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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have reviewed what I think is every thread about saddle issues ever posted on this forum and then some. My question/thought is why can't we know whether a saddle is preventing circulation/blood flow to the male anatomy? Why are we left to guess? Doesn't technology exist that would allow some discrete means of allowing the individual to test/gauge what is happening with male anatomy while riding.

For example, individuals that need oxygen have a small sensor that can be placed on the finger that reads oxygen saturation level. Would this not work the same for the male anatomy? Is oxygen saturation a reliable indication of blood flow/circulation to the male anatomy? Any article I've seen is in a lab with equipment, sensors etc. taped to some journalist that invariably makes a big deal about the embarrassment of it all. All seem to be done by the saddle manufacturer that has its own product tested and of course it works just like they want you to believe.

I have not had any saddle problem other than some discomfort while on the trainer this winter with my first trainer but that was enough to really get me thinking about the issue. Again I've had no real issue and I know the obvious is then why worry about it but that just doesn't seem like the right answer for such an important subject. What about the cumulative effect over time, nothing seems wrong now but what about three, five, seven years from now. Am I wrong to believe technology is available to allow reliable accuracy regarding this issue discretely on one’s own time and riding habits?
 

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umm, i dont know about you or anyone else, but i know when blood is or isnt able to flow properly down there while riding. if you can ride and not feel the numbing down there (pretty easy to tell i think), then i dont think you have to worry about any long term damage that would occur after years and years of riding.
 

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1) There are devices that can be taped to the skin to measure oxygen delivery to the muscles. I imagine one of these could be adapted to the penis.
2)If you DID find out through those methods that acutely, the penis becomes oxygen deficient during a bout of cycling, then no institutional research board (the people that have to approve the ethics of your research) would approve a long-term human study because of the risk of long term damage to the subjects.
 

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david462 said:
umm, i dont know about you or anyone else, but i know when blood is or isnt able to flow properly down there while riding. if you can ride and not feel the numbing down there (pretty easy to tell i think), then i dont think you have to worry about any long term damage that would occur after years and years of riding.

It takes a certain lack of blood flow to cause numbness. It's not a binary function.
How do you know that there isn't long term damage from lack of blood flow that is not detectable through numbness?

Not that I think there is, but there is no way to know for sure without measuring and doing a study. And of course as Andrea points out it can be politically difficult to study this body part. I wonder- if the research board was made up of women, would they be a little less touchy about it?
 

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Andrea138 said:
2)If you DID find out through those methods that acutely, the penis becomes oxygen deficient during a bout of cycling, then no institutional research board (the people that have to approve the ethics of your research) would approve a long-term human study because of the risk of long term damage to the subjects.
If you could get an institutional research board to approve the Milgram experiment a second time, I guarantee you there is another one that will approve this study. :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If there are methods to measure oxygen delivery to muscle/penis then why is that not adaptable to the public for home use? I know this may sound weird but why can't we conclusively know?

I understand what Andrea is saying about a long term study but if an individual had a reasonably accurate gauge of oxygen delivery to the penis a long term study would not be necessary as an individual would conclusively know what is happening and could therefore make adjustments/saddle switches as necessary. It strikes me that we are making this a bit more complicated then it has to be. If methods exist to measure oxygen delivery; why can't they be available to the individual and why would the information they convey not provide far more useful information to the individual than anything currently available?
 

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Take up bowling if you are worried.

Another solution is to press harder on the pedals. The harder you ride, the less of your weight is on the saddle.

This problem only effects males that are potentially gay.
 

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MR_GRUMPY said:
Take up bowling if you are worried.

Another solution is to press harder on the pedals. The harder you ride, the less of your weight is on the saddle.

This problem only effects males that are potentially gay.
NTTAWWT of course.

Bowling or cow-tipping. One or the other.
 

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Is this even a problem?

  • You pretty much know if you are suffering from blood/o2 deficiency when riding.
  • There are tons of saddles available to mitigate the common cause.
  • A bit of intelligent testing and tinkering can deal with just about any saddle discomfort.
  • There is no long term data showing any relationship between cycling and "male problems". If anything, the aerobic exercise has the opposite effect.

