Discomfort on longer rides

Skerryman
Skerryman Posts: 323
edited March 2011 in Road beginners
Hi all. After my two longest rides the last two weeks, spending upwards of 5 hours in the saddle, I've been finding it quite uncomfortable in the a$$ region over the latter periods of the rides and been experiencing some neck pain also after a few hours riding. My bike is a Cube Agree SL which comes with a RFR Natural Shape 0.1 R saddle. I know road bikes aren't exactly designed for comfort but was just wondering if discomfort like I'm experiencing is common over longer rides or should I be looking at replacing the saddle. Does anyone out there have experience of this saddle and rate it/ slate it (see what I done there)?

I've also been looking into bibshorts. I'm using Giordana Silverline ones at the moment but have been hearing good things about the Shutt VR Pro's and am wondering if they might ease the pain a bit on longer rides. If any Giordana -Shutt users could offer opinions that would be great.

Also should I look into shortening my stem to ease the neck pain. I don't feel cramped on the bike or overly stretched and as far as I can tell its a good fit. The bike comes 110mm stem. Should I be looking into shortening my stem to ease neck pain or is this kinda thing common in long rides.

Any advice appreciated as always.

Comments

  • Evil Laugh
    Evil Laugh Posts: 1,412
    You could try flipping the stem, it will raise the bars a little and bring them closer.

    That's providing the stem isn't already in the more upwards pointing position.
  • mattshrops
    mattshrops Posts: 1,134
    i dont know if you can remember when you could only do one hour? but that used to make my butt ache, now it takes 3 hrs, and then my neck and triceps are also dropping off. doesnt it just get easier as you get used to it/get fitter??sounds pretty normal to me( unless your talking about lasting pain the next day etc? that would then need looking at imo)
    Death or Glory- Just another Story
  • Cheers for the reply guys. Evil Laugh-haven't tried flipping the stem, might look into it.

    Mattshrops-I know what you mean about getting used to the longer time spent in the saddle, was just wondering if that was the case or if I could make it more comfortable with some adjustments to bike or gear. Not experiencing any lasting pain I'm fine once I get home and have a bit of a stretch. Find myself having to get out of the saddle periodically on the last 20 miles or so to ease the pain in my a$$. Probably normal, just wanted to pick a few brains to see if I needed to look into any adjustments as I'm relatively new to road biking. Any other opinions welcome!
  • seanoconn
    seanoconn Posts: 11,520
    I had all the same, arse ache, stiff neck and aching arms when i started upping the miles but as said above, you're body gets used to it.

    I wouldn't tinker too much with the bike set up if you don't feel cramped or over stretched.
    Pinno, מלך אידיוט וחרא מכונאי
  • Bobbinogs
    Bobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Hi Skerryman, how long have you been riding for? You mention being relatively new and then also mention 5 hours of riding. It took me about a month before I could do 10 miles in relative comfort (legs and asre) on my hybrid which was the point I started upping the miles and also swapping to a road bike. I know there are some who take to riding like ducks to water but we are all different (I was very fit through footy but that sport doesn't involve sitting on your butt and spinning your legs, at least not the way I played it).
  • Bobbinogs wrote:
    Hi Skerryman, how long have you been riding for? You mention being relatively new and then also mention 5 hours of riding. It took me about a month before I could do 10 miles in relative comfort (legs and asre) on my hybrid which was the point I started upping the miles and also swapping to a road bike. I know there are some who take to riding like ducks to water but we are all different (I was very fit through footy but that sport doesn't involve sitting on your butt and spinning your legs, at least not the way I played it).

    I've been riding for a touch over 6 months. I'd have considered myself relatively active before I took up road cycling. I had been upping the miles over the last while and did my longest one yesterday 75 miles. It was a pretty windy day though which is why I was nearly 5 hours in the saddle (not saying I would have ripped through it otherwise but it didn't help). Really love getting out there on the bike on a nice day, after a stressful week in college it really helps wind me down by getting out there in the great outdoors. After starting upping the miles a tad I'm looking forward to seeing some improvements in times and becoming a better rider. I see what you mean about cycling being unique to other sports as your in an unusual position for long periods (sometimes) and was just wondering if the discomfort I was experiencing was common or something I should look into. No substitute for the opinions of some people who have been there and done that!
  • If you are new to cycling and these are your first ever rides of 4/5 hours, just what are you expecting? You can sit for 4/5 hours in some armchairs and get a bit of discomfort after.

    With cycling, there is a phase of 'getting used to it'. And no matter how well your bike is set up, you still have to go through this phase.

