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Tips For Preventing Aches and Pains

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Tips For Preventing Aches and Pains

Old 07-28-21, 12:37 PM
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Larituk
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Tips For Preventing Aches and Pains

In addition to proper bike fit and generally overall fitness I have some further suggestions for reducing the chances of nagging aches and pains caused by road cycling.
  • Wider tires add a lot of comfort and could be the single biggest factor in keeping me in the saddle day after day. I have ridden with 28-32mm tires for the past 18 months and washboard roads with other surface imperfections are no longer an issue causing neck, back, arm, wrist, and/or hand pain. An additional benefit is they provide me with significantly more confidence when riding on wet and/or sandy roads particularly on stretches with higher car traffic. On longer downhills my bike tracks like it is on rails with no skittishness at speeds topping 40mph. Multiply all the positives above by 2x during the latter part of a ride when fatigue sets in.
  • Proper cycling shoe inserts are a game changer. I don’t suffer from foot issues but got a free offer to try the Specialized body geometry inserts 5 years ago and haven’t looked back. These are not “cushy” inserts that reduce power transfer to the pedals. Rather they are specifically designed for cycling with different models based on a rider’s foot profile.
  • A 34 cog is really helpful for preventing knee pain when I ride grades above 9% and when riding hills several days in a row or during colder days.
  • A second wrap of bar tape eliminated finger pain caused by my tightly gripping the bar flats during big climbing rides. I have long fingers and found out decades ago that an extra wrap of tape under my golf grips and on my tennis racket grip significantly reduced hand and finger fatigue/pain. I experimented with handlebar gel inserts, but that was not the same as being able to customize my grip width.
  • A light application of chamois cream to my bib shorts, particularly on hot summer days, reduces the potential of unintended Brazilian waxing like results caused by saddle friction/slippage during strong acceleration/deceleration. No further details needed.
  • An endurance frame geometry helped reduce neck, shoulder, hip, and back strain. While my fitness and weight has not changed much since I bought a custom sized race frame 20 years ago, my back and hip flexibility have declined with age. I still enjoy riding the old bike now and then on smooth tarmac, but the endurance bike I bought early last year is my “go to” choice.
Nagging aches and pains can happen to cyclists of all ages. If you have any tips for prevention please share them so we can all enjoy more time riding and less time recuperating.
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Old 07-28-21, 12:49 PM
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5-10 minutes of stretching after a ride prevents a lot of aches and pains for me.

YMMV, of course.
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Old 07-28-21, 01:03 PM
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Consider getting therapeutic massages. I'm not talking about the relaxing, touchy-feely cruise ship rub down. I'm talking about deep tissue, elbow in the glute, gritting your teeth in pain kind of sports massage. I've been going to a chiropractor for about a year and a half and part of the program is deep tissue massage. For me, it has made all the difference. I get it once a month and I haven't had any back issues.
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Old 07-28-21, 01:09 PM
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Vitamin B-12 works for Nerve Pain for me in My Lower BACK
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Old 07-28-21, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
5-10 minutes of stretching after a ride prevents a lot of aches and pains for me.

YMMV, of course.
My physical therapist told me to stretch before a ride, but, whatever works!
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Old 07-29-21, 10:29 AM
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Shaving body hair that is under my jersey and shorts seems to let the sweat be removed from underneath them better. That keeps me feeling cooler and I've not had to resort to the buttering up of private parts with creams before each ride.

I don't shave it clean. I just shorten it with hair clippers that have those combs on them to give a consistent length.
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Old 07-29-21, 03:50 PM
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You mentioned it but fitting a bike to your riding style trumps everything. If the bike fit is off enough it can lead to serious joint and other physical issues issues. I was headed down that road before I got help from a knowledgeable resource. I almost didn’t catch it soon enough as I needed cortisone shots in my shoulders from a frame two sizes too large.

I’ve also experienced dramatic differences in comfort and joint issues from different frame materials and also frame designs. One of the harshest riding bikes I’ve had was a full carbon frame. Ride a bike for 3 hours on rough roads before purchasing!!

A proper fitted saddle is important as well. I’m carrying a golf ball sized hard nodule deep in my sitting area as the result of riding a saddle that wasn’t good for me. It’s a hard mass that can be an issue if it gets between my sit bone and the saddle. A surgeon told me when I can’t tolerate it anymore to come see him. Unconsciously I now move around on the saddle to move the mass to the side.
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Old 07-29-21, 09:51 PM
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Foam roller, FTW--before and after!
Also, CBD (good quality is very important--there's a lot of crap out there) is incredible for recovery.
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Old 07-30-21, 05:06 AM
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Cross -training , good nutrition and getting enough rest works great for me.
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Old 07-30-21, 08:18 AM
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I'm sore after every ride. Sometimes more than others but I have found that stretching the evening before a ride can really reduce the after-ride soreness. A good meal right after a ride can help too.

