Couple of points/questions..

dai_t75 Posts: 189
edited November 2012 in Road beginners
Evening all,

Just looking to pick the brains of all you clever people again. :P

So went for a ride today (22 miles) that has taken us over the 100 mile mark, nothing major, but a big improvement from where we were a couple of weeks ago. While I am loving the cycling, one thing I'm not to fussed on is the cars/drivers! I have had a few close scrapes so far and it is very un-nerving/annoying. The missus had to stop today as a silly cow in a corsa overtook and cut in on her on a tight left hand bend... the worst thing is I think the driver was completely oblivious to what she had done :x

I am currently reading cyclecraft and will make the missus read it after me and hopefully that will save us some scrapes.

Anyway, onto the questions...

I am still getting a very sore rear end... how many miles does it usually take to 'break in'? I have just ordered a new saddle that is wider than the one that came with the bike (going up to 146mm), and a cut-out so hoping this will help somewhat.

I am getting pins and needles in my left hand. I have searched quite a bit and most people seem to get 'handlebar palsy' which affects the little finger and ring finger. My problem is however my thumb and index finger on my left hand only. Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions as to what might be going on? I changed stem from 110 to 90 today, but I had pins and needles with the 110 anyway, so I don't think that is the cause.

Thanks as always.


  • Sprool
    Sprool Posts: 1,022
    I would suggest maybe too much pressure or weight on the left hand restricting blood flow to the thumb and forefinger. Try to ride with less weight resting on the hands, or don't grip as hard or keep shifting your grip regularly. This and the sore sitting area could be a symptom of bike fit tweaks needed. Is there someone at your LBS that could advise?
  • Hey dai_t75,

    I wanted to respond and hopefully help you out. I'll try taking the issues in order.
    -All cyclists deal with crazy drivers. It gets better over time. The best thing to do is ride with confidence and own your space. Take the lane when you can. The message to drivers will be confidence and calm.
    -The sore rear end takes time and testing. Test different saddles and give it several long rides. It seems you are on that path already. I went through about 4 saddles until I found the right one for me. And as a big rider, I thought a bigger saddle would be better, but it turns out I ended up with a narrow saddle with a cutout.
    -For the finger numbness, that is usually a fit issue and a long time on the bike. Your body needs to adjust to the new sport in all ways. Sprool really explained it well. Something that helps me is constantly changing my hand position and shaking out my hands every so often. The longer you ride, the more you need to make adjustments. Check with your local bike shop for more help.

    I hope this helps. Glad you are riding and I hope you are having a great time.

    I Wear Spandex
  • Regarding the pins and needles in your hand.
    I used to suffer with the same thing in my right hand, got pins and needles and fingers went numb. If I let go of the handlebars for about a minute the feeling would return to my hand.
    Went to the dr, a few tests, and I was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
    Small operation on the hand as a day patient, and the problem sorted.
    Lots of info about it on the interweb. It does appear to be a very common problem.
    Hope that helps
  • I sometimes get pins and needles on left side too, used to be all the time but hardly at all now. My tips would be as follows:
    1. Move hands around the bars to different places often and don't grip too tight. When I started I always wanted to cover the brakes like I would on a mountain bike, so I stayed on the hoods too much.
    2. Keep shoulders and neck loose and relaxed (pain in fingers can come from the nerves in the neck/shoulder)
    3. Use good padded gloves e.g. Specialized Body Geometry with a pad to protect the nerves in your hand.
    4. Double check you're happy with your position, I shortened my stem which also helped neck ache.

    One thing I did was put gel pads under my bar tape, but in hindsight I wouldn't bother again because it didn't make any difference.

    As for drivers, it's not you, we all get it. As others have said try riding out a bit further from the kerb - further than you think at first. It makes drivers slow down - giving them less room makes them think a bit more carefully. If you ride in the gutter it actually makes it worse because they think they can squeeze past you. Cycling two-abreast is legal too, whatever car drivers think, although the highway code says you should revert to single file "on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends."

