First Tattoo - Been told to stay off the bike for a month?!

Got my first Tattoo on Saturday, a small one of my quad, likely in line with the gripper on my bib shorts. Speaking with the tattoo artist after, and she has said no exercise for a week, and no cycling for a month?! In a month, she said i go back to touch up any areas which is likely going to stretch it out longer. I had booked it the start of my rest week.

Reading online, everyone seems to have a different opinion on length of time. I had expected 48 hours before some light work and a week before I went out for 2 hours +.

A month seems so steep.

Nah… Just make sure you apply tattoo moisturizer after showering. Do not take the scab off, and make sure nothing rubs or press hard against it (like bike short gripper). I have multiple tattoos and never had issues with doing exercises after… I am usually doing something the next day… YMMV tho… Some artists are more careful than others…


Seconding the confirmation you’ll be okay if you care for it properly. For reference, I’ve got a half (soon to be full) sleeve on my right arm, and it’s very detailed. Cover it with tegaderm, replace as needed if you sweat under the dressing. I’ve been back on the bike 2 days after a large session with no effect on healing/design. And do what you can to reduce/prevent any friction - just like road rash.

One thing I have found that helps healing is supplementing with Lysine. I have much quicker heal times with it.

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Thanks for the confirmation - I do have some longer bib shorts which would just have the lyrca press against the area. So if I layer it in moisturizer and cycle for an hour and shower immediately after (and reapply moisturizer), it should be acceptable?

I’ll see if I can get some Tegaderm that I can wrap around the area.

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Yes… make sure you dont cake the area with cream tho… just a thin layer to keep the skin as elastic as possible

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Possibly wrap the quad in cling film over the cream when wearing bib shorts. As long as no clothing gets to run against the scabbing, you good to ride.

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Add me to the list of cyclists with several tattoos. I would always go back to exercising fairly quick. I used baby A&D ointment. It smells terrible but does the trick. Just make sure you clean it well after exercise and apply ointment so the skin does not dry out.

Aveena lotion with none of the scent additives for tattoo care (green bottle) is really good. I waited a little over 48 hours before sweating. Big thing is to keep it clean, you don’t want it to get infected. Just had thousands of punctures so there’s lots of openings for bacteria :grin:


So is it the tension, abrasion, moisturizing, or fear of sweating out the injected colors, or all of the above?

I was thinking of getting a chain ring tooth pattern on my calf. It would be my first. Has anyone else gotten that pattern done? My wife thinks it’s ‘stupid’ but she’s not a cyclist.

But take care of it. A physician friend of mine told me a story of a ‘freak’ that had a car crash and his head rubbed on the head liner of the car, and rubbed all his hair plugs out, and then the guy wanted the hospital to call his ex-wife, not his current wife. He could hardly stop laughing telling that story. The guy was shattered that his ‘hair’ was removed by that accident, and the friend of mine wondered if he ended up with yet another ex-wife.

I just let my hair go. Figure it helps make me more aero? :laughing:

That was a wild ride :exploding_head::exploding_head::exploding_head::exploding_head:

Other folks can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the biggest concern is keeping the area clean and free of infections.


Yes… Keep it clean and everything fine

Solid life advice, if you think about it…

…or is it? :thinking:

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Just got a large piece on my calf just 3 weeks ago. Avoid any rubbing, keep clean, moisturize after healing, use their recommended healing cream etc till it heals/peels. My artist had no issues with excersing. Took one day off bike. His main concern is keep out of sun for a month (been doubling up uv calf sleeves). Lots of sunscreen this summer.

That’s a sorta common tattoo, and I think they’re cool. Kind of an inside joke.

I was about to say after all the lengths we go through to avoid that particular design lol.

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I’d echo what people have said here and say: it’s probably going to be fine. Tattoo artists can be quite conservative about what they recommend, and the internet is often more conservative. I think the reason is that if something does go wrong then it can be fairly horrific.

Give yourself a couple of days rest, make sure everything is clean, use second skin or similar if you can, and make sure the tattoo isn’t rubbing and is covered up, and you’ll probably be OK. Just keep a close eye on it to make sure it’s not showing any signs of infection or other troubles.

(Palmares: I’ve had at least 20 tattoo sessions and worked out fairly quickly – probably too quickly – after them all.)

I did see someone with one, and people were offering to help clean it off as it was at an organized ride. Cringe, right… But it is kind of a mark of the sport, well, and a dirty drivetrain to a point. I’ve seen some doozies…

One chain we got in at a recycle a bike group I worked with was so caked with ‘lubricant’ that it looked like a black tube with a zipper down the middle. Everything was caked in ‘lube’, dirt, grass, hair (dog or cow?), etc… I think people got dirty just looking at it. We popped it off and tossed it and putty knifed the rest. Wow… I should have taken pictures of the stuff we saw. So much of it was nearly completely unbelievable. Just amazing…

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Thanks for this topic. I’m about to go in and one of my biggest anxieties is how long I’ll have to refrain from riding/training. I’ve seen a variety of indications – 5 days to 14 days or longer. Good to know that perhaps I can get back sooner than later (so my FTP doesn’t slide too much!).

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I got a large tattoo on my shin and did a really sloppy, wet gravel race the next day with some tegaderm over it. Not a good idea, but it turned out fine. Artists will naturally give cautious advice and while some time off is probably the best practice, in my experience you don’t need as much as you think as long as you keep it clean.

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Since I asked this, I’ve had an additional 2, much larger pieces. I used tagaderm (or a variant of) and have been fine.

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