Cyclists often shave their pubic hair and you have probably wondered why since finding out.
Since it’s an intimate topic, you probably find it difficult to ask them so you won’t embarrass them or yourself.
Well, we are here to answer your question. We will explain in detail why cyclists do this and the advantages. We will also talk about the cons of shaving for cyclists and if it is something pros bother to do. Other related questions will also be answered.
Why Do Cyclists Shave Their Pubic Hair? (4 Reasons Why They Shave)
Cyclists do this because not shaving causes a lot of discomfort. This is not a topic that is generally discussed as it is personal and intimate, so new cyclists are not equipped with all the necessary information before starting their cycling journey.
They are then left to learn these lessons the hard way after a few rides.
Let’s take a look at some of the discomforts caused by pubic hair while riding and why cyclists shave.
1- To Reduce Sweat
Pubic hair especially for someone who is very hairy causes heat. Don’t forget you are likely going to be wearing form-fitting lycra which will make the heat down there all the more unbearable.
This will make you sweat a lot and your pubic hair will trap most of the sweat making it impossible to enjoy your ride. You can’t just wait to get off the bike, take off the lycra and have a bath.
Touring or bike packing will be difficult in this situation. This is why cyclists shave.
It will however be better to get rid of pubic hair with methods other than shaving. Shaving can be dangerous if you are not careful. Plus the pubic hair can itch or become too sharp when it’s growing back after a shave.
2- To Prevent Odor
Try riding in your shorts or lycra for two days without washing and you’ll understand what I mean. It doesn’t even have to be two days.
Ride in the morning, discard your lycra without washing, and go back to check it in the evening. The foul smell that comes off it will surprise you. This is caused by all the sweat your pubic hair caused and trapped.
All that body fluid left on your shorts or lycra will begin to smell after a few hours. Cyclists shave to avoid this.
3- To Prevent Friction
Your pubic hair especially when they aren’t too long can grate your skin and cause friction as you ride on your saddle. This can cause sores, and make your skin burn or feel peeled after riding for a while.
It can become very uncomfortable if you continue riding because sweat will pour onto the sore skin.
It will be like salt on a fresh wound. This is another reason cyclists shave and like to keep down there clean.
4- To Avoid Embarrassment
Cyclists that didn’t know better and rode without shaving, have complained that their pubic hair sticks out of their lycra when they wear it. This can be very embarrassing.
You would know if you have experienced this. Imagine black pubic hair sticking out of orange or white lycra. It would be so obvious.
No one may notice while you are riding but won’t you get off at one point or the other? Many cyclists learned this the hard way and know the importance of shaving.
Why It Might Not Be a Good Idea to Shave Pubic Hair?
Shaving is a matter of personal preference and it’s cool but it doesn’t come without its cons.
1- Skin Irritation
Your skin is smooth and fresh when you shave, and you will love the feel. But after a day or two, as hair begins to grow, your pubic area will begin to itch in a very disturbing way.
This skin irritation could lead to infections, one of which is folliculitis. You could also develop a rash.
If you have sensitive skin, you could even have boils, which is a very uncomfortable skin reaction to have in that delicate area.
It is not unusual to have cuts while shaving, we aren’t perfect, and some of us have very sensitive skins. These cuts could easily get infected if not treated with care.
The open pores on our pubic areas after a good shaving are also susceptible to getting infected if we aren’t careful.
Your pubic hair has a lot of benefits, one of which is to protect you from infections. Your pubic hair traps dirt and pathogens that could have otherwise entered your body.
Shaving them means you lose this protection and you are exposed to different foreign bodies that could infect you. Women could develop yeast infections or vaginosis.
Getting these infections will make it uncomfortable for you to ride and could be dangerous if left untreated.
4- Bacteria Multiply
Your pubic hair follicles produce an oil called sebum, which prevents bacteria from reproducing and entering your body.
When you shave your pubic hair, bacteria that gets to your pubic area easily reproduces and multiplies, and you are endangered.
5- Saddle Sores
Many cyclists who experience saddle sores, especially women report that they stop feeling this when they stopped shaving. This is another reason it may not be a good idea to shave.
If you experience saddle sores as a cyclist, stop shaving for a while and see if it makes a difference.
We have explained while some cyclists shave; what could happen if they don’t. The balance is, don’t shave all your pubic hair entirely.
