Why Do Cyclists Shave Their Legs (And How To Do It Like A Pro)

Being a cyclist comes with a lot of maintenance. Not only do you have to commit to cycling on a very regular basis, but you also need to stay on top of your bike’s upkeep.

Sometimes, making your cycling life easier in the long term also involves some bodily maintenance, such as shaving your legs.

Of course, not everybody likes to shave their legs for various reasons, and that’s a completely personal choice. However, you’ve probably noticed a trend of serious cyclists keeping their legs shaved.

If you’ve ever wondered why cyclists shave their legs, or how to do so yourself if you’re a cyclist, you’re in the right place! Read on to find out more.

Reasons Why Cyclists Shave Their Legs

There are several reasons why cyclists shave their legs. Often, cyclists choose to shave their legs for a combination of the following reasons rather than just one.


It’s important for cyclists to be aware of things that could potentially increase or decrease how aerodynamic their bikes and bodies are while cycling.

This is why cyclists can frequently be seen wearing tight-fitting, lycra cycling attire because it doesn’t create as much drag as regular clothing. It’s also the reason why high-end bikes are extremely streamlined.

Part of staying aerodynamic as a cyclist is shaving your legs. If you’re wondering how much difference shaving your legs could make to your speed on a bike, you might be surprised by the answer!

Research has shown that shaving the hair from your legs actually has a significant impact on aerodynamics and speed when it comes to cycling.

A study has been conducted demonstrating that shaved legs can save you approximately 70 seconds over a distance of 40 kilometers.

In case you were curious, shaving your legs has a larger benefit than shaving other parts of your body. Shaving your arms could save you some time, but only about 11 seconds.

Meanwhile, similar studies haven’t found any significant difference in aerodynamics between cyclists with and without beards.

Road Rash Treatment

Road rash is an unfortunate side effect of getting serious about cyclists. In case you don’t know, road rash is basically the cycling term for what happens when you fall from your bike on a gritty, abrasive surface.

If you’ve ever experienced road rash, you’ll already know how painful and unpleasant it is.

Road rash is also something that requires prompt medical attention because of all the little pieces of dirt and grit that are likely to be stuck in your wounds. This is a breeding ground for infection and scarring.

When you’ve fallen from your bike, you’ll need to have the wound cleaned so that any debris can be removed before the wound heals over.

This process is a whole lot easier and quicker when you don’t have any leg hair getting in the way. You’ll also probably thank your lack of leg hair when the time comes to remove any adhesive dressings.


Cycling can be hugely rewarding and a lot of fun, but being on a bike for several hours at a time on a regular basis can definitely take a physical toll.

One routine form of treatment cyclists often undergo to keep their bodies in top condition is massage. Getting massages now and again can help to loosen up any knots in your leg muscles, which could otherwise make cycling very painful.

Unfortunately, leg hair can make getting massages more difficult.

Not only does it somewhat get in the way from the perspective of the massage therapist, but it can actually be more painful for the person receiving the massage. With shaved legs, you’re likely to find that your massages are more effective.

Just make sure to shave your legs as soon as possible before receiving your massage because fresh stubble can be incredibly uncomfortable for your massage therapist.

If this doesn’t sound feasible for you, or you simply don’t have the means to get regular, professional massages, you always have the option of buying a foam roller. Foam rollers are effective massage tools that don’t require you to shave your legs.

Muscle Definition

The final reason why many cyclists choose to shave their legs is quite simply to show off all their hard work – and there’s nothing wrong with that!

Cycling is a demanding sport, and in return, cyclists are typically gifted with toned calves and thighs as well as the signature prominent veins seen on professional cyclists.

Shaving your legs can help your muscles and veins to really stand out, so it’s no wonder that so many cyclists take the time to shave.

How To Shave Your Legs As A Cyclist

How To Shave Your Legs As A Cyclist

So, now you know exactly why so many cyclists shave their legs. If any of the above reasons have convinced you to give shaving a try, the next step is to find out how to do so safely and effectively.

If you have long leg hair at the moment, it’s a good idea to start by using a beard clipper or trimmer to shorten the hair before you go in with a razor.

This will prevent long hairs from getting caught in the razor, minimizing any unpleasant pulling and just making it easier for you to achieve a clean shave.

Once you’ve trimmed the hair, we recommend running a warm bath and adding just a few drops of baby oil to the water. This is a much easier set-up to shave in than just trying to do it in the shower, for example.

Sit in the bath for a few minutes to soak and soften your leg hairs. Softer hairs are easier to shave and less likely to stay behind as tiny, rigid bits of stubble.

Now that your leg hair is nice and soft, it’s time to bring out the razor. If possible, try to find a razor with between 3 and 5 blades. 5 blades is optimal.

Single-blade razors are more likely to produce unpleasant effects like razor burn, which is very uncomfortable. A lubricating strip on the head of the razor will also go a long way towards ensuring a smooth and painless shaving experience.

Before you take your razor anywhere near your legs, be sure to lather up with plenty of shaving cream. You can also use soap, but shaving cream is usually the safest option because it’s formulated specifically for shaving.

If you do use soap, try to use a natural, unscented formula to minimize irritation and ensure that you can get a good enough lather out of it.

Slowly and carefully, in smooth and controlled motions, draw the razor down your leg in the direction in which your hair grows. Try not to go against the grain since this can lead to ingrown hairs and irritation.

It’s entirely up to you whether you shave only up to the line of your cycling shorts or whether you prefer to shave all the way up your legs.

The first option might be your best bet if you’re only shaving for aesthetic reasons, but if road rash is your main concern, shaving your whole leg could be beneficial. This is because road rash often impacts the thighs and hips.

Final Thoughts

Cyclists shave their legs for a variety of reasons, from showing off their calf muscles to improving their aerodynamics and making road rash treatment easier.

Whether you want to shave for purely aesthetic or practical reasons, shaving with warm water, plenty of shaving cream and a multi-blade razor with built-in lubrication is the way to go.

Depending on your preference, you can choose to shave up to your shorts line or all the way to the top of your thigh.

Cynthia Reeves
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