“Hand Issues” – adjustments being made to bike

April 30, 2012

Overdue post here, haven’t published much lately.

Have been experiencing “hand issues” lately on the bike, little bit of issues with numbing fingers, some hand pain, etc.  I’ve read quite a bit, so I’m able to diagnose the problem as too much weight on my hands due to my riding posture, impeding the nerves in the hand.

My bike is a decent fit for me for somewhat “shorter” rides (maybe up to 20, 25 miles), but as the ride extends, discomfort increases unduly.  I’ve come to realize that my handlebars are a little bit too far from the saddle, which forces me to put more weight on my hands than I’d like (I’m a heavy/overweight person, so this isn’t a great thing).  Ideal would be to move the saddle up a little, but my feet/legs are already about as far forward on the pedal as I’d like them to be.

I’m addressing this problem with a 2-part approach.  First, I had some handlebar extenders placed on the ends of the bars, as shown below.

This enables me to even further switch up my grip periodically, beyond what I already do (and which clearly isn’t quite enough).  At the same time, I’ve bought a slightly better pair of cycling gloves with better gel padding than what I’ve been using.

This all went down a week ago or so.  Since then, I’ve put some miles on, and this is definitely helping.  But, it’s still not fully there, so the second part of the solution is to have the LBS (local bike shop) attach a handlebar extender to the stem.  I looked over a few options, and the one I like has a two-pronged approach; one, it brings the handlebars up a little closer to the rider (extending the stem along its axis), and two, it has an adjustable/lockable swivel which allows the user to tilt the bars themselves closer to or further from the rider.  I’m having this portion added to the bike in the next several days.

I’m very hopeful that this will substantially do away with the hand issues I’ve been experiencing and make the longer rides much more comfortable, flexible, and stress-free.  The absolutely ideal outcome, which I am fervently wishing for, is that the flexibility in that stem extender will allow me to actually move my saddle back just a touch and up just a touch – which wouldn’t really be feasible now because of the weight/hands issue.  The reason this is ideal is to give my legs just that tiny bit more extension as well as allow for a more preferable placement of the foot on the petal.  This in turn can hopefully allow me to add a clipless pedal set to the bike, something I’ve wanted from early days.  This will greatly help my riding speed and effective power transfer.

Will update when this extender is in place, and I’ve taken a couple shakedown rides with it in place.

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2 Responses to ““Hand Issues” – adjustments being made to bike”

  1. Randy said

    Is that photo accurate? Saddle looks *way* low. Not to mention your tail light isn’t doing much good there.

    When I first started riding an upright bike, and coming from a history of hand issues, I actually rode for awhile with the bar ends turned around, facing me. Looked kind of goofy, but it really let me sit up straight. Eventually, I was able to ride comfortably with the bar ends in the normal position, and later, with drop bars.

    Numerous options for hand positions, and changing positions often, is a good thing…

  2. The photo is pretty accurate. Yes, my seat is definitely lower than most I’ve seen. But, if I raise it, I’m just aggravating the issue that exists – which is too much weight coming down on my hands on the handlebars. As-is, there’s already a lot of weight coming down. I suppose some of it could be my posture, although since the issues began, I’ve done a pretty decent job of sitting up much straighter to ride. It’s helped, but not 100%.

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