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J Urol. 2004 Aug;172(2):637-41.

Erectile dysfunction after a long-distance cycling event: associations with bicycle characteristics.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington and Department of Urology, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, USA.



We conducted a prospective cohort study to examine the relationship between bicycle characteristics and the occurrence of erectile dysfunction.


Subjects consisted of 463 cyclists completing a cycling event of at least 320 km who were free of erectile dysfunction before their event.


The cumulative incidence of erectile dysfunction after the ride was 4.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.4%-6.8%) and 1.8% (95% CI 0.7%-3.8%) 1 week and 1 month after the event, respectively. Bicycle characteristics associated with an increased risk of erectile dysfunction included a mountain bicycle compared with a road bicycle (risk ratio [RR] 4.1, 95% CI 1.6-12.5), and the relative height of the handlebars parallel with or higher than the saddle compared with the relative handlebar height lower than the saddle (RR 3.0, 95% CI 1.1-9.3). Perineal numbness during the ride was experienced by 31% of the cyclists and was associated with erectile dysfunction (RR 4.4, 95% CI 1.6-12.7). Saddle cutouts were associated with an increased risk of erectile dysfunction among those who experienced numbness (RR 6.0, 95% CI 1.3-27.1), but the association was reversed among those who did not report numbness (RR 0.3, 95% CI 0.0-2.5).


If the associations described are causal, then cyclists on a long-distance ride may be able to decrease the risk of erectile dysfunction by riding a road bicycle instead of a mountain bicycle, keeping handlebar height lower than saddle height and using a saddle without a cutout if perineal numbness is experienced.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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