I received a request to do an interview with a writer from WebMD, Saylnn Boyles. The issue she was investigating was decreased genital sensation among women due to riding a bike. A research paper indicated that genital neuropathies and erectile dysfunction in males is commonly discussed and a well accepted concern for male cyclists; but what about the women? Do women have neurological injuries due to riding a bike and can those be solved by simply raising the handle bars?
Saylnn sent me the research paper, “The Bar Sinister: DoesHandlebar Level Damage the Pelvic Floor in Female Cyclists?” The paper looked at 48 cyclists and compared their genital sensations with those of 22 runners.
Early in my conversation with Saylnn, she commented that her impression was that the topic of genital numbness was a common topic of conversation among female riders.
Before I let you know the full range of my comments on her assumption and the research paper, I want to hear from you. Is this an issue? Do you experience genital numbness after a bike ride?
Ladies, let me know if you experience this problem or not.
You’ll need to post your comments on my Facebook page, since comments are blocked here on Active due to spammers.
I like to look at statistics. Below are some numbers I pulled from the data on Milliseconds Sports Timing. I used the data sets from the all-male and all-female sorts on the Leadville results page. That means the mixed tandem team data is not included in numbers below.
14% of the entry field was women
25% of the w's field didn't show up
64% of the w's start field finished
47% of the w's entry field finished
This includes all-male tandems
13% of the men's field didn't show up
84% of the m's start field finished
71% of the m's entry field finished
I’m interested in what kept the women from showing up to the start line. You can post your comments here on Active, on Facebook or send me a private message at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you know of women that didn't make it to the start, please forward this post to them - thanks.
Women sweat less prolifically than men, even though they have more heat-activated sweat glands per unit of skin area. Women begin sweating at higher skin and core temperatures. For a comparable exercise load, even after equal acclimatization, women produce less sweat than men.
Though women sweat less, they tolerate heat similar to men of equal fitness at equal exercise levels. Experts believe that men likely use more evaporative cooling while women make more use of circulatory cooling. The experts point out that producing less sweat to maintain core temperatures protects women from dehydration.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been getting some great reader questions and feedback. I will admit that I have a backlog of questions to get to and I think the answers will help several of you. Stay tuned.
I’ve also received some nice compliments, which always make me feel good that the training plans, blogs and columns are helping people. It keeps me motivated to know that people benefit from my work.
For today’s blog, one reader requested that I re-post the column on bike fit for women. Thanks Chris, will do.
In Chris’s e-mail I’m glad to read that outdated bike industry myths, at least at one company, are changing. Perhaps a better description is “have changed”?
The e-mail and link to that blog post is included below.
Hi there Gale,
I was directed to a blog post of yours from a while ago:
I just wanted to say that I certainly hope you’ll consider reposting this again, as it is in keeping with everything we learned when we first started changing the design of our bikes to fit women.
We were also going on the notion that the ole proportion stereotypes were true, because it’s what ‘they said’, after all. But, when we started examining the science behind the difference between us and them, we found out, like you, that there wasn’t any evidence to support the LL/ST myth.
I spent my first 5 years at Trek as the WSD demo chick, and I went around the US trying to educate women and our dealers that LL/ST was something to stop believing and talking about. I explained that it was pelvic placement that lead to our decision to change the fit for WSD bikes, and that proportions were not part of the equation. Every time I thought I was making progress to blow the myth out of the water, it would resurface. Very frustrating.
In short, your post reads like a breath of ash cloud-free air. The message needs to be heard again.