of scaling some Alpine passes, Jalabert style, would still be possible this coming summer. As the minutes ticked on wards and the aches and pains spread outwards I realized a more realistic assessment would be to focus on whether I would be able to bend over to put my underwear, socks and shorts back on when I was discharged.
After the form-filling and the contract-signing the X-rays were finally taken and the bandages were applied. The good news was that no bones appeared to have been broken – the bad news was that I was covered with a substantial amount of U.S.B. Type VII gauze up and down the left side of my body held in place by some very efficient sticky tape.
After making a phone call your rather subdued correspondent was picked up by itinerant friend in need, Brian, who had a good laugh at the image of a semi-naked rider shivering and bandaged in a corner of the Waiting Room.
So, 24 hours have passed and the pain continues but of course the dressings have to be changed – and so all that effective sticky tape has to be pulled off taking fistfuls of manly leg and arm hair with it. OUCH!
Why do cyclists shave their legs? Not because it makes them faster (it doesn’t). Not because they all take part in cross-dressing competitions every night after a group sprint (maybe they do – perhaps this is cycling?s dirty little secret!) No. The reason cyclists shave their legs is so that it?s easier to clean the wounds and less painful to remove the dressings when they get into the sort of human being versus tarmac contre-temps which I experienced yesterday.
Of course I’m not a professional cyclist. I don’t race across half of Europe at an average speed a small car would be proud to achieve. I don’t push myself up to 40 mph on the flat or touch 60mph on the downhills. But now I’ve had a good man-tarmac experience I’m wondering if perhaps the razor blade and the shaving gel are going to get a look at my limbs. So, if you see me wearing shorts and my legs look suspiciously hairless you?ll know I’ve finally taken the plunge and become a “serious” cyclist.
There again I might just have entered an amateur cross-dressing contest!