When you meet another cyclist do you automatically look down to check out leg musculature and whether they're shaved?
August 20 Clarification: I posted this in haste during a work day after several riders had walked through the shop in civilian clothes. Their manner revealed that they were familiar with bike equipment and comfortable in a shop. They moved with quiet confidence.
Looking at legs is a racer habit. What might this competitor have under the hood? Because a cyclist is both driver and engine, you can take your best guess based on the parts you can see.
In the lower licensed ranks, hairy-legged riders used to get crap from those who had shaved, even if the shaven ones had to chase down the hairy one to deliver their insults. Add a hard-shell helmet and you could find yourself shoved into a parking meter because the smooth-legged majority assumed you were a dangerous geek. At the very least, as a privateer you would not get anyone to work with you if you didn't look serious.
I make no judgments about a rider based on leg hair and muscle tone. Cycling is much bigger than that. I just thought it was funny that I still had the reflex urge to look.
I am a hairy geek on a heavy bike now. That hasn't kept me from dropping a few riders on titanium or carbon fiber when I meet them on my morning time trial to work. But I have no illusions about where I sit on the scale of absolute speed. And who really gives a rat's chamois anyway?