Q: My son is 15 and loves cycling. Will the sport affect his future ability to have children because of pressure on sensitive areas of the anatomy? — Pete V.
COACH FRED: First, let’s always remember that it’s not cycling per se that’s said to cause erection or sensation difficulties in some men. Bicycle riding is a terrific way to gain and maintain physical fitness, and it can be done for an entire lifetime. What the issue is really about is bike seats. That’s why companies have responded with so many saddles designed to reduce pressure on nerves and blood vessels.
The consensus in the literature I’ve read says your son has very little to worry about. The most common cycling problem that might impact reproduction is falling onto the top tube and injuring the scrotum. This is rare, however, and probably doesn’t occur any more frequently than such injuries in football, baseball or even soccer. If your boy was interested in riding bulls rather than bikes you’d have a lot more to worry about!
The key to cycling at age 15 is not to overdo it. It’s typical for kids that age to immerse themselves completely in a sport for a short while, burn out physically and/or mentally, then give up completely. Help your son keep cycling fun by avoiding hard and structured training and participating in other activities.
Take it from Chris Carmichael, Lance Armstrong’s coach, who says: “The goal for young cyclists is to be good athletes who ride bikes, not simply good bike riders.”