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Old 09-07-11, 04:46 PM   #1
rnjl
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First post: Hand Numbness/ Bike Fit/ Better Posture advice

Hello all, Neal in the Hudson Valley here.

I have always liked cycling, but earlier this summer signed up for a two-day charity ride and in anticipation, started riding more frequently and longer. About a month ago, I bought a Specialized Tricross Sport (2009 model new at a discount), which I like a lot and is my first drop-handlebar bike since I was a kid.

(I'm 45, too heavy but started riding 15-20 miles no problem.)

Over Labor Day weekend, I did the two-day charity ride, 60 miles the first day and 42 the second (was great) and now my left hand is partially numb with cyclist's palsy.

I've read a LOT on the internet about this, so I'm not too worried about it, but I do want to correct the problem and get biking again- I actually had to stop about 5 miles before the finish the first day because I didn't trust my hands, even though my legs had a (little) left in them.

So the advice I've seen is to wear gloves (always do), get the bike fitted, and correct one's posture.

This is where my questions are.

The LBS offers two levels of bike fit- a basic fit of saddle, handlebars and stem (as I understand it) for about $79 and more granular fit for about $175.

Given that I'm still getting used to the road bike, and nothing in particular hurts except my hand and sometimes my lower back, I think the basic level fitting will be OK, but I really need some advice or information about proper posture.

Is that something the bike store will offer with a fit consultation?

Any good articles or resources online about shoulders, neck, back, hands, etc, that I should be reading, or is this something that needs to be corrected in person, and if so- how does that happen?

I really like riding the relaxed posture Tricross, over my old hybrid, but I think there are some aspects of riding a road bike that are eluding me and I'm not sure what the next steps should be.

Any reason NOT to get the bike fitted at the shop at this point?

thanks so much for your collective wisdom,

Neal
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Old 09-07-11, 07:11 PM   #2
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There have been several really good threads on this topic lately so it's best to do a search to find this info to your question.

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Old 09-07-11, 07:28 PM   #3
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Oh, where to begin...

I'll just say what's worked for me:

Different gloves work better than others. I've tried Specialized BG gloves and couldn't stand them after twenty minutes. I wanted to like them, but they just plain hurt. I wear gloves with less padding now. My armchair-physiologist guess is that the fancy pads concentrated pressure onto smaller areas instead of spreading it over more of my palms.

Road shocks hurt more when my arms are straighter, so keeping a slight bend in my elbows acts like a sort of suspension. However, that also means I need enough core strength so that my torso doesn't sag from my shoulders like an old horse's back.

Whenever my lower back hurt, it turned out that I was either on too small of a bike or the stem was too short. I had to figure this out either through a good fitting session or just experimenting with where my hands wanted to naturally land on the bars. Drop bars (like what your Tricross has) helped find that sweet spot, too.

I'd say that you can benefit from the more thorough fit. I still toss around the idea of going to a sports clinic (not a bike shop in this case) to get a good session done.
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Old 09-07-11, 08:02 PM   #4
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I'd go with the more thorough fit. I had a SICI fit, and also had numbness. She changed my handlebar width, stem, adjusted my saddle. Haven't really gotten a good ride to see how it changed things. My fitter also told me to make sure I didn't make the gloves too tight on the Velcro.

Make sure on parts pricing on the fit though. My most expensive part ended up being insoles
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Old 09-07-11, 09:43 PM   #5
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Hi again.

I have read some of the other threads on this topic, and that's what moved me to make an appointment for a fitting at the LBS. I'm just not sure how much help and adjustment I need on the bike, and how much I need on me, as it were, in terms of my own posture and form- nor am I sure where to get help with that.

Dpeters, what does "parts pricing on the fit" mean?

Thanks for the advice- keep it coming.

Neal
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Old 09-08-11, 05:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnjl View Post
Hi again.

Dpeters, what does "parts pricing on the fit" mean?

Thanks for the advice- keep it coming.

Neal
You may need parts swapped out. For example on my road bike, I needed a different stem and narrower handlebars. Fortunately when my wife got a fit, she needed wider bars and she had kept the narrow ones, which were right for me, so that saved me some.
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Old 09-08-11, 07:31 AM   #7
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Duh.

That makes sense.

Neal
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Old 09-19-11, 02:18 PM   #8
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Hi again. So it's about ten days after my last post and I still haven't regained full feeling in the pinkie of my left hand, but it's getting there.

I did go for the bike fitting- the basic fit- and the bike tech recommended a smaller stem, and also rotated handlebars forward a little, and the end result is that it feels like a totally different bike. I'd say he took about an inch or more off the stem (by swapping the old stem for a smaller one) and that forces my back to be a bit straighter and puts more weight on my butt.

I rode 35 miles today with no numbness- life is good.

Thanks y'all.
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