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

I’ve had upward of 100 hours getting tattooed and been very competitive on the bike. This includes tattoos on and behind my kneecaps - the advice holds regardless of body part movement.

The sessions I do are usually longer (4-8 hours) where an entire limb is affected so if you have a much shorter session then some of my comments about being uncomfortable on the bike might be irrelevant.

Some points to note.

  • As others mention, keeping it clean is super important. For the first few days that means a 2-3 showers a day.
  • I like Aveena moisturiser as it forms a film/barrier and lasts quite a while without your tattoo drying out. It also doesn’t stain clothes.
  • I get back on the bike the next day. No issues. The only spot you need to be concerned about is leg gripper. I just wrap cling wrap around the leg gripper and it’s fine.
  • In terms of recovery and feel, if you are having outline work done then you’ll notice there’s barely any swelling. You can usually ride the next day completely pain free.
  • Background and colour tends to be very rough on your body and results in lots of swelling and bruising. The day following is usually pretty uncomfortable (I’ll ride an hour or less, easy), and second day is still pretty yuck but more bareable.
  • I generally avoid hard efforts for 2-3 days post tattoo, and try and schedule tattoos for early in an easy week.

Hope that helps someone on their cycling and tattooing journey.

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Thanks, all, for sharing your experiences.

I just had my session yesterday. It was a 4-hour session with outline and background/shading. The artist put on a second skin adhesive bandage. The follow up process he advised is a little more extensive than what you all shared but I presume the artist is following more conservative practice for healing. He advised not going to the gym/working out for 14 days. I’ll probably hold to that since I expected it going in, though it’s psychologically tough to not be on the bike for that long.

On the flip side, I guess I’ll be super motivated when I’m able to train again.

14 days of no exercise is over the top… any more than 2-3 is excessive. But you’ll work that out pretty quick as you start healing up.

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I’d think it could depend on where it is.

My only advice to add is keep it out of the sun for the first few weeks. Your fresh skin doesn’t protect against uv as well, so sunlight can damage the coloring/ink sharpness much more than if it was fully healed/settled.

I rode the day after my first tattoo. Probably shouldn’t have, but it was properly covered and lotioned and had no problems other than ink seepage and stinging like mad. Colors are still gorgeous ten years later.