So I was cycling on my turbo trainer the other day and had decided after about thirty or so minutes to treat my nether regions to some blood flow as things were getting rather numb down there. Its a strange sensation that’s remedied by riding out of the saddle for a bit but which recurs more frequently the longer I ride. In the past I’ve ignored the issue because it hasn’t been as obvious, since most training has been done outside where I’ll ride out of the saddle more of the time. When I’m on a turbo trainer however I try not to ride out of the saddle as much as it feels like i’m putting a lot of pressure on the bottom bracket of my carbon fibre bike which I hear isn’t very good for it. Unfortunately this also results in more pronounced and more frequent numbness to the private parts. I have in the past heard rumours this can have long term health implication such as impotence but I’d never looked into this myself.
Turns out there’s research suggesting this is true for both men and women who spend long periods of time on the bike (http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/biking-and-sex-avoid-the-vicious-cycle-201209145290). This occurs as a result of pressure on the perineum which results in nerve damage and blockage of blood flow to the penis or clitoris. The same article gives a number of suggested solutions however these don’t necessarily apply to those people cycling more competitively.
I have however recently come across adverts in 220 Triathlon for saddles specifically designed to address this issue. ISM have designed saddles that ‘support your pubic rami bones.’ thereby relieving pressure on the nerves and arteries in your perinea soft tissue (http://www.ismseat.com). My girlfriend is usually pretty good at keeping me in check when it comes to over spending on triathlon toys, however, this is one purchase she’s more than happy for me to make, so in the next few weeks I’ll hopefully be reviewing a brand new saddle.