Head and Neck Ache

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by -Lsqnot Respond, Feb 9, 2003.

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  1. I'm relatively new to long distance riding and find that 90% of my body can cope with it. After
    about 60 miles there's still enough left in my legs and lungs but my shoulders/neck/head are in
    real pain.

    I suppose that every imperfection in the thin potholed strips of tarmac round here (jokingly known
    as 'roads') is passed through the bike, through my body and handed to the neck muscles to deal with.

    I've got a suspension seat post but is there more I can do? Should I try for a more 'bum up'
    position? I suppose I could run on lower pressure tyres but that would make me slower and probably
    result in the same pain for a longer time.

    It's an aluminium hybrid/mountain bike with bar ends and straight-as-a-die front forks (which I'm
    not going to change).
     
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  2. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Sun, 09 Feb 2003 13:19:14 +0000, "[Not Responding]" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I'm relatively new to long distance riding and find that 90% of my body can cope with it. After
    >about 60 miles there's still enough left in my legs and lungs but my shoulders/neck/head are in
    >real pain.

    Sounds like a stem reach / bar height problem. Have you checked the fit of your bike? There's a
    really useful widget at www.wrenchscience.com

    >I've got a suspension seat post but is there more I can do?

    The suspension seat post won't make any odds, as it's coming up through the forks.

    >It's an aluminium hybrid/mountain bike with bar ends and straight-as-a-die front forks (which I'm
    >not going to change).

    I find (although I'm told it's illusion) that a set of decent raked 531 forks is more comfortable
    than the solid lead forks fitted to MTBs. I also find that the more hand positions I can get the
    better. And most of all I find that the upright position on an MTB is simply not comfortable for
    long distances. The elbows tend to be too straight, which causes the shocks of the road to be
    transmitted straight to the shoulders. Sus forks are one way out, but make the bike even heavier.

    The best solution is probably to hybridise the hybrid a bit more, to give a position closer to the
    classic tourer, with weight balanced between hands and bum, elbows bent to absorb shocks, drop bars
    for varied hand positions, raked forks for stability and (some) shock absoprtion.

    Wait a minute - what am I saying? The BEST solution is to convert to the Dark Side :-D

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  3. In message <[email protected]>, "[Not Responding]"
    <[email protected]> writes
    >I'm relatively new to long distance riding and find that 90% of my body can cope with it. After
    >about 60 miles there's still enough left in my legs and lungs but my shoulders/neck/head are in
    >real pain.
    >
    >I suppose that every imperfection in the thin potholed strips of tarmac round here (jokingly
    >known as 'roads') is passed through the bike, through my body and handed to the neck muscles to
    >deal with.

    I'd guess that you have muscle and joint aches from holding your neck in an unnatural position for
    hours, and that the bumps are not the main problem.

    >
    >I've got a suspension seat post but is there more I can do? Should I try for a more 'bum up'
    >position?

    If my guess is right, this would make things a lot worse.

    >I suppose I could run on lower pressure tyres but that would make me slower and probably result in
    >the same pain for a longer time.

    Quite.

    >
    >It's an aluminium hybrid/mountain bike with bar ends and straight-as-a-die front forks (which I'm
    >not going to change).

    Try raising the handlebars? Slightly worse aerodynamics, but it often makes neck aches much better.
    Or you could succumb to Guy Chapman's blandishments from the Dark Side. I warn you, he's a lot older
    than he claims. Do NOT agree to meet him in Shepton Mallet! But he's very sound on all things bent.

    --
    Richard Keatinge

    http://www.keatinge.demon.co.uk/pedal.htm
     
  4. Dave

    Dave Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On Sun, 09 Feb 2003 13:19:14 +0000, "[Not Responding]" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > >I'm relatively new to long distance riding and find that 90% of my body can cope with it. After
    > >about 60 miles there's still enough left in my legs and lungs but my shoulders/neck/head are in
    > >real pain.
    >
    > Sounds like a stem reach / bar height problem. Have you checked the fit of your bike? There's a
    > really useful widget at www.wrenchscience.com
    >
    > >I've got a suspension seat post but is there more I can do?
    >
    > The suspension seat post won't make any odds, as it's coming up through the forks.
    >
    > >It's an aluminium hybrid/mountain bike with bar ends and straight-as-a-die front forks (which I'm
    > >not going to change).
    >
    > I find (although I'm told it's illusion) that a set of decent raked 531 forks is more comfortable
    > than the solid lead forks fitted to MTBs. I also find that the more hand positions I can get the
    > better. And most of all I find that the upright position on an MTB is simply not comfortable for
    > long distances. The elbows tend to be too straight, which causes the shocks of the road to be
    > transmitted straight to the shoulders. Sus forks are one way out, but make the bike even heavier.
    >
    > The best solution is probably to hybridise the hybrid a bit more, to give a position closer to the
    > classic tourer, with weight balanced between hands and bum, elbows bent to absorb shocks, drop
    > bars for varied hand positions, raked forks for stability and (some) shock absoprtion.
    >
    <snip...sorry Guy!!> ...and, combined with all the aforementioned, utilise the Shock Absorption Pipe
    Insulating Foam (tm), on your handlebars, until a total lack of any feedback from the ground means
    no further problems ;-) HTH Dave.
     
