Who would have guessed that riding a bike could jeopardize your plans for a family? It's no laughing matter for male and female cyclists, who sometimes struggle with sexual dysfunction, along with numbness or soreness in their backsides, after taking long rides. It turns out that tiny seats, and not tight pants, were making the term numb nuts more than just a put-down at the Tour de France.
Conventional saddles, which are often padded with gel or foam, lose their form when you sit on them, bulging upward and pressing against the nerves and arteries that run along the "sit bones." Body Geometry Saddles, which are made by Specialized Bicycles, of Morgan Hill, Calif., are designed to correct that problem. The rear portion of the saddle is split in the middle to avoid contact with a rider's most sensitive areas, and its surface is flatter so that padding doesn't bunch up in the middle. Saddles, which come in men's and women's models, cost from $40 to $130, depending on the style.
For riders who experience numbness and soreness in their hands from handlebars putting pressure on the ulnar and median nerves, the company has designed gloves that are strategically padded. Gloves cost from $20 to $40. For more information visit Specialized Bicycles on the Web at www.specialized.com.