Saddle-sore: Unfortunate consequences of bicycling

Previous research has focused on whether male bicyclers with badly-positioned bike seats might be hurting their manhood. Turning to the other side of things, now researchers say riding a bike with the handlebars lower than the seat decreases sensation in women cyclists’ genitals. So their time in the saddle—the bike saddle, that is—may be diminishing their enjoyment during time “in the saddle.”

The Bar Sinister: Does Handlebar Level Damage the Pelvic Floor in Female Cyclists?,” Sarah N. Partin, Kathleen A. Connell, Steven Schrader, Julie LaCombe, Brian Lowe, Anne Sweeney, Susan Reutman, Andrea Wang, Christine Toennis, Arnold Melman, Magdy Mikhail, & Marsha K. Guess, The Journal of Sexual Medicine, March 2012 (e-pub). The authors write:

Introduction. Cycling is associated with genital neuropathies and erectile dysfunction in males. Women riders also have decreased genital sensation; however, sparse information exists addressing the effects of modifiable risks on neurological injuries in females. […]

Conclusion. Handlebars positioned lower than the saddle were significantly associated with increased perineum saddle pressures and decreased genital sensation in female cyclists. Modifying bicycle setup may help alleviate neuropathies in females.

A female cyclist from the 1890's
There are a few reasons not to ride like this.

Note: the above image links to a discussion of biking saddle sores that is not for the faint of heart.


(HT Medical Daily)

Bonus: See one of Steven Schrader’s other articles, “Cutting Off the Nose to Save the Penis

Bonus: See “brain pickings” blog’s List of Don’ts for Women on Bicycles Circa 1895