Beginner looking for general advice


New Member
Oct 14, 2019
Hello, I'm Imbrium (or Imbri)
I recently got back on the bike again for the first time in 20 years. I have been working to improve my body and mind, and I wanted to add something that would burn calories, tone muscle, and add clarity and general positivity to my day. I have lost a significant amount of weight and I go to karate classes 3 days a week. I have been able to add cycling 3 days a week for the past two weeks and my last ride was just under 10 miles! I never would have thought it possible. I use a free tracker that came with my phone and I ride on paved bike trails near my home.
A problem I've run into are my hands going numb fairly early into the ride. I've tried to change my hand and elbow positions and adjusted the handlebar. It's helped a little but the problem remains. I'm also interested in finding a (very) small group in NE Houston to potentially ride with but it seems like all the groups in my area are huge and start at 30 mile rides.
I would appreciate any advice or suggestions, especially things that a newbie wouldn't think to ask.
Thank you!
The cause of hand pain/numbness can be difficult to track down. It can be due to grips/bar tape, bar contour, saddle position, or simply fitness. When pedalling, you use your upper body as a counterweight for the pedaling force, so the more strength/endurance you build, the less weight will be carried through your arms/hands.
Saddle fore/aft is another thing. The farther back you set the saddle, the easier it becomes to use the upper body for leverage.
And then there’s the bar itself. On my previous road bike I went through two brifters and three bars before I found a setup that agreed with me.
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Thank you for your response. Your explanation helps a lot. On my ride last night, my hands were not nearly as numb and it started much further into the ride. It may be a combination of fitness and saddle position. I found it easier and more comfortable when I sat further back on the saddle.
If the problem persists, check to see if any of you local shops offer fitting services. A professional bike fit can fix a multitude of problems. However, since you're a new rider, your position will evolve over time as your fitness and bike-specific flexibility improves. That will typically require some adjustments and potentially some equipment changes.
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Fitness is an important thing for cycling. But, it should be in the right direction. I would recommend you using some Best Fitness Apps to monitor yourself. It will surely help you. Other than that, if you can, then get yourself a proper trainer
"usually", note the " , numbness in hands means you're either putting too much weight on your hands, and or you are gripping the bars too tightly.

You are moving your hands around that's good but the problem is still there, so obviously it's something else. The next cheapest thing to do, which is free, is to relax your hands when you ride and not grip the bars so tight, this will take a constant attention to stop because as soon as you relax about a mile or so goes by and your hands will automatically start to slowly tighten back up, but after about 3 to 4 months you should be able to retrain your brain to form a new habit. When I ride my fingers are loose, I only grip the bar hard if I need to take either evasive action, if on a trail the going gets rough, or doing an out of the saddle run. Also about every 15 to 20 minutes shake your hands out to get the blood flowing again.

The next cheapest thing to do, which is free too, is to raise your handlebars up so that you take some of the weight off your hands and but it more of it on the seat. I would raise the bars about a 1/4 of inch at a time till you feel long term relief. AND OR your saddle maybe tilted with to much nose down of an angle which will force you to keep trying to put yourself, or keep yourself, on the saddle by using your hands; put a level on the seat and change it till the bubble is level and try riding again.

Another thing is to do, which is may or may not be free, is to make sure your elbows are not locked when riding, there should be a slight bend in the elbow to allow for shock absorption, if you can't get the elbows into a bent position then your seat may be to far back, you can check this by...well I found a site for this so instead of me just typing like an insane ape read this site to get the seat adjustment better: Also see this: If that's not the issue and you can't get your elbows to bend correctly then you probably need a shorter stem, but before you buy another stem see my last paragraph.

The next cheapest thing to try is a set of better padded gloves, if you have a set of decent gloves then go with a cork type of handlebar tape, or softer tacky ergonomic grips if your on a bike with straight bars.

Always do the free stuff first before running out and buying something, if the free stuff doesn't work then you might have to buy something to make it work, buy the cheapest stuff first like the gloves and or the bar tape or grips, if that doesn't work you might need a shorter stem but you might be better off before you buy the stem to get a profit done and let them determine if you need to buy a new stem or other items. Of course the profit does cost money, usually around $150 plus parts, so make sure you go to reputable fitter because there are quite a few fitters that are just college kids who got trained for a couple of hours and given the label a pro fitter but don't know squat and you could be paying money for nothing, so ask around.
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