It's a drag

Rule #33 and the Summer Barbecue

Rule #33 and the Summer Barbecue

by / / 49 posts

Rule #33– Legs are to be carefully shaved at all times.

This is one of the Rules that really defines the term Cyclist to the Velominati. Discussions about Rule #33 flare up on the site occasionally, burn brightly then smolder out. Between faces and legs, it is a lot of man-scraping. Rule #33 is a task master. Compliance is one thing, defending it to the unenlightened is another.

It is during that troublesome extended family summer barbecue where the Velominati earn their stripes when defending shaved guns to the grandfathers of the world. The greatest generation doesn’t get it. They didn’t fight the Japanese and the Germans so you, a grown man, could shave your damn legs. 

Usually, your shaved, tanned, naturally glistening Guns of Navarone need no defending, they are just there, twin defenders of freedom, loaded and ready. The greatest generation certainly should understand that, but they don’t.

Aesthetically, the issue is won already. I don’t bother getting into the hand-waving explanations of massage or road rash. Looking down and seeing hairy sweaty legs above my white socks just makes me sick. It’s depressing. It is a violation of all we hold dear. Looking down, 100km into a sweaty suffering ride and seeing glistening, shaved legs, doing the work: all is well with the world. 

The wise @G’phant offered up the Tribal thesis years back and it clicked with me. Yes, we are all members of the same tribe; we know each other by our shaved legs. See that guy ahead in the security line at the airport, when security makes him drop his pants to his ankles, look at those legs, those crisp tan lines! He is one of us. He is my brother. It’s a pretty great tribe to be in and no need for tattoos. 

Say things are going badly at the extended family barbecue. You have not impressed the soon to be father-in-law with a reasoned argument of how bitchin’ shaved legs look. The tribal argument has only generated a blank stare that questions why his daughter needs this (you). Pull out your smart phone, pull up this movie and tell him to watch this while you go fetch two more drinks (both for yourself).

Form, function and looking fantastic are intertwined and here is the proof.

Thanks to Dave E for the video. 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZnrE17Jg3I#t=212[/youtube]

// The Rules

  1. Bang on. Have you ever seen a hairy body builder? Or WWF Wrestler? How many hairy sprinters do you see at the Olympics. Not one single fucker.

    Shaved guns = 90% science + 10 vanity. My morning commute ride doesn’t begin until I’ve checked the guns in the mirror.  

  2. Awesome, Gianni!

    I was actually thinking about this today when I rode. Actually, I was thinking about how I no longer think about it. Rule #33 has been internalized. Just feels right.

  3. Historically, cyclists were early adoptors of shorn extremities. Now, I ‘aint no expert, but from what I read (perhaps written by me) the order of shavers goes as follows: cyclists, dance hall girls, prostitues, then everyday women. I suspect we have the WWII shortage of nylon to thank for the latter category anyway.  Swimmers fall in there somewhere, but who cares.

  4. From what I understand those bastions of machismo the rugby players are also fond of shorn pistons. No one asks them though, nor questions their masculinity. Probably because they are twice our size. As for me, I just turn turn to them and say “Why do I shave my legs? Why do you do your hair like that, why did you pick that shirt to wear? Because you want to? Well, there’s your answer then.” All of the VMH’s girlfriends and most importantly the VMH like it, and that’s as good a reason as any for me!

  5. Excellent! Great news, to be sure.

    I began shaving my guns maybe 18 months ago and didn’t even question continuing during the winter. Sure, I was covered head to toe for six degree riding and no one could see; but I knew it. I couldn’t bear the thought of looking down and seeing hairy pins… No, these babies will remain clean 365/24.

    Besides, leg warmers feel better against skin.

    Oh, I’ll take the increase in time as well. That’s a nice bonus to.

  6. Guns. Would you put hair on a Howitzer?  No.  I rest my case.

  7. What about shaved arms?

  8. Shaved legs is about tradition for me. Every thing else is an added benefit.

  9. @DCR

    What about shaved arms?

    skin suits have long sleeves.

