Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why male cyclists shave their legs: Serious Answer

Now that the suspense of the Tour de France is over, we can resolve another mystery. "Why do male cyclists shave their legs?" There are plenty of answers to be found on the Internet--many of them facetious or insane--but these are the reasons you MIGHT consider if your wife or girlfriend doesn't object. (My wife won't let me shave mine because she says it freaks her out when she feels smooth legs under the covers. I can't say I'm terribly disappointed, since it's a pain to shave them anyway.)

  1. Massage -- Your massage therapist has an easier time (and you get a more comfortable massage) if there's no hair reducing the skin-to-skin contact. Even if you massage yourself, massage tools like "The Stick" can catch leg hair, which is an unpleasant feature of the furry massage.

  2. Aesthetics -- Most men generally continue to grow more hair as they get older (and beyond when they die). Really furry "Sasquatch" legs just look ugly. When the hair layer gets thicker than the legs, it can cause nausea in younger people around the bigfoot-like creature. I use a hair trimmer to "butch" my legs, but never shave them smooth anymore. A smooth shave also allows the most definition of your hard-earned muscle ripple show through. This is why professional bodybuilders shave their entire bodies. They just don't take as much flack for it as cyclists do for obvious reasons (e.g. compare typical body weight and wrestling skills between the two sports).

  3. First Aid -- Most (if not all) cyclists crash sooner or later. Road rash has a tough enough time healing nicely without the complication of long hair flowing through the "hamburgered" flesh. We still have to pick out the chunks of asphalt, but a clean shave before the crash makes the job a little easier. A fresh shave of the face and legs--and even the arms if you like--help you feel you're ready for battle and the repercussions of high-speed battle.

  4. Sex -- This one doesn't apply to my wife, but some ladies actually like smooth legs under the sheets. You'll just have to ask or experiment.

  5. Other -- There are all sorts of psychological (e.g. "have to shave to be a serious racer") and silly (e.g. aerodynamics) reasons, but the first 4 here are the most realistic and tangible to me. Mountain bikers also say you're less likely to get ticks without hair on your legs, but I'd be inclined to use bug repellent if ticks are an issue.

If there are other real reasons, I'm not aware of them, but I've only been riding for about 45 years, and I've only shaved once, so I'm no expert. But that's one of the great things about the Internet...anybody can pretend to be an expert on everything they know nothing about.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lonely for cycling

I'm excited to go back to the hinterlands of Wisconsin for a "cousins weekend." We haven't done this in 20 years. But I'm going to miss riding for a week while we're in Wisconsin and Chicago. The worst part about being in such a remote part of Wisconsin is that we'll probably not be able to see any coverage of the last 3 days of the Tour de France. There's a lot that can happen in these last few days as so many battle for 2nd and 3rd place. I guess the Internet coverage will have to do. I'll be scouring the links I have on my cycling page at

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

San Diego: Cycling Paradise

I didn't get out for a ride until after 3pm today but it's summer and it's SAN DIEGO. Gotta love this place for cycling, especially in the summer. Summer took a long time to bloom here this year, but it's fully blossomed now. It's finally hot enough to break into a real sweat without necessarily getting a real workout.

The ride from La Jolla to Encinitas and back was fast and felt effortless. God, it feels great to feel healthy again. I'm not sure what sort of bug I caught after the Markleeville Death Ride, but it sure took me a while to get over it. YEAAAAAHHHHH!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Columbia over Garmin ANY day

Are you undecided on which "American" team to cheer for? Why not pick the one that takes the high road? It's the one named Columbia-HTC, owned & operated by High Road Sports. The other American Team, Garmin-Slipstream, demonstrated last Thursday that they may not always choose the "high road" in the heat of competition...

There was an opportunity to have the Tour de France yellow jersey pass from an Italian on a French team to an American on an American team. I'm not overly nationalistic, but that American was George Hincapie, probably the best-liked and most-respected American rider in the peloton. All Garmin had to do was stay in the pack with all the other race leaders. They would have lost nothing and they would have gained something by keeping Brad Wiggins fresher for stages to come. George is working for others on his team, not gunning for the GC.

But some bitter soul within the Garmin management team decided, due to their laughable "rivalry" with Columbia-HTC that they would work hard to narrow the time gap so George would not have this one day of glory. The jersey stayed on the back of Nocentini, who had been wearing it for about a week already. Way to go, Garmin-Killjoy-Slipstream. Don't look for friends in the peloton for the rest of this year. And by the way, Team Columbia will continue to crush you, with greater conviction than ever.

There are some nice guys on the Garmin-Slipstream team, and some of them probably hated the job they were asked to do that day, since many of them are friends of George. The small-minded managers at Garmin will only realize this when their star athletes decide to NOT renew their contracts.

Meanwhile, keep on cheering for the American "old man" (Lance Armstrong on his not-so-American Astana team) and his almost-as-old friend George Hincapie. I'm an old man...almost as old as Lance+George...and I dream of getting faster on the bike every time I ride. Whether they win the races or not, OLD GUYS RULE!

Should I?

Should I attempt to "blog" again? I think it's been over a year since my teenage children found my last blog and--through merciless ridicule--convinced me not to spend time doing anything that would give them such ammunition again.

Since this blog will focus on cycling (as an adjunct to my links page at, I suspect they'll be less interested in reading it. They know very little about the sport, and care even less.

Mickey owns a mountain bike here but won't ride with me anymore.
Maddie just did her first spin class today but is sworn to never ride a real bike again. The only thing she's noticed about pro cycling (from watching me watch it on TV) is how pronounced Mark Cavendish's butt is.
Callie likes her beach cruiser, and doesn't care about Mark's butt.