It’s all about the cockpit
Special Thanks to Daina Clark for this article on the importance of the right saddle. Buckle your seatbelts…and we dare you to keep a straight face while reading it.
Boys and girls we need to talk.
Is it just me or does it strike you as funny that we describe the set-up of a bike saddle as ‘dialling in your cockpit’?
They thought I was weird, but I recently asked a few of my male riding mates what slang words they use for their scrotum. Don’t guys love talking about that! One even offered to take a photo for me….but that’s another story
“Ball sack, family jewels, Jatz crackers, rocks, goat bag, nuts, nuggets, coin purse, flies eyes, hairy bean bag, goolies, cods, Tommy Turtle, The Windsurfer, wedding tackle …. who knew there so many, the list went on and on!
But when I ask them if that had any trouble with the “crown jewels” after MTB riding they were less forthcoming.
“Nah mate, I’m fine”
“Never had an issue”
“They’re all good”
Research tells me that my MTB mates may not be telling me the whole truth.
Studies have shown that mountain bikers are at a higher risk of scrotal disorders than their road counterparts. Research from Austria in 2008 showed that 80 out of 85 of MTBers had abnormal findings on scrotal ultrasound compared to 48% of road cyclists. Non bike riding men come in at a rate of 16%.
That’s right – 94% of MTBers had issues with their “Jatz Crackers”!!
Another study showed that erectile dysfunction (ED) has been strongly associated with MTBing with a prevalence of up to 19% of riders suffering from ED.
So I quiz my male friends a bit more.
“Are you sure you don’t have any trouble?”
“Well, yeah maybe I do go a bit numb but doesn’t everybody?”
Well yes, it seems that many riders are having some sensitive issues with their “flies eyes” but that doesn’t make it ok. We need to talk about it, out in the open and reduce the risk of permanent injury. Maybe if we use slang words that would make it more acceptable to discuss?
The primary mechanism of injury is unclear but a risk factor seems to be repeated microtrauma of the scrotal contents with poor saddle position. Another suggestion has been to improve your technical skill so that less trauma is endured.
Girls you don’t miss out on the fun either. There has been far less extensive research on women MTBers but a small study out of Italy,also in 2008 of just 4 women MTBers showed that the more years you have been riding the higher likelihood of clitoral calcifications from microtrauma. Actually, come to think of it that’s not fun at all.
So the take home message is saddle numbness or pain is not cool and is not to be ignored.
Get yourself the best saddle you can find for you and your sit bones and get it properly fitted, buy a decent pair of padded knicks to wear under your baggy shorts and think about whether you need to hone your riding skills to protect your ‘hairy bean bag’.
Train Smart. Ride Strong