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  1. #1
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    New rider here - Does the neck pain ever go away?

    I've been riding for about two weeks now and my neck and shoulders are so sore. Being low in the drops and looking ahead seems so uncomfortable on my neck. Will I develop these muscles or do I need to do some adjusting on my bike?

  2. #2
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    Don't get so low in the drops? ...at least not yet, ease into it.

    Change your position frequently.
    Bend your elbows.
    Relax.

  3. #3
    Living Notoriously Well mr handy's Avatar
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    it should go away, it takes some time develop the muscles. soon the drops will be very comfy. however if you have not had a good fitting it will only help.

  4. #4
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    I can't speak for anybodies obsrvations but my own, but I don't see most people using the drops more then 10-20% of the time. And that might be high. Most ride the hoods.

    And if the hoods are uncomfortable buy a stem riser to bring the bars up a bit until you get used to it a bit.

    And yes, you get used to it.

    But, only if the bike fits you correctly. I spent quite a bit of time stretched out on a bike w/too long a top post and I was always sore....

  5. #5
    Senior Member curiouskid55's Avatar
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    What bike is it? If you have any cash left from buying it, pour all your excess cash on the bike until your neck pain goes away. Seriously I agree , take it easy, it can take several years to aquire the flexibillity to achieve your personal optimal riding position. Tiny steps. Just make sure you have fun for now. There is plenty of time for pain later. Muaahhh haa haaa haa (evil laugh)

  6. #6
    Powered by Borscht ovoleg's Avatar
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    yea it does when you get back surgery.

    Sadly neck problems and back pain is associated with cycling and eventually cause to long term defects within your spine. It's worth it though, because you get to ride a bike and its fun.
    All things in life are painful.
    -Cat-3-o-meter: TBD :/

  7. #7
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlag
    I've been riding for about two weeks now and my neck and shoulders are so sore. Being low in the drops and looking ahead seems so uncomfortable on my neck. Will I develop these muscles or do I need to do some adjusting on my bike?
    Cycling will always be a pain in the neck - for your spouse.

  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Raise your handlebars.

  9. #9
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    Gentle flaming aside, yes.

    FWIW, I'm getting back into riding after an 8-month absence due to a hernia, surgery, recovery, etc... My legs feel great, but my shoulders, neck, upper back all feel very tired. It'll pass in a few weeks.

    My big advice is to be sure you're stretching your upper body as well as your legs after riding.

    EDIT: The hernia was not a herniated disc or anything else related to my back...
    Last edited by dcon; 05-08-07 at 07:04 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member skinny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ovoleg
    yea it does when you get back surgery.

    Sadly neck problems and back pain is associated with cycling and eventually cause to long term defects within your spine. It's worth it though, because you get to ride a bike and its fun.
    All things in life are painful.
    I would very much like to see you reference your sources for this assertion.

  11. #11
    Minimizing Clydewayz BlackTaloN's Avatar
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    i went out for a quick 30mi ride this weekend and had that achy feeling in my upper back/neck from being on the hoods too long without a proper bend in my elbows. About 7 miles from home, I made a conscious decision to go down into the drops and hammer out a long flat stretch, and it felt much much better.

    I'd theorize that perhaps being in the drops actually made me bend my elbows and assume the correct posture, alleviating the neck muscle pain.

    Granted, I did have trouble keeping my head up... I'm only just transitioning from a purely recreational rider to pseudo training. It wasn't so hard to hang in the drops on the trainer this fall/winter, but the road is a different beast.

    Just how am I supposed to be seeing the road ahead? how many feet should I be looking ahead? what should I be focusing on? When I'm on the hoods, I have a full field of vision... when I'm in the drops, I feel like I'm looking at my d*mn shimano cables, the front wheel, maybe 10-15 feet in front of me?

    I'm sure my neck will get stronger, but just what can I expect when that happens? I just can't visualize it.

  12. #12
    Powered by Borscht ovoleg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinny
    I would very much like to see you reference your sources for this assertion.
    don't be angry to hear the truth of long term effects of cycling!
    -Cat-3-o-meter: TBD :/

  13. #13
    Senior Member skinny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackTaloN
    i went out for a quick 30mi ride this weekend and had that achy feeling in my upper back/neck from being on the hoods too long without a proper bend in my elbows. About 7 miles from home, I made a conscious decision to go down into the drops and hammer out a long flat stretch, and it felt much much better.

    I'd theorize that perhaps being in the drops actually made me bend my elbows and assume the correct posture, alleviating the neck muscle pain.

    Granted, I did have trouble keeping my head up... I'm only just transitioning from a purely recreational rider to pseudo training. It wasn't so hard to hang in the drops on the trainer this fall/winter, but the road is a different beast.

    Just how am I supposed to be seeing the road ahead? how many feet should I be looking ahead? what should I be focusing on? When I'm on the hoods, I have a full field of vision... when I'm in the drops, I feel like I'm looking at my d*mn shimano cables, the front wheel, maybe 10-15 feet in front of me?

    I'm sure my neck will get stronger, but just what can I expect when that happens? I just can't visualize it.
    You should be able to ride in the drops for an extended period of time to deal with things like headwinds, or if you plan on time trialing, something like a 10mile time trial. I have had a massive Jefferson fracture of the c1 and have herniated c5 and c7, not from riding, and I can ride in the drops for 10 miles no problema. But....since the injury, I have had to raise he top of my handlebars to 4cms below the top of my saddle instead of the 7-9cm drop I used to use.

