Mountain bikers that shave their legs sort of does not make sense when you think about it. They usually wear pants or long shorts. There must be something to this.
Why do mountain bikers shave their legs? Shaved legs make it easier to clean and treat a wound or cut. Removing a bandage is less painful. Cleaning muddy dirty legs is easier and faster. Helps to prevent attracting ticks and tick bites. It keeps the legs cooler, increases a riders speed and improves leg massages.
Now that you know the benefits of shaving your legs, there will be some of you who don’t want to or are lazy to do this. Here are some reason why that is a bad idea.
Why Not Shaving Your Legs Can Be Dangerous
- One of the worst things that can happen to a rider out in the woods is to get tick bites on the skin. If you have hairy legs it increases your chances of picking up a tick while in the forest, which could lead to Lyme’s disease.
- Rubbing up against a branch or bush the tick could hook on to a leg hair or two. It is more difficult to grab on to smooth skin. There are also mites like chiggers which can cause severe itching. The itching can last for days.
- Sometimes mountain bikers do crash on the trail. These crashes depending on what you land on can tear up your skin. If you have a lot of hair on your legs and you didn’t shave the likelihood of infection is higher.
- It is more difficult to scrap out any dirt and grim that may have gotten into the wound or cut. Pulling out individual hairs in order to clean the wound better can be painful and slow down the cleaning process.
- If you are a serious mountain biker and you compete in a lot of races then you probably have your legs massaged. Riders with hairy legs will make the job of the masseuse that much harder. It is more difficult to dig into the leg muscles with lots of hair there. This reduces the effectiveness of the massage and reduces your ability to recover properly before the next race.
How Much Faster Do Leg Shaven Mountain Bikers Go
For cross country riders and downhill riders the name of the game is speed. Usually when we think of aerodynamics in biking we think of road biking. But mountain bikers on certain trails and certain parts of the trail can use aerodynamics to their advantage.
Unfortunately mountain bikers have not tested whether riding with shaven legs increases their time versus riding with hairy legs. But road bikers have done this test.
The bike company Specialize did a test using a wind tunnel. They tested six bikers with different levels of hair on their legs. Then they tested those same six bikers after they had shaven the hair from their legs.
The results were pretty surprising. Each biker road 40km and on the high end a clean shaven biker was 82 seconds faster than when they had hair on their legs. On the lower end clean shaven was 50 seconds faster than when the biker had hair. This is a significant amount of time saved.
For mountain bikers the time saved probably won’t be as much. But let’s say we reduce the amount of time saved by 50%. That would be 25 to 41 seconds saved. If you are a racer that time saved could make a difference between coming in 1st or 2nd. Maybe it is time to get a razor.
How Should You Shave Your Legs
- Riders who have never shaved their legs before and have hairy legs should consider using a hair removal cream first, or a hair trimmer, clipper. If you start off using a razor it will clog up the blades pretty quickly and make shaving frustrating. Plus shaving won’t be very smooth and you may cut your skin.
- A good plan would be to use a hair trimmer first to get a lot of the bushy hair off. Then you can use hair removal cream. This way there is less hair that needs to be dissolved by the hair cream. Plus you won’t need to use as much hair removal cream to do the job.
- If you don’t have so much hair on your legs then you can start by using a razor. Don’t just use any razor make sure you use a new razor. One that is disposable and sharp. If it is dull then you will need to push harder on your skin and you increase the risk of cutting yourself.
- The shaving cream that you use for your face works well for shaving your legs. This is how I have done it. Then just begin at your ankles and shave upward using long smooth strokes. After each stroke rinse out the razor. If any hair gets stuck I use an old toothbrush to brush out the hair from the razor.
- After you are finished shaving you can apply some skin lotion to keep the skin soft if you like. Or maybe you can put some after shave lotion on to keep the skin from drying out. It will moisturize your skin and keep it hydrated.
How High Should Mountain Bikers Shave Up Their Legs
At a minimum trail riders should shave up their leg at above their knees. Most mountain bikers wear baggy shorts and or lycra which both don’t go any lower than above the knees. So to experience the benefits of shaving your legs at least that much of the leg should be shaved.
If riders want to shave the thighs and upper thighs that is a personal preference. People will not see that part of your legs when you are on your bike. If you do not have too much hair on your legs it would be easy to shave the entire leg.
But if your legs are hairy and it find shaving to be a hassle then you may want to only shave what you really need to do. If you are going to be in public wearing shorts and you have hairy legs and you have only shaved half of your legs. Then people will probably see that as unattractive. But in the end this is up to you.
How Often Should You Shave Your Legs For Mountain Biking
After you have shaved your legs for the first time let the hair on your legs grow back. Keep track of how fast and how long your leg hair gets. Determine at which point your leg hair stops being a stubble and turns into strands of hair.
You want to shave your legs again just before it starts to become strands of hair. The reason for this is once it becomes strands of hair, then you lose the benefits of shaving your legs in the first place.
Disadvantages To Shaving Your Legs
Once you start shaving your legs you will have to keep it up. If you grow hair quickly and in large amounts then shaving can be time consuming. You will need to go through many disposable razors. So it is a good idea to join some kind of dollar shaving club.
Next you may experience some skin irritations because you are shaving consistently. There may be itching, redness, or pimples because dirt got into your skin. You might have some cuts due to a mistake when shaving.
Lastly, 24 to 48 hours depending on the speed of growth you will have stubble. This may feel uncomfortable when you go to sleep at night and your legs touch each other. Also your wife or girlfriend may not like how that stubble feels. You will have to weigh the pros and cons for yourself.