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Thread: New Athena

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    New Athena

    Hi Clydes and Athenas. I wanted to stop lurking and introduce myself to the group. I've been reading for a few weeks and have been so inspired by what I've seen. I am a fairly new cyclist and am having so much fun. Who knew 40 would bring me a whole new lifestyle? I told my Hub this spring that I wanted to be more active. He rides and does the occasional sprint triathlon. I started biking with him on my Townie 3i but have had a lot of trouble keeping up. I assumed that it was due to my weight (I have A LOT to lose) but the bike club swore my super fabulous, pink, cruising bike was the problem. Yesterday I purchased a Cannondale Quick and am stunned by how much easier the riding was. I did 10 miles this afternoon without nearly as much trouble as I've had in the past. I also shaved 3 minutes off my time without evening trying to keep a good pace! To date, through biking and kayaking, I've lost 23 pounds. I have a lot more to go but this time I'm excited about it. I can actually see how it will happen and it's going to be fun!

    I know I'll have a lot of questions in the future. I often feel reading these posts that I'm learning a new language. But for the time being, does anyone have suggestions for wrist pain when riding? I have a flat bar (hope that's the right terminology) and I find that my right wrist begins to hurt just a couple of miles into the ride. I try to sit up higher and try to balance on my fingertips rather than my wrists. This doesn't give me the best balance and certainly isn't a long term solution. Suggestions?

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    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Hi Kabbie! Welcome to the "club". There's a lot of support here so feel free to ask, and also, based on your 23 pound weight loss and your growing experience on bicycles, feel free to help too.

    Wrist pain on a flat bar machine is usually caused by a seat that is adjusted too far forward, and/or points too far down, putting too much weight on your wrists. You may also feel like you're sliding forward on the seat and have to scoot back from time to time? Back the seat up a half inch and point it up slightly to reduce stress to your hands/wrists and you should be good to go.
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    Senior Member BikinPotter's Avatar
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    Welcome!
    Quote Originally Posted by EmSV650 View Post
    ...I guess I am an Athena since that's what we're calling the females, but really I'm more like a very fat Shetland pony mare.

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    Senior Member CJ C's Avatar
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    welcome.

    Do you feel like your sliding forward on your seat? and use your arms/hands to hold you up? if so then your seat is pointed down to much.

    btw i love my cruiser, but what is a small bump in the road the cruiser makes it a full on mountian. Whereas my road bike doesnt even know the road turned up for a bit. now on rough roads and crappy urban streets the road bike rattles the fillings out, whereas the cruiser is buttery smooth over the worst potholes.

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    Great job. Welcome.

    I started with a front suspension MTB. Put slicks on it and went a little faster. Traded up to a hybrid commuter with 700-34 wheels and went even faster. Got an aluminum road bike last year with 700-23 wheels and now do woopee speed. Part of this is the bike, part of it is me getting in better shape and taking a few pounds off. Now I am looking at getting a carbon bike. I think I will start hitting the realm of diminishing returns with the next one, but what the heck.

    Be careful. It's addictive.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

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    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kabbie View Post
    I know I'll have a lot of questions in the future. I often feel reading these posts that I'm learning a new language. But for the time being, does anyone have suggestions for wrist pain when riding? I have a flat bar (hope that's the right terminology) and I find that my right wrist begins to hurt just a couple of miles into the ride. I try to sit up higher and try to balance on my fingertips rather than my wrists. This doesn't give me the best balance and certainly isn't a long term solution. Suggestions?
    You've discovered one of the reasons why most people graduate to drop bars after awhile--they offer more hand position options. Sometimes moving your hands around solves the problem. I'm a pretty fit rider, but my hands still go numb on the rare occasions when I ride my flat bar cruiser. The upright riding style puts more pressure on your hands and wrists. I'm not suggesting a new bike at this point (although as you lose weight, and get more fit, and your rides get longer and faster you will probably want a drop-bar roadbike), but one thing you might try is getting some bar-end extensions (called bull horns in bike slang) for your flat bars.

