Association between attributes of a cyclist and bicycle seat pressure

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Journal of Sexual Medicine







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Introduction.  Bicycle seat pressure is thought to be the principal risk factor for bicycle seat injuries such as erectile dysfunction; however there is a lack of understanding regarding the characteristics of a cyclist that predict bicycle seat pressure. Aim.  The purpose of this study was to determine if select attributes of a cyclist are associated with seat pressure during stationary bicycling. A secondary purpose was to determine which of the associated attributes were the best predictors of seat pressure and if they were consistent between two different seats. Methods.  There were two data collection phases to this correlational study in which 40 males between the ages 20 and 50 years volunteered. For the first phase, select attributes of the cyclist (age, weight, flexibility, experience level, and ischial tuberosity width) were measured. The second phase required participants to ride a stationary cycle ergometer while pelvic tilt angles and seat pressures were measured on two different traditional seats. Main Outcome Measure.  The main outcome is the mean and peak bicycle seat interface pressure over the anterior and total seat. Results.  Body weight explained up to 50% of the variance in mean total seat pressure (P = 0.001). Regarding peak total pressure, pelvic tilt angle and flexibility explained 43% and 17% of the variance, respectively, for the two seats tested (P = 0.01). Conclusion.  These results indicate that predictors of mean seat pressure are not the same for peak pressure. Body weight alone accounted for the most variance in mean pressure whereas pelvic tilt and flexibility accounted for the most variance in peak pressure. These variables related to seat pressure may give some guidance to cyclists and clinicians who intend to prevent or alleviate the symptoms associated with bicycle seat injuries that include erectile dysfunction. Bressel E, Nash D, and Dolny D. Association between attributes of a cyclist and bicycle seat pressure. J Sex Med 2010;7:3424–3433.

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