Take you rime and get your bike adjusted to your liking. You may have to experiment with a few saddles and other parts, but I truly think that no matter what we try, at our age something is always going to be trying to tell you that it didn't like what you just did to it.
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Old 07-30-21, 09:28 AM
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Larituk Over the last 15 years I have also adopted everything you suggested except the chamois cream. I suppose that's still a potential issue. Today, at 59 I ride with more comfort than I did at 45.

One thing that has made a huge difference for me is switching from acidic coffee to slightly alkali Yerba Mate tea 4 years ago to reign in chronic heartburn (google it). It has alleviated all aches and stiffness (especially in the morning) and almost all allergies. However I just determined that (for me) the traditional cut which includes stems is vastly superior for preventing stiffness and allergies.
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Old 07-30-21, 11:26 AM
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Stretching, massage, foam rollers, medication, etc., etc.: I've done none of the above (except making sure that my bikes fit correctly) for the last 55 years or so, since my days of racing in the mid-1960s. At nearly 70, no aches, no pains, even since retiring and upping my regular training rides to 3 to 5 hours in length, 6 days a week. Just lucky?
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Old 07-30-21, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Stretching, massage, foam rollers, medication, etc., etc.: I've done none of the above (except making sure that my bikes fit correctly) for the last 55 years or so, since my days of racing in the mid-1960s. At nearly 70, no aches, no pains, even since retiring and upping my regular training rides to 3 to 5 hours in length, 6 days a week. Just lucky?
Agreed. At the age of 69, having ridden steadily since the age of 13, I too find that a bike that fits and consistent miles are my best friends for keeping away the aches and pains. I ride 4 days a week, 2 to 6 hours each ride.

Although I will admit that I feel like I've failed if my legs don't hurt after one of my longer rides!
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Old 08-09-21, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by epnnf View Post
My physical therapist told me to stretch before a ride, but, whatever works!
it's both not either / or. Warm up, stretch. Warm down, stretch. Same as all other sports..

Pay attention to gearing and sitting in the saddle for climbs his been important change. And investing in bike fitting.
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Old 08-22-21, 09:52 PM
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Larituk just ordered the Specialized insoles based on your recommendation. Went with green for my road shoes. Fingers crossed.
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Old 08-22-21, 09:58 PM
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Sleep and eat well and avoid alcohol. Give your body a little more recovery after a hard workout. Build volume and intensity carefully.
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Old 08-23-21, 03:27 AM
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I ride at sunrise and always stretch in bed when I wake up before my feet hit the floor. Especially my lower back, I bring my knees up to my chest and stretch it out good.

Bike geometry, tire size and bar tape aren't even in the equation. Proper bike fitting is what matters. I run 23mm tubulars with aluminum race frames on chipseal roads and it doesn't give me aches and pains.
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Old 08-23-21, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Larituk just ordered the Specialized insoles based on your recommendation. Went with green for my road shoes. Fingers crossed.
I have those and they were relegated to my work shoes, (I'm since retired). I prefer Superfeet insoles for my mtb shoes and just the stock insoles in my road shoes but they may get the Superfeet soon.
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Old 08-23-21, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Kanon25 View Post
it's both not either / or. Warm up, stretch. Warm down, stretch. Same as all other sports..
. . .
This. Done it for years as part of my regular work outs. Stretch brakes on longer rides. Fighting the stiffness of age is a big part of the battle.
And besides, it feels darn good.
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Old 08-29-21, 09:44 AM
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If I do an exceptionally long ride, afterwards, I do a nice shower, drink a large glass of cold water, and take an aspirin.
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Old 08-29-21, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Shaving body hair that is under my jersey and shorts seems to let the sweat be removed from underneath them better. That keeps me feeling cooler and I've not had to resort to the buttering up of private parts with creams before each ride.