    Lastly, many a new cyclist pump up their tyres to the max pressure. I see them bouncing across poor roadsurfaces like a pebble on a frozed duck pond each weekend. Road surfaces in the UK are dire. I always run my tyres at their minimum pressures, and I do this for reasons of .... comfort.
  • I used to get bad pain in the neck and between the shoulder blades. I just put it down to my inflexibility and being out of practise however I've now realised my bars were too narrow. I switched from 38 to 42 and no longer get any problems.
    It's well worth checking out advice and youtube on bike fit as niggles can become serious problems if you don't deal with them.
  • If you are new to cycling and these are your first ever rides of 4/5 hours, just what are you expecting? You can sit for 4/5 hours in some armchairs and get a bit of discomfort after.

    With cycling, there is a phase of 'getting used to it'. And no matter how well your bike is set up, you still have to go through this phase.

    Lastly, many a new cyclist pump up their tyres to the max pressure. I see them bouncing across poor roadsurfaces like a pebble on a frozed duck pond each weekend. Road surfaces in the UK are dire. I always run my tyres at their minimum pressures, and I do this for reasons of .... comfort.

    I was pretty much just expecting to get advice from people who have most likely had a similar experience. I understand that there's a lot to get used to position wise especially when doing longer rides just wanted to be sure it wasn't a bike fit issue and something that could perhaps result in any sustained discomfort after the ride was done. Max pressure on my tyres is 145 psi and I run about 120 psi and they don't seem overly pumped. Cheers for the feedback all , much appreciated !!!
  • Over the last 12 months I've upped my miles and time in the saddle.Like you I started from a pretty basic level and was doing 60 /70 milers within 3 months.
    Something I have learned through experience is to make a concious effort to use different hand and tuck positions.I used to just amble along in my standard comfy position until I ached/stiffend up,then be forced to alter my position to relieve the stress point.
  • Cheers Kev. Been trying to mix up the positions on the handlebar as much as possible on recently and it does help, was finding myself riding on the hoods a lot and a simple change of position for a few minutes can really ease the aches.
  • You should be able to ride for 5-6 hours without pain (tired muscle aches yes but not actual pain) so it's likely that your saddle could be improved upon.

    Re the stem length I find a 110mm stem feels too long but I'm fine on a 100mm. Small changes really can make a big difference there, flipping it (so it points up) will effectively shorten the length anyway so that's not a bad place to start.
  • kegso
    kegso Posts: 3
    Talking of pain - I get a bit in my forearms after a relatively short time (about maybe 30-45 mins) but I'm on an MTB with slicks. Desperately looking for a road/cx bike but the choice is too confusing....relaxed geometry, sizing all different for different manufacturers, etc. Want to see if getting drop bars will help with this forearm pain, and be a bit quicker along the towpaths/back roads where I live.
  • sampras38
    sampras38 Posts: 1,917
    Difficult to say for sure as you've not been riding very long, but I would hazzard a guess your neck ache is due to the bars being a little too low. As already suggested try flipping the stem.

    As a rule of thumb, you should be able to hold any part of the bars while riding without being stretched. The stem may be a little long which would make you stretch, or as above, too low, making you look up as you're riding and putting stress on the neck.

    You didn't say whether you'd had a proper bike fitting before you bought the bike?
  • vorsprung
    vorsprung Posts: 1,953
    Skerryman wrote:
    I know road bikes aren't exactly designed for comfort but

    It depends what your goals are with the bike. If you want to really ride a long way on a bike you have to be physically prepared and have a comfortable bike

    The physical side is partly hardening up the backside, partly getting the legs and lungs used to riding and partly about core strength. There is a really interesting article here

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/the ... e-position

    About bike "fit" and it's relation to core strength. Of course if you ride a lot then you will get core strength as a side effect. One short cut however is to do core exercises

    Having a comfortable bike is firstly about getting everything the right size and getting all the measurements from bars to saddle, from saddle to pedals etc. right. After that you can add shock absorbing bar tape, gloves, padded shorts.

    I am fine tuning my bike at the moment for longer rides. I put a new shorter stem on at the weekend and went out for a ride. After about an hour my shoulders ached a little bit, so I swapped around some spacers and raised the stem and bars about 5mm. After that the bike felt better and the shoulder pain started to go away. This was only a tiny change but it is the kind of process you have to go through to sort it out
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    Skerryman wrote:
    Max pressure on my tyres is 145 psi and I run about 120 psi and they don't seem overly pumped.
    Try lowering them a bit. Usually around 110 is enough - 90 will absorb some of the harshness that builds over a 5 hour stint. Don't go any lower as you'll be inviting snake bite punctures, where hitting an innocuous stone leaves you with a flat.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,740
    Lower pressures will help the comfort at no discernable drop in performance.