Bike Discomfort

8 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

When I go out on a ride with my current setup, I feel great . Bike handles exceptionally well and I feel really comfortable it truly feels like this bike is a prefect fit, but to my amazement at about 2 hours into the ride I feel discomfort in the upper back between the shoulder blades and neck stiffness . The pain is never bad on the bike, but for days after the ride soreness and discomfort stays with me. I tried a shorter stem but the bike didn’t feel as comfortable and I had similar discomfort. I did rise my handlebars little but they are still about 1.5 in below the seat. There is not much more room for me to rise unless I lower my seat. I’m wondering if anyone has any suggestions ? Is it strength or stretching what I need? Is it my position on the bike? Or is it the handle bars height ? Also I would note that this year I’m on the bike a lot longer than in the past . Last year the longest I would be on the bike would be 2 hours while this year it’s more like 4 hours without any stops except maybe a bathroom brake .

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Bend your elbows.

Locked elbows transmit every little bump in the road up your arms. After a while your neck and shoulders start to complain. Use your arms as shock absorbers - seems too easy, but it works.

Next, you'll experience pain in your arms from riding with your elbows bent, but at least your neck won't hurt ;^7

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Neck pain

"""to my amazement at about 2 hours into the ride I feel discomfort in the upper back between the shoulder blades and neck stiffness.""

Hard to say without seeing your position on the bike, but here are a few things to consider:

You may be increasing your mileage/riding time faster than your body can acclimate to it. Increase mileage gradually (especially if you've missed a week due to bad weather).

I would suggest taking several breaks during the ride. Get off the bike for 10 minutes, stretch, walk around.

Is your saddle tilted downward? Do you feel like you're sliding forward (and placing extra weight on your hands)?

Definitely DON'T lower your saddle, but it should be possible to get the bars higher by various methods (stem extender, rising stem, etc.) Do you have a threadless or threaded headset?

Do you feel like you're straining your neck to see the road? Do you wear glasses or have a helmet visor? Either may cause you to crane your neck.

Lastly, you might want to try exercises to strengthen your neck muscles.



Anonymous's picture
Peter Storey (not verified)
Saddle position?

"Is your saddle correctly positioned fore-and-aft. What is your basis for thinking so?

I ask because it occurs to me that you may have adopted a sort of ""quasi-tri"" posture that felt good for short bouts last year but that -- at present mileages -- is carrying too much weight too far forward for comfort.

To be sure, normally one wouldn't move the saddle back for a neck and shoulders problem, but that presumes the saddle is optimally placed to begin with. Is it?

Peter Storey"

Anonymous's picture
Bruce Gordon (not verified)
Try stretching

"If something is wrong on your setup then this won't fix the problem. On the other hand this might help during the ride and afterwards. In the past I've experienced a pain where you described and this helped. (1). Do the yoga ""downward dog"". You make an upside down U with your body. Put your hands flat on the floor about shoulder width apart, then move your legs back. My heels are not on the ground (I'm not too limber). Really let your head hand down like a pendulum. Do this for 30 seconds. (2) Lie on your back and relax. Then take your neck between your hands (hands clasped at base of skull) and gently pull it towads a spot 1.5 feet above your hips. Maybe do this twice. -Bruce"

Anonymous's picture
marko (not verified)
Thanks for all the suggestions

Thanks for all the suggestions . The bike is definitely setup right . I have been fitter by multiple really good fitters, and they all come up with the same setup. I think keeping the elbows bent helps a lot, I did some riding last night focusing on keeping the elbows bent and it felt a lot better. Moving the seat might also help but I like riding slightly in a forward position . I tend to use a very high cadence and seat at a more forward position is more comfortable. But, given a choice between pain and moving a seat back and lower cadence I’ll take a pain free ride any day .
I’ll try the stretching, but I want to get rid of the soreness first. I’ll a little worried about
stretching sore muscles.

Now my question can anyone suggest a good massage therapist or chiropractor? So that I could get rid of the soreness and stiffness faster .

Anonymous's picture
seth (not verified)

don't just bend your elbows. keep your arms, shoulders and neck relaxed. You can have bent elbows and still have a stiff upper body. Let your head droop a bit and roll your eyes up to look up the road instead of craining your neck.

Anonymous's picture
andrea kannapell (not verified)
good chiropractor/massage

my chiropractor is Steve Schram, on 28th Street just east of Lexington. 212-696-4426. he's amazing. fast and very sure.
he has several massage people who work out of his office. the one i have been going to is mark waterman. he knows a good deal about sports massage. be forewarned: it can be painful, but it really works.

Anonymous's picture
Lynn Baruh (not verified)
Curing Neck Pain

I had the same issue as you and came to the same conclusion re bike fit- it's not necessarily the bike.
I think chainwheel's suggestion of increasing mileage slowly is a good one, but we can't always do that.
As for correcting it, you might also consider going to an orthopedist, who will recommend a phsyiotherapist who can help with the pain as well suggest neck/back strengthening exercises.
That's what I did and relieved the pain within a week.

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