Cyclist gets bus advert banned as it falsely linked cycling to erectile dysfunction

Luke Clark reported the advert after finding no hard evidence online linking cycling to erectile dysfunction

The now-banned advert on the side of a London bus (Luke Clark)

A cyclist has successfully filed a complaint against an advert that appeared on the side of London buses linking erectile dysfunction to cycling, banning the company from using it.

Luke Clark, a cyclist who works in advertising, was on his morning commute to work when he saw the offending advert on the side of a bus.

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The advert had the words "does cycling affect you in the bedroom?" written in droopy typography, insinuating that it does. The pharmaceutical company behind the advertisement, Numan, brand themselves as being a "medicines for men" provider, selling medication for both erectile dysfunction and hair loss.

After seeing the advert, Luke went on the company's website and couldn't find any information to support the statement it was advertising its product with.

This annoyed Luke, believing it could put someone off taking up cycling or discouraging someone from continuing to use their bike.

Conducting some further research online, Luke found no hard evidence at all to support the company's claim. Buoyed by his experience in the industry, Luke submitted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), who ruled in his favour that there wasn't enough substantiation to the claim. Numan is now banned from running the advert.

Speaking to Cycling Weekly, Luke Clark said: "I'm not normally an easily offended keyboard basher - I actually work in advertising.

"It just seemed crazy that TFL are spending so much money to improve and encourage cycling in London (and doing a good job), then allow an ad like this on one of their buses which could undo their good work in a single commute.

"Obviously I'm happy with the result (I genuinely thought nothing would happen) but unfortunately the ad has been and gone so the damage is potentially already done."

Cycling Weekly reached out to Numan for comment, who said: "We find ASA’s decision unfortunate, but of course, respect it. We never intended to unnecessarily alarm cyclists.

"There are numerous reputable studies that have researched links between cycling and erectile dysfunction (ED) - something we explore in the Book of Erections, which was being promoted by our London bus campaign.

"Our core aim at Numan is to encourage men to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing. We are passionate advocates of regular exercise. It’s fundamental for good cardiovascular function, which is essential for a healthy erection. Cycling is a fantastic form of exercise (one we also love) and something we wholeheartedly support.

"We do appreciate however Luke's point that we should have published our research on our own website and gone into more detail on how cyclists who may be experiencing ED, as such we will be adding a more detailed analysis as soon as possible."

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.