  10. @Beers

    From what I understand those bastions of machismo the rugby players are also fond of shorn pistons. No one asks them though, nor questions their masculinity. Probably because they are twice our size. As for me, I just turn turn to them and say “Why do I shave my legs? Why do you do your hair like that, why did you pick that shirt to wear? Because you want to? Well, there’s your answer then.” All of the VMH‘s girlfriends and most importantly the VMH like it, and that’s as good a reason as any for me!

    Plenty of footballers are looking pretty hairless as well these days, Ronaldo, and Sanchez come to mind, Nobody has given me shit for it in a long time.

  11. @JACD214

    Excellent! Great news, to be sure.

    I began shaving my guns maybe 18 months ago and didn’t even question continuing during the winter. Sure, I was covered head to toe for six degree riding and no one could see; but I knew it. I couldn’t bear the thought of looking down and seeing hairy pins… No, these babies will remain clean 365/24.

    Besides, leg warmers feel better against skin.

    Good man.  You’ll get to enjoy the pleasure of applying a warming winter embrocation without looking like a matted furball the cat just threw up.

  12. @piwakawaka

    @DCR

    What about shaved arms?

    skin suits have long sleeves.

    Very true. But in the dead of the summer when temperatures reach into the triple digits I usually prefer short sleeves to long. As it is I don’t shave the arms.

    Anyone else here chime in on arm shaving?

  13. I recently had just this conversation with a pedalwan.  He was determined that this was not a road he would go down.

    When he asked why, I simply pointed him to this clip of the USS Missouri broadside letting rip with “ripple fire” and asked him.  “Do you see any fur on those guns?”

    He is now reflecting on his life choices.

    http://youtu.be/vj-15O-BTDw

  14. @DCR

    @piwakawaka

    @DCR

    What about shaved arms?

    skin suits have long sleeves.

    Very true. But in the dead of the summer when temperatures reach into the triple digits I usually prefer short sleeves to long. As it is I don’t shave the arms.

    Anyone else here chime in on arm shaving?

  15. Nice video on the aerodynamics of clean guns.  It’s always a plus when science coincides with faith.  But whether tradition, tribe, or aero benefit, it’s the right thing to do.  And knowing I’m right is all the proof I need.

  16. @Beers

    From what I understand those bastions of machismo the rugby players are also fond of shorn pistons. No one asks them though, nor questions their masculinity. Probably because they are twice our size. As for me, I just turn turn to them and say “Why do I shave my legs? Why do you do your hair like that, why did you pick that shirt to wear? Because you want to? Well, there’s your answer then.” All of the VMH‘s girlfriends and most importantly the VMH like it, and that’s as good a reason as any for me!

    The VMW does not like it on me. Bummer. Plus, when I am too fat to climb and peaking in more than two years I feel like a poseur with shaved legs.

  17. @DCR

    @piwakawaka

    @DCR

    What about shaved arms?

    skin suits have long sleeves.

    Very true. But in the dead of the summer when temperatures reach into the triple digits I usually prefer short sleeves to long. As it is I don’t shave the arms.

    Anyone else here chime in on arm shaving?

    The other video those guy’s did for beards showed no real difference, I’m guessing it would be similar for the arms, our guns on the other hand are moving both vertically and laterally through the air, this double gain is enough to make a real difference.

    I love spying another proud cyclist with their shaved guns on display in non cycling circumstance, a brother (sister) from another mother!

  18. @anthony

    @Beers

    From what I understand those bastions of machismo the rugby players are also fond of shorn pistons. No one asks them though, nor questions their masculinity. Probably because they are twice our size. As for me, I just turn turn to them and say “Why do I shave my legs? Why do you do your hair like that, why did you pick that shirt to wear? Because you want to? Well, there’s your answer then.” All of the VMH‘s girlfriends and most importantly the VMH like it, and that’s as good a reason as any for me!

    Plenty of footballers are looking pretty hairless as well these days, Ronaldo, and Sanchez come to mind, Nobody has given me shit for it in a long time.

    I think with the footballers it’s more likely a sign of their immaturity?

  19. @Teocalli

    @anthony

    @Beers

    From what I understand those bastions of machismo the rugby players are also fond of shorn pistons. No one asks them though, nor questions their masculinity. Probably because they are twice our size. As for me, I just turn turn to them and say “Why do I shave my legs? Why do you do your hair like that, why did you pick that shirt to wear? Because you want to? Well, there’s your answer then.” All of the VMH‘s girlfriends and most importantly the VMH like it, and that’s as good a reason as any for me!

