As cyclists, one of the primary benefits of being on the bike is to be outdoors- in many instances this means sun exposure. Not being judging or critical, but we cyclists wear funny clothes; often the same funny clothes on each outing (hopefully with a washing in between). The same gloves, the same tpyes of socks, similar style shorts and jerseys, even sunglasses and helmet straps are all contributors to cyclists developing some of the most unique tan lines of any sport- the bike tan.
The boring scientific breakdown of the tan line phenomena is that tanning is produced by the release of melanin when the skin is exposed to ultra-violet light- typically sunlight. A tan line occurs when different areas of the skin are exposed to varying levels of UV light, resulting in divergent levels of melanin production and a darker skin color in the area receiving higher UV exposure- lighter color on the less exposed areas. I am not going to expound on the merit of sun protection here- we all know that it is a good idea, but tan lines happen regardless of your SPF choice. This is the fun and quirky topic of exploration on today’s blog, abundant and useful medical advices is available elsewhere.
This week’s Kirkwood Sunday Ride embraces our differences- crossing color lines to explore what each rider’s tan line means to them. I found that it was different for nearly everyone. For some it was a badge of pride, for others a source of discomfort to be casually explained away. Some were too white too technically have a tan line at all. In the end we CAN just get along! We had a terrific ride today with only one crash and one flat in the group of about 15 riders- all made it back home safely. The pace was fast today in all groups and everyone was back at La Petit Marche for a yummy brunch by noon- we also had a great opportunity capture a picture of our own tan line lineup! Enjoyed it guys- thanks a million!
Further Reading: Galendara reflects on her century ride and tan/grime lines.