T Nation

Cycling Side Effects

I cycle for my aerobics, both indoor and outdoor. A friend told me he read that cycling in any form is detrimental to one’s private parts because over the long term, the sitting position deadens the genital’s nerves, thus causing impotence in men and frigidity in women. Has anybody heard about this?

A split saddle is supposed to help. It is way more comfortable if nothing else.

This sounds like bunk to me, but then again, I’m no doctor. But usually nerve deadening is caused by extreme trauma (ie, jet engines and hearing loss), and not by 20-30 minute mild stimulation. If you’re doing a lot of rough terrain, I can see how you could damage things by constant bouncing… but I still doubt it. Any MDs care to comment?

I’ve read that somewhere as well in at least 2 different articles-- don’t know if it is true or not. The articles I saw mentioned Dutch men (they do ride lots of bicycles over there, as I have found out first-hand by many trips to Holland) have one of the highest impotency rates in the world – speculation was that it was due to riding bikes. One of the articles also said that the recumbant bikes (the ones where you pedal in front of you) are much better for you than standard machines where the pedals are below you.

Again, don’t know if it is true.

This is a real issue among cyclists and your saddle should be chosen and adjusted for properly to minimize this problem. Split saddles are good as it takes some pressure off. If you deal with a high end bike store, they should be able to help you out with a good fit.

Lance Armstrong had testicular cancer (por bastard). Nuff said.

I’ve heard that happens because it lowers the blood supply to the groin. But you have to do a whole lot of it. Apparently a lot of horseriding damages fertility because of the constant bumping motion.

First a response to Sonny S: you’re an idiot. That had NOTHING to do with it.

Now on to the real issue. Proper adjustment of the saddle, and proper saddle choice alleviates the numbness problems. Split saddles can work for some people, but most people don’t actually sit squarely on the saddle (they usually go to one preferred side). Thus, the split has the potential to make the problem worse. For women, there is the very real issue of pressure directly on the genitals, which can cause some loss of sensation. There are saddles that specifically address this, though they can worsen the problem for the same reason as men. Make sure your saddle is adjusted to limit the pressure on the perineum. Start with the saddle level, then adjust the tilt forward or backward (slightly) based on your particular needs.

Yea, those Chinese have a real problem with fertility. Ditto what Brider said.