    Plenty of footballers are looking pretty hairless as well these days, Ronaldo, and Sanchez come to mind, Nobody has given me shit for it in a long time.

    I think with the footballers it’s more likely a sign of their immaturity?

    That. Plus a million. The biggest fucking preening bunch of wankers I have ever met. Self righteous pricks.

    Nurse, time for my shot!

  20. @piwakawaka

    @DCR

    @piwakawaka

    @DCR

    What about shaved arms?

    skin suits have long sleeves.

    Very true. But in the dead of the summer when temperatures reach into the triple digits I usually prefer short sleeves to long. As it is I don’t shave the arms.

    Anyone else here chime in on arm shaving?

    The other video those guy’s did for beards showed no real difference, I’m guessing it would be similar for the arms, our guns on the other hand are moving both vertically and laterally through the air, this double gain is enough to make a real difference.

    I love spying another proud cyclist with their shaved guns on display in non cycling circumstance, a brother (sister) from another mother!

    Actually, arm hair does test slower than shaved arms (that’s also according to the Specialized tunnel, they just didn’t do a film on that). I’m sparsely-haired in my arms anyhow, but for important races, that goes too. My skinsuit only goes to the elbow.

  21. @VeloJello

    @Teocalli

    @anthony

    @Beers

    From what I understand those bastions of machismo the rugby players are also fond of shorn pistons. No one asks them though, nor questions their masculinity. Probably because they are twice our size. As for me, I just turn turn to them and say “Why do I shave my legs? Why do you do your hair like that, why did you pick that shirt to wear? Because you want to? Well, there’s your answer then.” All of the VMH‘s girlfriends and most importantly the VMH like it, and that’s as good a reason as any for me!

    Plenty of footballers are looking pretty hairless as well these days, Ronaldo, and Sanchez come to mind, Nobody has given me shit for it in a long time.

    I think with the footballers it’s more likely a sign of their immaturity?

    That. Plus a million. The biggest fucking preening bunch of wankers I have ever met. Self righteous pricks.

    Nurse, time for my shot!

    and..breath !!!  Aren’t the Thought Police likely to arrest you for alleged blasphemy like that, in your Toon Army part of the World?

  22. @tessar

    @piwakawaka

    @DCR

    @piwakawaka

    @DCR

    What about shaved arms?

    skin suits have long sleeves.

    Very true. But in the dead of the summer when temperatures reach into the triple digits I usually prefer short sleeves to long. As it is I don’t shave the arms.

    Anyone else here chime in on arm shaving?

    The other video those guy’s did for beards showed no real difference, I’m guessing it would be similar for the arms, our guns on the other hand are moving both vertically and laterally through the air, this double gain is enough to make a real difference.

    I love spying another proud cyclist with their shaved guns on display in non cycling circumstance, a brother (sister) from another mother!

    Actually, arm hair does test slower than shaved arms (that’s also according to the Specialized tunnel, they just didn’t do a film on that). I’m sparsely-haired in my arms anyhow, but for important races, that goes too. My skinsuit only goes to the elbow.

    I worked with a guy who shaved his arms and the backs of his hands.  He wasn’t a sportsman at all, just shaved.  Even in my universe, that’s just weird.

  23. Yeah, I dont, uh, really care what someone thinks of my silky smooth stems. They (people that aren’t on bicycles or even worse, fellow cyclists that do not obey the rule) look perplexed when I give them a straight faced answer that “it looks fucking stupid to have a forest growing below the cut off line of your sleek kit” as though it’s some kind of joke.

  24. Very timely topic, Gianni. I just arrived on the East Coast of three weeks of rusticating. No bike,  and I was contemplating allowing some growth to form on the lower limbs.  Thanks to your article I will not be engaging in such blasphemy: even if I am temporarily off the bike, I am still a Cyclist.

  25. So this is interesting and, obviously, true.

    Drag is induced when a fluid separates from a surface. In face, F1 cars often use vortex generators at the trailing edge of a surface to induce swirl and reduce drag. It’s shown up in production cars occasionally as well – like this Mitsu Evo.

