USRF Research


"Men Should Never Ride Bicycles"
                      --- Irwin Goldstein, M.D., Boston, MA

07/30/01 - Trey Bien! Armstrong Wins Again
First American to win three straight Tour de France titles. Only five years ago, he overcame metastatic testicular cancer, started his own foundation, and became an inspiration to all people with malignant diseases, even MTV comedian Tom Green.

Click here for LA Times full-text article

The L.A. Times Won't Let This Story Die! (April 9, 2007)

Greg Lemond, America's
Tour de France winner.
2nd Quarter, 1999 -When a noted impotence authority made this statement in the August, 1997 issue of Bicycling Magazine, he shocked a large segment of the populace. After all, 46% of American adults, approximately 82 million men and women, rode a bike in the past year. Moreover, there is a current federal mandate "to double nonmotorized transportation (e.g., cycling and walking) to at least 15% of all trips." Increased bicycling (and walking) offers the potential for cleaner air, healthier people, reduced congestion, more liveable communities, and more efficient use of precious road space and resources.

However, if Dr. Irwin Goldstein is correct, a major readjustment in our attitude toward bike riding -- or bike safety -- is in order. And his own studies, published in the Journal of Urology show that, at least theoretically, a scientific basis is present for his claim. Dr. Goldstein has estimated that 100,000 men suffer erectile dysfunction from bike-riding induced trauma. At least three manufacturers of bike seats have addressed the issue of traumatic compression, and their new seat designs are shown below. All aim to keep weight off of the midline perineum, away from the urethra, the prostate gland, and the arterial blood supply.

Update: Here's a list of manufacturers that are selling some of these ergonomic bike seats on the internet:

  1. Airbunz
  2. Specialized - Body Geometry Bike Saddles
  3. Spongy Wonder

Specialized™ Bike Seat

Designed by Roger Minkow, M.D.

Relevant Anatomy

Spongy Wonder™ Bike Seat



The topic remains controversial, even among experts. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times (2/8/99), Dr. Harin Padma-Nathan, another impotency authority, said, "I'm unconvinced that bicycling, for the vast majority of men, is an important cause of impotence or erectile dysfunction. Will biking cause impotence for the average cyclist, and does that risk outweigh the sport's cardiovascular benefits?" he asked. "I think the answer is no on both counts."

Dr. Goldstein's bike-riding/impotency hypothesis is addressed in three (3) research papers -- his own recent work, plus studies from Germany and Florida -- to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in Dallas, TX, April 30-May 5, 1999.

Meanwhile, the editors of Bicycling Magazine have given riders a number of well-accepted hints for how to avoid this potential trauma.

On a related note----
Can bike riding elevate your PSA level?
This possibility was systematically evaluated in an interesting study of long-distance bike riders in Colorado by E. David Crawford, M.D. and associates.

For the bicycle history buffs...

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