I've searched the forum and read a bunch of articles by Sheldon Brown but I'm still at a loss.
After about two hours in the saddle, at a comfortable pace, both of us start getting aches in our shoulders, neck and hands. Both of us feel that we're using our arms too much to support our weight and to keep us pushed back in the saddle.
What adjustment suggestions do you all have to shift our weight back over the saddle where it belongs?
I'd be happy to elaborate if you think I'm not giving enough info...
Stem angle maybe? A stem that puts the handlebars level or higher than the seat should help.
It might be your conditioning or it might be your bike setup. If you can post pictures of your bikes and yourselves on your bikes, it might help.
Originally Posted by nik
In my humble opinion it's the conditioning.
Originally Posted by halfspeed
Stretching & Light weight training/toning can do wonders. Personally I've found that even stretching my legs & lower back/hips helps if I get sore shoulders, upper back or neck.
These can be hard problems to solve. When I began experiencing pain that did not resolve itself -- in other words, the aches were not exclusively caused by inadequate conditioning -- I sought out the services of an experienced, knowledgeable bike fitter. She made a number of micro adjustments to my set-up, and encouraged me to modify my pedalling technique. Her services were not cheap, but the money was well spent. The big problems disappeared almost immediately.
A year later, I began to realize that there was still a problem with the set-up that was causing discomfort. But by this point, I had developed a sense of how my body worked on this particular bike, and I was able to make the final (I hope) adjustment myself. That fraction of an inch made a huge difference.
You, too, may benefit from someone who can tweak your bike set-up. Once your innate understanding of bicycle biomechanics increases -- and it takes time to develop that sense -- you can start making adjustments yourself.
Read the following article on bicycle fitting by Peter White. In my opinion it's the only article on this subject that makes sense. http://peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
Run a fit program, to make sure your reach isn't too great, assuming you can be fit on your bikes, then start with the seat. If you are too far forward, your peddling doesn't stabilize your position on the seat. If you are too far back, your ability to spin is a problem. Too high you feel a pain where the sun don't shine, and your knees lock out every turn of the pedals. Too low, and you feel you don't have any power, and it will seem like you aren't stretching out enough in the leg action. Tipped up too high, and it can hurt, tipped down too low, and you will slide forward all the time. But overall, work on the seat.
Wear nice fat cycling gloves, so you aren't unecesarily abusing your hands, and everything attached to them. make sure that your arms aren't locked out, that they are bent, and you feel agile in the seat.
Normally you want to see people spinning nice light gears at the outset, but if you don't have suspenssion, and the gears are two light, I find it a problem to get over the bumps with my legs.
Anyway, I don't think that a little bit of non-cumulative pain for the weekend cyclist is a big deal. When I went on my 2 week trip, I think I would have had the kind of problems you are refering to when I took a couple of hour rides. After a few days, I was stronger. These could just be normal aches and pains.