    Good luck and keep riding.
  • unixnerd
    unixnerd Posts: 2,864
    Common mistake is to ride in the gutter. Ride a few feet from the kerb but make sure you're visible. That way drivers have to move out to overtake you and can only do so when it's safe (no oncoming traffic). If you're in the gutter they'll just try to squeeze past and that's when it's gets dicey. You're also more likely to get a bad road surface and debris in the gutter. Remember that you're just as entitled to road space and a safe environment as they are.

    As for the other points it might be an idea to get a bike fit, or at least some advice on saddle height and position from your local bike shop (most are happy to help). - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    I think it was the weekend for moronic drivers. I had the same thing twice yesterday - overtake and then turn left in front of us....

    I just treat all motorists as being out to kill me until proven otherwise. Always be on your guard.

    I'd advise a bright colour kit too - and a flashing LED if its a dull day - but I had both of those on. Whether or not it made other more blind drivers see me I don't know. I do know that it would make me see me a lot further off. Too many cyclists ride round all in black, or almost as bad black and blue - and they just don't stand out.

    As to the saddle - everyones different. It could be that you're just new to it all and you need to break your bum in.
    Decent shorts and a half nice saddle seems to work for me. I've never measured my arse for a saddle though.

    With the hand - do you have mitts or gloves on ? Decent padding on them might help. Or your bars are too low putting too much pressure onto the hands. Or maybe your tyres are pumped too high so there is too much vibration ?

    Keep up the good work though.
  • dai_t75
    dai_t75 Posts: 189
    Thanks for the useful and helpful tips as always :D

    I think I may be spending too long on the hoods (i.e. all the time on Sunday!) without moving my hands very much. I will try and move my hand position about some more and see if that helps.

    I am thinking about getting a fit done, but may leave it until the new year. I am still very new to cycling and while I don't want to do any damage to myself I still think I need to put some more miles in to give my body a chance to get used to it somewhat.

    Re: Riding in the gutter - I am making sure I am not doing this after reading cyclecraft/various threads on here! Just trying to teach the other half about it... although she seems to purposely ignore everything I tell her :roll:

    The funny thing is last week I pulled out into a more central position on the same turning to prevent the car behind overtaking.... and yep, that didn't stop them! I think the corner is jinxed. The most worrying thing I have seen so far in general however is the amount of drivers who are happy to overtake over a solid white line on a blind corner/crest. Is it really that much of a bother to wait 30 seconds on a Sunday for a safe place to pass?

    Ah well, I'm sure all you regulars have seen plenty of threads of people ranting about drivers so I will leave it there!
  • dai_t75
    dai_t75 Posts: 189
    Just an update for anyone having similar issues...

    Did 22 miles this morning (more or less same ride as one that gave me numbness in my hand previously), and I didn't have any numbness in my hands :)

    It may be down to a couple of factors:
    I did move my hand positions around quite a bit which I think was the main factor.
    I did also tip my saddle back slightly to try and take some weight off my hands... however this lead to some issues with my sensitive area so that is going back flat for tomorrow!

    Hopefully the changing hand positions will keep me from getting any numbness on its own.

    Also, once again, saw some outrageous driving... and I know it wasn't my fault because I was in the middle of the lane, but there we are!
  • FlacVest
    FlacVest Posts: 100
    1) For hand tingling, how much are you drinking?

    I found that it was not pressure on a nerve, or pressure on hands in general, but me drinking too much and diluting my blood. Once I read this and decided to try it out, I haven't had any tingling since... and I've been constantly riding harder and faster since I started.

    I only drink before and after a ride now, really; or a couple of swigs max, unless it's 90 outside and I'm sweating profusely. Wait until you really feel like you should drink; your body will let you know.

    2) For the seat, it took maybe 2 weeks or riding or so? If you're sitting correctly, you'll be on your sit bones and shouldn't feel anything at all.

    Sit back on the seat and roll your hips forward; I have to sit up on the nose when in the aero position and can instantly tell when I'm sliding up farther than I need to due to discomfort.

    I'd also actually measure what my arse is and get the right saddle rather than trial and error.