08 July, 2011
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Pain in My Testicles After a Long Bike Ride
You've heard all of the jokes about bicycle seats and their interaction with the male anatomy, but when you actually develop testicular pain after a bike ride, it's not funny anymore. Fortunately, the solution may be as simple as a quick change of equipment or gear, and the magic word is "padding." If your testicular pain comes with a fever, a lump or other injury, however, you should seek medical attention.
Pick Your Seat
Obviously, a hard saddle can be a pain in the testicles, but a too-plush one can bunch up in the perineal area and ultimately cause even more of a problem. Shop around to find your personal Goldilocks saddle, but don't judge by overall padding — base your decision on how well the "hills" support your sit bones, the Cycling Performance Tips website advises. Everyone's butt is different, so try different widths. If it's too narrow, you'll continue to slide forward and crush your manhood. If it's too wide, each pedal stroke will further the chafing of your thighs, which opens up a whole different set of problems. There's no formula to choosing a saddle, but some specialty bike shops have a gadget that can measure the width of your sit bones to help narrow the field.
Change Your Shorts
If you've invested in diaper-like, ultra-padded bike shorts in an effort to cradle your crotch, you might have done more harm than good. Just like the super-plush saddle, a too-thick liner can bunch up and create pressure in the wrong places. You're better off with a thinner liner that moves more easily because it reduces both the pressure and friction that can cause pain.
Clean It Up
Speaking of shorts, take them off immediately after every ride and always start off with a clean pair. You sweat down there when you ride, and the warmth and darkness combine with the moisture to produce the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that can lead to saddle sores and diaper-rash-like testicular infections. Walking around in your shorts after a ride is like providing a custom growing medium, and re-wearing shorts without washing them is like dipping your nether regions into a well-incubated bacterial culture. Keep the area clean, and apply an antibacterial lubricant before each ride to help eliminate the abrasions that give the infections a place to catch hold.
Cycling can be rough, especially during a tough ride when the lactic acid is coursing through your legs, but don't get lazy. Remaining seated for the duration of your ride exposes your testicles to the trauma of road vibration, so it's no wonder they're sore. You don't have to stand straight up as in indoor cycling class, but just raise your butt off the seat when you hit bumps, small hills, turns or particularly rocky terrain. You'll build stronger thigh muscles, and your testicles will have better protection than any saddle or shorts padding could ever provide.
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