A pain in the bike-side

I cycle to work most days and it's no longer as painful as it was when I started.
But I went out on my new road bike the other day and my wrists and back were really sore after!
Is my saddle too high? Or am I just suffering from tri newbie training pains??


  • you need to get used to the (presumably) more extreme position

    tribars will help the wrists though - but if you fit them, try them out on a safe road with no traffic first (sometimes you get a bit of a wobble for the first few minutes)
  • You should try and keep your wrists pretty straight Guin, so no sever bends in them.

    Maybe your bars are too low though and you are putting too much weight on them ? The front of the bike should have about 1/3 of your weight on it. The rear - the rest.

    Your back might just be getting used to it I think, or you could be bent too far forwards. Is your stem long ?

    You shouldn't be able to see the front hub as your handlebars will be in the way if you are in the correct riding position.
  • I think too much weight is going on the handle bars personally. I can't move them up but they could be tilted slightly towards me?
    I think I'll try moving the saddle down a notch to see if that helps. Apart from anything else it's difficult to get on and off and I've caught my shorts on it a few times!
    I'm not planning on using tri bars - there's nowhere near my house I can test them, as there's a lot of traffic.
  • Guin,
    Did you get the bike set up initially by the shop? If so I'd take it back and ask for help. I still take mine in and I've had the bike a year!
    Wrists and back could be caused by handlebars being set up wrong - at least I read in 220 anyway. The bits connecting the brake levers to the bars (hoods I think) should be parallel to the ground. If they slope away from you I think that could be causing some of the pain. And I had quite a lot of back pain after one long ish ride with the saddle too high.
    I don't think a bike should cause you training pains unless you fall off...
  • Yeah i already did that on my MTB!!
    Thanks for tips Nate
    Will be taking bike back in for a service in a few weeks anyway so will ask then.
    Maybe there is also an element of clinging on for dear life because I'm not used to the aggressive riding position!!
    I probably need more practice. I have taken the bike to work but it's so potholed it's not very comfortable so that's why I use my MTB.
  • it is most important that you set your bike up correctly. make sure that you haven't been sold a bike that is too big. Generally women should be riding a 48cm-52cm centre to centre, with a substantial amount of seat pillar showing.
    Women mostly use shorter stems than men as their bodies/arms are shorter. If you sit on the bike and put your head over the handlebars (while you are on the saddle) the hub of the front wheel should be obscured by the handlebars (if you can understand that). That is a good marker for your 'stretch'. if the hub is behind the handlebars then the top tube and stem are too long, in front of it: too short!
    Don't tilt your levers forwards or backwards!
    Please get your position sorted asap!
  • Lorraine this makes no sense without sitting on the bike but will check it out when I get home
    I think the bike should be the right size - it's a Cannondale r500 feminine, size 47cm and I am 5ft 4 tall. The top tube, handlebars etc are all women specific. My MTB is also about a 47 - Cannondale size small.
  • ok if you haven't gone home yet. sit on your saddle, feet in/on pedals. sit your hands over the hoods off the handlebars or on the bars. Lean forward as in riding position. as you look down at your front wheel, the handlebars should block the hub from your view! this means your reach is correct.
  • what make stem/handlebars are you using and what width are the handlebars? they should correspond to the width of your shoulders!
  • I said that ! (well not the widthy thing)

    You have a better way with words though Lorraine !

  • so you did! I didn't notice!
    It is so important to have everything right! And so hard to get it right!
  • i am not an expert on cycling by any means, but i ride a MTB and over christmas i was in cape town and my cousin lent me a top of the range road bike so i could go cycling with him, he set it up for me as to the book but i was in bl**dy agony after a 50k cycle with back and neck problems due to the different position of riding, i reset it up myself, repositioning the handlebars and seat that felt comfortable to me,it may not have been the most aerodynamic position but i did a further cycle of 120k without hardly any problems or aches and the same for the rest of the holiday, what i am saying is it may be best to set it up what is comfortable for you until you get a little more used to the bike and then gradually drop the handlebars, seat etc as you get more time in on the bike,
  • popsiderpopsider ✭✭✭
    It might just be getting used to it - are you riding mainly on the drops ? If so using the hoods and the tops will help. Also a long reach can be uncomfortable which you could adjust with a shorter stem (maybe) or more simply by sliding the saddle forward a bit.
  • Lorraine I have tested it out - I can't see the hub so the reach must be ok. perhaps I just have zilch upper body strength as my main exercises are running, walking and cycling on MTB... This bodes really well for my first tri in London eh!!
    I think I will get saddle lowered a tad until I get used to the position and then raise it as I get stronger arms!! I don't want to risk knackering my back. Not with FLM, Edinburgh Marathon, Glasgow Wimmin's 10K, Edinburgh R4Life to do before the tri.
    Well it's a wishlist...
  • I don't like drop handlebars, I've got a bit of a back problem and I don't feel very stable using them. I bought a Ridgeback Genesis bike, which has the same kind of frame and wheels as a road bike but has flat handles instead of drop ones.

    It's great to ride and I can enjoy riding it which is the main thing.

    If you can't overcome the back problem as a last resort perhaps you could get the bike shop to fit flat bars to your Cannondale.
  • I would suggest taking the tape measure to your MTB. Measure saddle height, saddle height to top of bars (ie the amount you have to bend over) reach from saddle nose to bars. Most people ride on the brake hoods. It's OK if you have proper feminine brake levers, which Cannodale do fit to be operated by female hands (purrr..). You can advance to riding on the drops in a few months.

    Translate the measurements to your road bike. Its a start, it's what your body knows. Beware of assuming too much about the saddle too. It is good to make sure you take in to account the many millimetres difference between type of saddle on both bikes.

    Once you have the new bike in the right ball park, do short rides and get out the allen key. It may well take you weeks to fine tune it. The 'general guidelines' for where the front hub should be visible etc are OK too, but if you personally deviate, don't worry!

    Have fun!
  • Thanks guys
    Will get the tape measure out!
    I hope I can get either get used to it or set it up better as I will have otherwise have spent rather a lot of cash on a racing bike I can't race with!
    I must say running is a lot cheaper than cycling is
  • The bike sounds like it's the right size for your height, you first need to get the correct saddle height as this will determine how the rest of the bike feels.

    The best way to do this without paying to have a bike fit done is to sit on the bike with your heel on the centre of the pedal, what you are trying to achieve from this is a straight leg at the bottom of the stroke.
    Not to stretched that your backside moves off the saddle when you pedal backwards still in this position.

    Doing this gives you the correct bend in your leg when you put your foot back in it's right position.

    Trust me im an expert!!

Sign In or Register to comment.