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    Welcome!
    2009 Orbea Orca - full Ultegra
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    Just Keep Pedaling Beachgrad05's Avatar
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    Welcome to site and I have issues with numbness on my flat bar hybrid (Trek FX). Virtually ZERO issues on my road bike with drop bars. Unfortunately due to the handlebars and grips on the FX, I cannot put the bar ends (bull horns) on my bike.
    Move along....nothing to see here....anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mprelaw View Post
    You've discovered one of the reasons why most people graduate to drop bars after awhile--
    Do you have the source? A poll or a study? My experience is that people that prefer flat bars stay with them. The problems that the op is describing is solved by a simple seat adjustment. For commuting and utilitarian riding around the city, flat bars and flat bars with bar ends are ideal. I would agree that some people will switch to drops, but "most people graduate" to them is a stretch. I went the opposite way, from drop bars to flat bars and am quite comfortable and happy.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    I have a Cannondale Quick. I fussed quite a bit to get the fit on that bike right and had problems with wrist, neck and shoulder pain, partly because I got it when I was a really new rider and had not yet adapted to biking. I ended up getting a professional fit on the bike. The fitter significantly changed the seat position, cut down my handlebars and added Ergon grips to the handlebars. The ergonomic grips that came with the Quick just were not ergonomic enough. After the fit I was much more comfortable. However, I also ended up starting to do core exercises to get my body stronger and more comfortable on a bike. The exercises were equally if not more important than making sure I had the bike set up right for me. I find that now I am stronger I can ride bikes that don't fit quite right for much longer distances than I could ride a well fitted bike before I was in decent shape.

    I have both the flat bar Quick and a drop bar road bike. I love both bikes for entirely different kinds of rides.

    Congratulations on being bit by the biking bug!

  11. #11
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tractorlegs View Post
    Do you have the source? A poll or a study? My experience is that people that prefer flat bars stay with them. The problems that the op is describing is solved by a simple seat adjustment. For commuting and utilitarian riding around the city, flat bars and flat bars with bar ends are ideal. I would agree that some people will switch to drops, but "most people graduate" to them is a stretch. I went the opposite way, from drop bars to flat bars and am quite comfortable and happy.
    It's not always a question of fit. Adjusting fit will solve the problem for many on the short rides typical of commuting. On rides longer than an hour, the pronated wrist required to grip flat bars can cause compression of the ulnar nerve. Pronation is twisting your wrists so your hands are knuckles-up. Ulnar nerve compression is a major cause of hand numbness. Changing hand positions often can alleviate this--but wait. How do you change your grip position using flat bars. There's a reason why drivers are taught to hold the steering wheel at 10 and 2 o'clock, and why the control yoke on airplanes has vertical grips. A neutral, rather than pronated, wrist position tends to avoid ulnar nerve compression. Drop bars allow a neutral wrist position when you hold them on the brake hoods, or the drops---with one catch. Putting too much arm/hand pressure on the bars (which results from both poor fit and poor fitness) can cause the wrists to bend inwards, increasing pressure on the ulnar nerve. One thing you'll see riders do is switch their hands from the hoods or drops to the flat part of the bars next to the stem. The multiple hand positions offered are the big advantage of drop bars over flat bars on long rides. You will see very, very few riders on rides of longer than, say, 30 miles riding flat bars.
    What causes ulnar nerve injury?

    There are many causes of ulnar nerve injuries, including pressure, trauma and illness. In some cases, ulnar nerve injuries may arise without a known cause.


    The most common cause of ulnar nerve injury is extended pressure on the ulnar nerve, known as ulnar nerve entrapment. As the ulnar nerve travels from the shoulder to the hand, it passes through two tunnels of tissue, the cubital tunnel behind the elbow and Guyon’s canal in the wrist. Both tunnels are common locations at which the ulnar nerve can be compressed and injured. The ulnar nerve may also be compressed at the neck or beneath the collarbone.


    Entrapment of the ulnar nerve may result from swelling of soft tissue, cysts, or damage to the bones in the arms. Bone damage causing ulnar nerve injuries include arthritis, elbow dislocations, elbow and wrist fractures, and bone spurs. Repetitive motions of the arm and hand, extensive bending of the elbow, and long-term pressure on the palm of the hand may also cause ulnar nerve injuries.


    Ulnar nerve injuries may also be the result of direct trauma to the nerve. Finally, any whole body illness that is known to cause nerve damage, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism, can affect the ulnar nerve.
    What are the risk factors for ulnar nerve injury?

