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  1. #1
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    Back & neck pain while riding

    Hey everyone,

    I'm pretty new to biking, so I have a very general question about form/fitting. I ride about 140 miles a week and every time I hit the 10 mile point on my rides, my neck really starts to hurt. At first I though my form was too aggressive, but even after adjusting that, it still hurts. It feels like I have to crane my neck up too much, but when i asked a friend he said my stance wasn't that aggressive and my neck shouldn't be hurting that much. The best relief for my neck it to touch my chin to my chest, which hurts a bit, but stretches it out the other way and helps with the pain. Once I get to the 30-40 mile range, it can hurt so bad I have to stop.

    Here's a photo of my setup. I moved my handlebars up the extra notch on the stem so they're higher and leveled the seat, but it hasn't helped that much: http://i.imgur.com/i1PWf.jpg?1
    *I also put a front brake on the bike

    Also, after switching to clipless pedals (still confused why they're called that), I've been experiencing some lower back pain. I'm guessing that's just because I'm working new muscles while pulling up, because it's very prominent on hilly rides. I fractured a couple vertebrae snowboarding about seven years ago and I've had problems with my lower back ever since, so I'm sure that plays a part as well.

    Between the two problems, it can really sap the enjoyment out of the second half of my ride. Any form suggestions (sorry I don't have a picture of me riding)? Or more of a physical therapy type of thing?

    Thanks everyone.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Angle and width of your handlebars can play a role in neck pain. Are the bars narrower, wider, or the same width as your shoulders?

  3. #3
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    A picture of you on the bike would really help. Posture is key -- if you can roll your hips forward on the saddle, you ought to be able to straighten your back a little and reduce the amount you need to crane your neck in order to see.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  4. #4
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    Hi,

    "Clipless" are called that because they eliminate the toeclips.
    But it is an oxymoron as you have to "clip in".

    Your bike looks "aggressive" to me, with nothing like the number of
    hand positions I have with my chopped and flipped drops bullhorns.

    I don't miss the drops at all (I'm 50+). My BHs are very slightly tilted
    up and you can stretch out without basically staring at tarmac as you
    do on the drops. Fine tune the angle to what suits you.

    If it was my bike I'd chop and flip the bars and lower the stem to
    probably minimum. Over 3 months I went from maximum bar
    height to the minimum, tilting them up slowly in the process.

    It is common on fixies, but I did it to a 14 speed road bike.

    rgds, sreten.

    Maybe eventually you'd get on with drops, but I'd suggest
    chopping and flopping some cheap used drop bars to ease
    you into riding a bike. You will know after a while if BH's
    are simply not aggressive enough for you, and need drops.
    Last edited by sreten; 07-15-13 at 01:30 PM.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for all the help. I'll try to get a picture of me riding sometime soon, I've also been reading a bit more of Sheldon Brown's posture advice. Already caught a few things I can work on.

    I actually found a cheap pair of Nitto bullhorns for $15 on craigslist, I'll see if I can pick them up and give it a shot. Thanks!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Dfrost's Avatar
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    No wonder your neck hurts. Your bars are much lower than your saddle. And with those bars and only one brake, are you riding in the drops all the time? You might look at Rivendell's website to get a different viewpoint on bike fitting.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dfrost View Post
    No wonder your neck hurts. Your bars are much lower than your saddle. And with those bars and only one brake, are you riding in the drops all the time? You might look at Rivendell's website to get a different viewpoint on bike fitting.
    So after a couple people dropped this line, I realized how little I know about biking (didn't think I knew that much in the first place, but still...). I figured I should have been able to ride drops almost all the time. If just switching back and forth is the solution, I can definitely do that haha. I just assumed riders with drops almost always used them, so my pain must have been a fitting/form issue. I need to start riding with other people :/

  8. #8
    Senior Member Dfrost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zivins View Post
    So after a couple people dropped this line, I realized how little I know about biking (didn't think I knew that much in the first place, but still...). I figured I should have been able to ride drops almost all the time. If just switching back and forth is the solution, I can definitely do that haha. I just assumed riders with drops almost always used them, so my pain must have been a fitting/form issue. I need to start riding with other people :/
    I ride on the brake hoods or with my hands in that vicinity for 90% of my riding (and I'm NOT young). Obviously that's less of a possibility with no brake hoods. There are some that can/do ride in the drops most the time, but that it is easier when you're much more experienced and flexible (and younger). OTOH, I notice lots of riders with set-ups like yours who mostly seem to riding on the bar tops. And have you noticed that lots of "fixie's" use a short straight bar?

    When I was 15-20 years younger, I could ride comfortably for hours with the bars several inches below the saddle, but now wish that I'd come around to higher bars sooner. Now they're at saddle height on one bike, and less than an inch below on the other one. BTW, when the bars are that high, riding in the drops is pretty easy, and all it takes is a slightly more bent elbow to get low relative to the wind.

  9. #9
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    That is an aggressive setup, regardless of what your friend thinks. Not just the saddle to bar drop, but also the bars are track-type with steep ramps and no brake levers, so you can't comfortably ride on the hoods but have to be in the drops. Makes sense since the bike is a track bike or at least a track-look bike.

    If you are young, strong, flexible, and using the bike for sprint racing, keep the setup. Otherwise, raise the bar so that the bar top is closer to the saddle height, use a different bar with a road shape, install front and rear brakes and make sure the levers have comfortable, roomy hoods. You'll be able to ride longer, in comfort, and you'll have real brakes - very useful when riding on the road.

    For info, see here

    http://ruedatropical.com/2009/03/roa...-bar-geometry/

    http://www.rivbike.com/kb_results.asp?ID=38
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