Riding Soft, Thinking Rigid

Ladies, if you spend any time riding with men, you basically know that we’re all a bunch of lecherous jerks with three thinks on our minds: bikes, beer, and… you know. So consider the following the sort of back-of-the-pack colloquy to which you’ve grown accustomed.Every six weeks or so, someone in the mainstream media picks up on this little pet story about how riding a bike a lot can contribute to erectile dysfunction.

Now I either ride with a bunch of soft laggards who don’t put enough mileage in to qualify for the dubious honor of a Viagra prescription, or this story is wildly overblown each time it’s trotted out. (Rough average of my club: 5-10 hours in the saddle per week per rider; 5,000-7,000 miles per year each.)

Every male-dominated ride I’ve ever been on is (A) roughly speaking, rated XX in the conversation department; maybe NC-17 if there is a quorum of women on the ride; (B) equal parts absurd hyperbole and pathetic self-confession.

Having said that, the topic of erectile dysfunction has literally never come up except to consider whether this is a widespread media myth designed to make us paranoid about whether we’re getting enough out-of-the-saddle action. The subject, uh, arises, the entire ride comes to a collective stop, takes off its helmet, scratches its head, and says, “Seriously?! No way. I’ve never heard of this being a problem.”

It’s possible that we’re all a bunch of liars and none of us will be able to procreate (though I’ve already got three little cyclists in my personal peloton, so obviously my Fizik has not interfered with my physique, if you follow me). Seriously. Is your club the one in the nation that’s filled with frustrated men having trouble with their, um, suspension? Or should we start writing letters to the New York Times to lay off this story for a while?

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