No Stupid Questions: Can I Still Cycle Tour With An Enlarged Prostate?

A reader writes:

I, like many men of my age, suffer from an enlarged prostate. When I was diagnosed with this a few years ago I asked if I could still cycle. Needless to say [the doctor] advised against it other than occasional short runs.

Straight after diagnosis I bought suitable saddles (those with a significant cutaway to relieve pressure on the perineum – very common now) and reduced my cycling to a max of 2 hours once or twice a week. I had always worn padded shorts.

I have a couple of friends that suffer this problem but they carry on cycling: one has completed in a couple of multi-day off-road rides and is planning a multi-week tour. None seemed concerned.

I would appreciate your views on this matter.

Obligatory disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this information should not be taken as medical advice.

And I do not (yet!) have first-hand experience to draw on in the case of cycle touring or bikepacking with an enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, to give it its technical name.

With the understanding that this makes me unqualified to give either medical or anecdotal recommendations for long-distance cycling with such a condition, I do have one slightly unorthodox thought:

Have you considered moving to a recumbent bike?

Reading around on the topic, most advice on the subject of cycling with an enlarged prostate sounds like a workaround for sitting on a traditional bicycle saddle, which is intrinsically problematic by design.

But the seating position on a recumbent is nothing like a traditional saddle at all – more like a deck chair, in fact!

And, once you’ve got used to it, riding a recumbent is far more comfortable in many other ways, relieving the causes of so much of the wrist, neck and back aches that cycle tourers seem to spend so much time and energy trying to manage.

While I wrote a short series of blogs about my own experiences on a recumbent touring bike (starting here), the undisputed online home of all things recumbent is And there are over a thousand journals from recumbent touring cyclists over at

I know this is a totally wacky idea, and I won’t blame you if you reject it out of hand. But at the very least I hope it provides an interesting window onto one of the quirkiest, least-considered niches of cycling!

And I applaud the question, because it belongs in a category that might be called “uncomfortable questions”, of which there are surely many more. Perhaps that’s an idea for a new blog series…

Comments (skip to respond)

6 responses to “No Stupid Questions: Can I Still Cycle Tour With An Enlarged Prostate?”

  1. Thanks Tom and others for your responses.
    I’m going to extend my cycling distance and see how it goes – running shoes getting too expensive.

  2. J Ian Tait avatar
    J Ian Tait

    Like Tom, I need to state that I have no medical knowledge whatsoever. In my experience, cycle-touring with an enlarged prostate is no problem. I’ve done weeks-long rides — it never even occurred to me that there might be a problem. Ian.

  3. When I was a bit sore once, I used something similar to the Hobson Pro Hub X2. It took a bit of effort to get set up and it felt odd at front not having a nose, but it stopped me feeling any soreness.

    1. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Hi, I can help here.
    I had a radical prostatectomy in 2011. I was a recumbent rider at the time.
    Firstly, although keyhole surgery was used, I could not ride at all for about half a year. As it got less sore the recumbents were good but, I thought I read here, climbing hills does not hurt after the first 200 miles. Different muscles are brought into play on a recumbent and as a load carrier for cycle camping recumbents are King. 

    Once back underway I was wanting an off road bike and on a Youth Hostel tour I met a gent with an interesting saddle.
    It was a Rido R2. Made in Nottingham. I have found them perfect on upwrongs because the bits that hurt — phantom pains, nowadays — are not sitting on the hard surface of the saddle.
    I sold my five Brooks saddles for silly money on eBay and now only use Ridos. I have never used padded pants and certainly wouldn’t need them on a Rido R2

    1. Thanks so much for the contribution here. Nice to hear Rido are still going strong — I briefly used one years ago and liked the idea behind them, though the Brooks ended up suiting me better.

Something to add?