Tattoos and body art have long transitioned from a tribal rite of passage or a sign of youthful rebellion and counter culture to a cultural norm.
Especially in the US, where a 2006 study by the American Academy of Dermatology estimated that at least 24 percent of people ages 18 to 50 are inked. In other words, one in four people are likely to have a tattoo somewhere on their body.
When it comes to the cycling world, tattoos and piercing are especially common in the cyclocross and mountain bike scene; a little less so in the clean-cut world of road riding but there too, tattoos are growing in popularity.
Taking a gander through the women’s pro peloton, we asked some riders to share their ink and the stories behind:
Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Rabo-Liv)
A world champion in mountain bike, cyclocross and road racing, there are few things Pauline Ferrand-Prevot doesn’t already have on her palmares, but an Olympic medal is still missing. This tattoo continues to be an inspiration for her.
“I did my Olympic Rings tattoo straight after the competition in 2012 because at that time it was a dream to participate in Olympic Games,” she said. “Today my dream is not to participate only but to make medals in Rio.”
Loren Rowney (Orica-AIS)
Loren Rowney has shared her sporting career’s ups and downs openly with our readers throughout her various columns, and it’s her self belief that gets her out of the downs and back to the ups.
“My mantra has always been to believe in myself…it is what my coaches and father have tried to drill in to me for as long as I’ve known,” she said. “As long as I can find self belief, I can be resilient in the face of adversity or any challenges life throws at me.”
Valentina Scandolara (Cylance Pro Cycling)
Italian rider Valentina Scandolara’s tattoo was inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince, Scandolara’s favourite book.
“It has a very special meaning for me and also the circumstances in which I decided to get it are very special. This sentence translates to ‘What is essential is invisible to the eye’. Most people read that simply as something related to people’s external appearances, but for me it holds a much deeper and wider meaning,” said Scandolara. “I believe that what we are used to seeing and judge as our everyday reality is just a tiny little midget slice of what really surrounds us, but only with the right disposition and switching off our noisy mind can one start to venture over these borders and perceive and feel what can’t be seen.”
“The Rose and the Fox are the two most important characters of the book alongside the Little Prince: for him they are friends, lovers, teachers, guides that accompany him during his journey and help him perceive what he couldn’t notice and see through what he couldn’t understand.”
“That’s to say that everything can happen but in the end love wins,” explained Cordon-Ragot.
Jessica Cutler (Colavita)
American rider Jessica Cutler has plenty of ink, including one on the inside of her bottom lip that reads “bikes”! For the purpose if this article, however, she chose to share a personal one, a matching tattoo she got with her husband.
“My husband and I got together when we were set up as partners for a tandem stage race in Eugene, Oregon. We each had two cats at the time so when we got married, we had our friend Cam do drawings of different combinations of our cats riding tandem bikes for our wedding invites, save the dates, etc. We loved the drawings so much that we decided to both have them tattooed on us.This one is Elvis, who I’ve had since he was five weeks old on the front and Latte who sadly passed away on our wedding day and belonged to my husband on the back.”
Kendall Ryan (Team Tibco-SVB)
Kendall Ryan’s tattoo is one she drew herself.
“I went with the ‘heart of a lion’ theme, that’s why it’s shaped like a heart,” she explained. “The right side consists of the Leo zodiac sign and the sun. The sun is to remind me to always look on the bright side of things, to make my own sunshine.”
Brie Walle (Team Tibco-SVB)
“Om tattoo symbolism conveys a reverence for life, an honour for creation and an understanding of the divine motion of the Universe.”
Spotted at the races:
Carmela Cipriani (Hagens Berman – Supermint)
Trixi Worrack (Canyon-SRAM)
Estefania Pilz (Xirayas de San Luis)
Theres Klein (Maxx Solar)
Trevisi Anna (INPA Sottoli Giusfredi)
Paladin Soraya (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo)
And of course, our very own Ella editor’s got a few tattoos of her own, including two bike-themed ones:
Which are your favourites? Got any to share? Post them in the comment section below.