hold the grease

July 17, 2009

In cycling circles, the kind I don’t actually travel in, this is called a Cat 5 tattoo:

greasy leg 2

A Cat 5 in cycling is a newbie, an amateur. Higher ranked Sneetches, with stars on their bellies, call it the Cat 5 Tattoo, as they roll their eyes.

So I have a question and an assertion.

First, is that mark emblematic of newbies (or cat 5s, or amateurs) because newbies lean on their bikes more than really really really good Sneetches when they’re stopped at the top of a big hill, or because true road connoisseurs don’t have any grease on their chains? I would like to conduct some grease testing. Kind of like the lineup proposed in Porkys. But with legs. And grease.

Second, here is my assertion: I want a tattoo. I don’t want a skull and cross bones, I don’t want a picture of my kids on my arms (all three of them), or anything in Chinese. I don’t want a sleeve.

No, I want that grease mark on my leg. Someday, I will get to the top of American Fork Canyon, lean my leg hard against my chain, and then go straight to the tattoo parlor (parlor? really?) and get it done. That’s my legacy–the newbie grease mark.


15 Responses to “hold the grease”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Isn’t there a rule that if you’re a cyclist and you get a tattoo it must incorporate a chainring somehow? Doing anything less would be Freddish.

  2. KanyonKris Says:

    My understanding is, the chainring grease tattoo is associated with beginners simply because they haven’t learned to keep their leg away from the ring.

    Does this stigma apply to mountain bikers as much as roadies? Because I get chainring tattooed more often from my mountain bike (hardly ever from my road bike) because I’m leaning and doing more gyrations to ride twisty, rocky trails and dodge trees and such. (And I fall over more on the MTB.)

    • dug Says:

      kris, doesn’t happen to me on the dirt much. it happens to me on the road, because i get to the top of a mountain, and sit on the top tube, either astride the top tube or sideways. either way, i generally end up with a freddy.

      i’m not afraid of the freddy.

    • Anonymous Says:

      ?? discussion is lame… maybe roadies should get off the road more often and learn some real bike handeling skills on a mtb or bmx track,, instead of putting down their own kind. shameful

  3. ricky Says:

    saw that this morning and thought you were trying to intimidate me. it worked. time to get your chain guard back on.

  4. Anthony Says:

    It’s been done, a buddy in portland has one. Greg Lemond even commented on it at a poster signing a few years ago.

  5. bikemike Says:

    i think a very tasteful tattoo of a toilet would do nicely.

  6. mary Says:

    newbie? newbie? I’ve been cycling 15 years and I still get this from my road bike. I think it is b/c I get bored waiting for all my riding buddies to make it up the hill to the stop sign I am waiting at

  7. Rick S. Says:

    Those ankles look like they could roll easily. I laugh just thinking about it.

  8. stevenbpt Says:

    You put grease on the chain? What for? Or is it just to be able to give yourself this really neat tatoo?

  9. Alex/Watcher Says:

    I keep racing and upgrading, racing and upgrading, but I still come home from just about every other road-ride with the C5T. You forgot to mention the most annoying thing: it’s not a spot you usually spend a bunch of time scrubbing intently in the shower unless you happen to notice it. So when you do notice it, you often wonder, “How many days has that been there?”

  10. Mike Weiland Says:

    After a few years if you still get the C5T it’s no longer because you are a noob, but because you have huge calve muscles. At least that’s what I tell myself and anybody that points it out whilst riding.

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