Cycling is an outdoor sport. Consequently, you spend numerous hours in the sun. This normally wouldn't be a problem as long as you lather yourself in several coats of sunscreen. With cycling, however, you wear the exact same outfit that sits in the exact same position everytime you ride. The result is horrible tan lines that make you look like you have been out ploughing the fields or been to one too many summer beach BBQs.
If you look at pictures of me, you can easily see that I have some sort of ethnic background as my skin is a shade of brown rather than the pale white of most Aussies. As my mother is Phillipino, I have been genetically blessed with skin that tans easily. BUT... without exposure to the sun, I remain pastey white like an agoraphobic during winter in Alaska. The result... sock tan, glove tan, helmet tan, shirt tan and shorts tan!
A few days ago, to celebrate my niece's birthday, the family was to meet up at Wet 'n' Wild, a water park near the Gold Coast. My first thought was, 'fantastic!'. It is the middle of summer and hitting the water slides is a fantastic way to cool down. Then I realised. I am going to have to walk around shirtless all day.
I'm not particularly self-conscious, but previous experiences at the local swimming pool and beach has shown that my tan lines are a source of humour for some. My wife assured me that this was not going to be the case at Wet n Wild and would actually be a great chance to even out my colour.
So I strutted around Wet n Wild for a day, lathered in sunscreen and secretly looking around to see if anyone else had the striking zebra pattern. I saw a few sunburnt bodies from recent Australia day celebrations but that was about it. Nobody said anything to me about my tan lines but I'm pretty sure I saw some people staring and pointing.
As for making the rest of me the same colour... Alas, all I received was a nasty sunburn on my more pale areas. I am convinced that the only remedy is to ride around in the sun in 'reverse cycling kit'. That is... arm warmers and leg warmers and nothing else, as the guy below is demonstrating. I don't think other cyclists would appreciate it though.