WE ARE LUCKY TO BE IN THE BICYCLE BUSINESS. WE KNOW THAT GETTING MORE PEOPLE TO RIDE BIKES EVERY DAY CAN CHANGE THE WORLD FOR BETTER. WE ARE PROUD TO BE A PART OF THAT.

We also know that traditional diamond frame bikes exclude many who suffer the common musculoskeletal issues associated with riding them regularly. Before Cruzbike, I counted myself among those who refused to endure those issues for the cardiovascular benefit of cycling. As a physician, I knew the pain and numbness were my body’s serious warning signs.

Happily, Cruzbike’s inventor, John Tolhurst, had solved the ergonomic issues with his front wheel drive recumbent bicycle design. Together, we founded this company to free the human form from the uncomfortable, inefficient (and dangerous) diamond frame design.

Here, I’ve answered the health-related questions I field most often and summarized current medical literature about the health risks of standard bikes. Feel free to reach out with any questions. We’re eager to share our renewed joy in cycling and to welcome new cyclists to the Cruzbike community.

First let me say that bicycle riding is an outstanding low-impact form of exercise with proven cardiovascular benefits. Unfortunately, many, many people give up bicycle riding because of annoying aches and pains in the neck, shoulders, wrists, back, and rear-end. Standard bicycle health risks fall into two categories - those I just mentioned, caused by chronic repetitive stress (overuse) and collisions/accidents. The recumbent design of the Cruzbike reduces both types of these injuries.

PAIN REPORTED IN A STUDY OF RECREATIONAL CYCLISTS.

Published in the international journal of sports medicine

  • 85%

    Reported some kind of
    musculoskeletal pain

  • 49%

    Reported neck pain

  • 30%

    Reported back pain

graph

SOURCE: An epidemiological analysis of overuse injuries among recreational cyclists. Int J Sports Med. 1995; 16:201-206. Wilber CA, Holland CJ, Madison RE, Loy SF.

SOMETHING IS TERRIBLY WRONG.

In a word, the saddle.

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A question I am often asked is, “My saddle is uncomfortable at first, but then I go numb and it doesn’t bother me. Anything wrong with that?”

The answer is, yes, something is terribly wrong. Numbness is your body’s way of telling you its nerves are compressed and at risk of cell death.

According to numerous peer-reviewed medical articles there is a real risk of serious injuries to the perineum in cyclists who ride more than a few hours a week. The perineum is the bottom part of the pelvis from the anus forward. It is made of "soft tissues" such as blood vessels, nerves, fat, and muscles and is not well-suited to weight-bearing.

NUMBNESS AND
ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
REPORTED IN A STUDY
OF SERIOUS MALE
CYCLISTS.

Published in the international journal of sports medicine

  • 50%

    Reported genital numbness

  • 13% - 24%

    Reported erectile dysfunction

SOURCE: Impotence and genital numbness in cyclists. Int J Sports Med. 2001; 22(6):410-3(ISSN: 0172-4622); Sommer F; König D; Graft C; Schwarzer U; Bertram C; Klotz T; Engelmann U; Department of Urology, University Medical Center of Cologne, Germany.

Bicycling Patrol Police study: Significantly decreased penile tumescence and rigidity at nocturnal testing when compared to non-cycling me and 91% of the bicycle riding officers experienced groin numbness.

e type of injury to the arteries and nerves that supply blood and sensation to the genitals as men. According to a recent article the Journal of Sexual Medicine, women who bicycled at least 10 miles per week had decreased genital sensation and were more likely to have a history of genital pain than a comparison group of women runners.

An analysis of 21 published reports on cycling and ED concluded that more than 3 hours of bicycling per week was an independent relative risk (RR) factor of 1.72 for moderate to severe ED. Researchers in Germany found 19% of cyclists who had a weekly training distance of more than 400 km (248 miles) complained of erectile dysfunction. Another study found a 4.2% rate of ED one week after completing a single cycling event of at least 320 km (198 miles) in men who were free of ED prior to the event.

After only 3 minutes on a
standard saddle

OXYGEN LEVEL IN MALE
GENITALS FALLS 70-80%

SOURCE: Impotence and genital numbness in cyclists. Int J Sports Med. 2001; 22(6):410-3(ISSN: 0172-4622); Sommer F; König D; Graft C; Schwarzer U; Bertram C; Klotz T; Engelmann U; Department of Urology, University Medical Center of Cologne, Germany.

graph
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1

A bicycling patrol police study found

SIGNIFICANTLY DECREASED PENILE TUMESCENCE & RIGIDITY

at nocturnal testing when compared to non-cycling men and 91% of bicycle riding officer experienced groin numbness.

SOURCE: Nocturnal Penile Tumescence and Rigidity Testing in Bicycling Patrol Officers; Journal of Andrology, Vol. 23, No. 6, November/December 2002 SCHRADER SM, BREITENSTEIN MJ, CLARK JC, LOWE BD, TURNER TW; From the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati,

2

A study found a 4.2% rate of

E.D AFTER ONE RIDE IN MEN FREE OF E.D. PRIOR TO EVENT

Event length: 320km/198 mile

SOURCE: Erectile dysfunction after a long-distance cycling event: associations with bi-cycle characteristics. J Urol. 2004; 172(2):637- 41 (ISSN: 0022-5347; Dettori JR; Koepsell TD; Cummings P; Corman JM; Department of Epi- demiology, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington and Department of Urology, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, USA.

3

E.D. IN CYCLISTS WITH WEEKLY TRAINING DIST. OF 248 MI. OR MORE

Researchers in Germany found 19% of cyclists with weekly training distance of 248 mi. or more complained of E.D.

