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 Post subject: Pins and Needles
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:41 pm 
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Not sure where general questions for now the locker room it is!

Any tips or hints on not leaning so much on the bars? Went for a 30miler at the weekend. At one point my right hand just got pins and needles. I've tried to consciously think about my riding position, just wondering if there's anything more I can do?

Ravenbait I had to lower the seat from where you positioned it, although it gave optimum power to the legs, I found my stop starts tricky. Will raise it again once I get this sussed.


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 Post subject: Re: Pins and Needles
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:32 am 
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I can maybe help with this. Since my wrist was broken, I've had a problem with pain and numbness (though not pins & needles, so a caveat that it may be something completely different). It's particularly awkward with the tandem, but I guess I'm working my hand harder there.

Raising your saddle will put more weight on your hands, so you need to think about how you're managing that.

Do you wear mitts? I found out the hard way that more padding does not equal better. But having a couple of pairs on board of different design means that you can switch when your hands are numb to put the pressure somewhere different. Of course, there is also the option of riding without mitts, so that's three different options from having one spare pair of mitts. In 2009, I had to change every ten miles while touring, which was tedious, but at least staved off the worst of the pain.

Bars is your next consideration. Are your bars the right width for you? I'm ashamed to say mine aren't - my tourer's are a bit narrow (and have been since I bought the bike 15 years ago), and my fixed commuter's are a tad wide. But having the right width means you have the pressure planted optimally, and not putting excess strain on particular muscles/pads. Ah - that reminds me - bar tape. I use Specialized Bar Phat, which works well, though I am still not convinced of the value of the gel pads for me. For other people, they work well, and you may want to consider using the well-reviewed (but slightly pricier) Marsas. I've never used it, so I can't comment. Most comfortable I've ever used was Velogrip closed cell foam, but it isn't available any more. Don't go for any other foam products.

Consider also your hand position on the bars. I like to have the top section of my bars absolutely flat, and in line with my brake hood tops. I'm ashamed to say that I tend to ride on the hoods all the time, rather than move my hands about, which is much better. I used to have a set of Middlemores randonneur bars, which had about six different hand positions - all comfortable. But it's hard to get randonneurs any more (I don't regard the Nittos as a 'true' randy). That said, there is a wider range of bars available now than there have ever been, and it is worth having a think about something like the 'Dirt Drop' style (I know DDs aren't actually available any more, but I can't remember what the other brands around are) or other variants.

With regard to bar position, I mentioned I had the bars horizontal at the top. Not quite true. When my hand pain was at its worst, I tipped them upwards slightly, which will upset purists, but made the difference between riding & not riding. Consider also raising your bars slightly until you become more accustomed to your new saddle height. This is a bit cruder with Aheadsets than quill stems, but is still another thing you might want to try.

While we're on stems, check the reach on your bike. You may be over-extended, and want to try a shorter stem. Hard to determine at a distance, but have a think about it, and ask someone knowledgeable to have a look at your position on the bike.

Hmm. That's probably a lot to take in for now, and there's probably a lot more I could have mentioned, but see how you get on. I hope at least some of it helps.

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 Post subject: Re: Pins and Needles
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:58 am 
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Get the saddle height correct first. If that hurts the wrists etc then raise the bars to deal with that. Wrong saddle height won't do your knees any good and that's a problem you DON'T want!

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 Post subject: Re: Pins and Needles
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:04 am 
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Good point, heretic, but it might be a bit of a catch-22 if there isn't some kind of mitigation of the pain, because Puzzle wouldn't be riding.

One more comment - painkillers. As much of the pain is from swelling, NSAIDs like ibuprofen can be a help. I forgot to mention it because I shouldn't take them because of my asthma.

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 Post subject: Re: Pins and Needles
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:14 pm 
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Pins n needles is usually too much weight on the ulnar nerve. There are a few ways to deal with it that I'm familiar with:

First, raise or bring closer (or both) your handlebars. That tilts your upper-body up, puts more weight on your arse and less on your hands.

Second, try various grips; with varying success I've used bar phat (chicken-fillet gel under bar tape) and lots of ergonomic grips - personal choice on what to use.

Third, get buff. I notice that my hand problems are worst when I'm either Captain Pies or fatigued (which is when your core muscles just slump and you sit like a sack of spuds). These may not apply if you're a yogababa.

Fourth, ride more actively. Novice riders tend to sit spudlike anyway, and don't take so much of their weight on the pedals -- with a chunk of weight on those, and your hips lighter, it's trivial to float over cobbles and stuff too, and you use your arms and torso a lot more. Practice by trying to float your arse a teenieth of an inch over the saddle, just "unweighting" it, and you'll see what I'm on about.

Fifth, N+1! I think you have a flat-bar bike. They're generally intended for fairly short rides (not entirely, of course, my mile-eating workhorse is a flattie). A drop-handlebar bike gives you four or so hand positions to change between all the time -- that's why most long-distance riders like drops.

Finally, you could just deal with it. I've had it for years (I am the Posture Apocalypse). Still did LEJOG and Dumb and all that, on that bike, because that bike is just a good ride and I like it. Sit up often and ride one-handed, shake the tingle out, stop from time to time.

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 Post subject: Re: Pins and Needles
PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:02 pm 
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Thanks for all the hints and tips......

Increased distance this weekend a 40miler - the problem was more significantly noticeable. (I may be more aware)

Options considering.....

Drop Bars
Bar Ends - To help move hand position
Core - Concentrating more during work out to build up
New Bike! Ha Not a serious one just now but one further down the road (I have an inherited bike so it isn't ideal)
Ravenbait - Bend ear :)


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 Post subject: Re: Pins and Needles
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:44 am 
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Bars are personal, my Mrs prefers drops for the number of hand positions but that's your choice. Beware that drop bar shifters and SOME flat bar types have different cable pulls so the gear indexing may not be compatible. There are ways but it's more hassle and expense if you don't do the homework first. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Pins and Needles
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:15 pm 
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Puzzle's gears need some fettling anyway, so Im not sure that it would be such a bad idea to add drop bars, and fix up the gears..

Except that a new bike might be cheaper :)


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 Post subject: Re: Pins and Needles
PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:14 pm 
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A new bike might well be cheaper. Is the saddle still set fairly low?

Sam

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 Post subject: Re: Pins and Needles
PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:47 am 
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It's higher than it was from when you initially saw it, but I think you would still class it as low.


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 Post subject: Re: Pins and Needles
PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:27 am 
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Switching to drops is, indeed, often cheaper and nicer to do by getting NEW SHINY BIKE. Plus you then have ANOTHER BIKE YAY.

(Shifters are expensive, then there's bars, stem, cables, bar tape, and you probably need to bodge the brakes to work with the 'wrong' levers using something like a travel-agent cam)

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 Post subject: Re: Pins and Needles
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:20 am 
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Andy, you've convinved me that I need n+1, and I already have drops! :grin:

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 Post subject: Re: Pins and Needles
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:57 am 
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Talking of N+1, I'm re-enamelling an ancient Viscount sports frame. Judging by the junk in the scrap box it'll end up as a fixed or a Sturmey 3 speed. :oops:

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