USRF Research

From the Editors of Bicycling Magazine,
hints for avoiding urological bike trauma:

Bicycling Magazine


  • Penile numbness and excessive genital shrinkage are warning signs that there may be too much pressure on your crotch. The nerves in the perineum are being pinched, which means the artery that feeds the penis is also being compressed.

  • Make the following changes in your riding style and/or your positioning on the bike: 1) Make sure your saddle is level, or point the nose a few degrees downward. 2) Check to see that your legs are not fully extended at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Your knees should be slightly bent to support more of your weight. 3) Be wary of spending significant time on aero bars: they encourage riding on the nose of the saddle. 4) Stand up every 10 minutes or so to encourage blood flow.

  • There are a multitude of anatomic racing saddles on the market, ranging from ones with a flexible nose to models with a hole in the middle. Although Dr. Goldstein has not tested these special seats, he's skeptical of any design that fits between the sit bones. Instead, you may want to experiment with a wider, more heavily padded brand.

  • Heavier riders may be more at risk of arterial compression damage because of the greater weight that's placed on the perineum. If you're in this category, you should consider a wider saddle with extra padding.

  • When riding a stationary bike, the tendency is to stay seated and grind against big gears for long periods. Get out of the saddle as frequently as you would on your regular bike and be certain that it's set up the same in regards to riding position.

  • When you straddle your bike, make sure the top tube is three to four inches below your crotch. Consider padding the top tube.

  • Get out of the saddle when riding over railroad tracks, trail debris, or washboard terrain. Use your legs as shock absorbers.


  • Test-ride a recumbent. Since you're in a reclining position on a chair-like seat, Dr. Goldstein, Padma-Nathan, and Lieberman all agree that there's little, if any, chance of compression or impact injury.



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