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Stiff neck on long rides

cosmaboycosmaboy Posts: 89
edited August 2008 in Road beginners
Hi all,

another helpful tip needed!

so i have been going on long rides for averaging 3 - 4 hours, doing around 50 miles or more but am increasing suffering from stiffness in the neck and shocking pains i guess from looking up at the road ahead....

i am 5 10 and have a medium sized Giant SCR 1 frame, i have my seat raised around 4 inches and haven't changed my handle bars position. now if i do add a spacer to my handlebars is this likely going to change my position and stop me from getting neck pain or is this something that all riders suffer from...

also when on long rides and clipped in, is there anyway to stop getting numb foot / toes. seems that the longer the ride, the more my body feels like its dying on me!!!

any help is very welcome and appreicated


  • LeighBLeighB Posts: 326
    On the Giant you can flip the stem and this raises/lowers the bars. When riding it is good practice to regularly sit up, stretch, roll your head round your shoulders and move your arms. Tension can lead to stiffness, try to be relaxed when you ride, are your arms bent and your shoulders relaxed. Look at pictures of Pro cyclists and note their position on the bike, in the big tours these people cycle 120+ miles every day for weeks. I have a Giant SCR which I bought specifically to use in Sportive Events as the bike is comfortable over long distances.
  • from my general cycle experience (mainly MTB) look at the following:

    1. As suggested flip your stem around so the angle is going up instead of down.

    2. Look to raise your bars if you can, however you may not be able to raise them much.

    3. How long is the stem ?? if it is too long this will make you lean forward more, hence putting pressure on shoulders, make you look up more?? i am also 5 10 and ride with a short stem 70mm to 80mm, this makes you sit up more, hence eases the weight on shoulders neck etc, also the bike steers better with a shorter stem ( does for a MTB anyhow, i always ride a short stem on my mtb's as well)


  • cosmaboycosmaboy Posts: 89
    thanks yeah i will try and flip the stem, my arms are bent slighty and i do feel comfortable on the bike its just that after a while my neck does ache.

    anyway i will try that, thanks
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    Is it because you are craning your head back to look far ahead, if so just look closer!

    as for the foot thing, check you don't have your saddle too high, and are you slackening your shoes of after 3miles or so. As you cycle your feet swell a bit and you need to loosen off your shoes otherwise they'll restrict bloodflow.
  • cosmaboycosmaboy Posts: 89
    oh no i don't do that, with regards to the slackening off the shoes, i will try that.

  • DoobzDoobz Posts: 2,800
    Copied from ... ains.shtml
    Neck problems are most often due to poor cycling posture. An occasional source of neck trouble is poor adjustment of a helmet. If the helmet is too low in front, the rider is forced to tilt the head upward to keep the helmet from blocking their forward view.

    Sharp backward bends in the neck can cause severe problems, so make sure that your helmet is properly fitted for your riding style.

    Riders with a more aggressive riding position need to wear their helmets farther back than those who sit more upright.

    Poorly fitted glasses can also cause this problem.
  • toshmundtoshmund Posts: 390
    Do you wear glasses? I do, and find that I have to have my head at a angle to be looking through the lens correctly, which probably exasperates the problem. Been into the opticians to get some prescription lenses, alas, they don't think Oakley will be able to cope with my prescription. Not too keen on the style, with the little "Herr Flick" lenses - like Adidas do.

    No, it does not say Robertsons Jam in the bottom corner either! Thankyou! :lol:
  • zenzinniazenzinnia Posts: 698
    Staying in any slightly unnatural position for 4 hours will make you stiff. The more you do it the more your body will be used to it but tretches and changes of position will help. The point about endurance riding is that it is meant to get harder the further you go otherwise everyone could do it - Cav would be able to complete the Tour de France!
    To err is human,
    but to really screw things up you need a shimano - campag mixed drivechain.
  • ronstruttronstrutt Posts: 3,170
    I've had this problem on long multi-day rides in the past but this year it seems to have been affecting me a lot more, even on one-day rides. It seems to kick in at about the 80 miles mark.

    One of the major factors appears to be the cold, in that it happens most in colder weather and especially after dark. Of course, this could simply be that by the time I've done 80 miles in winter it's getting cold and dark!

    Although the problem feels like a neck problem the root of the trouble is actually between my shoulderblades. Keeping that area warm/stopping cold air flowing over it does seem to help.

    Don't forget, the head is an incredibly heavy bit of anatomy which is designed to sit vertically on top of the neck. Sticking it out at an unnatural angle for hours on end is going to put an immense strain on the neck and shoulder muscles that have to support it - a task for which they're not really intended.
  • zenzinniazenzinnia Posts: 698
    I watched a documentary about an English guy taking part in the race across america. He had to make a brace out of plastic piping to hold his head up. It's no wonder some of us get a bit of a stiff neck after riding all day.
    To err is human,
    but to really screw things up you need a shimano - campag mixed drivechain.
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