    Mitsu Evo Vortex Gens

    Given that, it seems the lowest drag solution might be to shave the front of the legs and leave the posterior 1/4 – 1/3 fully forested.

  26. Tried to embed.  Duh… Aforementioned Mitsu Vortex Generators (above).

  27. @Nate

    Very timely topic, Gianni. I just arrived on the East Coast of three weeks of rusticating. No bike, and I was contemplating allowing some growth to form on the lower limbs. Thanks to your article I will not be engaging in such blasphemy: even if I am temporarily off the bike, I am still a Cyclist.

    Here here.  I’ve always found that when off the bike for injury, illness or family reasons, keeping the guns shaved really helps me keep the faith.

  28. @Nate

    Very timely topic, Gianni. I just arrived on the East Coast of three weeks of rusticating. No bike, and I was contemplating allowing some growth to form on the lower limbs. Thanks to your article I will not be engaging in such blasphemy: even if I am temporarily off the bike, I am still a Cyclist.

    Welcome! Enjoy your time over here. I’m heading to northern Ontario in early August for a week at a pal’s cabin, located in the middle of no where. I’ll use the lake to stay on top of Rule #33.

  29. @therealpeel

    @Beers

    From what I understand those bastions of machismo the rugby players are also fond of shorn pistons. No one asks them though, nor questions their masculinity. Probably because they are twice our size. As for me, I just turn turn to them and say “Why do I shave my legs? Why do you do your hair like that, why did you pick that shirt to wear? Because you want to? Well, there’s your answer then.” All of the VMH‘s girlfriends and most importantly the VMH like it, and that’s as good a reason as any for me!

    The VMW does not like it on me. Bummer. Plus, when I am too fat to climb and peaking in more than two years I feel like a poseur with shaved legs.

    The VMH gets asked all the time if it creeps her out. She has the common decency to reply that it’s far from the creepiest thing I do. It’s also funny to make people uncomfortable by loudly being concerned that I missed a spot.

  30. @Durishin

    So this is interesting and, obviously, true.

    Drag is induced when a fluid separates from a surface. In face, F1 cars often use vortex generators at the trailing edge of a surface to induce swirl and reduce drag. It’s shown up in production cars occasionally as well – like this Mitsu Evo.

    Given that, it seems the lowest drag solution might be to shave the front of the legs and leave the posterior 1/4 – 1/3 fully forested.

    yeah, that should work and look extremely weird at the same time. Let’s hope that does not catch on. I’m hoping my skin is dimpled enough to do the same thing.

  31. @therealpeel

    @Beers

    From what I understand those bastions of machismo the rugby players are also fond of shorn pistons. No one asks them though, nor questions their masculinity. Probably because they are twice our size. As for me, I just turn turn to them and say “Why do I shave my legs? Why do you do your hair like that, why did you pick that shirt to wear? Because you want to? Well, there’s your answer then.” All of the VMH‘s girlfriends and most importantly the VMH like it, and that’s as good a reason as any for me!

    The VMW does not like it on me. Bummer. Plus, when I am too fat to climb and peaking in more than two years I feel like a poseur with shaved legs.

    Look at it the other way around; once you shave you have to get fit or you will look like a poser. Let your legs lead the way. No advice on the wife. They may be more upset at seeing us shave than being shorn. Who knows.

  32. Timely and great piece. I’m a year-round leg shaver. I get some decent veins showing up on the lower legs when I get fit and like to show ’em off – fuzzy hair would hide that. Saw a woman rider on Saturday on an organized ride. At the back of her right leg she had a mini Hincapie vein going on. I wasn’t grossed out in the least. Au contraire, I thought it was impressive!

  33. @Gianni

    @therealpeel

     

    The VMW does not like it on me. Bummer. Plus, when I am too fat to climb and peaking in more than two years I feel like a poseur with shaved legs.

    Look at it the other way around; once you shave you have to get fit or you will look like a poser. Let your legs lead the way. No advice on the wife. They may be more upset at seeing us shave than being shorn. Who knows.