  5. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Sun, 9 Feb 2003 18:07:42 -0000, "Dave" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >...and, combined with all the aforementioned, utilise the Shock Absorption Pipe Insulating Foam
    >(tm), on your handlebars

    Or Grab-Ons which are less slippery when wet.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  6. The forks are not the problem.

    The problem is almost certainly that you are overstretched. This causes what you have. MTBs are
    designed for climbing, where having you forward keeps the front wheel down. This is wrong for
    longdistance road riding. I used to have your problem but now don't for years, as I ride with a
    position which has my fingertips almost reacing the bars with elbow against nose of saddle.
     
  7. Bob Flemming

    Bob Flemming Guest

    >...and, combined with all the aforementioned, utilise the Shock Absorption Pipe Insulating Foam
    >(tm), on your handlebars, until a total lack of any feedback from the ground means no further
    >problems ;-)

    I experimented with something similar this weekend - copper pipe insulating foam used by plumbers,
    attached with some plastic cable ties. I only did a round trip of about 25 miles, but the normal
    numbness was very definitely less than normal. I used the 15m gauge, but I think 22m is going to
    be better.

    Nice and cheap anyway.

    bob <why am i such a bodger!!
     
  8. Dave

    Dave Guest

    "Bob Flemming" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > >...and, combined with all the aforementioned, utilise the Shock
    Absorption
    > >Pipe Insulating Foam (tm), on your handlebars, until a total lack of any feedback from the ground
    > >means no further problems ;-)
    >
    > I experimented with something similar this weekend - copper pipe insulating foam used by plumbers,
    > attached with some plastic cable ties. I only did a round trip of about 25 miles, but the normal
    > numbness was very definitely less than normal. I used the 15m gauge, but I think 22m is going to
    > be better.
    >
    > Nice and cheap anyway.
    >
    > bob <why am i such a bodger!!>

    Been using it since about October last year and found it a vast improvement, from 'orrible, 'orrible
    numbness in both hands, to no prob in one fell swoop....most impressed. Dave.
     
  9. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    [Not Responding] wrote:
    > I'm relatively new to long distance riding and find that 90% of my body can cope with it. After
    > about 60 miles there's still enough left in my legs and lungs but my shoulders/neck/head are in
    > real pain.

    Most of it is probably due to the riding position (shorter reach stem or/and different bars may
    help), but one extra thing that can make it worse is wearing glasses/visor. The top of vision can be
    obscured just enough to make you tilt your head up more than is natural without realising it. Try
    going without sun glasses, etc. for some of the time if poss.

    ~PB
     
  10. Tim

    Tim Guest

    > [Not Responding] wrote:
    > > I'm relatively new to long distance riding and find that 90% of my body can cope with it. After
    > > about 60 miles there's still enough left in my legs and lungs but my shoulders/neck/head are in
    > > real pain.

    Although the problem may be one of bars that are too low/too far forward, a common cause is
    riding technique. If you are riding with straight arms, any bump the wheel travels over will
    transfer the motion directly up your arms to your shoulders. The movement of your shoulders will
    then try to accelerate your head and neck back and forth (or up and down) making it hard work for
    your neck muscles, resulting is muscle and joint soreness. You may also suffer from numb
    hands/fingers as a result.

    Try riding with a slight bend in your elbows at all times. This makes your arms act as an
    articulated suspension which absorbs shocks before they get to your neck muscles. Because your
    arms are no longer straight you will have a much lighter load on your handlebars, reducing pain
    and numbness.

    Bending your arms does force your back muscles to do more work, however these will adapt after a few
    rides. An added benefit of riding with a bend in the arms is that the bike will handle better over
    bumps as the front end is less rigidly loaded.
     
  11. On Sun, 9 Feb 2003 23:06:32 -0000, "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote:

    >[Not Responding] wrote:
    >> I'm relatively new to long distance riding and find that 90% of my body can cope with it. After
    >> about 60 miles there's still enough left in my legs and lungs but my shoulders/neck/head are in
    >> real pain.
    >
    >Most of it is probably due to the riding position (shorter reach stem or/and different bars may
    >help), but one extra thing that can make it worse is wearing glasses/visor. The top of vision can
    >be obscured just enough to make you tilt your head up more than is natural without realising it.
    >Try going without sun glasses, etc. for some of the time if poss.
    >
    >~PB
    >

    Glasses may well be the answer (or at least part of it). The one I've got on now are very thin - I'd
    have to lift my eyes fully to the horizontal or I'd just be peering over the top.

    Following Audax routes would be a bit tricky without the specs though; no chance of reading
    roadsigns in advance of passing them.
     
  12. Dave Kahn

    Dave Kahn Guest

    "[Not Responding]" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > On Sun, 9 Feb 2003 23:06:32 -0000, "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote:
    > >Try going without sun glasses, etc. for some of the time if poss.
    >
    > Glasses may well be the answer (or at least part of it). The one I've got on now are very thin -
    > I'd have to lift my eyes fully to the horizontal or I'd just be peering over the top.
    >
    > Following Audax routes would be a bit tricky without the specs though; no chance of reading
    > roadsigns in advance of passing them.

    Then I think the first thing to try is more suitable glasses rather than no glasses. I would also
    try to change one thing at a time rather than lots of things. If you change your glasses, forks,
    handlebar covering and position all at once and the pain goes away you won't know which change
    actually did the trick.

    --
    Dave...
     
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