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Cancer, bike riding, and recumbent questions.
 GeeWizMan member not displaying online status
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Bacchetta Ti-Aero
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posted 9/17/2011
at 11:09:02 AM
viewed 5677 times

Several years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. After researching the possibilities my wife and I elected to have my prostate removed. Since that time I have been riding between 5 and 6 thousand miles annually. Just recently in the month of July I did not get in as much biking as I like due to vacations and other life stuff. So, when August rolled around I started riding just about every day. I got a fairly long string of consecutive days of riding and it felt great. Rather than feeling draggy or tired I felt energized and strong while dropping a few pounds. At the end of August I went in for my quarterly PSA blood test and to my surprise my PSA jumped from .1 to .4, which is an indication that there are cancer cells in my body. Big bummer! My doctor said that riding on a regular road bike with a regular bike seat is the most likely culprit. He went on to say that I need to find alternatives. He suggested a sling type seat or some other type of seat that does not put pressure on my perineum. My immediate thoughts, other than the mind-blowing upset with cancer, were on recumbent bikes.


Has anyone ever heard of bike riding causing cancer?

Anyone ever try those strange seats on their road bike?

What are the differences between a long wheel base and a short wheel base recumbent?

How does someone test ride a recumbent? I have called most of the local bike shops and nobody stocks quality recumbents like the Bacchetta line.

 rmillay member offline
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posted 9/17/2011
at 12:01:32 PM
post #1 viewed 2866 times
Bike riders get cancer, too. I've not heard of a link between bicycle seats and prostate cancer, though.

I found the Selle Anatomica to be the best seat for me. The weirder seats get decidedly mixed reviews. They tend not to stay on the market long, which my be one indicator of their worth.

I ride a long wheelbase (LWB) recumbent, now. The LWB design is sort of built around the rider, who sits (or reclines) between the wheels. They are stable and comfortable to ride. Many have a fairly low crank, making it easier to learn getting into and out of the pedals, so specialty dealers usually have newbies test drive one of those first. Because of the frame, however, they tend to be heavier, and their handling in tight situations is compromised. I've thought of getting a mudflap that says "this truck makes wide turns," but more experienced LWB riders seem to handle them just fine. Mine is quite comfortable on long rides, even on our dreadful roads.

The short wheelbase (SWB) recumbents include most of the lightest and fastest of the recumbents. They range from moderately upright (Lightning), to quite reclined. The wheels are under the rider, so the crank height depends largely on wheel size. They handle more like a regular bike, and may have a stiffer ride. The higher crank intimidates some, but I've personally witnessed a naive rider hop on one and ride off as though she had been riding a 'bent for years! I guess it depends on your attitude.

Look up easystreetrecumbents.com or angletech.com for guides to trying out a recumbent. Perhaps someone on the forum knows a good dealer to visit in Michigan. These things were made for touring, and they can be very fast, too!

 markiansj member offline
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posted 9/17/2011
at 12:07:37 PM
post #2 viewed 2864 times
Hey GeeWiz,

Sorry to hear about your PSA result, hope its just a false alarm. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

I've had chronic prostatitis for the past 7 or 8 years, and when it flares I can't sit in any seat let alone a bicycle saddle as it feels like I'm being impaled. (Actually the only seat I can sit on during an attack is a toilet seat as that puts no pressure on my perenium.) Fortunately it doesn't happen very often and less so if I'm not heavy. My PSA has always been normal though.

Have not heard of bike riding itself causing cancer, unless it could be from an environmental toxin or other exposure during riding, but I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on TV.

Actually with a few more stories like yours, RDs or robos I'm going to think logging into bikejournal is detrimental to one's health.

 maschwab member offline
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posted 9/17/2011
at 1:12:44 PM
post #3 viewed 2857 times
The PSA test is not a reliable indicator of cancer. If it continues to rise over a few (not 2) tests, then more invasive tests are indicated (biopsy), etc.


Age of onset is the most important factor. The younger you get it, the faster it grows. If you don't get it by age 70, they don't even test for it anymore, because it won't kill you within 20 years.

PSA levels can rise when the prostrate is irritated, and after your reduced time bicycling it was sensitive to the increase in bicycling. I would wait until spring to see if your levels go back to normal, and not rush into buying a recumbent.