    This! I faced the same dilemma when I started riding again a few years ago. I was always smooth back in the day, but by 50 I somehow didn’t look 25 anymore (and I live in the howling wilderness now) so I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to the trouble. I’m glad I did start shaving again, because it was like a bet with myself (drop some pounds or else) and because it made me feel like a Cyclist again. It really is true, whatever level of fitness you have, looking more Fantastic motivates you to ride faster which makes you fitter and more Fantastic looking, and so on.

    Wives, if they don’t dig it from the outset, get used to it in time. I know this; I’ve demonstrated it twice.

  34. @Mike_P

    @Mike_P

    @VeloJello

    @Teocalli

    @anthony

    @Beers

    From what I understand those bastions of machismo the rugby players are also fond of shorn pistons. No one asks them though, nor questions their masculinity. Probably because they are twice our size. As for me, I just turn turn to them and say “Why do I shave my legs? Why do you do your hair like that, why did you pick that shirt to wear? Because you want to? Well, there’s your answer then.” All of the VMH‘s girlfriends and most importantly the VMH like it, and that’s as good a reason as any for me!

    Plenty of footballers are looking pretty hairless as well these days, Ronaldo, and Sanchez come to mind, Nobody has given me shit for it in a long time.

    I think with the footballers it’s more likely a sign of their immaturity?

    That. Plus a million. The biggest fucking preening bunch of wankers I have ever met. Self righteous pricks.

    Nurse, time for my shot!

    and..breath !!! Aren’t the Thought Police likely to arrest you for alleged blasphemy like that, in your Toon Army part of the World?

    Wow guy’s, Just trying to say lots of other athletes seem to be shaving there legs too, seems to be getting more main stream. Fuck it I love Football, always will. I love cycling, always will.

  35. @anthony

    @Mike_P

    @Mike_P

    @VeloJello

    @Teocalli

    @anthony

    @Beers

    From what I understand those bastions of machismo the rugby players are also fond of shorn pistons. No one asks them though, nor questions their masculinity. Probably because they are twice our size. As for me, I just turn turn to them and say “Why do I shave my legs? Why do you do your hair like that, why did you pick that shirt to wear? Because you want to? Well, there’s your answer then.” All of the VMH‘s girlfriends and most importantly the VMH like it, and that’s as good a reason as any for me!

    Plenty of footballers are looking pretty hairless as well these days, Ronaldo, and Sanchez come to mind, Nobody has given me shit for it in a long time.

    I think with the footballers it’s more likely a sign of their immaturity?

    That. Plus a million. The biggest fucking preening bunch of wankers I have ever met. Self righteous pricks.

    Nurse, time for my shot!

    and..breath !!! Aren’t the Thought Police likely to arrest you for alleged blasphemy like that, in your Toon Army part of the World?

    Wow guy’s, Just trying to say lots of other athletes seem to be shaving there legs too, seems to be getting more main stream. Fuck it I love Football, always will. I love cycling, always will.

    Screw those guys, trolls exist errrwhere

  36. @PeakInTwoYears

    @Gianni

    @therealpeel

    The VMW does not like it on me. Bummer. Plus, when I am too fat to climb and peaking in more than two years I feel like a poseur with shaved legs.

    Look at it the other way around; once you shave you have to get fit or you will look like a poser. Let your legs lead the way. No advice on the wife. They may be more upset at seeing us shave than being shorn. Who knows.

    This! I faced the same dilemma when I started riding again a few years ago. I was always smooth back in the day, but by 50 I somehow didn’t look 25 anymore (and I live in the howling wilderness now) so I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to the trouble. I’m glad I did start shaving again, because it was like a bet with myself (drop some pounds or else) and because it made me feel like a Cyclist again. It really is true, whatever level of fitness you have, looking more Fantastic motivates you to ride faster which makes you fitter and more Fantastic looking, and so on.

    Wives, if they don’t dig it from the outset, get used to it in time. I know this; I’ve demonstrated it twice.

    This is why I shave the guns through the winter. Even if I’m not on the bike I can at least look fantastic, and this motivates me to maintain my Flemish tan lines, after which I may smite mine enemies who haven’t gotten off their duffs all winter.

