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jmpatrick 08-25-13 05:52 AM

Hand pain after long ride...
I'm new to the forum, so I hope this is the right place for this.

My son and I typically ride 8-10 miles at a time on our mountain bikes. Yesterday, we did 50. After around 20, the fingers on my left hand started getting numb centered around my wedding ring. I pocketed my ring for the rest of the ride. One day later, my ring finger is still numb, more-so at the tip, and a bit on the fingertips around it. I didn't wear gloves, which I'm sure now I probably should have. Is this common? I'm wondering if I damaged a tendon, or something. I'm not in agony or anything, but I play guitar and have a gig in two weeks. It's tough fretting a guitar when you can't really feel the tip of your fingers!

RonH 08-25-13 10:29 AM

That's one of the problems with mtn bikes, hybrids, etc. You can't change hand positions. That's why I ride road bikes only.
Next time wear gloves and stop every so often and give your hands a break from gripping the handlebar.

trestlehed 08-25-13 01:50 PM

Hand, finger, neck and butt pain are what drive many riders to recumbents or crank forward bikes, both of which are designed to alleviate said ailments.
Check out the Electra Townie (crank forward) or the huge variety of recumbents out there.

Check out Bent Riders Online (BROL) for massive amounts of info on recumbents:

"I've become convinced that the recumbent is the bike of the future. It is comfortable to ride for long periods, and it wont produce numb hands or crotch" - - Dr. David Smith, MD, Bicycling Magazine.

VegasTriker 08-25-13 02:11 PM

Carpal tunnel syndrome - bike rider's form
Sounds like a case of cyclists palsy, a form of carpal tunnel syndrome. It finally caused me to quit riding upright bicycles and switch to recumbents a dozen years ago. I still have a nice hardtail MTB but only use it when I absolutely have to. In my case, raising the handlebars closer to me and using gloves did not make a bit of difference. Decades of riding a motorcycle and bikes have taken a toll on the nerves in the palm of my hands. I rode 31 miles this morning in absolute comfort. No pain. No nubness. When I got out of the seat I felt just fine. Too bad it costs so much to ride a quality recumbent.

jon c. 08-25-13 02:35 PM

Drop bars helped me a lot in that regard. I started on a straight bar hybrid and had a lot of hand problems. Pretty much disappeared when I went to drop bars.

cplager 08-26-13 07:08 AM

I switched from upright to recumbent bikes for this reason.

That being said, bar ends (or drop bars) where you can get multiple hand positions make a big difference. I found that thick gel gloves helped me a lot too (other have found differently). I was o.k. on very upright bicycles (but then I felt like a sail sitting in the wind) and went 'bent.

niuoka 08-28-13 10:17 PM

I recently got back into riding seriously (commute) and at first by the end of the commute my hands would be feeling numb. At first my hands were so "numb" I couldn't use my thumb shifter. then I took my old bull horns off my diamond bike and put em on my hybrid. Installed foam grips on them. One of the best things I have done. Can constantly change hand positions. Also taking one hand and letting it drop to my side on occasion helps too.

kjmillig 08-31-13 02:18 AM

As long as I can remember as an adult I'v suffered from numbness in my hands after riding relatively short distances on drop or straight bars despite trying different padded bar tape, ergonomic bar ends, padded gloves, etc. About 1 1/2 years ago I bought a comfort/touring bike with a fairly upright position, wider bars and ergonomic grips. I still use my padded gloves as well and I haven't had any hand pain since. Crotch discomfort has also subsided. After I return to the USA I'll be shopping for a recumbent.

MattInFla 09-05-13 01:20 PM

I had this problem on the motorcycle. Check out QWI nerve protector gloves. I have had a couple pairs for the bike, and they are really great.

zoslen 09-13-13 02:53 PM

Apart from anything said, why on earth did you cycled 50 miles that suddenly?
If you don't go step by step your body will not be able to adapt to the fatigue.

I think it's not about equipment: even with the best gloves/handlebars if you are not used to such distances and the way you must relieve your hands from the pressure, then it's very easy to damage the nerves of your hands.

You have to increase the distance gradually in order to get used and come across with pain and fatigue issues.

Paul4W 09-15-13 01:48 PM

I’ve struggled with wrist pain and hand numbness as well. I ride a drop handlebar road bike long (100-125 mi) multi-day rides all around the state. Shaking my hands, holding them in the air, frequently moving my hand position, wearing well padded gloves, adjusting my seat and handlebars have never been a complete solution. I found aero bars to be a miracle cure. About 20-30 seconds in them and the numbness is gone. I also made a custom fit pad that sits on top of the brake hood. It gives me 1” of padding and allows me to ride on the heel of my palm rather than straddle the hoods with my thumb and forefinger. I don’t need gloves any more and all the shock, vibration and numbness is gone. I don’t know why someone hasn’t come up with the idea before so I decided to take a shot and make a product out of my design. Here is my website.

Papa Tom 09-15-13 02:05 PM

Nobody has yet mentioned your saddle height. If your saddle is much higher than your handlebars, you are leaning forward and having to support a lot of your body weight on your wrists. Try either lowering your saddle or raising your handlebars so that your wrists are never bent backwards. This will make a BIG difference in easing your wrist pain.

Next, be conscious of your grip on the handlebars. Many riders unconsciously apply a death grip. You should only have to squeeze hard enough to not let the bars get away from you.

Kotts 09-16-13 07:39 AM

This really belongs in the Bike Fitting forum, or ideally in the hands of a competent bike fitter. Proper bike fitting is the solution. The process generally runs along these lines:
1) Saddle position relative to bottom bracket (not the handlebars)
a) Fore-aft position of seat to allow efficient pedalling, which means that your hands are carrying little or no weight.
b) Distance from "down" pedal to seat where your sit bones rest, with the crankarm along the line of measurement.
c) Be aware that measurements (a) and (b) interact, so changing one affects the other.
2) With Saddle position established so that you aren't resting on your hands, set handlebars for comfortable balance of reach aerodynamics, etc.

There are a number of rules of thumb that are helpful for average-sized people (KOPS, the 109 rule, etc..) I have never known a completely "average-sized" person, however, so they are at best approximations that get you into the ballpark.

As a general rule, too much pressure on your hands means you should move the saddle back relative to the bottom bracket, then readjust saddle height to suit (slight bend in knee at bottom of pedal stroke.) This puts more of your weight on your feet, which are built for that.

FWIW: Bracket-forward and, to a greater extent, recumbent bikes are extreme examples of this idea, but have some disadvantages in terms of pedalling efficiency.

Hope that helps.

Papa Tom 09-16-13 06:27 PM

You said it much better than I did, Kotts!

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