If you log a lot of time on your bike, here's some great news: Cycling does not cause erectile dysfunction or infertility as was previously thought. Earlier research has suggested that bike riding puts enough pressure on the family jewels to damage sperm and hamper blood blow to the penis, making it tough to get it up. But a new British study has debunked these theories, finding no link between cycling and ED or infertility, even among guys who ride eight and a half hours or more per week.
In the largest study on cyclists to date, researchers analyzed nearly 5,300 male riders to figure out whether there was a real connection between cycling and these conditions, and if so, whether the risks increased the more time men spent in the saddle. Participants completed questionnaires that asked how many hours per week they rode and whether they had experienced symptoms of ED within the past five years or had doctor-diagnosed infertility.
"We found no positive association between cycling and erectile dysfunction or cycling volume and infertility," says study author Milo Hollingworth of University College London. He says this suggests that cycling does not directly cause these issues, even among avid riders. Since guys who pedal eight and a half hours a week — about 200 miles — are in the clear, recreational riders and commuters shouldn't need to worry.
The study did find a small link between cycling and prostate cancer risk, but only among men over age 50 who bike more than eight and half hours per week. Even so, the researchers say that, without a doubt, the many health benefits of cycling — it's burns hundreds of calories per hour, tones your entire body, and puts less pressure on your knees and hips than running does — greatly outweigh any potential health risks.