Beardmen

For many years now, I have watched cycling and something has caught
my attention: the beard. As we all know, it is common for a cyclist to shave.
They shave their face, their legs, their arms, well, what don’t they shave?
But let’s focus on the face for now. The peloton is not ‘clean-shaven’ anymore
at this point. A lot of riders don’t shave their beard anymore. I don’t know
which rider started it, but it is really contagious!

In order to explain why the beard is getting so popular, we have to dig deeper.
So what is a beard again? The definition of a beard is a collection of hair that grows on the upper lip, chin, cheeks and neck. Genetics determine if the beard grows fast or (very) slow. This is probably the reason why not every man grows
a beard. For some men, it takes weeks to grow a beard, and for the lucky ones
it only takes a few days.

The beard is not only trending in the cycling world. When I go to my work or just take a walk through a nice city, I see plenty of men with beards and some are more attractive than others. This wasn’t the case in my childhood.
So, what are the facts about beards? After the seventies and eighties, the beard kind of lost its popularity. But over the past few years, the beard has returned.

In 2013, The Guardian posted an article about the popularity of beards,
quoting that “beards are more popular than ever… there’s a beard culture – people like talking about their beards, feeling their beards”.
In the same article they mention that the beard could possibly be a reaction to women’s growing economic power and a way of showing one’s masculinity. Nevertheless, it also says that “the beards are here to stay. You get used to it,
it becomes part of your identity.”

Wait, when I project this on the cycling world, the conclusion should be that women’s cycling is getting more popular and that the answer of the cycling men
is growing their beards? As a reaction? It’s a thought to think about,
but I don’t believe it. I just think that riders are sensitive to trends. They are on social media, they follow the latest news and see the latest fashion.
And right now, the beard is the latest fashion.

So I collected the ‘beards’ of the peloton. In total, there are over 60 men
in the peloton with a beard. But most of them don’t get to the level beard.
Their beards are more a collection of stubbles. Only a total of twenty riders
can call themselves real ‘beardmen’. You can view the twelve best of them
in this articcle. I’m not going to pick the best beard (or the worst) out of those, because I don’t see the point of doing that. Just pick your own.
Please, take a look at the brave, beardy men:


One more tip for all the Marcel Kittels out there without a beard.
Here’s an infographic about beards. Whenever you change your mind
after reading this, it might help you. Good luck with growing that beard!

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