    A number of factors increase the risk of developing ulnar nerve injury. Not all people with risk factors will get ulnar nerve injury. Risk factors for ulnar nerve injury include:



    • Activities in which your elbow or wrist is bent or twisted for prolonged periods
    • Alcohol abuse
    • Brachial plexus injury (injury to the bundle of nerves that transmit signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm and hand)
    • Diabetes (chronic disease that affects your body’s ability to use sugar for energy)
    • Elbow and wrist abnormalities
    • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
    • Nerve entrapment or compression, such as of the ulnar nerve in the arm
    • Rheumatoid arthritis (chronic autoimmune disease characterized by joint inflammation)
    • Sleeping positions that put pressure on your ulnar nerve

    Reducing your risk of ulnar nerve injury

    You may be able to lower your risk of ulnar nerve injury by:

    • Avoiding positions that put pressure on the elbow or inside of the arm
    • Keeping your elbow and wrist straight while sleeping
    • Limiting activities that require the elbow or wrist to be bent for a prolonged period



  12. #12
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    ^^^So, then, you're saying you can't provide documentation that "most people graduate to drop bars after awhile"? That is the comment that I was challenging. I see a lot of experienced cyclists riding flat bars. Myself included - I've been on flat bars for almost 20 years after the first 15 on drops. I think both are fine if the bike is sized and adjusted correctly. Each bar has a different purpose for a different type of rider. Commuters, fitness riders, mountain bikers, and old folks like me (lol) like flat bars; distance cyclists, racers etc. like drops. I don't see the point of trying to prove that flat bars are dangerous when they are not. When I'm riding, the position you described - "twisting your wrists so your hands are knuckles-up" - or Pronating - does not occur. Unless I'm sprinting away from a dog or something, then anything could happen. Leave Kabbie alone and let her ride her flat bars. Kabbie, point your seat up a bit to take some weight off your wrists. Mprelaw, go ride yourself a century and have fun.
    Last edited by tractorlegs; 07-17-12 at 12:02 AM.
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  13. #13
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    I struggle with wrist and hand tingling. I wouldn't call it "pain" but it borders on numbness and can be quite annoying. It has nothing to do with handlbars because it happens on both my hybrid and my road bike and starts a short distance into the ride. The last couple of days I have ridden longer rides (for me) 25 miles and 28 miles and found that the feeling goes away after awhile--after at least 20 miles. I'm just throwing this little tidbit in because non of us really know what is going on with Kabbie. Heck, I don't even know why I'm having issues. I just assume that with more riding, core exercises and getting in better shape all will eventually get better.
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    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tractorlegs View Post
    ^^^So, then, you're saying you can't provide documentation that "most people graduate to drop bars after awhile"? That is the comment that I was challenging. I see a lot of experienced cyclists riding flat bars. Myself included - I've been on flat bars for almost 20 years after the first 15 on drops. I think both are fine if the bike is sized and adjusted correctly. Each bar has a different purpose for a different type of rider. Commuters, fitness riders, mountain bikers, and old folks like me (lol) like flat bars; distance cyclists, racers etc. like drops. I don't see the point of trying to prove that flat bars are dangerous when they are not. When I'm riding, the position you described - "twisting your wrists so your hands are knuckles-up" - or Pronating - does not occur. Unless I'm sprinting away from a dog or something, then anything could happen. Leave Kabbie alone and let her ride her flat bars. Kabbie, point your seat up a bit to take some weight off your wrists. Mprelaw, go ride yourself a century and have fun.
    #1, where did I say that flat bars are "dangerous"? #2, how did you mis-interpret my remarks to Kabbie as somehow picking on her (otherwise why the admonishment to "leave her alone"?). I thought I offered her some valuable advice to look into bullhorns, as changing hand position is a well-recognized technique for alleviating hand discomfort on longer rides. Did I tell her to sell her flat bar bike and buy a drop bar bike? Did I tell her she'll never be a strong rider unless she buys a drop bar bike and gets clipless pedals? Maybe you can point out how I was picking on her??

    I expressed an opinion based on personal observation of thousands of riders at various group rides and charity events, and hundreds of conversations with other riders both in person and online. I have better things to do than comb the web in search of empirical findings on why riders switch from flat bar bikes to drop bar bikes, and I highly doubt that any researcher has cared enough to fund such a study.

    My sense is that the word "graduate" pricked your sensibilities. Perhaps a poor choice of words implying moving to a higher level of cycling---that isn't how it was intended. But my opinion still stands that many riders switch from flats to drops because they find the multiple hand positions offered by drops to be an advantage on rides over one hour in length. Even pros will ride for a few minutes holding the flat section of the bars, next to the stem, just to change their grip for a spell. You can disagree with that, but please don't be disagreeable in so doing.
    Last edited by mprelaw; 07-17-12 at 12:15 PM.

