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Cycling in the hot seat; With bikes linked to impotence in some men, manufacturers created saddles to prevent it. But do they work?
Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Subjects: Bicycling; Accessories; Men
Author: Becher, Bill
Date: Apr 9, 2007
Start Page: F.1
Section: Health; Part F; Features Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

Over the years, a number of bicycle seat manufacturers have sought to develop saddles that would minimize erectile problems by adding holes and grooves -- one company calls its design "the Love Channel" -- that are meant to minimize pressure on arteries and nerves. But whether these designs will actually help prevent problems is debatable. Dr. Roger Minkow, a specialist in ergonomics, says that a properly designed and fitted bike seat with a nose can work as well as noseless saddles in avoiding erectile problems without sacrificing control and safety on the bike.

Georgena Terry, whose company Terry Precision Cycling makes products for women cyclists as well as a line of ergonomic seats for both men and women, says that saddles without a nose increase the odds that cyclists will slide forward and injure themselves on the bike's top tube in a sudden stop. "You use the nose pressing against your thighs to control the bike more than you'll ever know -- until you get on a saddle that doesn't have a nose."

Kurt Sandiforth, a Nevada City, Calif., cyclist and professional bike mechanic, is a believer. After years of using a conventional saddle, the 31-year-old cyclist developed scar tissue on his urethra and had difficulty urinating. After he underwent surgery two years ago to remove the scar tissue, doctors told him to give up bike riding. Sandiforth couldn't do it. Instead, he tried a noseless saddle he found on the Internet called the Spiderflex. He says that the saddle was uncomfortable at first but after making adjustments and learning how to sit on the new seat, he found he could ride comfortably for long distances. He has competed in road cycling races on the noseless saddle and is now on a yearlong bike trip, pedaling on the saddle through Europe, North Africa and East Asia.

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