  37. My Mrs thinks me weird that I have smooth guns but has asked me not to go back to full hairy since she doesn’t like it! Go figure. Personally I think it has bought us closer together. We have another thing to discuss and we have on occasion sat together and removed the fur with our his and hers epilators.

  38. @Puffy

    My Mrs thinks me weird that I have smooth guns but has asked me not to go back to full hairy since she doesn’t like it! Go figure. Personally I think it has bought us closer together. We have another thing to discuss and we have on occasion sat together and removed the fur with our his and hers epilators.

    There’s always someone who just goes that step too far!

  39. @Puffy

    My Mrs thinks me weird that I have smooth guns but has asked me not to go back to full hairy since she doesn’t like it! Go figure. Personally I think it has bought us closer together. We have another thing to discuss and we have on occasion sat together and removed the fur with our his and hers epilators.

    A tad too much information! (emoticon here)

  40. Head above parapet time…

    Isn’t all this sticking too the rules a bit like being in a tribute band? I.e. pretending to be something you’re not?

    Discuss…

  41. @Gianni

    @therealpeel

    @Beers

    From what I understand those bastions of machismo the rugby players are also fond of shorn pistons. No one asks them though, nor questions their masculinity. Probably because they are twice our size. As for me, I just turn turn to them and say “Why do I shave my legs? Why do you do your hair like that, why did you pick that shirt to wear? Because you want to? Well, there’s your answer then.” All of the VMH‘s girlfriends and most importantly the VMH like it, and that’s as good a reason as any for me!

    The VMW does not like it on me. Bummer. Plus, when I am too fat to climb and peaking in more than two years I feel like a poseur with shaved legs.

    Look at it the other way around; once you shave you have to get fit or you will look like a poser. Let your legs lead the way. No advice on the wife. They may be more upset at seeing us shave than being shorn. Who knows.

    Additionally, shorn legs look fitter than unshorn! The definition improvement you get is impressive even on the ahem, heaviest of the bunch.

  42. I am one of the few who does not shave my legs and probably wont

    Even though I do agree with what others say about it.

    I just can’t get myself to do it.

    Plus I am primarily in the woods most of the time so it does not much matter there.

  43. @roger Can you be hired to kick Shaun in the ass?

  44. When I realized a cyclist’s life was for me, I started shaving my legs.  About 2 days later, I started shaving my arms (the back of my hands up to and including my sorry excuse for biceps)!

    As I look down and see my guns glistening, showing off all the V that I have been laying down, hairy arms seemed quite ridiculous looking.

    Two weeks ago, I had a brief conversation with an acquaintance about my shaved legs.  He thought it would be too time consuming.  I told him after the forest is chopped down, maintenance only adds a few minutes to my shower time for all my limbs.

    My advice is try shaving all your limbs, you just might like it!

  45. @Shaun Kelly

    Head above parapet time…

    Isn’t all this sticking too the rules a bit like being in a tribute band? I.e. pretending to be something you’re not?

    Discuss…

    I’ll fire a salvo:

    That pitfall is why we have Rule #16 and Rule #17.

    I don’t pretend to be a Pro, because I’m not.  I don’t pretend to Look Fantastic, because I do.

  46. I think winter is the best time for shaved guns. Belgian knee warmers feel fantastic, real knee warmers feel better, & nothing feels better than a pair of slacks or chinos over freshly shaved guns. Even though they can’t be seen, you know they’re there & you always feel like the cyclist you are. For me, shaved guns when it’s <20F outside motivate me to get out & crush a Rule #9 ride & really feel like a true Flahute!

  47. @Puffy

    My Mrs thinks me weird that I have smooth guns but has asked me not to go back to full hairy since she doesn’t like it! Go figure. Personally I think it has bought us closer together. We have another thing to discuss and we have on occasion sat together and removed the fur with our his and hers epilators.

    Don’t listen to those guys. I totally support shaving routines between loving partners.

  48. The greatest revelation of this study is that we now have the Chewbaca scale to gauge one’s hairiness.

  49. My wife occassionally rolls her eyes and calls me a dork when she notices at all.  She commented the other day about how I probably shave more often than her.

    Which I took as more of a comment on her personal grooming habits than my own.

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar