Touring - For Men: Genitals and Saddles
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[though of course women should feel free to share if they have knowledge too!]
A few questions - and this is related to long distance touring, not just round the block:
1) where do your testicals sit while riding? Is there a proper, or safer, or better place than
other places? On days when they're hanging lower, so to speak, does this differ? I also
address this to folks wearing bike shorts, because this is what I'll be wearing. Thanks!
Old Hammer Boy
10-02-06, 07:27 PM
Up tight and outa sight thanks to spandex.
Up tight and outa sight thanks to spandex.
Ah, that makes sense. I have yet to use actual "biking shorts", but I guess with them
there wouldn't be much room for worrying about position.
Beyond saddle issues, are there positions/clothing/things to do that can make it easier on the privates for long days on tour. I'm just a little worried about what 5 months on a bike could do for my future - or am i worrying for no reason? thanks!
I wear extremely loose pants, and I don't see a problem. It's like the old very long joke where the guy pulls into a gas station with two golf tees on his brand new car's dash (skip forward an hour in the telling), and the attendant asks him what the two tees are for, and the driver answers "those are for my balls", and the attendant says "gee that Mr Iacoco, he sure thinks of everything". The gear just parks on top of the sadlle. No problem. I used a brooks B17, and I had two layers of babby weight bunting sewn in my pants. Never experienced any nerve problems once saddle position was established. A second pair of pants had just the one layer in it, and it wasn't as comfortable (on the ass), and I could actually feel the difference in peddling efficiency since one less layer meant less leg extention on the one layer pair. Since I had set the seat for the thicker pair, the thinner pair were noticeably low. It pays to get one's position dialled in.
I have a really expensive saddle with a gutter down the center to eliminate nerve problems. That part seems fine, but it just isn't comfortable for all day in the saddle. The high/low position of the front of the saddle is critical to comfort.
Take along something like Peneten creme for any rash/sores. And polysporin for anything that needs antibiotic.
In my experience, the butt is far more of a problem after days in the saddle, particularly at the start of a trip. An excellent investment is a tube of diaper rash cream to apply every day from the start (ie dont wait for it to become a problem) - or if you really want you spend 10x more on chamois cream which is essentially the same thing
Agreed, Peneten is that kind of product and very effective both for me and my three babies/kids who have never had an instance of diaper rash.
10-03-06, 12:44 PM
I ride in bike shorts and generally things just sit on top of the saddle although you do have to decide if you dress right or left as they say in the tailoring business. There is no middle ground in bike shorts.
I've found that getting out of bike shorts quickly at the end of the ride helps protect your skin. Either switch to regular underwear or go commando under regular shorts/pants to let things air out and dry. Diaper rash cream or vaseline or something similar applied as soon as you start to have a rubbing problem can make a big difference on how bad things get and how quickly they heal.
Excessive movement of a testicle, especially against the thigh, can lead to development of a "third testicle".
A doctor informed me that a lump I discovered after PBP-2003 and during a tour across Northern Europe was due to irritation of the vas where it connects to the testicle. The vas is the bit of tubing that connects the testicle to the body and, I think, is the bit cut and sealed in a vasectomy (hence vas-ectomy).
Pedalling in the bikeshorts I had at the time meant what must have been excessive movement of the testicle in question, and it tugged on the vas. The lump actually grows to be quite a size, and can even double the size of the original testicle... and feels like another one. Hence the description of a "third" testicle. The problem also can occur after a vasectomy because the vas becomes irritated (annoyed???).
The doctor said there wasn't anything to be done, then related how an Italian family had as its symbol, three balls for this very reason.
The position and/or looseness of the chamois also have have an influence on whether you get chafe on the glans, which can be very painful. If you have the early signs of chafing, it may require a simple rearrangement of the penis inside the shorts, or you may have to pull your shorts up so they are tighter around the penis, or simply replace the shorts. The problem is likely to become more prevalent when riding in rain.
I have found that cleanliness if very important, but sometimes on randonnees, it can drop down the priority list when battling against closure times for the next checkpoint. I sweat a lot across the top of the public region, and I seemed to develop a painful pimple on the left side where the penis joins my abdomen on rides over about 400km. I take wet wipes in Ziploc bags now so that when I use the washroom, I can at least wipe down that area to remove some of the sweat that is causing the irritation.
Getting a seat that suits you is great, and because we are talking Touring, it is nice to be able to ride without the need for specialist bike shorts. The problem with male (most) underwear is that there are usually seams that run right down the middle and correspond with centreline of the human body -- that is, the perineum. Chafe of the perineum is not pleasant. There are, I think, underpants that don't have these seams, but there are also bike shorts like underpants with insewn pads that work quite well. You get the benefit of padding, but don't have to reveal your Lycra.
As to chafe, I use tea tree lotion as a fast-acting agent to heal. It has germ-fighting properties, so it helps in both the prevention and treatment of saddle pimples.
If you are male, don't be afraid of trying out female stuff. I've had really comfortable bike shorts that were designated female, but the pad was fine. And I get cheap leggings from Target as my cycling tights -- they are made of Elastin and cotton, but a good enough for me in cold rainy conditions.
Oh yeah... and if you think the Brazilian look might be an option for you... don't.
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