Several newspapers and websites seem to have all discovered "cycling may lead to loss of genital sensation in women" studies over the last week or so, with stories based around it for some reason for some reason appealing even to papers that usually show no interest in cycling in general and even less in women's cycling (ie, the vast majority of the media). (see 1, 2, 3)
Why this should be is a mystery: it's definitely something that everyone - especially female cyclists - should know about, but precisely why this story rather than the hundreds of others concerning female cyclists and women's cycling each and every week are so comprehensively ignore remains unexplained. There are those who will put it down simply to society's obsession with sex; there are others who will see hints of something more sinister, perhaps evidence that society still believes that "sex is what women are for" and that if a woman loses interest in it, she has no further value. I'm in the first camp. Doesn't matter - that's not what this article is about.
|Relieving the numbness experienced by male cyclists is
simple - just cut out the central part of the saddle
|So if you want to do the same for women, you just cut out
the central section of a women-specific saddle, right? Er,
no - this may come as a surprise, but men and women are
not physically identical.
|"Noseless" saddles are of little use to competitive and
serious cyclists as they severely curtail bike control
What it all boils down to is that female cyclist's health has suffered because, until recently, nobody had really looked at what was causing the problem they were experiencing. Now we know. What remains to be seen is whether a saddle manufacturer will take those findings and use them to develop a saddle that doesn't cause the problem, will permit women to ride in the standard streamlined racing stance and doesn't limit bike control. What do you reckon? Another fifteen years? Possibly, if manufacturers decide that such a saddle wouldn't sell in sufficient numbers to justify the cost of developing it. Possibly less, if enough of us talk about it and let manufacturers know that such a saddle would sell (I'll have to leave that part up to you female cyclists, since I'm merely support crew rather than on your team). Despite the sport's financial problems and neglect at the hands of the UCI, there are more female racing cyclists around nowadays than ever before - let the manufacturers known that it's in their interests to provide a women-specific anti-numbness saddle that actually does what it promises.