How to Pick a Cycling Tattoo

By Adam Marsal

Let’s skip all that talk about how you should properly consider getting a tattoo because it’s for life and some people will mind. Honestly? Nobody cares these days anymore. The notion of seeing a tattoo as a traditional mark of a criminal has been long outdated and modern society sees it to be as common as eating fresh strawberries in winter. Everybody got used to it whatsoever, so if you want a tattoo, do it – because the time is now.

Primarily, we’re focusing on a tattoo for a person who likes to cycle, not a typical cycling motive. Even cyclists might choose some other themes such as their newborn baby, a sweet puppy or the favourite stripper from the club next door. Given the fact you’re going to cycle with it, choose whatever you want and follow a few basic rules.

Tattooed cyclist
Choose whatever motive you wish. © Profimedia

A brand-new tattoo is a delicate thing requiring some care. A couple of days after getting the tattoo, you should treat it with antibacterial soap and healing lotion exactly how your artist advised you. For a few weeks, the tattoo should be kept covered and away from direct sun, and you should avoid swimming in rivers or lakes to prevent the skin from getting infected. That’s why autumn or early winter is the perfect time for a new tattoo.

There are a few places on the body a keen cyclist should avoid getting tattooed. Mainly road cyclists spend a lot of time under direct sun, which might harm the tattoo quality. Because of ultraviolet rays, the ink under the outermost skin layer deteriorates and is likely to get blurred. Exposed parts like the top of the thighs or forearms are therefore less advisable for getting tattooed when you’re a cyclist. On the other hand, that’s why inside parts of the arms, front of the neck, the back, ribs or the belly are preferable if you want the tattoo to stay untouched for many years. Unfortunately, all these parts are generally more sensitive and thus more painful in terms of using sharp needles to get ink under the skin.

Tattooed man
Inside parts of the arms are preferable. © Profimedia

Most of us do not want a bicycle tattoo that remains completely concealed from sight, though. No matter the skin phototype, everyone should apply sunscreen on the tattoo before a cycling trip.

The higher skin cancer risk is not the only reason. Under the effect of the ultraviolet rays, the tattoo design ages and fades faster than if protected. You may well not realise it within the early years yet in as little as one decade, the damage might be considerable.

Take care of your tattoo. © Profimedia

The tattoo technique matters, too. If you insist on having a tattoo over the forearms or thighs, a traditional motive with firm outlines will stay unharmed for much longer than a flash with lots of shading that tends to get blurred.

A cycling tattoo could also struggle with mechanical damage. If you observe your skin under the microscope, you’d see a thousand micro flakes that create the outer layer of the epidermis. The flakes peel off naturally during the day but the process accelerates if you shave regularly. Since road cyclists prefer their legs shaved, calves also seem to be an unsuitable place for a durable cycling tattoo.