I’m no fan of cyclists… I think if you live anywhere with narrow roads you probably aren’t either. Unless perhaps you’re a cyclist yourself. I’m not talking about mountain bikers, I’m talking about the lycra clad pseudo Tour de France coffee shop clogging shaved leg road cyclists that seem to be oblivious to everything and everyone else around them while they cycle along 3 abreast on our narrow Cape Town roads on their way to the next Bootleggers coffee shop, while the rest of the world are just trying to drive somewhere, but we now have to travel at cyclist speed. If they were single file allowing the rest of thw world to also actually use the road… but they don’t… fuckheads..
I digress.. Not even through the first paragraph and I’m ranting. I guess my feelings about cyclists are clear at least.
Mountain bikers I have a ton of restpect for though. They are gnarly humans who get out in nature and do some seriously cool shit, even if they do shave their legs. Fellow Feathers Alumni Jazz Kuschke even shaves his legs, but does so more to fit in when covering gnarly cycling events like the Cape Epic as a journo, or Fatbiking the endless leg destroying beaches of northern KZN in Search of GT’s.
But he’s about the only person I hold in high regard I’ll let get away with that shit. However I recently found myself in a bit of a quandary with regards to shaved legs.
I’m a fan of tattoos. And seeing as I have run out of real estate on both arms for more ink, and the logical choice of starting on my chest isn’t really an option because that would be akin to installing stain glass windows on a delapidated crack house, it made sense to start on my legs.
I have also been refered to by some, as somewhat hirsute.. Yes, I am rather hairy.. So for my beloved tattoo artist Manuela Gray to even have a snowballs chance in hell of working her magic on my leg, I was going to have to go full cyclist on my left leg. After rantings to all and sundry about my laothing of cyclists and their shaved legs ( yeah I bet those shaved legs are gonna help you shave seconds off your Giovannis to Bootleggers Sunday Ride fattie! ) I was now having to join the shaved leg crowd.. I did make sure to only shave one though, mainly so no one would mistake me for a cyclist.. with the difference between my shaved leg and my none shaved leg, if I was on a bicycle the drag on the hairy leg vs the shaved leg would have me riding in very tight circles!
I collected all the shaved off hair and jokingly sent a pic to the Feathers Crew asking if anyone needing any dubbing material.. I mean waste not, want not right?
As a laugh I chucked it all into a ziplock, and was gonna break it out at the next Whippet Wednesday tying session as a brilliant new dubbing I’d found as a joke, but then kinda forgot about it.
Fast forward a week or two and Platon and PJ were around my place for a tie and braai evening as per usual. I desperately needed to restock on Pla’s fantastic Lalubug pattern which has been so devastatingly effective on our Carp here in the Cape, as well as pretty much anything else that swims in fresh water.. I’d been threatening to learn to tie it for ages, but never got round to it as Pla’s ever stocked fly box is always nearby when we go on Carp missions so I just steal his. But figured I needed to get some tied myself and PJ was keen to learn the pattern too.
Sitting down to dive into the pattern around my kitchen counter, i saw the bag of recently shaved leg hair and thought “Fuck it, lets actually try it”.. The Lalubug is a Dragonfly Nymph pattern which features a dubbed head section up front.. I decided to mix some of that leg hair into the dubbing before spinning it into a noodle and finishing off the fly… and fuck me dead if it doesn’t make a damn fine buggy leggy ( see what I did there?) finish on the fly.. I liked it so much I used it one the rest of the half dozen Lalubugs I tied that evening.
Two days later PJ and I were on a Carp mission on a wicked small stream piece of carp water he has access to.. this is 3 weights, 3x and bow and arrow cast country to spooky little carp living in shallow fast runs and a few deeper pools, the kind of fishing I love. No better time to tie on a Lefty Leggy Lalubug and see what happens..
2 hours later with 6 fish hooked, 5 landed I guess we can conclude that smallstream carp are a fan of leg hair…
I’ve got probably a year or 3’s worth of damn good dubbing from the left leg, but pretty stoked I’ve got the right leg ready just in case I need more.. and its a never ending regenerating supply… up-cycling at its finest.. probably the only kind of cycling I can stand!