A long wheel base has the wheel in front of the crank, a short wheel base has the front wheel under the knees.

If you want the a bicycle that almost looks normal, the Rans Crank Forward line looks almost like a hybrid, but the seat post is at about 40 degrees with a large riding lawn mower style seat. www.rans.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=120&Itemid=104

 S_Kottmyer member offline
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posted 9/17/2011
at 1:41:48 PM
post #4 viewed 2851 times
First off, I'd get a second, maybe a third, opinion. That just doesn't sound right to me.
The prostate is gone. If cancer cells were to be in another part of your body, why would riding cause an elevated PSA?

I'm certainly not a doctor though.


 woodog member not displaying online status
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posted 9/17/2011
at 1:56:44 PM
post #5 viewed 2845 times
going from correlation to causality (bike seat to cancer) seems a stretch.
personally I don't buy it. If you're riding your current machine without issues I don't see a reason to change unless you just WANT to try out exceptionally fun alternatives.

In the meantime, get a second opinion and focus on your health. I can't help but think riding does nothing but augment your health.

Let us know what you discover!


 BikerBob member offline
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posted 9/17/2011
at 5:43:17 PM
post #6 viewed 2818 times
Try this site:


I have been to a few shops, my favorite is Bicycle Headquarters in Midland.
They have Bacchetta, Sun, and Rans. Quite a ways from you, but great people.


 Firecracker member not displaying online status
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Cruzbike Silvio
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posted 9/17/2011
at 6:21:37 PM
post #7 viewed 2808 times
Check out Cruzbike.com before deciding which one to buy.

Also, look at the Selle Anatomica saddle before deciding. I really hated the ISM Adamo saddles. There are some sites that will let you demo an ISM saddle for a fee.

 GeeWizMan member not displaying online status
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posted 9/17/2011
at 8:43:50 PM
post #8 viewed 2790 times
Thank you all for your responses. I am going to get a second opinion from a teaching university that is quite removed from my family doctor, before I do anything different than what I am doing. Thanks again, I'll post the results when I get them.

 Harry member offline
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posted 9/17/2011
at 8:59:44 PM
post #9 viewed 2788 times
[snip]What are the differences between a long wheel base and a short wheel base recumbent?

How does someone test ride a recumbent? I have called most of the local bike shops and nobody stocks quality recumbents like the Bacchetta line.

-- posted by GeeWizMan
The recumbent world can be confusing because there are so many different types of 'bents out there. It can be a real challenge to test ride a number of them because so few bike shops have seen the light. Unless there is a pressing need to purchase one immediately, I suggest you take your time to become educated about 'bents and then see if you can purchase a used one.

The Hostel Shoppe has an extensive website devoted to their offerings as well as an excellent FAQ that can be found in their Help Guides.[1]

And there is no better place on the web to get insider information about 'bents than 'Bent Rider Online.[2] Go to the Message Board (top right corner of the home page) and you will discover a group of 'bent riders who will be willing to answer any questions you may have about these wonderful bikes.

[1] www.hostelshoppe.com/
[2] bentrideronline.com/

 raleighdon member not displaying online status 
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posted 9/17/2011
at 10:37:46 PM
post #10 viewed 2776 times
Wow! GWM, first off, I'm glad to know you're getting a second opinion. I hope that future test will show that you do not have another cancer. Second, I've been thinking a lot about this same issue for the past few weeks, well into treatment now for esophageal cancer. I only know one endurance cyclist who has had the procedure I'm about to have (full removal of the esophagus) who rides long distances, and he rides a DF. but here's the thought process I've been going through and I'm really glad you started this thread. A couple weeks ago, I was coming back from dropping my son off at his apartment and found myself sorta hunched over the wheel driving down the freeway. I straightened up, picturing myself at 85 or 90 driving along at 40 all hunched over like that, thinking I don't want to form more bad habits. As I straightened up, I realized the position I was in places the upper body in a rather uncomfortable position for eating while I ride. Typically, when I ride, I have to sit up more upright to eat or drink. Once I have my esophagus removed (along with about a third of the stomach) I'm wondering how much it will be affected, and have been talking to Mimi about wanting to try out a recumbent a little bit to see what it feels like, whether it might be a good alternative for the next phase of my cycling life. I really don't want to give up my DF's, though. I love them.

I welcome all feedback.
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