It is very common for cyclists to remove leg hair. The most frequently assumed benefit of leg hair removal is the less hair you have, the less drag. The problem is that the aerodynamic advantage gained in this area would be so slight as to be virtually undetectable. The real reasons cyclists remove the hair from their legs are:
- Hair creates friction in the case of a crash; what could be minor road rash can take it to the next level of moderate road rash and lacerations because of the hair friction.
- Having smooth legs make the healing of “road rash” much easier. It is easier to clean the wound and the chance of infection is lessened without hair being trapped in the wound.
- A secondary reason is for the massage sessions that follow a day’s riding. Having hairless legs makes it easier and more pleasant for the therapist to work those sore muscles.
- It is easier to put sunblock on; show off muscle definition; prevent ticks and cooler when riding.
While some may assume that shaving is the most cost-effective strategy, regular body shaving does come with some expense as well as uncomfortable side effects. For instance, razor burn is common, the re-growth of the hair comes back bristly and is uncomfortable and itchy to the touch, and shaving can cause ingrown hairs which can lead to a painful infection.
An affordable alternative is waxing, which first became popular in the eighties and has been gaining momentum ever since. The process involves applying the wax, a velum strip and pulling the wax off quickly in the opposite direction of the hair growth. There is some discomfort involved, but it is very short-lived and feels like a Band-Aid being quickly pulled off.