Normal Sperm in the BBC

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Jun 292009
 

Sore Testicles

Why Cyclists Should Wear Black Shorts

Why Cyclists Should Wear Black Shorts

“Oh dear!”, I thought, when I read this article on the BBC news today….

Elite cyclists ‘risk infertility’

Read the article.  Apparently…

“The Spanish study of top triathletes found those who cover more than 186 miles (300km) a week on their bikes have less than 4% normal looking sperm.”

Well I do a bit less than that, so naturally, I thought,

What is the normal amount of good sperms in my jism?

…..as you do, if you’re a bloke, which I am….

A Sperm

A Sperm

Fortunately, the article tells you, a bit lower down.  And it’s at this point, that you become shockingly aware of the piss-poor science and piss-poor interpretive reporting going on….

How so?

Quite simple, really.  They’ve completely buggered up any normal definition of the word,

NORMAL

What the article says is that if you are really fit, your good jism count goes down to ~5%.  This means 1 in 20 sperms are duff!  So for an elite cyclist, normally, most of their sperms are bad.

Come, Come.  You Can’t be Serious!

However, if you are a “normal” bloke, the “normal” amount of fit and healthy sperms is…wait for it… it’s coming…here it is…aaaahhhhh!

15-20%

So in other words, most men’s sperm is 80% duff.  Only 1 in 5 are good!  So for a non-cyclist, normally, most of their sperms are bad.  Exactly the same.

What Is Normal?

Born in 1972 in Uccle, Belgium, Axel is the son of five-time Tour de France champion Eddy Merckx.

Born in 1972 in Uccle, Belgium, Axel is the son of five-time Tour de France champion Eddy Merckx.

This is my point.  It’s normal to have most of my sperm completely incapable of fulfilling their duty.  A fit, elite,  cyclist, by definition, is continuously stressing their body beyond it’s limits, and when the body is stressed it’s secondary functions are put into standby.  It’s the same for women.

The point is the poor use of words.  In the article, the phrase abnormal sperm is used to describe poor viability sperm.  However, most sperm has poor viability!

So poor quality sperm is not abnormal – it’s normal!  It’s the good sperm that’s abnormal, so please get it right!

As an aside, we’ve evolved to have a proponderence of ‘inferior’ sperm.  They are actually necessary to our survival.  Their function is manifold – from the physical one of blocking the passage of later sperm to promote the success of the first individual’s mating, to providing the correct chemical environment for the passge of the more viable sperms.  There is a chemical and biological arms race going on at the microscopic level, about which we are only now just becoming aware.  It’s been happening for a billion years and no doubt will continue for a lot longer…

Research

Chris Boardman and his Son

Chris Boardman and his Son

The Spanish team has just looked at the jism.  They intend to do further research.  Might I suggest they do a statistical analysis of the fecundity of former professional cyclists as a starting point.  Start with “The Animal”, Eddy Merckx and his son Axel.  Then go and chat to Chris Boardman and his son and Bernard Hinault and his.  Go and see the cycling daughter of Britain’s greatest ever cyclist, Beryl Burton.

These people were at the very, very, top of their sport for years and had children.  There are many more like them.  Nuff said.

French prisoners Ride Tour de France

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Jun 042009
 

A Week is a Long Time in..

Peparing for the Tour de FranceQ.  In What?

  • In prison – yes obviously
  • In politics – yes
  • In a relationship – well yes, especially the past week for me
  • In Between News Items….

Yes! That’s the one!

Last week it was announced to the world that 196 convicted French prisoners are going to cycle this years Tour de France route.  See the Reuters News item here which originally reported the story: What could possibly go wrong?

It’s an enlightened bit of prisoner rehabilitation.  The 196 inmates plus 124 obviously fit guards are doing the 17 stages, stopping in towns each night that all have a prison, but staying in hotels.

Now contrast this with the report last month about the shocking state of French jails (Prison guards’ strike hits packed French jails).

In fact, there is no contrast.  It’s the French guards who are protesting about the poor state of things, with five to a cell etc.

Taken in this context, the cycle ride does not sound so strange now, does it?

Today the Ride Sets Off

Penal Tour de France pedals offMany news organisations have reported the start of the run today.  They are all using the same copy, many using the same images as well.

 

FILE - This Wednesday June 4, 2009, file photo shows a pack of convicts, joined by their jailers, preparing to take the start from Villeneuve d'Ascq to Valenciennes, northern France, of the prologue of the "Tour de France Penitentiaire" for the jailed. Most days, they live behind bars. But last week, a pack of convicts, joined by their jailers, a police escort and a string of support vehicles, embarked upon the inaugural two-week, 2,200 kilometer cycling trek across the Gallic countryside, organized by French prison administrators. (AP Photo)

Penal Tour de France pedals off

They all report that 194 prisoners are doing the ride compared to the fact that they all reported that 196 were going to do it last week.

So what happened to the 2 men? !!

Did they, as all the news outlets so humourously remarked, go on a “breakaway sprint” which “are obviously not allowed”?  Or maybe they feared they’d have to cycle through Mulhouse which has this interesting cycle lane to negotiate.

Keeping cycle lanes clear of parked cars is a problem the world over. This design from Mulhouse in France provides a self enforcing solution; yellow bollards have proved to be much more effective than yellow lines at deterring illegal parking. Picture from Warrington Cycle Campaign

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