A big increase in the number of men undergoing cosmetic surgery to have thread veins removed from their legs is being linked a boom in cycling following the London 2012 Olympic Games and Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France win last summer.
Manchester-based Dr Peter Finigan, a member of the Dr Newmans Clinic network, which specialises in thread vein removal, says that since last September he has performed the procedure on in excess of 50 male cyclists reports Mail Online.
“There has been a significant rise in male cyclists requesting our treatment,” he explained. “One comes along, has his thread veins removed, and recommends it to his friends.
“Then three or four more from the same cycling club make appointments to see us because they’ve been talking about their thread veins to each other when they have a break.”
Causes of the unsightly red or blue veins include hereditary factors, obesity, or excessive consumption of alcohol.
“It’s normally only once they’ve shaved or waxed their legs that they even notice the thread veins, even though they may have had them for years,” continued Dr Finigan.
“Sometimes, fellow cyclists point them out, so they feel self-conscious and want to do something about them.”
Mail Online points out that “In the three months following Bradley Wiggins’ Tour De France victory in July, 10,000 new members joined Cycling UK [sic], donned their lycra and took to the roads.”
It adds: “Many also decided to replicate their cycling heroes by shaving their legs,” the implication being that it is recent converts to cycling - often termed middle aged men in Lycra, or MAMILs - that have chosen to go hairless who are fuelling the rise in cosmetic surgery.
While it is indeed true that British Cycling – Mail Online’s ‘Cycling UK’ – saw a big upswing in membership last year, we suspect many, if not most, of those cyclists will have been cycling regularly for some time before joining the organisation.
We’d also be surprised if a significant number of men - well, any of them, really - decided overnight not only to take up cycling and buy a road bike, but also to start shaving their legs at the same time.
While there’s little disputing Dr Finigan’s statement regarding patient numbers, we suspect the men concerned will have been cycling seriously for some time.
It is often assumed that the sole reason for cyclists shaving their legs is due to improved aerodynamics – and at elite level, evidence is that it can help save potentially valuable seconds over a long time trial, for example.
But ease of massage and treating injuries are equally, if not more important reasons, as is the tradition and ritualistic aspect.
Do you shave your legs? If so, how soon did you begin doing so after taking up cycling, and what was the prime reason for starting?
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.