SOURCE: Impotence and genital numbness in cyclists. Int J Sports Med. 2001; 22(6):410-3(ISSN: 0172-4622); Sommer F; König D; Graft C; Schwarzer U; Bertram C; Klotz T; Engelmann U; Department of Urology, University Medical Center of Cologne, Germany.

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AND NO, THE NEW SADDLES WITH “CUTOUTS” DO NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

The problem is not directly caused by the shape of the saddle. The real culprit is the bicycle’s design that places body-weight directly over the perineum. This is why bicycle saddles with cutouts do not eliminate the problem. Researchers found that, in fact, some of the cutout designs may actually cause the oxygen level in the genitals to drop even faster because the arteries and nerves run horizontally through the perineum and are subjected to greater pressure where they cross the cutout edges.

If you must ride a standard bike with a saddle, only use the saddle intermittently and briefly. Unfortunately, this technique is difficult to maintain and transfers the body weight elsewhere, often leading to stress injuries in other areas such as the wrists, neck, shoulders or back.

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THE BETTER SOLUTION
IS TO RIDE A CRUZBIKE

or other recumbent that places the perineum in a forward-facing and non-weight-bearing position while fully supporting your back. For bicycle competitors who are not permitted to ride a Cruzbike recumbent during races because of out-dated UCI rules, they should consider training on a Cruzbike, such as the Silvio, and then racing on their standard road bike to lessen the training hours in the dangerous tuck position which compresses the perineum.

BICYCLE COLLISION
RISK FACTORS

Collisions, accidents and the relative severity of injuries associated with them, are affected by a complex array of factors. These factors include the bicycle’s visibility to car drivers, center-of-gravity, the rider’s field-of-view, head position, foot-to-ground speed, riding skill and fatigue. One of the most dangerous aspects of standard bicycles is that the center-of-gravity is well above the axle of the front wheel. Anything that suddenly stops or slows the turning of the front wheel will cause the rider to be thrown forward, head-first, often with severe injuries or even death.

DECREASING COLLISION
RISK FACTORS

The Cruzbike was designed to place the rider eye-to-eye with car drivers, maximizing visibility.

We moved the center-of-gravity slightly lower than on a standard bike to make the Cruzbike more stable in a sudden stop or turn. Sometimes the best safety move is to simply plant your feet on the ground. On a Cruzbike, it is very easy and quick to get your feet from the pedals to the ground because you are not perched up high on a saddle.

The Cruzbike allows the rider to maintain an excellent view of traffic and road hazards without neck fatigue. Many accidents on standard bikes are caused by neck fatigue, which leads to dropping the head down and temporary loss of view of road hazards and traffic

If you’ve spent any time on a standard racing touring bike, then you’ve experienced staring at the pavement next to the front tire because no one can maintain full neck extension indefinitely. As just one example of the dangers of neck fatigue on road bikes, the world lost 16 year-old champion cyclist Grant Davis, who died of a massive head injury despite wearing a helmet when he rode head down into a trailer parked on the side of the road.

IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT,
AS A STANDARD TOURING
BICYCLE MOVES FORWARD,
THE HEAD IS THE FARTHEST
POINT FORWARD.

Therefore the head is likely to be the first point to absorb an impact in the event of a frontal collision. Head injuries are the most common cause of serious injury or death in bicycle accidents. On the Cruzbike, the head is preceded in motion by the feet, legs, and trunk. We believe that as the Cruzbike enters widespread use, data will show a lower rate of accidents and serious injuries when compared with standard bicycles.

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So then, the obvious question is, why do so many people endure genital numbness, ED, musculoskeletal injury and increased risk factors to ride standard bikes?

WE’RE SO GLAD YOU ASKED.

The UCI “locked-in” the basic form of the racing bicycle in 1934, effectively banning recumbents like the Cruzbike in sanctioned racing events. UCI cycling event organizers may allow you to participate on a Cruzbike, but you will probably be disqualified from official recognition or awards. As the medical evidence mounts about the dangers of the standard bicycle saddle and riding position, I think it’s only a matter of time before sanctioning organizations such as the UCI will permit Cruzbikes and other recumbent bicycles into competitive cycling events for safety and liability reasons, even if it means the breaking of many world records.

We’ve started a petition. Head on over to our End Bikeism page to learn more and to sign a petition to get the rules changed for the UCI and the USAT.

BUT DON’T JUST
TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT,

HERE IS SOME FURTHER READING
FROM THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY.

“Serious Riders, Your Bicycle Seat May Affect Your Love Life”. The New York Times, October 4, 2005. Sandra Blakeslee.

Genital Sensation and Sexual Function in Women Bicyclists and Runners: Are Your Feet Safer than Your Seat? Marsha K. Guess MD, Kathleen Connell MD, Steven Schrader PhD, Susan Reutman PhD, Andrea Wang MD, Julie LaCombe MD, Christine Toennis PhD, Brian Lowe PhD, Arnold Melman MD, Magdy Mikhail MD (2006) The Journal of Sexual Medicine 3 (6), 1018–1027.

Erectile dysfunction after a long-distance cycling event: associations with bicycle characteristics. J Urol. 2004; 172(2):637-41 (ISSN: 0022-5347; Dettori JR; Koepsell TD; Cummings P; Corman JM; Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington and Department of Urology, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, USA.

The vicious cycling: bicycling related urogenital disorders. Eur Urol. 2005; 47(3):277-86; discussion 286-7(ISSN: 0302-2838) Leibovitch I ;Mor Y; Department of Urology, Meir Medical Center, Affiliated to Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, 59 Tchernichovski st., Kfar

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