June 29, 2011

Bikes and impotence…again

Many of you have probably seen this idiotic NYtimes article.

I have several problems with the article. In no particular order:

-No context is provided. For example, the #1 cause (by a mile) of impotence (I am tired of the “ED” term, call it what it is) is… drumroll… obesity (or, to be more accurate, cardiovascular disease and diabetes…which are caused in most cases by obesity). Yes, being fat is the #1 way to make yourself impotent. Will riding a bike make you less fat (or keep you from getting fat)? Um, obviously yes. I don’t have the numbers, but I’m betting that percentage-wise, there’s more impotence in the general population than among serious cyclists.

Giving the reader this kind of context is one of the most important jobs of any journalist, and this is the New York freaking Times. Personally, I’d fire the writer and the editor if they ran drivel like this.

-The writer seems hell-bent on interviewing idiots. The scientist involved explains away his lack of results (one individual had more boners at night, all the rest were no different than before) – “Dr. Schrader sees it as evidence that some effects of a conventional saddle may be slow, or impossible, to reverse.” No, it’s evidence of nothing at all.

Of course, fewer of the officers reported numbness while riding, so that’s good. But it’s not evidence that they were less impotent than before. A good study would have given some officers a new no-nose saddle, and some of them a special McGuffin saddle cover (ie, placebo) of some kind to see what happened when the officers only *thought* something had been changed. Bad science, guys.

The bike magazine fellow isn’t any better. “I don’t think a noseless saddle is safe in a race.” Um, ok. That’s idiotic, since A) the article really isn’t about racers (and very few people race), and B) there are lots of races (BMX, for example) where the saddle is essentially never used, for steering or otherwise.

Having actually ridden a couple of these saddles, I’m confused about why Mr. Flax didn’t point out the number one problem – you _can’t freaking pedal very hard while sitting_. This is a non-starter for most serious cyclists, and it’s why we’re still using saddles today that look pretty similar to what people were riding 120 years ago.

This story seems to come back up every 5 years or so, with some new crackpot saddle that A) keeps pressure off your junk, and B) makes cycling no longer fun. Obviously, if you’re having, er, problems, it might be time to look at a new saddle. Otherwise, this is just another iteration of the same dumb story.