With the right posture, equipment and attire, avid cyclists can enjoy their sport safely, comfortably and successfully

Cycling has been growing in popularity in Singapore since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But as a cyclist (whether you are a serious cyclist or recreational one), do you know if cycling is causing you more harm than good? Our senior physiotherapist shares more.

Some bad news: long-distance cycling may be bad for sex. But the good n​ews is that correct posture or a change of saddle can quickly reverse the erectile dysfunction that can occur when cyclists ride their bicycles for too long, use the wrong saddle, have the wrong posture or wear overly tight bike shorts.​

Before erectile dysfunction actually occurs – and it can last as long as a week – a cyclist might feel pain, tingling numbness in the gr​​oin and penis as pressure is concentrated on that part of the body, said Ms Liang Zhiqi, Senior Physiotherapist, Department of Physiotherapy, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group. “But not many cyclists talk openly about such symptoms, so they might not know there is a problem till something more serious like dysfunction happens,” she said.

See a specialist first

A serious cyclist, said Ms Liang, should see a sports medicine specialist for an assessment of his level of fitness and general health condition, and have his bicycle checked out. Getting the basics right is important for someone who intends to train seriously for the sport as it involves many hours of intense riding.

At SGH, for instance, its physiotherapists can help people who have suffered musculoskeletal injuries sustained from cycling. Patients are taught to prevent injuries that might occur from overtraining or improper training, and how to reach their individual peak performance as quickly and safely as possible.

Consultation by the cycling service’s physiotherapists is by appointment only. Patients need a referral from a Singapore-registered doctor.

The patient first undergoes an interview followed by a physical examination by a physiotherapist. With a better understanding of the patient's condition, the physiotherapist can then tailor adjustments and exercises based on detailed assessments both on and off his bicycle.

Many cyclists are not aware that the way they position themselves on a bicycle is just as important as building up stamina and strength. The exercises they are taught help build posture awareness, control and endurance, develop flexibility and strength for power and endurance, and give them postural control for stability. Mirrors are used to show multi-angle views of the cyclists on a bicycle.

​Read on for tips on cycling safely at night.​

Ref. R14​

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