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Movember: how easily can bike ruin your love life?

By Jan Krejca

The question is no joke, have you ever thought about the connection between sitting on the saddle for hours and your health? It’s Movember now, the month that is supposed to raise awareness of men’s health issues, so let’s ask an expert about her opinion on it.

Do you remember that shocking situation from the last Tour de France, when the Italian rider Ivan Basso had to quit the tournament after revealing that he has a testicular cancer? You suddenly realize it can happen to anyone, including you. Yes, we want to scare you enough that you’ll start thinking of the self-examination as an option. There is a great step-by-step guide on the site of Movember foundation. Go on, give it a try! But the testicular cancer is not the only danger, certainly not for a cyclist.

Patient about to be examined

The expert opinion

Let’s say (and it’s not entirely true) that the possibility of harm between professionals is higher than among the amateurs like us. But being happy with that fact is not the point of this article. So, this is where we asked Professor Matoušková from the well-known urology clinic Urocentrum for erudite answers.

“The bicycle saddle makes contact just behind the scrotum where the nerves and blood vessels enter the back of the scrotum and penis. This area is sensitive, with hair follicles and sweat and sebaceous glands, which are all good breeding grounds for infection,” she explains.

Doctor and a nurse on a tandem

“Abrasions, chafing, damaged hair follicles and bruising are among the most traumatic cycling injuries. Sweating in this area can also cause soreness and skin problems,” she adds. Ok, we can handle a few bruises, I hear you saying? That’s true, but we guarantee the next paragraph will be far more interesting for you just by reading the headline.

Erectile dysfunction is a real scarecrow

It is documented that more than 60 per cent of male cyclists who have taken part in research studies have reported genital numbness. “Numbness is common because the pressure of the saddle can impair the blood supply to this area and put pressure on the nerves in the penis,” says Ms. Matoušková. “This can also affect the man’s ability to get an erection. There is a greater incidence of numbness and erectile problems in men who cycle regularly and over longer training distances. That is why it is important to rest intermittently during prolonged and vigorous cycling.”

Frustrated man and sleeping woman

The other good way to help preventing testicle damage from cycling is to choose a bike seat that fits properly. The wide back of your bike seat is meant to contact directly with your ischial tuberosities, which are the hard bones you feel when you sit down. If your seat is too narrow, they will slip over the outside edges, pressing the middle of your seat and the nose into your pudendal nerve and testicles.

A properly fitted seat will relieve pressure off both these areas. You might also consider bicycle seats with shortened front area or those designed with grooves down the middle of the seat that reduce pudendal nerve pressure. Remember that no matter what you chose to improve, it’s always better than doing nothing. We wish you many happy kilometres on your bike.


If you want to help raising awareness and win some We Love Cycling merchandise, just enter our Movember contest on Instagram. We know there are lot of cycling moustaches out there!