On 25th August, BikeBiz.com revealed that cycle saddles were once again under attack in the United States. The Journal of Sexual Medicine's September issue carried three papers and an editorial on the dangers of cycling on 'traditional' bicycle saddles. BikeBiz.com has now obtained a copy of the journal. Bicyclists, apparantly, are "human" and therefore resistant to change.

Testimonials from cyclists about “erections of steel” are “disappointing”, say US willy docs

The editor in chief of the Journal of Sexual Medicine is Dr. Irwin Goldstein of the Institute for Sexual Medicine.

Dr. Goldstein caused a worldwide media frenzy in 1997 after he told Bicycling magazine cycling caused impotency. "Men should never ride bicycles," he said. "Riding should be banned…it’s the most irrational form of exercise I could ever bring to discussion."

The editorial in the September issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine was written by Dr. Steven Schrader, a supervisory research biologist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

He was asked to review three new articles: "Bicycle Riding and Erectile Dysfunction: An Increase in Interest ( and Concern)" by Huang et al; "Only the Nose Knows: Penile Hemodynamic Study of the Perineum – Saddle Interface in Men with Erectile Dysfunction Utilizing Bicycle Saddles and Seats with and without Nose Extensions" by Munarriz et al; and "Development of a New Geometric Bicycle Saddle for the Maintenance of Genital-Perineal Vascular Perfusion" by Breda et al.

This last paper is all about one, commercially-available saddle, the SMP Strike. This is the eagle-beak saddle featured on the cover of last month’s BicycleBusiness trade magazine, the print version of BikeBiz.com.

BikeBiz.com has PDFs of all the articles in question.

However, it’s Dr Schrader’s editorial that is the most striking part of the magazine. He throws out a challenge to saddle makers and distributors:

"The medical and scientific communities must project a strong voice above the advertising of commercial saddle manufacturers and individual testimonials, explaining that the perineum was not designed to bear a human’s body

weight and bicycle seats need to be designed to relieve perineal pressure."

He may not know that it’s possible to stand up out of a saddle and that experienced cyclists don’t spend hours, or minutes even, in one saddle position.

But male cyclists must change their ways, anyway:

"Nontraditional bicycle saddles look and feel different. Bicyclists, being human, resist change. Different saddle designs may require some relearning of ‘how to ride a bicycle,’ but the health benefits to having unrestricted vascular flow to and from the penis is self-evident," said Schrader.

"While literature over the last 20 years…has described the perineal problems resulting from compression by bicycle saddles, there continue to be endless testimonials about “miles of cycling” and “erections of steel.” While such testimonials are not surprising in the popular press or on the Internet, it is disappointing that such comments have been expressed by physicians and other scientific-based professionals. Some of the testimonials have even appeared on scientific electronic bulletin boards, along with remarks regarding the proliferation of bicycle riders in China without erectile problems. They sound similar to the cigarette smoker proclaiming that they have smoked a pack a day for years without lung cancer.

"One would not expect that every bicyclist would suffer from erectile dysfunction, any more than one would expect every smoker would get lung cancer. Aphysiologic principles and testing are needed to reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction from bicycle riding."

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