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First World Question of the Year:  Should Mountain Bikers Shave their Legs?


First, I am a roadie who enjoys a good jaunt down the single-track every now and again (not the other way around), so take this into account.

Second, I absolutely shave every last inch of my gloriously chiseled legs.  I don’t shave my butt though, but that’s a different story that we don’t have to get into.  ‘Nough said.  Really.

Third, n-es you should-n’t, as a mountain biker, shave your legs.

Is that on the fence enough?

There are several reasons I do.  First, I fell prey to the Internet.  “The rules” said I should, lest I look like a noob and that unless I could dish out the pain to those who do, do as they do.  Never mind the fact that I was a noob…

That’s most definitely not how it works.  In my neck of the woods, only the State-level racers and above do out of necessity.  I continue to because, in order of importance, my wife digs it, it looks frickin’ awesome and many of my friends do (none of my closest riding buds race – we’re avid enthusiasts.  We’re all roadies though…

One of the main reasons given for shaving centers around the ease of cleaning and care for abrasions.  I can’t remember ever having a road related abrasion in more than 20,000 miles.  On the other hand, I’ve had plenty related to mountain biking (if you don’t crash on a single-track, you’re not going fast enough).

The next reason given is to aid in the ease of massage.  Dude, I’ve had one massage.  One.  In exactly 21,750.94 miles.  That once, I was glad I did but it’s certainly not a reason to shave the legs..  It was better, but you’ll have to figure out if one massage over four years is worth shaving your legs for.

So far, two for two.  Well, Maybe one and a half for two.

Next up is looks.

I’ve ridden some mountain bike. When you crash, and I have, your legs end up looking like hamburger six to ten months out of the year.  Between dirt burns, stick thwacks and getting too close to protruding picker bush branches, a mountain biker bleeds.  For a road cyclist, who hopefully only bleeds once in a great while but rather profusely considering accidents at speed are rather gnarly, you get to look awesome all of the time and then deal with bandages when necessary.  For mountain bikers, vanity isn’t quite as big a deal except for those at the top of the heap.  Unlike road racers, I know several right up to Pro-level who don’t take razor to leg.  In fact, now that I think of it, none of the serious mountain bikers I know, shave their legs though.

This one could really go either way and truthfully, if you’re even contemplating shaving the guns, I’d recommend entering a race or two or spending some time on a weekend at your most popular track first.  The area that you live in will dictate whether to succumb to the razor or opt out but know this:  I live in a small town in fly-over country.  The closer you get to a center of vanity (California, New York, Florida, etc.) the more likely it will be that everyone shaves the guns.

Unfortunately, try as I might, I couldn’t find one decent photo of me in shorts before I started shaving my legs back in 2011/2012…  Suffice it to say, this looks much better than I did back then (of course, I had chicken legs back then too):
IMG_7538

I’ll NEVER go back…well, at least till I hit 70, and I’ve got a long time till that day rolls around.

So, no BS:  Should a mountain biker shave their legs?

Not unless that is the accepted practice where you ride.  Or you want to look awesome.  In that case, glistening guns are spectacular guns.  And remember, the haters are gonna hate.  Looking fantastic is never a bad thing.  Ever.  Shave on gentlemen.

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17 Comments

  1. I shall call you Caitlyn.

  2. Roadies who race crits should shave and for the reason you state. ROAD rash is nasty and shaved legs heal better simply because it’s easier to clean/dress the wound.

    I have never had anything close to as severe as road rash from riding singletrack. There are a lot of cuts and bruises, but going down on dirt is a whole different thing than sliding across pavement. Pavement takes a whole lot of skin with it.

    Mountain bikers should NOT aspire to the feminine ways of roadies.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Mmmm… See my previous comment Sasquatch.

      • heh heh heh

        I mentioned crits because I can’t think of many people I know who race that have have not had at least one decent crash.

      • bgddyjim says:

        Oh, no doubt brother. Crit racers are frickin’ nuts! Buddy of mine just did one, 65 miles, 28 mph average. Nuts!

      • Dang! 28 mph average!

        The National Crit championships used to be held in Downers Grove, a few minutes from my house. The best entertainment I have had was seeing the three lead riders go down as they took the last turn going into the final sprint. They weren’t too banged up to get into a fist fight on the podium!

      • bgddyjim says:

        Now THAT would have been classic!

        Yeah, 28. Couldn’t believe it man. I have a hard enough time just HOLDING 28 with a group! It was, however, a Cat 3 race, so that helps to make some sense of it.

  3. EpicGran says:

    As a mountain biker and a woman I unashamedly state that there is something particularly lovely about gleaming, glistening shaven men’s legs. What more do you need to distract you from the pain of a tough singletrack climb… LOL

  4. elisariva says:

    You crack me up! Around here just about every MTBer is also a roadie. So most guys shave. That said, this past weekend was a wicked mountain bike race at Mohican – a state park in Ohio. 100K and 100 miles. Many of my friends did it – most the 100 K. The fastest of the group – by an hour – has never had a razor touch his legs. The others all shave.

    And he has nice legs too. 😉

    • bgddyjim says:

      If he beat everyone else by that much he’s gotta have tree trunks for legs!

      I am eternally grateful for providing a smile. You know how I love to write about the pressing issues of the day. 😎

  5. The first shave of the season is the worse. When I finish, it looks as though I just finished running through razor wire without pants on.

  6. cyardin says:

    You had me laughing at shaving the butt? Fortunately for me, my familial yeti genetics skipped me but has plagued my brothers… And I fear my four year old son.

  7. Shave. Period. The End.

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