With spring in the air and gas prices through the roof, there's no better time to be a bicycle person. Cyclists get to cruise through bumper-to-bumper traffic, park almost anywhere, and feel morally superior to the rest of us fossil fuel chuggers.
The one drawback? They have to travel sitting directly on their junk.
Using a method of transportation that puts pressure on your genitals for prolonged periods of time can have a crushing effect on your love life. Cycling has been linked to erectile dysfunction, low sperm count, achy balls, saddle sores, crotch rot, chafing and genital numbness in both sexes.
Taking a cruise on your two-wheeler shouldn't feel as awkward and uncomfortable as revisiting the bike dancing scene in Kevin Bacon's 1986 vehicle 'Quicksilver'.
Check out these six recommendations for protecting your family jewels while cycling:
1. Raise the Bar
A new study published by the Journal of Sexual Medicine revealed that women who ride bicycles with handlebars lower than their seat are at greater risk for genital neuropathy — that's taint numbness to folks like you and me.
Low handlebars cause cyclists to lean forward on their bikes, cutting off the flow of blood to your privates. The results confirm what researchers have been saying about male cyclists and genital sensitivity for years. If you love to ride your bike, but hate losing feeling in your crotch, try raising the handlebars.
2. Sitz Back
According to the CDC, the best posture for protecting your genitalia from cycle-induced damage is to balance your weight on your “sitz bone” — the one under all that nice padding on your butt.
Leaning forward while cycling may help you gain speed, but it also puts pressure on the genital nerves — and you kind of need those. Recumbent bikes are a great option for people interested in cycling while sitting on their ass, but they do put you in danger of being labeled a raging hippie.
3. Ride Wide
Finding a comfortable bicycle seat is about as easy as finding your special lady friend's G-spot. Even specially designed seats with holes cut out for your crotch don't seem to help.
Jessica, a triathlete from Santa Monica, Calif., told me she decided to treat herself to a crotchless bicycle seat for an upcoming race to no avail:
“I paid a hefty price, but my left vaginal lip continues to be in distress. I have found that no matter how 'specific' the design of my seat is, hours on a bike saddle are going to override any plans for comfort.”
So what's the answer? A 2011 study showed that a wider bicycle seat puts less stress on your genitals, and that narrow crotchless seats actually created more genital numbness than traditional saddles.
4. Put Some Clothes On
Bike shorts are specially designed to suit the loins of pedal pushers, but be wary of shiny little pants with maxi-pad like crotch protectors. They don't necessarily do the trick.
Emma, a competitive cyclist, told me:
“I used to buy the thickest diaper-like shorts in hopes of their saving grace. Now, I look for more durability, softness and quality. I want the cloth to be able to absorb or wick away moisture.”
Go for something simple and comfortable, and then,…
5. Get Naked
No, not while you're biking — after you're done. The fungal nightmare known as “crotch rot” comes from letting your freshly chapped nether regions bathe in sweaty clothes for extended periods of time. Drop trou ASAP post cycling, wash up and change into a nice breathable cotton undergarment to give your Va-Jay-Jay or Johnson a chance to air dry.
6. Penis Butters and Jellies
If you're just hopping on your bike for a quickie cruise to the corner store to pick up some condoms, you're probably not in danger of chafing, but cyclists who take longer journeys may suffer from abrasions, chapped loins and good old fashion saddle sores.