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Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 07-02-14, 08:56 AM   #1
Indrid_Cold
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New Cyclist - Prolonged numbness...

Hello and good morning!

New cyclist here, and I need some help/advice. I got my first road bike about two months ago after not having ridden a bike in any seriousness for upwards of a decade. I got it off craigslist and did only nominal fitting (adjusting the seat to the height that I thought felt best) and have been riding it around town without problems ever since. I'd say on average I was putting in 5-10mi each day, going to and from work and maybe running an errand or two. Again, no issues with pain or anything, despite my knowing that the seat on the bike was more of a racing seat than a commuter seat.

Fast forward to a little over a week ago (June 21st) and I decide to go on my first long ride with some friends. It was about 70 miles of mostly flat paths, punctuated by brief stops every 10-15 miles or so and then a 1hr stop at the 35mi mark for lunch. I was wearing shorts and spandex (not bike shorts - spandex) and didn't think too much of it. Well, looks like I made a mistake there.

I've had some numbness in the nether regions since then. It's not as bad as the first day, but it's certainly noticeable. No impairment in function, but I don't know if this is "normal" in the sense of you-did-something-dumb-and-now-you're-paying-for-it or if I may have really damaged something. No long rides since, of course, but I've done my normal 5-10mi a day still.

So that brings me here - what's the next course of action? Did I really mess up to the point that I need to go to the doctor, or is this just what happens when a new cyclist makes some dumb decisions about seat choice and shorts? Should I just get off my bike for a few weeks and catch some R&R?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-02-14, 09:05 AM   #2
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You were wearing shorts and under wear with seams in both of them?
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Old 07-02-14, 09:22 AM   #3
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Numbness normally happens while you're riding because of pressure on the soft tissues, but I've never had it continue after I've stopped riding. Personally I'd be concerned enough about that to see a Dr. Of course, you really shouldn't be getting medical advice off of the internet. I'm sure others will respond with their own personal experiences though.

There are saddles that help with the numbness issue, particularly the Selle SMP and Adamo saddles.
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Old 07-02-14, 09:24 AM   #4
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It will wear off, you might consider investing in a nice pair of bike shorts (with chamois, without underwear), but butter, and a professional fit or it will keep happening.
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Old 07-02-14, 09:45 AM   #5
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You were wearing shorts and under wear with seams in both of them?
Mesh athletic shorts and rowing spandex - the shorts have a more pronounced seam than the spandex (which I believe was flat-stitched). Either way, rookie move. Biking shorts are sitting in my Amazon cart right now.
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Old 07-02-14, 09:46 AM   #6
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Numbness normally happens while you're riding because of pressure on the soft tissues, but I've never had it continue after I've stopped riding. Personally I'd be concerned enough about that to see a Dr. Of course, you really shouldn't be getting medical advice off of the internet. I'm sure others will respond with their own personal experiences though.

There are saddles that help with the numbness issue, particularly the Selle SMP and Adamo saddles.
Yeah, I've got my eye on an Adamo right now.
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Old 07-02-14, 10:01 AM   #7
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You likely were riding on your perineum rather than on your sit bones. It wouldn't be a big deal on a 5 mile ride, but moving up to 70 miles all at once will expose latent issues you didn't know you had. Make sure your saddle is wide enough so that you sit bones are taking your weight, not the soft tissues between the scrotum and rectum.
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Old 07-02-14, 11:29 AM   #8
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You likely were riding on your perineum rather than on your sit bones. It wouldn't be a big deal on a 5 mile ride, but moving up to 70 miles all at once will expose latent issues you didn't know you had. Make sure your saddle is wide enough so that you sit bones are taking your weight, not the soft tissues between the scrotum and rectum.
I paid a lot of attention to how I was sitting after I noticed the numbness and I agree - I have a tendency to scoot up onto my perineum instead of sitting back on the seat (which has a cutout). I think I've found the correct spot to sit on now and I've been making a conscious effort to redistribute my weight, but time will tell. I just want everything back to normal right now
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Old 07-02-14, 11:39 AM   #9
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If you are STILL numb, I'd go see a doctor and lay off the bike until it heals.
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Old 07-02-14, 11:47 AM   #10
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I paid a lot of attention to how I was sitting after I noticed the numbness and I agree - I have a tendency to scoot up onto my perineum instead of sitting back on the seat (which has a cutout). I think I've found the correct spot to sit on now and I've been making a conscious effort to redistribute my weight, but time will tell. I just want everything back to normal right now
If you have to keep shifting your weight back to the right spot look at your saddle position. Maybe you need to move it forwards or backwards, or change the tilt of it. If you do, make very small changes at a time. I once lowered my saddle about 1/4" and raised the nose by about 1/8" and it made a huge difference.

A long ride with a badly adjusted saddle may cause issues. I remember my first 200km ride caused me "comfort" issues that lasted a couple of days, but when I tweaked the saddle everything was fine.

If you're having gentlemanly issues several days after riding it might be worth seeing the doctor to make sure you haven't done more permanent damage.
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Old 07-02-14, 11:51 AM   #11
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If you have to keep shifting your weight back to the right spot look at your saddle position. Maybe you need to move it forwards or backwards, or change the tilt of it. If you do, make very small changes at a time. I once lowered my saddle about 1/4" and raised the nose by about 1/8" and it made a huge difference.

A long ride with a badly adjusted saddle may cause issues. I remember my first 200km ride caused me "comfort" issues that lasted a couple of days, but when I tweaked the saddle everything was fine.

If you're having gentlemanly issues several days after riding it might be worth seeing the doctor to make sure you haven't done more permanent damage.
I think it's time to take a trip to my local bike store and get the seat adjusted properly because I truly do not have the know-how in this department. I'll be off the bike for three days straight this weekend, so hopefully that makes an appreciable difference.
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Old 07-02-14, 12:50 PM   #12
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I love the Adamo. I just went for a 78-mile ride this past Saturday and no issues at all with numbness or a sore butt. Of course other people hate them, so you should test ride it for a while first.
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Old 07-02-14, 05:13 PM   #13
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If it doesn't go away, see a doctor.
For future rides, get the right equipment. Padded shorts and lube will help. Another thing is to stand up in the pedals every 5-10 minutes and reseat yourself.
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