Help, I got a sore neck!

  • Home
  • Help, I got a sore neck!
7 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

I am not a new rider, just new to riding a road bike. I am currently training for the montauk century-trying to build a foundation of miles and skills. I recently bought a bike and had it refit,correctly , by a pro fitter at R&A cycles. I am trying to keep relaxed shoulders etc. while riding but am finding I am getting a seriously tired,stiff neck after my rides.I did 20 miles last week and my neck went out! That's never happened before. FYI I am not injured, nor do I have serious spinal issues or weaknesses; in factI am a serious long time Yoga student and fitness trainer/massage therapist who knows her stuff. Any ideas? i am afraid that i am not going to make my 100 miles!
Thanks Kristi

Anonymous's picture
happy freedman (not verified)
neck pain / bike fit

A common mistake made by novice bike fitters is to stretch you out into a position that you will not be able to hold for an extended ride.

Make sure your handlebars are not too wide, the seat is in the proper position in relation to your knees. Your position in relation to the handlebars and stem should be one that you can hold comfortably without putting a lot of weight on the bars with your hands. If you have to hold yourself up or have to twist your neck up to see where you're going, it is not a very efficient position for a long ride although it may be very effective for a short, aggressive sprint.

Did you explain to your bike fitter that you're not racing but rather a recreational cyclist who will be touring -- thereby giving them the opportunity to set you up in a slightly relaxed position?

A bike fit should relate to riding style and purpose.

Anonymous's picture
Yogi (not verified)
Brain Too Large ( :-o)?


Congratulations and thanks for the fit last year.
Good luck this year with the CU brainiacs on wheels.


I agree w HF that your fit should be the first place to look.

Not knowing anything about your fitness level or body proportions. I can only tell you about my experience.

I started out riding a MTB and did the A-sigs many years ago. The transition to riding a RB was not as smooth as I had imagined. There were all kinds of new aches and pains from riding in the new position. I vividly remember getting dropped on the 9W hill outside of Rockland Lake after doing double paceline drills the first week I had my RB. (HEY, wait for me!)

So going from 0 miles – 20 mile (TT?) might be too much for your body to handle. Your cardiovascular system might be saying 'Nice', but your muscular skeletal system might be saying ‘OUCH what are you doing?’

In addition to the many good suggestions already mentioned . Focusing more on your abs, obliques, and lower back (we all know about the core) when doing your yoga postures and weight training will help you take weight off your arms and keep your upper back and neck more relaxed.

It takes time to fine tune your fit, and it takes time for the bike to break your body in. Take more breaks the next time you’re out riding and do some neck rolls and shoulder squeezes.

And get one of your massage therapist friends to work you over after a hard ride.

Don’t give up, you still have 3 more months to train for the century.

-Chuck, (still enjoys the comfort of my mtb)

Yoga instructor
B-sig leader

Anonymous's picture
ITNOC (not verified)
Go back to R&A

I know the guys at R&A pretty well. I also got my bike there. My experience is that they tend to stretch you out a bit. I would go back and ask to reduce the stem 1cm at a time until you feel comfortable. It sounds that your body position must be significantly different on your new bike as opposed to your previous bike. In which case you either duplicate the position, or slowly adjust to the new position. My gut feeling is that you are over extended and should first try to shorten the stem. In any case, go back to R&A and keep at it until you feel comfortable.

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Raise the handlebars!

"""I recently bought a bike and had it refit,correctly , by a pro fitter...""

There's no such thing as a ""correct fit"" based solely on body measurements or formulas. The fitter has to take into account your type of riding, experience, flexibility, etc. There is a tendency to set everyone up in a racing position.

As someone new to road bikes, you should probably start with the handlebars at (or at most an inch below) the height of the saddle. And your ""reach"" to the bars shouldn't make you feel too stretched out.

You certainly shouldn't have a sore neck after just 20 miles.

I would either go back to the fitter and explain your problems, or find another fitter who will LISTEN to YOU.

At 80 miles into a century, comfort is far more important than aerodynamics, especially for a beginner.

If you wear glasses or have a helmet with a visor, tilting your head up to see the road may be straining your neck. You might want to try exercises to strengthen your neck muscles (although that's probably not a good idea if your neck is already sore).

Main thing: Raise those handlebars!


Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)

Hey Kristi,

Pain in the neck, eh! Well, it’s either you or the bike.

R&A is a pro shop, but goes for the classic racer fit only if you are racing or seriously into performance. Usually, the fitter does this gently, a cm or 2 at a time. R&A dropped me down on the bars last year and much to my benefit. However, the fitter did not cut the fork, but inserted spacers on the headset – in case I wanted to raise the bars back up.

But, I recently started to get a neck pain. Almost a year after the bar drop. Well, it was me. My shoulders and upper arms were a bit weak. Stretching and weights and calisthenics are solving the problem. Yes, I could have raised the bars, but I choose to work on myself.

So, look at fit and yourself. Try working on both. G’luck!!

cycling trips