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· I lowered my cholesterol!
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I've been riding a road bike since August 2004. I've logged about 6200 miles. I'm 52 so I chose a bike more conducive to my age and what I planned to do, and that was ride pretty much flat trails for fitness and heart health (Specialized Roubaix). At purchase, I elected to reverse the stem for more incline to my handle bars. I began by almost exclusively riding with my hands on the hoods, but last fall I began to stay in the drops almost all the time, for aerodynamics, speed and for comfort (I was surprised, my back could stand it). My problem now is that my typical long weekend ride will be from 40 to 60 miles long, and the positioning puts more pressure on my seat, creating more numbness in the crouch and later in my hands. I tried flipping the stem to return to the hoods, but I experienced far too much pressure on my hands and a feeling of falling forward. For those of you without aero bars, where to you place your hands most of the ride? Are these irritants simply the result of longer and longer rides. By the way, I don't take it easy out there. My average speed is 19+ MPH.
 

· Cycling
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my 0.2

longer rides might have something to do with it, but, how about looking into a different saddle, or using spacers to move up the bar slightly, not like with flipping your stem where it will move a great amount. Try using many positions too.....change it up every 5 min or so.....I find that in races if you want an aero position that dosnt hurt your hands do this:

Rest your forearms on the top of your HB then grab your brake cables......making sure that if you are moving them that the movement is towards you. You get the benifits of aerobars, w/o the cost..........i have used this move in more than 3/4 of my races and it defineitely works.
Just be careful over potholes.

You could also try a different HB.(AKA flat top) I am now using the winwood road scholar HB and i am in love with it. It has anotomical shapes throughout. And the drops are much shallower than normal bars, which i find more comfortable. There are flats right befores the hoods which is very nice, and on the drops it has that raised section which some people like.

Other bars to try:

Winwood road scholar
FSA Kwing or plasma
ITM k sword
Easton ec70 winged
etc
 

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I'm confused why can't you use the hoods when you have flipped your stem? On all rides even short ones I alternate my position quite a bit.

My latest favorite position though is what I'll call the wheelbarrow where you just grip the very end of the bars in the drops, which to me always reminds me of pushing a wheelbarrow. :D I save in the drops for sprints, downhills, riding into the wind and tight corners.
 

· I lowered my cholesterol!
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I can use the hood position, but it's no longer as comfortable as it used to be. I do mix up my hand positions but more in the last ten miles. I've started going back up to the hoods on inclines. Quite frankly, if I didn't have the stem flipped I almost have to stay locked on the hoods for long rides. I am sure that I need to do some tweaking. Overall, I guess my ride is pretty comfortable considering. The price you pay for going longer and longer.
 

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Try moving the seat back

rickreyn said:
I've been riding a road bike since August 2004. I've logged about 6200 miles. I'm 52 so I chose a bike more conducive to my age and what I planned to do, and that was ride pretty much flat trails for fitness and heart health (Specialized Roubaix). At purchase, I elected to reverse the stem for more incline to my handle bars. I began by almost exclusively riding with my hands on the hoods, but last fall I began to stay in the drops almost all the time, for aerodynamics, speed and for comfort (I was surprised, my back could stand it). My problem now is that my typical long weekend ride will be from 40 to 60 miles long, and the positioning puts more pressure on my seat, creating more numbness in the crouch and later in my hands. I tried flipping the stem to return to the hoods, but I experienced far too much pressure on my hands and a feeling of falling forward. For those of you without aero bars, where to you place your hands most of the ride? Are these irritants simply the result of longer and longer rides. By the way, I don't take it easy out there. My average speed is 19+ MPH.
You get the feeling that you're falling forward, it's possibile that your seat might be too far forward. On cyclingnews.com, the coaches talk about passive stabilization of your pelvis. If you have your seat positioned according to their guide, you should be able to be down in the drops and then take your hands off the bars and stay balanced momentarily.

If your butt isn't stable on the seat, you'll slide forward on the seat and will be sitting on soft tissue instead of your sit bones. This also puts pressure on your hands and upper body. I had this same problem trying to fit my bike earlier this year. By their guidelines, my seat is further back than KOPS (knee over pedal spindle) says it should be. But it works, haven't had any problems with numbness since I moved it back. Just rode the 100mi Tour De Cure this weekend (the longest I've ridden at once), with no problems. My hands get numb sometimes when I'm racing, when I grip the bar too tight.