There is a pretty large population out there for which no problems are being reported - professional cyclists ride more annually than the average person rides in 10 years. And yet there are not anecdotal studies suggesting any problem whatsoever despite 100 years of bicycle racing with saddles ranging from leather wrapped around a pipe to the modern, anatomical saddles we ride today.

I just don't see this as an issue.
 

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I've found the Specialized Alias 143mm saddle to be my cure for discomfort.. Finding a saddle that fits you helps relieve most of the pressure. Standing some times and changing your position on the bike every once in a while helps too.
 

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Cruzer2424 said:
If you could get an institutional research board to approve the Milgram experiment a second time, I guarantee you there is another one that will approve this study. :p
The difference in that is that noone was actually hurt (although you could probably argue that the people administering the fake "shocks" could suffer some psychological issues afterwards).
 

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Well, this is a multi-pronged response...

-I think the real problems came with the big-cush gel saddles in the late 80s. They deformed so much, so easily, that when hard parts (like bone and muscle) pushed down, the gel would deform in any direction that it was able, including up, into softer tissue. I think (and this is my non-scientific opinion) that the harder seats are actually less likely to cause issues, since the user can adjust them atop the seat post to a position that is most comfortable for them, and they don't feel the need to report doing this. So there may be a great number of cyclists who have had issues, and solved them, without the need to report it.

-Bowling my ass. If you're so concerned, ride a recumbent. Just because you can't race on one doesn't mean they're not comfortable for long haul riding. Your hands and wrists will thank you, too. I know that recumbents are the pariahs of the cycling world. Get over yourself. Serious roadies look down on everyone for any number of reasons. Long time recumbent riders are made up of people who don't understand why "serious" cyclists don't understand that it's possible to be both more aerodynamic and more comfortable, at the same time. Both groups have their points, but what the F ever. Ride what you like, the way you like, in whatever way makes you happy.

-There are enough ergo saddles out there these days that it's hard to find one that isn't. Find one that's the right width, and you'll be fine. As for research and whatnot, I don't think that anyone would really have a hard time getting such a study approved if they really wanted to study this. The key issue is predominantly funding, since research lives on money. If you can amass enough cases put together to demonstrate that this is actually a problem, I'm sure you'll be able to get Trek or Specialized or someone else to fund you.

-My real problem is posture. If the seat is level, and I'm having a lazy day, I end up leaning on my junk. If I tilt the seat slightly forward to ease the pressure, I end up leaning too much on my hands and wrists. I make a living with my hands, so I generally try to take care of them. And while I don't make a living with my junk, I certainly get a lot of use out of that, too. The ergo saddles help, some. Riding more definitely helps. But the truth of the matter, I think, is that for the average rider, who goes out once in a while for fun, they're not in the saddle long enough to really do serious damage. This is the kind of thing that really affects "serious" (giggle) riders... and they're usually (as evidenced by this thread) very much aware of what is or isn't working for them... and their junk.
 

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I was under the impression that the numbness was from pressure on the (perennial?) nerves "down there" rather than restricted blood flow.
I've found that once I found a saddle that works for me, I can prevent any further numbness by setting an alert on my bike computer to chime every 10 minutes to remind to get my butt up off the saddle for 10 or 15 seconds and if it's hot, to take a drink. No numbness or dehydration.
 

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ewitz said:
I tape some porn to my stem. As long as I can maintain wood I know I am getting blood flow.

Might be less scientific but still an accurate measure of blood flow.
Sort of like using ****** as a performance enhancer? But how do you ride with a raging hard-on?
 

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The problem with anatomical cutouts is whenever the road is semi-damp my shorts get soaked down there. Plus every anatomical cutout saddle is kind of heavy vs. the other kind of saddle. I have never suffered numbness, logging over 100-150 miles a week - it has to do with flex, width, and the right amount of decent padding. I don't like padding on the inside of my thighs, because it wears out my shorts/bibs right there. It certianly did a number on my expensive Pearl Izumi Ultrasensor shorts (at $150 they only lasted 6 months) and some Santini Pro Team bibs. I threw those Santini Pro Team bibs in the trash a couple of years ago, so I don't remember the cycling team.
 
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