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.