Hope this helps, the article on Cycling news is here
There is quite a library of information about bike fit and positioning. Definitely worth skimming over.

-Jeff
 

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rickreyn said:
I've been riding a road bike since August 2004. I've logged about 6200 miles. I'm 52 so I chose a bike more conducive to my age and what I planned to do, and that was ride pretty much flat trails for fitness and heart health (Specialized Roubaix). At purchase, I elected to reverse the stem for more incline to my handle bars. I began by almost exclusively riding with my hands on the hoods, but last fall I began to stay in the drops almost all the time, for aerodynamics, speed and for comfort (I was surprised, my back could stand it). My problem now is that my typical long weekend ride will be from 40 to 60 miles long, and the positioning puts more pressure on my seat, creating more numbness in the crouch and later in my hands. I tried flipping the stem to return to the hoods, but I experienced far too much pressure on my hands and a feeling of falling forward. For those of you without aero bars, where to you place your hands most of the ride? Are these irritants simply the result of longer and longer rides. By the way, I don't take it easy out there. My average speed is 19+ MPH.
trying moving the seat forward to eliminate the crotch problem.
 

· Cannot bench own weight
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I'm in the "move seat back" crowd.

I had same issues of sore wrists/shoulders/arms and always felt like I was keeping myself from falling forward. Started moving the seat back and what do you know, after about 1cm of adjustment I feel much much better.

Doesn't hurt to tinker...
 

· classiquesklassieker
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rickreyn said:
I've been riding a road bike since August 2004. I've logged about 6200 miles. I'm 52 so I chose a bike more conducive to my age and what I planned to do, and that was ride pretty much flat trails for fitness and heart health (Specialized Roubaix). At purchase, I elected to reverse the stem for more incline to my handle bars. I began by almost exclusively riding with my hands on the hoods, but last fall I began to stay in the drops almost all the time, for aerodynamics, speed and for comfort (I was surprised, my back could stand it). My problem now is that my typical long weekend ride will be from 40 to 60 miles long, and the positioning puts more pressure on my seat, creating more numbness in the crouch and later in my hands. I tried flipping the stem to return to the hoods, but I experienced far too much pressure on my hands and a feeling of falling forward. For those of you without aero bars, where to you place your hands most of the ride? Are these irritants simply the result of longer and longer rides. By the way, I don't take it easy out there. My average speed is 19+ MPH.
BINGO! When exerting a lot of force/torque down the legs, the human body has a preferred position, and that position is usually not the most upright position on the bike. This is because the rest of your body has to support the force/torque so that you don't fall off the bike. Those who insist that more upright always means more comfort should try putting in a decent effort on a beach cruiser: it will most likely hurt your back! Thanks for sharing the experience.

Regarding your question, I have found that saddle angle can have a great effect on your happiness. Mine is tilted slightly nose-down.

Where you put your hand is personal preference, but I usually rotate between positions unconsciously. When putting in a hard solo effort, I have gotten comfortable with my arms mimicking an aero position, even without the aero bar there. Yes, diminished handling for sure, and that is why I do it only in solo efforts with no traffic.
 

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RowRonin said:
You get the feeling that you're falling forward...
-Jeff
Thanks Row, I've had this same problem forever. When I was a kid I could ride my bike with no hands, no prob. Know I can't. The reason is when I move my hands off my bike I fall forward. I also have to continuously change my hand position due to pain. I'm going to definitely try moving the seat back.
 

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Your seat is too far forwards. Here is an experiment to show why you need to have your seat back to get weight off your hands:

Stand with your back to a wall. Put your heels against the wall. Now lean over so your torso is parallel to the floor.

After you pick yourself up off the floor, try it again, but with your heels a foot away from the wall. Now you can mean over and balance there easily. It's because you can move your butt back to counterbalance the weight of your upper body.

