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neck strain

Old 06-05-15, 09:15 AM
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chikon2000
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neck strain

I recently switched to a flat bar hybrid from a "commuter" bike with a more upright seating posture. I went on my first ride today and found that within about 20 minutes, my neck was getting stiff and my fingers were becoming numb. The latter is particularly troubling, since I had a pinched nerve a number of years ago that originally caused numbness in my fingers. Short of swapping out my flat bar for a commuter/city handlebar (I like the flat bar and I don't have a lot of surplus cash right now), do you have any suggestions about how I might take some of the strain off of my neck and shoulders? Many thanks.
Michael
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Old 06-07-15, 06:22 PM
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skibender
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Are you using padded gloves? Do you have bar ends? I put bar ends on my hybrid which allows you to use multiple hand positions. I also had these problems when I started on a hybrid. The more miles you ride - the better your body will adapt to the new riding style.
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Old 06-07-15, 06:54 PM
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1) Padded bike gloves. Made a big difference for me.
2) Grip in such a manner that the back of your hand is in line with your arm (not bent at the wrist).
3) Don't put the palm of your hand on the ends of the grip (I was bad about this, but it puts pressure on a nerve in the palm of your hand and your finger will go numb)
4) If you're getting neck strain, I'd bet money that your shoulders are tensed upwards and not down and relaxed. That's something I have to work on a lot.

Make sure your bike is properly fitted and adjusted for you. Your legs should not be straight at the bottom of the downstroke (should have a 30* angle), the top of your leg should be less than parallel to the ground at the top of the stroke, and at mid stroke your knee should not be past your toe. Those are some basic tests you can do for your bike fit.
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Old 06-07-15, 09:05 PM
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Selmer
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I just got back into riding this year and I was experiencing similar issues with my neck and hands. I have been riding now for 5 months and it has pretty much gone away over time. As skibender also said I think our bodies do strengthen and adjust over time. I also use gloves that have some padding in the palms. As BugDude also states I found that I could adjust hand placement and arm/shoulder position to relieve some of the tension and over time it comes natural and i don't even think about it.
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Old 06-09-15, 01:27 PM
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chikon2000
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# 4 is really the big issue for me. In hindsight, my neck was kept tight and my shoulders were tense. My previous bike had curved, "city bike' handlebars so this was never an issue for me. But my saddle was definitely too high, and adjusting it has helped some. I may need to raise the stem a little as well. You're right, though, that mindfulness about posture (i.e., note tensing up) is perhaps the best prescription.
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Old 06-09-15, 05:58 PM
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BugDude
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Originally Posted by chikon2000 View Post
# 4 is really the big issue for me. In hindsight, my neck was kept tight and my shoulders were tense. My previous bike had curved, "city bike' handlebars so this was never an issue for me. But my saddle was definitely too high, and adjusting it has helped some. I may need to raise the stem a little as well. You're right, though, that mindfulness about posture (i.e., note tensing up) is perhaps the best prescription.
I've been riding most every day for 4 months and I still catch myself doing it...even though I'm consciously aware of it and actively working on relaxing my shoulders downward. I don't know why I do it and I don't even realize I'm doing it, but it's getting to be much less often than it was. Keeping the back of my hand straight with my arm has just about eliminated the numbness in the hands and fingers. I just had to break some bad habits I developed early on and find several other hand positions and grip types that kept that line straight.
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Old 06-11-15, 07:19 AM
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another point, depending on the smoothness of the ground and if you are going in a straight line, i sometimes hold the bars very loosely but in a controlled way. this way, my hands are not absorbing all of the bumps like when im holding onto the bars very tightly.

as for neck strain, i had that but a very minor case. i installed a riser stem on my 7.3 and 7.4 bikes and now the bar is more upright and i am not straining at all when riding.

fwiw.

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Old 06-11-15, 10:19 AM
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RickGr4
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My new Giant is giving me a little neck stain. My older Jamis does not even though when I measure distances on the two bikes they are extremely close. I finally realized the big difference between the two bikes is the "flat bar" vs. the "city bar". The Giant spreads my hands out further and turns my hands differently. My Jamis places my hands closer together and angles my hands inwards. For me, it would seem to make a great deal of difference. However I have realized I need to train my posture and adjust. I love both bikes and I will build up stamina and adjust.

That being said, I have considered the idea of shortening the bars on my Giant. I might cut a half inch off on both sides just to see what happens...

Originally Posted by chikon2000 View Post
# 4 is really the big issue for me. In hindsight, my neck was kept tight and my shoulders were tense. My previous bike had curved, "city bike' handlebars so this was never an issue for me. But my saddle was definitely too high, and adjusting it has helped some. I may need to raise the stem a little as well. You're right, though, that mindfulness about posture (i.e., note tensing up) is perhaps the best prescription.
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Old 06-11-15, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by chikon2000 View Post
I recently switched to a flat bar hybrid from a "commuter" bike with a more upright seating posture. I went on my first ride today and found that within about 20 minutes, my neck was getting stiff and my fingers were becoming numb. The latter is particularly troubling, since I had a pinched nerve a number of years ago that originally caused numbness in my fingers. Short of swapping out my flat bar for a commuter/city handlebar (I like the flat bar and I don't have a lot of surplus cash right now), do you have any suggestions about how I might take some of the strain off of my neck and shoulders? Many thanks.
Michael
Might need an epidural injection in your neck for the finger numbness.
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