To Shave or not to shave?

So I am doing a 160 mile ride in August over a week. I have started training and have got up to 24 miles in one day so far, really starting to get there.

Only thing is that with lots of miles comes lots of tiredness, with tiredness comes mistakes and eventually ends in my flat on on face with my legs cut up!

So my issue now is that I have had 3 or 4 falls all of which have resulted in bloody knees and scabs. Cleaning them up can be a pain especially with hairy legs.

My question to those who unicycle distance is, is it worth me shaving my legs to make this part easier. I know those that cycle distance on bikes all have shaved legs for this very reason, but wanted to know your thoughts before i go bare!

How much hair do your knees have? :astonished:

We all know the real reason cyclists shave their legs is to show off leg definition which is a much better reason than most of the “practical” reasons you hear.

Bike racers shave their legs because their legs are buff and they want to show them off. They don’t shave their arms because their arms are wimpy. (Arms get road rash, too).

I have rarely seen a bike tourist with shaved legs; it’s just not practical to be maintaining shaved legs while touring and camping.

Well they are hairy enough for it to make a difference when I am trying to clean it up, makes it all congeel and go horrible! If there was no hair I can just wipe and stick a plaster on - no fuss
Perhaps that is the real reason, but I’m not all that bothered about that really! Just trying to make crashing easier to recover from

but you should definitely not shave your face. it shows determination. unless you cant grow facial hair. like me.

If you are posing the question, cleaning your bloody hairy knees must have been a pain and you must already be willing to shave your legs.
So I vote for shaving.

I watched “Höllentour” (English title, “Hell on Wheels”) a couple weeks ago. It’s a pretty good fly-on-the-wall documentary about a team in the Tour de France, and from it I learned those guys fall an average of 2-3 times during the race, and those high-speed falls can be pretty nasty. It seemed like them NOT shaving their legs when they expected to fall at high speeds would be stupid, given how much easier it was for them to clean their road rash with smooth skin.

Of course, you’ve got to weigh how much, how severely, and where on your body you reasonably expect you might crash, and compare that to how grateful you think you’d be when scrubbing wounds and re-bandaging your skin. I don’t know what protective gear you’ll be wearing, and I’m unfamiliar with the kinds of injuries/scrapes/falls that are typical of big wheel, big speed uni crashes, but at least I can make those factors explicit for you to think about.

It seems the sentiment so far is that it’s not worth it when touring, but don’t let everyone talk you out of what’s best for you–maybe you’re a superfast risktaker or maybe you’re more clumsy than average, and maybe everyone’s just trying to be manly here. But I think Tom has a point about shaving while touring. The weight and volume of a razor might not be worth it if you’re unsupported, and I don’t think you’d want hair to be growing in throughout your trip.

Also, if you are going to shave, you should not do it just before you leave. You should probably start about a month before, in case you develop and need to recover from folliculitis or something. And as always, closer to the date it’s best to train some with all your gear and all your, um, lack of hair that you plan to have on the ride.

After posting, I thought it worth reiterating: Hair growing in throughout your trip might ruin the whole thing. Keep it shaved throughout, or not at all.

You and I agree too much. I am starting to think we are the same person.

Shaved legs are SO worth it.

Plus shaving your legs makes you feel sexy. :stuck_out_tongue:


Head over to here:

Get yourself a nice, old school, double edge razor, a brush and start shaving. Face, legs, head etc…


I was considering recommending the same forum! Leave it to (a) 4umfreak to provide such a recommendation. :slight_smile: Unfortunately I didn’t discover the beauty, simplicity, and economy of the double edge razor and brush until after I stopped shaving my head. I just bought 100 Derby blades for $13 shipped. Good riddance to Mach3 and cartridges!

My preference is to just burn off any hair in and around the wound. But, you probably don’t want to tote a propane torch on your ride. Maybe a lighter or a book of matches.

You guys are all crazy and pretty random!! love the advice though

I am a bit of a risktaker and very clumsy - broke my ankle a year ago playing unicycle hockey when I lost my balance when stopping. When I have fallen recently, it is mainly due to me being clumsy rather than being knocked off or anything.
Last time I fel I was trying to go as fast as possible, managed 14.6 on my 29er with 125s, lost my footing and ended up with scrapes all up my legs.

The tour is fully supported so weight isn’t a problem, I would only take a bic with me anyway, its mainly my knees…top of my legs and front of my calfs that will need shaving - suppose I may as well shave the whole lot if I do though.

When I ride I try to aim for 10-20 miles, I tend to fall off and hurt myself about once ever 20 miles or so, in my training I am likely to do a lot of miles so I will fall a lot so perhaps it is worth it…

Id actually not shave. The last thing id want to do is maintain my leg hair while out riding. Ive gone through enough cuts, gashes, roadrash and what have you to be used to being scrapped up and hairy at the same time. Cleaning isnt hard unless you are growing dreads out of your knee. I guess the worse part would be when I make sure to fully crutch down so it stretches out the road rash, untangling any hairs and getting rid of the tight sting you usually end up with.

Its not pretty, but even if we were going to base this decision on looks, then id rather have a beefy man leg with hair, spotted with some blood here and there then a shinny stubly leg with cute bandaids.

If its really that bad, knee pads.

I’d suggest cutting back a bit, so you don’t get tired and fall.

The main thing is that you’re in good shape for the big ride and if you’re crashing on every ride then chances are you’re eventually going to get injured- as you know from your own experience, most falls don’t lead to damage, but, every so often, very rarely, one will really mess you up.

Personally, i hate falling and, if I do have a fall that results in anything other than me running out of it and staying on my feet unhurt, then I see that as a problem and something to be thought about so it doesn’t happen again.

Alternatively, as the falls seem to happen during the end of the ride when you’re getting tired, why not take along some knee pads to put on during that part of the ride.

Either knee pads (I wear just knee, rather than knee + shin pads, and they are okay for distance riding), or just ride slightly slower until you get to the point where you are not falling off. You shouldn’t fall off once every 20 miles if you ride sensibly (I did >1000 road miles without a crash at one point).


I wouldn’t bother just for that reason - as Joe just said, if you keep falling off either wear pads and gloves or stop falling off.

I’d also second a couple of other things already mentioned: It’s not true that most cyclists shave their legs. Most serious racing cyclists do, but mostly because it looks good - although they will say it’s because of easier cleaning of grazes. I thought about it when I used to time-trial a lot, because I was the weird hairy one amongst all the smoothies, but never bothered because of the hassle of having to keep up with it (I’m pretty hairy). And it makes you look a bit odd when you’re not cycling I reckon - people will think you’re a transvestite unless you get a chainring print or Campag logo tatooed on your calf :roll_eyes:


I hear you walk faster when your legs are shaved as well. I shaved my legs for power-walking and my time increased by .000456 seconds! I am now aerodynamically designed!

I wouldn’t worry about it man. Shave em if you want I guess. Last dude made a good point.:stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the advice, I think I’ll just trim me knees and leave it at that. I don’t fall off all that often (had 3 falls in about 150 miles) so it shouldn’t be all that bad when I do fall as its normally just a graze, nothing too bad!

Problem with knee pads is that I get quite a bit of chaffing under the knee, it ends up giving me more greif than if I fall on my knees, I have got a knee support though that kinda works and I have…had a pair of KH gloves till I ripped them on my last fall :confused:

I’m getting better the more I ride, I normaly don’t even get off in an 8 mile ride, and only normally fall off onto my feet 6 or 7 times in 10-15 mile rides

I need them brakes as well I forgot about that, I’ll send you some money shortly for them if thats ok Rob

You could go for a sort of poodle style :wink:

Or Alice the Goon!