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Bike Riding for Your Health: Separating Fact From Fiction

Bike Riding for Your Health: Separating Fact From Fiction

When Miguel Induráin won the Tour de France five times from 1991 to 1995, he may not have had fatherhood on his mind (getting over those Pyrenees was challenge enough). But his two sons, Miguel and Jon, born shortly after his last victory, seem to validate a study debunking the often-reported damage cycling can do to a man’s reproductive and urinary systems.

The study in the Journal of Urology included 2,774 recreational and intense cyclists, 539 swimmers and 789 runners. High-intensity cyclists had been pedaling more than two years, more than three times per week, averaging more than 25 miles daily; the low-intensity group met none of these criteria.  

The researchers gathered participants’ responses to a variety of health assessments and surveys, as well as questions about UTIs, urethral strictures, genital numbness and saddle sores. The results: Cyclist generally had the same sexual and urinary health as swimmers and runners and high-intensity cyclists scored better on erectile function than did low-intensity cyclists. Not surprising since exercise equals better general—and sexual—health.

True, some cyclists were more prone to urethral strictures, genital numbness and saddle sores. But better bikes, riding garb, seats, tires and routes can reduce bicycle-related risks.

With nearly 12,000 miles of U.S. Bicycle Route System approved in 25 states—it’ll hit 50,000 miles when completed—plus thousands of city bike lanes, guys are good to go! Now let’s see if you can keep up with American bike racer Megan Guarnier, overall winner of 2017’s Women’s World Tour series.

Medically reviewed in March 2020.

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