    So the secret may be raising your bars to the point the drops become practical for you to use. This of course will vary with every rider. But you shouldn't be shy about doing it. Keep in mind, that even if you raise your bars say, 2.5cms or 1 inch, the drops will still be significantly lower than where the hoods were before you raised the bars. This will allow you to get into a more aerodynamic position which also takes weight off the buttocks and lower back and distributes stresses into different parts of the body, allowing tired areas to rest.

    And you should be able to see down the road far enough to feel you can deal with hazards and road conditions safely.

  14. #14
    Senior Member skinny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ovoleg
    don't be angry to hear the truth of long term effects of cycling!
    Waiting for some credible sources on this.

  15. #15
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    try getting your bars more level with your saddle (or even higher!)...not everyone
    is a courier or racer....try a shorter stem....or a different set of bars, ie, trekking bars for multiple positions (upright, stretched out, etc).

    Relevant to this is some data you haven't provided:
    Is the bike the right size for you? have you had it 'professionally' fitted(term used loosely) by a reputable LBS or was it purchased used from someone and you 'thought' it was the right size?

    Lastly, Yoga works wonders, as do any form of stretching exercises
    (esp as we age, LOL).

    Happy riding!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackTaloN
    1Just how am I supposed to be seeing the road ahead? 2how many feet should I be looking ahead? 3what should I be focusing on?
    1. Look up with your eyes rather than your head. You may get headaches at first. You may also find that the frame of your sunglasses obstructs your vision.

    2. Far enough to not kill or be killed.

    3. Anything that's potentially hazardous.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Gordo789's Avatar
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    I actually forgot all about the neck pain i used to have when i first started riding a road bike. You should get used to it after a month or two of regular riding.
    All monkey no wrench.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member slim_77's Avatar
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    I just got some areo bars (syntace C2) and after my first training ride with them (80% in aero position-windy as hell!) my neck was a bit sore that afternoon and the day after. I like riding on the hoods and rarely use the drops except for steady head wind.

    Like others have said, so long as the bike fits you'll be ok...eventually.
    gravity: it's not just a good idea, it's the law.

  19. #19
    Senior Member rodrigaj's Avatar
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    Stretching by Bob Anderson. Great stretching excercises specific to individual sports, including cycling.

    Also, a bike fitting done by an experienced fitter after a proper consultation with you. He/she should ask about specific pain, type of riding you prefer, etc.

    Don't ignore or try to ignore pain. I have arthritis in several vetebrae in my neck and can now ride 70 miles with no problems. I can do that because I did not ignore the pain when it started in 1988. I have not had surgery or cortisone shots. Physical therapy, stretching and a properly fitted bike has made it happen.

  20. #20
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    My bike is an Opus Stelle - a cyclocross that I'm using as a road bike. It was properly fitted for me at the LBS where I bought it. Being a newbie, I guess my impression was that the "real" bikers rode in the drops all the time. Now I'm seeing from this thread that people ride in the drops only 10-20% of the time. I'll take it easier and stay on the hoods for a while until I get used to that. Thanks for all your responses.

  21. #21
    Ride 365 Lucky07's Avatar
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    Make sure your fit is right. Work on your core strengh & upper body. When you're in the drops, look up with your eyes not your head and neck. And relax.

    Riding in the drops isn't 'natural' at first. Or wasn't for me anyway. I had to work up to it.
    Last edited by Lucky07; 05-15-07 at 06:04 PM.
    "...devil take the hindmost..."

  22. #22
    Minimizing Clydewayz BlackTaloN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcon
    1. Look up with your eyes rather than your head. You may get headaches at first. You may also find that the frame of your sunglasses obstructs your vision.

    2. Far enough to not kill or be killed.

    3. Anything that's potentially hazardous.
    1. Yeah, I thought I was doing something wrong when my field of vision was cut off by the top frame of my glasses.

    Just went looking for some pictures of what the pros are wearing, and I see a lot of oversized glasses... and NOW this picture makes sense.



    2. Especially when riding on the MUP, don't have the cohones to ride the drops on the road yet.

    3. Like Everything or everybody on the MUP

  23. #23
    Custom User Title Quijibo187's Avatar
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    I don't know what kind of helmet you're using, but if it has a visor, take it off, it makes you crank your neck more than you need to. try keeping you back straighter, it should help your kneck and back.
    "An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it."
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  24. #24
    Erstwhile Trogon terry b's Avatar
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    I think the answer is yes and no.

    Some days I go out and feel great, others I get a nagging pain in my neck and right shoulder. Sometimes I ride 100 miles and feel great others I'm feeling it by the end of the block. I think the portion of riding pain beyond bad bike set up has more to do with how you slept last night, how much you slumped while watching TV and whether or not you unloaded those 10 bags of alfalfa pellets your wife had in the truck of her Toyota.

    Had a talk recently with a well respected custom frame builder about neck and shoulder pain. His opinion - if someone tries to tell you that they can cure 100% of it 100% of the time via fit and geometry, they're lying.

    All depends on you and how you're put together.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Stallionforce's Avatar
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    When I started I had a lot of pain in my neck and lower back. But it wasn't 'bad pain,' like muscle-pull or strain. It was simply the pain of previously unused muscles undergoing development. After a while, with proper recovery and some stretching, I don't notice it any more.

    This year I've started to do some serious time trialing, and I am going through the same problem all over again. I'm sure near the end of the season my neck won't be as sore as it is now.

    I guess what I'm getting at is you should ask yourself about the quality of the pain. It sounds as if some unused muscles are getting a workout! Apart from stretching and rest, heating and icing can help; I also find a warm bath really good -- for total recovery, actually.

    Good luck with it.

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