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Descender
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Can't say there is an easy answer for this one. Here some things you should consider.

- You should try to ride with your shoulders / neck and upper body as relaxed as possible. You are wasting energy if you are tense up top. Further you are absobing punishment from the road if you are tense. Your energy should be generated from your core and legs / sometimes arms in bike handling.

- You should know that your bike fits you properly. This includes bar width, stem length, top tube length as they all relate to your shoulders and neck. Also consider seat to bar drop - some people require a higher bar position than others.

These criteria are a good place to start - post again if all of the above are addressed and you still have a problem.

Good Luck
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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loudog said:
how much is shoulder and neck pain an unavoidable part of cycling? thoughts, comments, and suggestions for alleviation much appreciated.
Assuming no underlying physical issues and a proper bike fit, IMO shoulder and neck pain should be no more expected than knee or lower back pain, among others.

Making a very general statement, the usual cause is too much saddle to bar drop for a given rider, but reach can play a part as well. I currently have about a 5.5 cm drop, some riders have double that, and others none. It depends on experience and flexibility, but other factors as well.

If you post more info (what bike/ any recent changes to bike set up/ where do you normally place your hands on the bars/ how long riding/ ever had a bike fit....) I think you'll get better feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
dropping my bars 2cm relieved some discomfort and i think it extended my reach enough so i wasnt as bunched up. the LBS tried to tell me that shoulder and neck pain was unavoidable - despite the fact that i demo'd several bikes recently that caused no problems on 30mi rides. i've been trying to dial in a recent build and i am having a hard time - just cant get the shouder/neck pain to go away and its not just a little uncomfortable - i will pay 2-3 days post ride with left neck and peri-scapular pain.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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loudog said:
dropping my bars 2cm relieved some discomfort and i think it extended my reach enough so i wasnt as bunched up. the LBS tried to tell me that shoulder and neck pain was unavoidable - despite the fact that i demo'd several bikes recently that caused no problems on 30mi rides. i've been trying to dial in a recent build and i am having a hard time - just cant get the shouder/neck pain to go away and its not just a little uncomfortable - i will pay 2-3 days post ride with left neck and peri-scapular pain.
Your LBS is making questionable statements, and that's being nice. :)
However, you are confusing the issue by saying you dropped the bars 2 cm's to correct this issue. Most people find raising the bars to be the remedy.

Three options come to mind. You mentioned demo'ing a few bikes that were comfortable. Maybe go back to those shops and take some measurements, trying to duplicate them on your current ride, if possible. Also consider making an appt with a certified bike fitter. Last, if lowering the bars helped, consider a 1cm shorter stem, unless you've already done that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
i was fitted by a certified fitter and i know the lowering of the bar usually makes it worse - not the usual stuff here. i feel like my cockpit was too small and lowering the bars increased my reach enough to make it feel good. thing that irritates me is i special ordered this frame based on my fitting and now feel a bit stuck. anyway, getting refitted today and i'll see how it goes.
 

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loudog said:
i was fitted by a certified fitter and i know the lowering of the bar usually makes it worse - not the usual stuff here. i feel like my cockpit was too small and lowering the bars increased my reach enough to make it feel good. thing that irritates me is i special ordered this frame based on my fitting and now feel a bit stuck. anyway, getting refitted today and i'll see how it goes.

FYI, most would go with a longer stem if they feel cramped...Sorry but dropping the bars is only going to increase shoulder and neck pain IMHO....
 

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Dave Hickey said:
FYI, most would go with a longer stem if they feel cramped...Sorry but dropping the bars is only going to increase shoulder and neck pain IMHO....
Agreed. Dropping the bars was one way to make you feel less cramped, but increases the set-bar drop, which usually aggravates neck & shoulder pain. If they dropped the bars by flipping the stem, it might have been a way to make you feel less cramped without buying a different stem. My bikes have almost no seat-bar drop, and I like them that way. A speedy, aerodynamic, low-bar position is no good if you're not racing and in pain. A new stem with minimal seat-bar drop might help both your pain issue AND your cramped cockpit.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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loudog said:
i was fitted by a certified fitter and i know the lowering of the bar usually makes it worse - not the usual stuff here. i feel like my cockpit was too small and lowering the bars increased my reach enough to make it feel good. thing that irritates me is i special ordered this frame based on my fitting and now feel a bit stuck. anyway, getting refitted today and i'll see how it goes.
A cramped cockpit isn't going to work. It's good that you're having a refitting, preferably by someone else.

Hopefully a shorter stem will at least help to remedy the problem, but I'd bring the bars back up as well. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

EDIT: Sorry, I meant longer stem..
 

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I relieved my neck and shoulder pain by going with a longer stem and dropping the stem a bit. This allowed me to open up and kind of lay on the bars (best words I can think of) rather than constantly pushing back on the bars (resulting in stiff rather than loose arms) which hurt my shoulders and neck. YMMV.

Edit: And I have arthritis in my mid-thoracic area of my back so this more open position results in less jarring coming through stiff arms and into my back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
ok, dropped the bars some more and added 1cm to the stem. ended up with 5cm set to bar drop. i'm not convinced i will be riding pain free. going to do 40mi tonite and i am sure i will find out then.
 

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Thought

loudog said:
ok, dropped the bars some more and added 1cm to the stem. ended up with 5cm set to bar drop. i'm not convinced i will be riding pain free. going to do 40mi tonite and i am sure i will find out then.
Probably should do one thing at a time, dontcha think? Just a thought. Personally, I would add the extra 1cm to the stem and try it out first. Then consider dropping the bars. Might want to think about stretching out your shoulders a bit before you start, too. Helps get into the loose feeling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
youre right. one change at a time. i spent about 1.5h on the trainer at LBS with the fitting and tried several positions already. i can add spacers if i need to.

hard to say what works during a fitting is still going to feel good on mile 30.
 

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about drop...

loudog said:
ok, dropped the bars some more and added 1cm to the stem. ended up with 5cm set to bar drop. i'm not convinced i will be riding pain free. going to do 40mi tonite and i am sure i will find out then.

What peopel think is a significant drop varies a lot. At age 55, I'm using 10.5cm. I couldn't imagine having my bars that high.
 

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Man, I'm Awesome
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Lowering the bars will make it worse, you will be having to look "up" more just to see straight ahead, and you will be putting more pressure on your arms.

You should raise the bars.
 

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I'm not sure who convinced you that lowering your bars is a good thing but shoulder/neck pain is usually related to too much bar drop......

Sliding your saddle back will increase seat/bar distance too but it's screws up other things so it's a terrible way of increasing saddle/bar distance....dropping the bar when you are experiencing neck pain is the same thing...it makes no sense......
 

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Frog Whisperer
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quick questions...do you wear glasses?...particularly bifocals? and do you use a rearview clipped to your helmet or glasses? Both contribute to my neck and shoulder pain I know this for sure.

Also..a visor on a helmet can exacerbate the issue.
 
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