I don't shave it clean. I just shorten it with hair clippers that have those combs on them to give a consistent length.
Shaving your pubes…eww…I’ll probably give it a try. And I could use the extra optical inch.
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Old 09-06-21, 01:38 PM
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Excellent points all, only thing I can add is avoiding jarring rides, with my knee troubles MTBs are a thing of the past and I know my local roads and bike lanes well enough to avoid all but the smoothest.
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Old 09-06-21, 02:18 PM
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Enjoy the aches and pains. It is a symptom of improved conditioning.
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Old 09-06-21, 03:33 PM
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The only soreness I worry about is my poor quads from pushing too hard. For that, I find immediate application of recovery drink helps a lot. And no, beer is not a recovery drink!
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Old 09-07-21, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Larituk View Post
In addition to proper bike fit and generally overall fitness I have some further suggestions for reducing the chances of nagging aches and pains caused by road cycling.
  • Wider tires add a lot of comfort and could be the single biggest factor in keeping me in the saddle day after day. I have ridden with 28-32mm tires for the past 18 months and washboard roads with other surface imperfections are no longer an issue causing neck, back, arm, wrist, and/or hand pain. An additional benefit is they provide me with significantly more confidence when riding on wet and/or sandy roads particularly on stretches with higher car traffic. On longer downhills my bike tracks like it is on rails with no skittishness at speeds topping 40mph. Multiply all the positives above by 2x during the latter part of a ride when fatigue sets in.
  • Proper cycling shoe inserts are a game changer. I don’t suffer from foot issues but got a free offer to try the Specialized body geometry inserts 5 years ago and haven’t looked back. These are not “cushy” inserts that reduce power transfer to the pedals. Rather they are specifically designed for cycling with different models based on a rider’s foot profile.
  • A 34 cog is really helpful for preventing knee pain when I ride grades above 9% and when riding hills several days in a row or during colder days.
  • A second wrap of bar tape eliminated finger pain caused by my tightly gripping the bar flats during big climbing rides. I have long fingers and found out decades ago that an extra wrap of tape under my golf grips and on my tennis racket grip significantly reduced hand and finger fatigue/pain. I experimented with handlebar gel inserts, but that was not the same as being able to customize my grip width.
  • A light application of chamois cream to my bib shorts, particularly on hot summer days, reduces the potential of unintended Brazilian waxing like results caused by saddle friction/slippage during strong acceleration/deceleration. No further details needed.
  • An endurance frame geometry helped reduce neck, shoulder, hip, and back strain. While my fitness and weight has not changed much since I bought a custom sized race frame 20 years ago, my back and hip flexibility have declined with age. I still enjoy riding the old bike now and then on smooth tarmac, but the endurance bike I bought early last year is my “go to” choice.
Nagging aches and pains can happen to cyclists of all ages. If you have any tips for prevention please share them so we can all enjoy more time riding and less time recuperating.
To the OP's points...
* Wider tires - yeah, ok, but also consider tire pressure... rock hard tires are not faster...
* orthotics - always a good idea, even in cycling shoes
* Cog size - as would be appropriate for your riding style and terrain - so if a big cog works, great... pushing a 42/21 up a long 7+% grade is not much fun...
* second wrap bar tape - been using 2 wraps for a very long time, and after moving from sewups to clincher, I found a good use for old tubes, slit down the middle, value cut off, they are the 'base' wrap under the top wrap of bar tape. Comfortable, not squishy and gives me better grip for my big mitts.
* never use or used chamois cream, all it does is just clog the pores and makes for more chance of infections/zits.... clean well, apply a few dabs of OTC antibiotic ointment in the sensitive area, every 3-4 days - works a charm for preventing boils and ingrowns...
* endurance frame geometry - do what you think might help - BUT, first work on flexibility - one key area for aging well, add overall muscle development, not just legs. Muscles are also the shock absorbers, of sudden issues, falling, body alignment - strength training.
KEY for me (and maybe the 1st most important thing everyone can benefit from is 'good riding posture')
riding posture - road position - drop shoulders, roll elbows inward towards torso, a comfortable bend/break in the elbows, do not allow wrists to drop below palms... NOT - locked elbows, elbows pointed outward, shoulders jammed up by neck, wrists sagging below the hands/palms (very common position I see on many riders - you'll need more than an endurance frame if you ride like that)
this:

good cycling posture

Not this!

poor cycling posture
Then maybe, you and I might be able to emulate my hero, Robert Marchand, and ride until our time has come...

Robert Marchand, setting records at 105, rode until just before his passing at 109, in spring of 2021
awesome form !!!!!! for a lifetime!

now onto soreness, aches, pains...
some of my key elements
* start always with light 'movement' and flexibility stretches - not full range of motion, short set for arms, neck, shoulders, torso fore/aft and rotational, hips, ankles...
* I always start easy, build the heart rate slowly, smaller gear than I'd like...No matter the ride length (which are never under 1+ hrs), at least 5-8 minutes of easy spin. If I'm out for longer, longer warmup is better.
* massage, when you can have it done for you... more importantly, when you can't have someone do it to/for you
Learn self-massage - it will make a HUGE difference, from the feet to the hips, from the shoulders to the neck
learn self-massage !
Thx
Yuri
* there's so much we can do to be better cyclists/humans

Last edited by cyclezen; 09-07-21 at 11:12 PM.
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