Even when you love being on your bike out on the roads or trails, after a time it can feel like a torture device! Aches and pains in certain places can make it hard to want to get back in the saddle! But this is not a normal part of cycling. It means your bike has not been adjusted so that it becomes more of an extension of your body. It does not mean after a long ride you won’t have some soreness, that is normal, but not so much that you are completely uncomfortable. You can have a bike fit at a shop and you can also find some great options online with a virtual bike fit. Here is a look at some of the more common pains and issues a cyclist complains of and what adjustment might help.
Sore or even numb hands
If you are experiencing numb hands it is very possible this is from having your set moved forwards too much. Most saddles are on a rail so they can slide forwards or backwards. Try sliding yours back by 1 or 2 cms. You can also try raising your handlebar or make the stem longer. For every couple of mm you move the saddle backwards, let down the seat a mm to compensate for moving away from the pedals. Try to adjust it so the seat is level too as if it is tipped forwards you are sliding forwards and placing more pressure on your hands.
Crotch and butt pain
You should be sitting so the majority of your weight is on the part that is at the wide part of the saddle. If you have pain in your crotch you could be putting too much pressure in the wrong place. Lower the seat by 3mm and then test it and keep lowering until you have the weight off the crotch and in the area of your sit bones. An online bike fit can also help you achieve this. You might just have a saddle that is not best for your shape so consider whether you need one with a wider back.
Foot numbness or a hot spot
Riding in trainers can lead to foot issues so get big platform pedals so your feet are better supported or change into using running and cycling shoes. If the problem is the forefoot then you need to tighten your shoes in a different way starting at the ankle and then moving towards the toes. You can also adjust the cleats back more to the heel. Begin with 5mm and work from there to see if that takes off some of the pressure. If you do end up moving the cleat you will also need to adjust the seat down by half that amount. A virtual bike fit can help you narrow down the issue. If it is the arch or on the outside of the foot you might need to add more arch support with different insoles.
The front of the knee – If the pain is at the front then your seat could be too high or too low. Try lifting or lowering until you feel the pressure ease. If there is inflammation and persistent pain see your doctor and take it easier for a couple of weeks.
The sides of the knee – If the pain is on the outside then your feet may be placed in too narrow a position. Some modern pedals are narrow like that. You can move the cleats towards the inner foot. You should check the angle of the cleat.
The back of the knee – It is not as common to have pain here but this is often because of a seat that is too high.
Pain in the hips or lower back
There are a few things that can cause pain in this area that an online bike fit can fix. The seat may be too far forwards, the reach to the bar is too much, the seat is too high or the bar might be too low.