upper arm and/or shoulder pain - new to road cycling

ghesketh Posts: 8
edited December 2009 in Road beginners
I'm relatively new to road cycling - bought a new specialized secteur comp a month and a half ago. I've been going on 1 or 2 20-40 mile rides a week since getting the bike and am having trouble with pain on the outer face of my upper arm, essentially right where the deltoid muscle articulates with the humerus bone - but ONLY in my left arm. The pain seems like more of a numbness, and doesn't appear until perhaps 10-15 miles into the ride, but will go away instantly once I relax my arm (which is what I have to periodically do throughout the rest of my ride to keep the pain at bay). I have no pain whatsoever anywhere else, and there's no question that the bike is the proper size for me. Is this likely a fitting/positioning issue? Is this something that might be alleviated by strength exercise? Or perhaps just with more time riding, improved fitness, and getting used to being in a road bike position this pain will go away?

Any thoughts, advice, and/or sympathy would be very much appreciated.



  • Meds1962
    Meds1962 Posts: 391
    Sounds like you're just getting used to the bike / position, especially if it eases when you relax.

    Go to the doc if it persists though, better safe than sorry!
    O na bawn i fel LA
  • Almost certainly a positioning issue. If the bike fits you well, your arms should be pretty relaxed at all times; that you have to conciously relax your arm indicates that something is not quite right. Maybe the saddle's too far forward or the stem's too long? Either would place extra load on your arms.
  • GregC
    GregC Posts: 65
    I had a similar shoulder pain which started over the past 12 months despite being ok before then and not changing my bike .I've been cycling for quite a few years .
    I went to the Birmingham Specialized Concept Store Bike Fit and as a result had the stem raised slightly ,as well as changing cleat position a little and raising my seatpost by a few mm.
    Result ?--No shoulder pain , although it took a few rides to adapt to the new position .
  • skyd0g
    skyd0g Posts: 2,540
    Check the overall position on the bike using this guide: http://www.bikedynamics.co.uk/guidelines.htm

    ...but more likely, you'll find the aches will ease-off after a while as you body adapts & gets fitter. :D
    Cycling weakly
  • +1 with keeping your arms relaxed. Keeping the elbows bent and the wrists straight works for me.

  • Rich Hcp
    Rich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    Also remember to change your position on the bars from time to time and not grip too hard.

    As said above, relax. It all helps

    Giving it Large
  • Flasheart
    Flasheart Posts: 1,278
    As they all said above (and Frankie) .......Relax

    When I started out on my road bike I was having aching arms etc. too. When I got more accustomed to a road bike and more confident that it wasn't going to shoot out sideways from under me I relaxed my grip and released a lot of tension and no more aches and pains (well not there anyway)
    Mind you, on some of the rides of late I've had in the wind we've had, I've almost had the bike BLOWN out from under me out in the open forest. :shock: so I've held on for dear life at times
    The universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle. ...Stapp’s Ironical Paradox Law
  • e999sam
    e999sam Posts: 426
    I get the same on long rides I'm sure it's down to my handlebar stem which is to long.
  • MichaelW
    MichaelW Posts: 2,164
    You should probably examine your riding position.
    There basic position of pedals/saddle/bars should be set for your proportions and riding style. Beware of a racing bias in many fitting guides. A more general one is: www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
    On top of this, there are a number of small alterations that can have quite subtle effects on comforts:
    cleat positon, saddle tilt, bar tilt, drop and shape.
    One item that is often not adjusted is the position of the brake levers on the bars. These can be moved up and down but also rotated to pint in or out. I found that a few degrees of inward cant (ie the right hand lever rotated anticlockwise and visa versa) results in a much more neutral hand position with less tension.