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To baldly go where no man…..
There was a hint of spring in the air today and although only a week into February, I started thinking about the season ahead. Was I thinking about the first wheel turned in Europe on the pro tour? No. Did I drift off into a moment of summer tyres, dry roads & faster averages? No. The first thought that actually popped into my head was a question; a question regarding a subject that even in this forward thinking more liberal world, divides the opinion of most men folk & mystifies the fairer sex to the point of out loud laughter. Is it nearly time to shave my legs?
Have you been doing this long?
I’m the sort of person that once hooked on something feels the need to do it as well as I possibly can. This means buying the best equipment that I can afford, going to the most suitable places to do it and wearing the kit that gives me the best chance of believing that I know what I’m doing. There is a danger of looking like an “all the gear no idea” kind of participant and I’m fully aware that just because I know the words to Candle in the wind it doesn’t make me Elton John but it does incentivise me to improve quicker.
By the time last season came around properly I had stock piled some decent team kit, I had swapped my old 1990’s style helmet for a modern lightweight Kask and I finally got my hands on my dream bike but something was nagging at me. Was I now a complete cyclist? Could I show up at a local road race and be taken seriously? The answer was no and the reason was brought home to me every time I dragged the sticky latex strips across my hairy legs whenever I pulled my bib shorts on.
Hair today, gone tomorrow.
Once the decision was made to lose the leg pelt I just had to find the best way of tackling the task. Now I’m not saying that I’m the hairiest creature to ever walk the planet but when it comes to my legs, let’s just say they wouldn’t look out of place wrapped around Sir David Attenborough’s waist while he spends some time in the misty Gorilla Mountains.
After weighing up the options I settled on what seemed like the most effective procedure. Now before I admit that it was Veet that I decided on, I need to clarify that it was Man Veet, yes Man Veet.
Although this may well be clinically the same product as the standard Veet that ladies have been depending on for years it actually says “Man” in front of the word “Veet” on the tube and is presented in a very manly Navy blue package. Low and behold it works! Leave it on for the prescribed amount of time and when you scrape it off with the provided spatula, Bob’s your Mothers brother, clean as a whistle!
It’s probably responsible to advise at this point that if you decide to ignore the spatula to apply the Veet, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly otherwise like me you’ll quickly become the envy of every cat burglar in the area after you’ve burnt off the pattern from your fingertips.
So what’s it all in aid of?
Nobody seems to have a definitive answer to this question, not even the pro’s!
It seems that every body that does it has their own reasons ranging from aerodynamics, comfort when on the massage table through to sticking plasters for grazes & injuries.
I have to confess that in the past year I have not had one single massage, not one single need to apply a sticking plaster or bandage and I don’t think the aero factor made much difference to my Sunday club rides. These were however, all viable reasons to use when questioned by the mums at my boys swimming gala as to why my legs are smoother than theirs.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the above reasons are all convenient positives to what is essentially just a cycling tradition. Like wearing a replica football shirt when supporting your team or eating turkey at Christmas, it’s just something you do to immerse yourself further into what you love and brings you closer to the full on experience.
My advice to anyone toying with the idea is to just go for it! Whether you like the feeling is another matter but one thing is for sure, when you’re out on your bike with your legs looking like cut diamonds, you will look faster which in turn will make you feel faster and what harm can that do?