Maybe cyclists (and swimmers) were doing it first, but new research suggests that up to half of modern men are shaving their legs.
In a survey of Men’s Health Facebook readers, 33.1 per cent of respondents said they occasionally used a trimmer to keep things neat, and and additional 15.3 per cent said they shaved their legs ‘frequently’.
Sister title Women’s Health asked its readership whether it was partial to a close shave, and the results were equally revealing: 30 per cent liked a bit of a trim, while 22 per cent said they liked a clean-shaven look.
Male image consultant Aaron Marino, based in Atlanta, USA, told the magazine: “Most guys are not interested in completely shaving their legs, but they will take the length and bulk down with a groomer attachment. Just so the leg hair isn’t crazy, bushy and long.
“It becomes kind of a hair-management situation.
"For me, it’s purely aesthetic. When I started working out, I shaved my arms so you could see more definition. In the fitness world, it’s not as taboo for men to remove body hair.
So I kept doing it, and then started shaving my legs, too. I prefer the look, and I feel like it’s cleaner. Hair isn’t one of those things I need.”
Another theory posited by the magazine was that a trend for tattoos on the legs led men to shave, to show off their ink.
Back in 2014 we reported how science has given you a solid reason to depilate.
Up till recently it's been considered that the least plausible reason for shaving was to improve aerodynamics. Sure, shave because it looks good, it's easier to get a massage, bandages and tape are easier if you crash, it feels nice in bed and the opposite sex digs it.
Shave for aerodynamics though? Not so much. Everyone references a study done by Chester Kyle for Bicycling magazine back in 1987. That test found only a tiny difference in aerodynamic drag, 0.6 percent.
That's a few seconds over 25 miles at a typical decent time-trail speed. If you're not chasing personal bests up and down the country, it's arguably not worth the hassle.
Early in July, though, Specialized aerodynamicists Mark Cote and Chris Yu blew conventional thinking out of the water. They found savings of 50 to 80 seconds over 40km when they tested riders in their wind tunnel before and after shaving their legs.
Cote says: "We've run about 1200 hours' worth of experiments [in the wind tunnel] over the last year and no question, this shaved leg data set has been the most surprising revelation."
Yu adds that he and Cote had wanted to test the effect of shaving legs for a long time, "but just didn't believe it would be a big enough difference to be able to measure it."
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.