For many years, nobody has bothered to ask me the age-old question of why cyclists shave their legs. There’s probably a good reason that they don’t ask me, as I have a pair of pins that King Kong would probably consider trimming down a bit and, until recently, the hairy legs were accompanied by a suitably matching face.
The question in question (the shaved legs one, in case you happened to stumble across this blog by virtue of being a colossal pervert, searching the ‘net for overtrimmed ladies’ front bottoms, and finding my Shaven Haven instead) has, over the years, been asked of some of the world’s greatest cyclists, such as Eddie Merckx, Sean ‘King’ Kelly, Stephen Roche, et al. None of them, not one, could actually answer the question properly, coming up with a range of bizarre reasons, such as aerodynamics and, remarkably accurately (but no less twatish, as the answer came from Neil Stephens, who never was one of the world’s greatest cyclists and only made it onto the telly because he spoke English), “because everyone else does”. Kelly* himself muttered something about “dorrt” (which is, I’m reliably informed the Irish for “dirt”) and how “dorrt” doesn’t stick to the legs when they are shaved. No-one asked Lance Armstrong, as he’s a proper prick. And he didn’t exist that long ago anyway, being at a pre-production phase in an EPO laboratory owned by Dr Ferrari. Possibly.
Kelly’s legs. No “dorrt”
Let’s put this shaven legs thing to bed, once and for all. It’s pointless asking professional riders, as they were shaving their legs since before the real reason could or would ever become apparent to them. It is, after all, the done thing in cycling circles, and turning up to a race, any race, with wolf-like legs would result in howls (no pun intended, for once) of derision from their peers. The simple reason or, more accurately, reasons are these…no self-respecting burly soigneur would get his hands sullied by a pair of chimp-legs and, most importantly, having hairy legs massaged hurts like fuck.
Come to think of it, there’s another two reasons. A proper cycling photographer (and you know who you are, McMillan) told me that my hairy legs ruined his pictures. And fake tan is, apparently, a right fucker to apply sans streaks on the less-than-smooth skin of the, say, footballer. I like these reasons better than the proper reasons, to be honest. Balls to practicality. Vanity is where it’s at.
*Oh. Apparently, it was Martin Earley that said the bit about “dorrt”. I’m old now. I blame that. I still reckon it was Kelly, though.