Cyclists. Their massive thigh muscles and brazenly unstylish, but functional fashion choices add to everyone’s enjoyment of city life, as they attempt to valiantly navigate traffic – which, in the whole, exhibits real contempt for their existence. And, while the health benefits of this form of environmentally friendly commuting are well documented, it is also the case that there are some elements of cycling that unfortunately create problems for your health. Here are four of them.
This is the obvious one, with figures showing that they are the most at risk of all road users. There is evidence, however, that the number of cyclists killed on British roads has been steadily decreasing in recent years, and we can thank tightened regulation and cycle awareness campaigns for the success here. However, there is still much to be done, for instance – imposing 20 mph sped limits around urban areas, to give cyclists the protection they need.
It doesn’t help, however, that many cyclists ignore stop signs and lights and this is known to be one of the biggest forms of accidents. Nevertheless, there is an equally attractive argument that cycling is not actually as dangerous as people believe it to be and that the health benefits actually mean that, when everything is considered, cyclists without the clumsy gene can still expect to live longer than non-cyclists.
Cyclists are, on the whole, more environmentally conscious than motorists, with many opting for this form of transport in the face of obvious dangers because they are attempting to drive down their own carbon footprints. They are clearly putting more effort in than the average Joe, who separates his metal, plastic and cardboard waste because otherwise the council won’t take his rubbish away. However, cyclists are also unprotected from the pollution found in congested urban cities and are the most exposed of road users to the carbon emissions created by other road users.
This is a sad, but academically accepted consequence of cycling for men that, when considering the rather aggressive shape and clear discomfort of the saddle, should really come as no surprise to anyone. A study carried out in America’s Boston area found that over 100,000 residents had lost the ability to sustain a “satisfactory erection” as a result of damage caused by the bike’s frame or saddle. And, while many thought that it was only the tight Lycra that was stopping them having sex, it appears that the truth is far more serious.
Science has a depressing way of proving that everything we do is bad for us, and that everything that we enjoy – and believe it or not many cyclists do enjoy this activity – must be avoided.
However, science should be ignored at your peril and the health issues and risk of accidents and injury to cyclists means that you should take all the necessary precautions. This includes the necessary training for road cycling, clothing, helmet and other safety equipment. It is also prudent to have the information on cycling injury compensation on hand, so as to be ready for any eventuality.
The author used to cycle to work but used the contempt of other cyclists over his disdain for Lycra as an excuse to go back to using the bus so that people did not realize how out of shape he was. However he is a keen downhill mountain biker as well as blogger on health issues and political and socio-economic commentary.