You could clip or trim. This way you would enjoy the benefits of shaving like good hygiene, and still, have enough pubic hair to protect you from foreign bodies.
Do Pro Cyclists Shave or Wax?
Most pro cyclists prefer to shave. Even the ones that wax, shave more than they wax. This is because in their opinion shaving is easier, faster, and less painful.
It’s something you can do yourself in the comfort of your home or anywhere without employing experts.
Waxing on the other hand is best achieved through professional services. There will be less chance of hurting yourself.
Shaving doesn’t come without its cons though as many pro cyclists complain of being nicked here and there by razors when shaving their legs. This can make your legs swollen for a couple of minutes or hours after shaving.
The hair also grows back quickly when shaved, unlike waxing which can last between 4 to 6 weeks.
Triathlon and Pubic Hair
Leaving pubic hair untouched is a menace for most triathletes. It causes chafing when they are doing their sports which can lead to blisters after hours of cycling. This is why clipping the hairs is recommended.
Many triathletes however prefer to shave or wax. In their opinion, it’s either you leave it all or remove it all. There’s no in-between. But some still prefer to clip.
If you prefer to shave, you know new growth of hairs can cause some genital itching or rash. So treat your pubic area after shaving to avoid this. You can rub in some shower gel and gently wash with warm water. You can also browse for products that can prevent itching.
Also, note that you aren’t supposed to ride immediately after shaving. Your genital area would still be sensitive and you could hurt yourself. Give it a few hours or a day.
How Do I Stop My Groin from Hurting When Cycling?
Get an expert to do a bike fitting for you. Usually, groin pains are associated with riding a bike that doesn’t fit the body frame.
It is most times associated with an incorrect saddle or handlebar position. If your saddle is too low or too high you will experience a lot of pain in your left or right groin area.
The same goes for your handlebars. If you have to stretch far before reaching your handlebars, your groin would suffer a lot after a while. So make adjustments.
An incorrect saddle shape or size could also cause groin pain, so avoid this. Talk to an expert. Let them recommend a saddle shape and size that fits your shape and body type. Something you can ride comfortably on for many hours.
Using Chamois Cream
Chamois cream is an antibacterial cream that prevents chafing or friction between skin and cloth.
Most of us have experienced the burning sensation that results from sweaty skin rubbing against cloth and we know how painful it can be.
Why Do Cyclists Use Chamois Cream?
Applying chamois cream to those areas you feel the burning sensations can help you avoid it. This is why cyclists use it. They rub it in their crotch area, inner thigh, butt cheeks, etc. to reduce friction between their sweaty skin and their clothes.
They also use it to prevent abscess and the build-up of bacteria.
Chafing cannot be avoided especially if you are going to be riding for long. But you can protect your skin from getting irritated and hurt with chamois cream.
Cyclists that go for adventure rides or long tours also rub it on their butt cheeks. This helps to prevent saddle sores.
Just rub some amount in your hands after washing your hands with soap, and lather it onto those areas. Note that you can also rub it on your clothes. Rub it in those areas your cloth is likely going to be rubbing against your skin.
If chamois cream is unavailable, you can use shea butter, aloe vera, vaseline petroleum jelly, and coconut oil.
Do Pro Cyclists Use Chamois Cream?
Not all, but many of them do. Pro cyclists aren’t exempted from chafing or friction, although a good bike short that isn’t too tight fitted can eradicate chafing from your cycling experience. And pros know how to pick those.
However many of them use chamois cream when they are going for a race or long tours. This is because no matter how comfortable your bike shorts are, you will develop saddle sores after cycling for hours non-stop.
When they are just out riding with friends, they rarely use it. Only a few pro cyclists use chamois cream all the time. And it is only a matter of habit more than it is of necessity.
Cyclists shave their pubic hair to minimize odor and reduce friction, among many other reasons which we have discussed.
Shaving pubic hair isn’t all that beneficial though, and we have explained in detail why you may want to avoid this. Clipping or trimming may be a better idea.
To reduce friction and chafing during cycling or other exercises, you should consider using chamois cream. It is antibacterial and can also prevent the build-up of bacteria on your skin. Cyclists use this often because of this.
Other alternatives to chamois cream are aloe vera, shea butter, etc. They won’t be as effective as chamois cream but will still provide some protection if chamois cream is unavailable at the moment.