You’re doing it wrong, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love my Hairy Legs

Growing up a good friend’s dad had a hairy back and chest. I don’t mean normal hairy. I mean, every summer when we all went to the lake he’d get ready to go for a swim and you’d want to shout, “don’t forget to take off your sweater!” My legs aren’t quite that hairy.

[photo omitted for your sake]

For a brief stint of my cycling career I started to shave my legs. It’s what you do. I was told. It’s better, they said, to be hairless in the event of a crash. It looks cool.

And it’s true, cyclists and swimmers are among the only male athletes that can claim leg shaving looks cool.

So, that was pretty much it. If you’re the kind of cyclist that wears lycra shorts, then you should shave your legs. It’s a rule, in fact.

But here’s the thing. I didn’t like shaving my legs. It took too long and any razor I used would be dull before I finished my first calve. Also, it turns out, when you have stick thin climbers legs, it doesn’t look as cool. On top of that, I didn’t race and the idea of planning my life around the rare crash – I’ve had one where shaved legs might have helped – just seemed silly.So I stopped with leg shaving.

Every now and again I get a little grief. Our friend Kurt has called me out for breaking rule #33 (last time I rode with him, I was able to put the hurt on Kurt, so he couldn’t talk too much, I’m not sure if that’s true anymore). And more than once a pedestrian has commented on my built-in leg warmers. Yes, even pedestrians know to make fun of my legs.

But I’m not worried because you’re doing something wrong too.

That’s right, you probably have the wrong shoes. Or wear a helmet. Don’t wear a helmet. Drops on your commuter. Flat bars. Platform pedals. Clipless. Freewheel. Foldie. Saddlebag. Camelbak. Bar tape is wrapped the wrong way. Wrong glasses. And so on.

The list of things you’re probably doing wrong is never ending. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Or, maybe you shouldn’t. At least you got the most important thing right:

You’re riding a bike.

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  1. #1 by Andrew Simone (@asimone) on November 18, 2011 - 9:40 am

    I definitely break more rules than I follow. My commuter is a road bike with drop bars, saddle bag, and I wear mountain bike shoes.

  2. #2 by Andrew Simone (@asimone) on November 18, 2011 - 9:40 am

    I also have a hard enough time shaving my face, so you can imagine what my legs look like.

  3. #3 by amdjmd on December 22, 2011 - 4:20 pm

    I don’t think many women would even give a guys hairy legs while bike riding a second thought.

  4. #4 by Dave MBC on April 29, 2012 - 6:15 pm

    The secret is to use a pair of hair clippers rather than a razor. Take it down to a grade 1 or grade 0.5 and you get the best of both worlds – they wash easily, can be massaged easily. But won’t look out of place away from the lycra.

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