If you get penile numbness, you have a seat that is not the right shape for you. Tilting the seat down is a bad idea. You slide forwards. Then you aren't back far enough, putting more weight on your hands. If you are forward on the seat, you will be sitting on the narrow part of the seat, putting more weight on your pudendal nerve and less on the sit bones. That makes the numbness problem worse. Some people cope with a downsloped seat by constantly pushing themselves back, but that tires the arms.

One way to reduce numbness is to get off the saddle every once in a while. I use small rises as an excuse to stand and pedal. That lets some blood back in to the dangly bits and also uses slightly different muscles, so your legs get a break too.
 

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Pressure on hands and wrists?

I don't really believe it is a fore and aft answer, it is a tilt answer. Tilting the saddle a little nose high will force you to roll your hips rearward, getting some weight off your hands and your body balanced on the bike, front to rear. Also when you have more core and abdominal strength riding no hands becomes alot easier. Just be careful some bikes front ends get squirelly when you un-weight them.
 

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cycling said:
Rest your forearms on the top of your HB then grab your brake cables......making sure that if you are moving them that the movement is towards you. You get the benifits of aerobars, w/o the cost..........i have used this move in more than 3/4 of my races and it defineitely works.
Just be careful over potholes.
ive only done that and seen it when riders are either off the back and dead tired trying to save some energy and TT back on. or are off the front and trying to tt and save some energy and increase a solo lead. i personally dont have enough control/peace on mind in that position to ride in the middle of a group like that.....i do it slightly different though, i rest my forearms where the pads of a tt bike or tribars would go, but then i hold my hands together by interlocking my fingers, or if im really tired i let my hands flop down. im gonna try that holding the brake cables thing though, but what if you have campy? wait, wouldnt you be grapping the shift cables? maybe im confused, im not looking at a bike.
 

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It could be many things. Ultimately, I don't think there's nearly enough info in the original post to "diagnose" anything.

Technically, you should be riding with a seat that doesn't require any tilting at all. If you have to tilt it to make it more comfortable, then it's not the seat for you. People don't get this. Tilt it nose down and now instead of the seat supporting you, your hands and arms are. Tilting the nose up to "get some weight off your hands" isn't practical. Of course it will "force you to roll your hips rearward" because with the nose pointed up into your crotch, you're gonna try to avoid that by rolling your hips back. In the short trip around the block it might seem to work, but after your 40-60 mile ride you're going to be having many other issues. Rolling your hips back will probably cause your back to curve (effectively shortening your torso) and make the bike feel longer and more stretched out. Now you've opened a whole other can of worms.

From the original post, I'm getting that you're riding 40-60 miles in the drops. This is a long time to be in the drops, especially for a recreational cyclist. If you get a chance to watch some pro races on t.v. , you will notice that pros are now riding on the hoods much more often (even when hammering in a paceline). They're hoods have slowly crept up and back on the handlebars. Don't place too much strain on yourself just for the sake of being "aero". Just because you're "aero" doesn't mean you're going to be faster. This is especially true on those longer rides. It's a law of diminishing returns. After a while, your muscles begin to ache and produce less power.

One thing I don't think anyone has mentioned is stem length. If your stem is too long, it would also be the cause of you feeling like you're "falling forward" and would cause you to roll your hips forward too far, causing that numbess "down below". A stem that's slightly shorter while it's in flipped position (given that everything else is in a CORRECT position) might be a solution.

Ultimately, it may just be that you're not using the resources that are being offered to you by your current handlebars. Again, 60 miles in the drops is a LONG time. Most people would get that discomfort in the crotch and hands. Try switching it up a bit for an inexpensive experiment.
 

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rickreyn said:
I can use the hood position, but it's no longer as comfortable as it used to be. I do mix up my hand positions but more in the last ten miles.
Changing hand positions is important throughout the longer ride. If you only do it toward the end of the ride, your positioning pains are already in progress. Changing positions is a preventative measure. You might also try changing neck positions & subtle neck stretches during longer rides, as some hand numbness may be caused/worsened by neck strains.
Personally- I have no prob's with 20-45mi rides, but hand numbness &/or neck issues can start to bug me on metrics (100k) or centuries (100mi).

Also- you might try different gloves. Well-fitting gloves with a bit of padding can be a Godsend, but ill-fit gloves with padding in the wrong place can make things worse than no gloves at all.
 
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