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Thumbs going dead on embarrassingly short rides

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Thumbs going dead on embarrassingly short rides

Old 05-19-09, 07:57 PM
  #26  
longbeachgary
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Originally Posted by MissKristen View Post
Hi everyone,

Well I had a great ride tonight, no numbness... well, anywhere. Everything felt great - the stars must be aligned or something. But I did take some pictures of my hands for reference. Yes, I'm stopped, but I made sure I kept my hands how there were when I was moving so I could give an accurate example. (Note: I realize I have a second set of "Fred" brakes, reflectors, and my ipod in my right ear, so no need to point those out, thx)







And one cheesin', for good measure.
You're so cute..... Make sure your gloves aren't too tight..
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Old 05-19-09, 07:59 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
Best get it put together before Monday. I promise we won't hurt you...much.
sadly, there is a lot that has to happen for me to get this thing operational after i get it. it i s used and the tires will need to be glued, and i've never done that before so i will probably take it to my LBS so they can show me how. i'll probably be needing to go there anyways to get some pedals though as this was an ebay bike and the seller never said either way whether the somewhat nice looking clipless pedals in the pictures are included or not, so i'm just going to assume they aren't.
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Old 05-19-09, 08:59 PM
  #28  
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Performance gel gloves... well there's your problem!

Try moving your hands around. It looks like you are supporting the weight by having your thumb point down. Try positioning your hand a little farther down the side of the hood and hooking your thumb over the hood.
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Old 05-19-09, 09:07 PM
  #29  
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Thanks for the pics.
The gloves look too tight.
Try a pair sometime without the gel.
Ride Safe.
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Old 05-20-09, 02:43 AM
  #30  
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I see the problem. Imagine drawing a line extending your forearm bones past your hands. That line should land on the bars or hoods to carry your upper-body weight. On your bike, the line is aimed outside of the hoods and all the weight goes into the soft flesh at the base of your thumb. You want to bend your wrist and rotate your palms inward so that the weight is on the heel of your palms instead of on the thumb. There can be multiple causes of numbness, but I think in your case, it's primarily with how you position your hands:

1. HANDLEBAR HEIGHT - the lower the bars, the more weight you'll have on your arms and hands. Also too short of a reach will also tend to have your arms be vertical with the bars too low, your elbows will be locked and all road shock will pound your hands, arms and shoulders with every road irregularity. I prefer to ride with no lower than a 2" handlebar drop and recreational riders might want to have their bars even with the seat.

2. HAND-POSITION & GRIP probably makes a significant contribution as well. Don't grip the bars so tight! Gripping the hoods/bars tight is compensation for unbalanced positioning. The weight-bearing spot on your hand should be on the heel of the palm:



To really find this spot, do some push-ups and hold yourself up. Notice where the weight is... note that you do not have to grip the carpet to prevent yourself from falling over. Note that you can wiggle all your fingers. The weight-bearing spot is on an imaginary point directly where the forearm bones would extend through your palm.

Now on the bike, place your palm on the bars/hoods so that this spot is directly centered inline with the forearm bones. This spot is not directly over the bars, but rather 45-degrees behind it so that from the perspective of your shoulders looking through your arm-bones, the bars are inline with the bones.

Good way to test is this to release all your fingers, all your weight should be passively supported by the heel of the palm. If you slide off the back of the bars, move your hands up and forward a bit. If you slide off the front of the bars, move your hands back a bit. Finding this perfectly balanced spot will allow you to ride with all fingers loose, try wiggling them all at once. Like this:


Another variation on this is to curl in the fingers and resting the nails on top of the bar.

Couple different ways to rest on the hoods:


You can lightly wrap the fingers over the tops of the hoods or around the side, but no gripping necessary if all your weight is on the heel of the palm. You should be able to freely wiggle ALL your fingers, including the thumb.

With no muscles clamping with a death-grip on the bars or hoods, your hands will get more circulation and they'll feel more comfortable. With your hands on the drops, you want them splayed out about 45-degrees like that last photo so that all of the weight is on the outside heel of the palm.

One thing you want to be careful about is positioning your weight in the valley in the middle of the heel. The median nerve and flexor tendons runs through there and putting weight on it will pinch and cause numbness and pain. I can ride a hundred miles with bare handlebars and no gloves without any problems. It's just a matter of balancing your weight on parts of your hands that's tough and avoid the tender spots. Here's some other riders with their hands positioned for no-pain riding (notice the bent wrist and forearm bones aimed at the hoods or bar):


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Old 05-20-09, 07:09 AM
  #31  
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[Right as I tried to make this post last night my internet connection went out. In the meantime, Danno has made basically the same point I'm making but much more extensively - and with pictures!]

Even on the hoods, I think most of my weight is resting on the outside edge of my palms towards the heels (on the bar just behind the hoods), and my fingers are draped over the hoods but not resting on them, so there's no real weight or pressure between my thumb and forefinger. It's hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like you might actually be putting real weight directly on your thumb. Perhaps that it is because you have small hands (which I don't). But maybe it's cause you're trying to ride with your fingers actually on the brake levers, which I don't think you need to do for long distances. If you need to stop, it's easy to slide down and grab the brakes at that moment, but otherwise just have them close. Everyone's different, of course, so you have to find what works for you.

And speaking of gloves, in my first road biking incarnation (roughly 1984-1995) I used to always buy the relatively inexpensive Performance leather gloves (less than $20) and they worked great and lasted a long time. When I got back into road biking about two years ago I discovered they don't sell those any more. I tried a couple of pairs of their current (inexpensive, synthetic) offerings and they just shredded on my hands in a few weeks. Seriously, it was ridiculous. So I paid something like $35 for a pair of Pearl Izumis and a year and a half later I'm still using them (along with a second pair I bought later on). It was definitely more expensive but also a much better value.

In my really poor phase I bought a pair of cheap gloves whose brand I don't remember but I had to toss them after only a few uses because they had some crazy seam right between the thumb and finger that would cause serious discomfort after, literally, three or four miles. They were rubbing my hands raw, and even though I didn't have a lot of money to spare, I had to get rid of them and get something else.
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Old 05-20-09, 09:19 AM
  #32  
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Speaking of hand positioning, I knew someone once who frequently rode like this. I've tried it a few times, but only for a couple of seconds because it certainly didn't feel very comfortable.
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Old 05-20-09, 01:27 PM
  #33  
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Here's another photo:



Notice the bent wrist and palms rotated inward so all the weight is on heel of the palm and over the bars. In fact, the hands are inside the bars. Notice the right hand covering the inside of the handlebar so we can't see it. The base of the thumb is exposed and not resting on anything.

The left-hand shows it's inside the bars and the pressure-point is on the outside heel of that hand, as evidenced by the whiter pinched flesh just ahead of the wristwatch.


BTW - this is a pro racer and most people won't have the shoulder & back strength for this amount of reach to the bars. Having the bars 4-6" closer may be more comfortable, but will place more weight on the hands, so you'll also want to raise the bars.
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