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    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mprelaw View Post
    #1, where did I say that flat bars are "dangerous"?
    About 5 or 6 paragraphs claiming that flat bars cause "ulnar nerve injury", post #11 in this thread
    #2, how did you mis-interpret my remarks to Kabbie as somehow picking on her (otherwise why the admonishment to "leave her alone"?).
    Never said that you were "picking on her". Sometimes when a new bicyclist is excited, others feel the obligation to explain hidden dangers that may or may not exist. Others in this thread gave objective advice; you told her she was in danger of "ulnar nerve injury" if she didn't switch to drop bars. Leave her alone.
    I thought I offered her some valuable advice to look into bullhorns, as changing hand position is a well-recognized technique for alleviating hand discomfort on longer rides.
    No, you told her "You've discovered one of the reasons why most people graduate to drop bars". That's your quote.
    Did I tell her to sell her flat bar bike and buy a drop bar bike? Did I tell her she'll never be a strong rider unless she buys a drop bar bike and gets clipless pedals?
    Nope, nope and nope. I don't remember bringing up clipless pedals at all - wait a second, let me go back and read my posts. No, no mention of clipless pedals.
    Maybe you can point out how I was picking on her??
    I never said you were "picking on her". Do you have the quote?

    I expressed an opinion based on personal observation of thousands of riders at various group rides and charity events, and hundreds of conversations with other riders both in person and online. I have better things to do than comb the web in search of empirical findings on why riders switch from flat bar bikes to drop bar bikes, and I highly doubt that any researcher has cared enough to fund such a study.
    Then you should not have characterized your statement "You've discovered one of the reasons why most people graduate to drop bars after awhile" as fact. If you can't verify a statement like that, then don't use it. Maybe you should have said "You've discovered the reason why I graduated to drop bars", or "my friends and I", or even "many people".

    My sense is that the word "graduate" pricked your sensibilities.
    Not really. I thought that was a good choice of words. I disagree, but it was a good choice of words.
    Perhaps a poor choice of words implying moving to a higher level of cycling---that isn't how it was intended.
    Hahaha - then what does "graduate" mean?
    But my opinion still stands that many riders . . .
    Many? I'll agree with that . . .
    . . . switch from flats to drops because they find the multiple hand positions offered by drops to be an advantage on rides over one hour in length.
    Agree
    Even pros will ride for a few minutes holding the flat section of the bars, next to the stem, just to change their grip for a spell. You can disagree with that,
    I don't
    but please don't be disagreeable in so doing.
    How can one disagree without being disagree - able? lol. Most bicyclists are not graduating to drop bars from flat bars. Some are. You did. Some others are graduating from drop bars to flats, like I did. Plenty of people ride both type of bars and do so happily, comfortably and without "ulnar nerve injury".
    **************************************************
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    Quote Originally Posted by tractorlegs View Post
    Back the seat up a half inch and point it up slightly to reduce stress to your hands/wrists and you should be good to go.
    Tractorlegs, you were dead on with this. We made the recommended changes and tonight's ride was much better -- not perfect-- but better. Thanks for the advice! Not sliding forward on the seat cured a variety of complaints.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ C View Post
    btw i love my cruiser, but what is a small bump in the road the cruiser makes it a full on mountian. Whereas my road bike doesnt even know the road turned up for a bit. now on rough roads and crappy urban streets the road bike rattles the fillings out, whereas the cruiser is buttery smooth over the worst potholes.
    We've had the same experiences. I love my townie, but tonight I glided up a hill on the Quick that's forced me off my seat all summer long on the townie. I do believe the entire neighborhood heard my victory cry. I'm not exactly being gracious, but I'm having a ton of fun!

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    However, I also ended up starting to do core exercises to get my body stronger and more comfortable on a bike. The exercises were equally if not more important than making sure I had the bike set up right for me. I find that now I am stronger I can ride bikes that don't fit quite right for much longer distances than I could ride a well fitted bike before I was in decent shape.
    Congratulations on being bit by the biking bug!
    Thanks, Goldfinch. I made the recommended changes to the seat and that definitely improved things, but you have a really valid point about core. I'm crushing my wrists because I don't have the core to hold myself up consistently. To the yoga mat I go. Guess I'll dust off the pilates dvd's too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mprelaw View Post
    The upright riding style puts more pressure on your hands and wrists. I'm not suggesting a new bike at this point (although as you lose weight, and get more fit, and your rides get longer and faster you will probably want a drop-bar roadbike), but one thing you might try is getting some bar-end extensions (called bull horns in bike slang) for your flat bars.
    You have a good point here. Even the salesman told me I'd eventually complain about not having enough hand positions. Right now I'm celebrating 10 mile rides, so I think the problem is not so much the handlebars as the body smushing them. I'll probably add the horns when I get going further distances. It's good to know I can add extensions without replacing the bars all together. I appreciate the advice. Thanks!

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