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Old 07-31-08, 07:27 PM   #1
Nycycle
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Hand fatigue

I am asking for any tricks anybody has for reducing hand numbness on all aluminum bikes.
I am going to try a steel fork, see if that will absorb some vibration.
Any good idea's?
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Old 07-31-08, 07:29 PM   #2
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have you tried gloves?
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Old 07-31-08, 07:33 PM   #3
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If you get a curved steel touring fork like on the LHT that may help depending on what it replaces as would:
- padding on your bars
- appropriate bars for your body [trial and error]
- adjusting bar height
- varying hand positions frequently
- gloves
- rest breaks

You'll find some info here with exercises you can do to help prevent this problem.

Finding the combo that works for you will take some time, but once you do you should be able to ride a bike all day without numbness in your hands.
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Old 07-31-08, 07:45 PM   #4
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As a former Cannondale rider and steel frame rider I can say that the aluminum construction most likely doesn't have much to do with numb hands.
You need to reduce the pressure on the nerves running through your palms.
You can do this by varying hand positions frequently or trying to find the exact position that causes you grief.
You may also find that no amount of padding eliminates this.
But raising the bar level or higher than the seat can work wonders.
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Old 07-31-08, 08:49 PM   #5
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Could your riding position also contribute to the hand fatigue? This evening I noticed several cyclists riding with their elbows locked. A natural bend of the elbow seems to take a lot of pressure off the shoulders and back. As well, it seems to rotate the wrists ever so slightly... which might help with the hand soreness.
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Old 07-31-08, 08:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ricohman View Post
You need to reduce the pressure on the nerves running through your palms.
You can do this by varying hand positions frequently or trying to find the exact position that causes you grief.
You may also find that no amount of padding eliminates this.
But raising the bar level or higher than the seat can work wonders.
Ditto.

Thing about touring is that you're not generally putting out a high level of power so there is less body weight on the pedals and more on the butt and hands. My hands tend to go numb touring much quicker than if I'm road biking where there's generally less weight on the hands.

So, you need to figure out how you can either comfortably put less weight on your hands, or have the weight better distributed so it isn't aggavating the nerve(s). Like ricohman said, padding may help or not. The best stuff I've found is sill seal foam used under sole plates in construction. It's soft but retains its shape so it doesn't just squish out and become useless. You could probably get some scraps from a framing crew or buy a roll if you can think of something to do with the rest. Then a nice cork tape wrap over the foam.

As far as putting less weight on the hands goes, there are many strategies. Higher bars that are closer to the saddle will move weight off the hands and onto the butt, which may work for you or not. Personally, my Brooks saddle is not comfortable in an upright position, but a different saddle might be. Alternatively, you could try peddaling harder (more weight on feet) and taking more frequent rest breaks. Periodically standing out of the saddle with a very light touch on the bars or even pulling up on the bars should alleviate the numbness as well.

Other possibilities that I haven't tried: A parallelogram type suspension stem found on older mountain bikes before front shocks became ubiquitious to mitigate vibration. mustache bars or flat mtn bike bars with bar extensions pointing backwards rather than forwards.

Numb hands was my biggest issue on my first big tour. In the end, varying my riding style/power and frequent breaks was the only solution. On big decents, I just accepted that my hands would go numb, but otherwise I tried very hard not to ride with numb hands, because of potential permanent or semi-permanent nerve damage.
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Old 07-31-08, 09:13 PM   #7
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THANK YOU ALL, for the tips, have tried most, will try the ones I haven't, it only happens on one bike, and there can be only two differences, this bike shoots every bit of vibration right to the hands, and the position may as some of you have said, so I will try to isolate some vibration and relocate my hand position.

Again thank you all, I seldom post here, but reading this touring forum is a blast.
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Old 07-31-08, 10:45 PM   #8
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check out my post "numbness" from yesterday, There was some great info about the nerve in your hand responsible for numbness and fatigue
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Old 08-01-08, 06:40 AM   #9
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I agree with the previous posts. Remember that all of your weight has to be transferred to the bike in some way. Your options are onto the pedals, onto the handle bars, or onto the seat. The way you have your bike set up will determine in large part how the weight distribution will be made. I believe that the best way to get some weight onto the handlebars is through the use of aero bars. They take a lot of pressure off of your hands. Of course that will likely have you leaned over further than you might otherwise be. Everything is a trade off.
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Old 08-01-08, 09:19 AM   #10
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This subject is currently being discussed in another thread. Go here.
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