Although the whole process of riding is enjoyable, there are serious concerns associated with cycling. For example, neck pain.
The below article will address the six road bike postures that will cause neck pain and some viable solutions to address the issue. Read on and avoid them for a better cycling experience.
Main Reasons for Neck Pain during Road Cycling
If you are wondering why you are feeling that stiff and sore neck while riding, the following are some reasons why you should change that riding style:
- Bike fit. If your handlebar is too low, you will strain more to look ahead, and thus, result in more tension around the neck. Remember that your neck has to support your head regardless of the position, and adding that extra strain will weaken the muscles, leading to pain.
- Seat position. A lower seat will be comfortable for a short rider. A tall saddle is ideal for a taller person. A short person riding on a high seat will bend more, resulting in more strain to look ahead, leading to aggravated neck pain. On the other hand, a tall person riding on a shorter seat puts more pressure on the spine. The extra duress gets transmitted to the neck, hence more strain and pain.
- The width of handlebars. If your bike’s handlebars are too broad, your neck muscles strain to support the extra torso load. The extra pressure leads to strain and ultimately a feeling of discomfort or pain.
- Weak muscles. Although road cycling is a form of exercise, riding for a long distance will ultimately lead to neck pain if you have weak neck muscles.
You will therefore have to exercise your neck muscles more for extra strength.
6 Road Bike Postures That Will Cause You Neck Pain
The position you create while cycling affects the weight distribution, and the muscles have to adjust accordingly to form an unnatural posture that enables you to see the road ahead. The position you create can be extreme, leading to strain and neck pain. The following riding postures cause neck pain.
1. Cycling On a High Saddle
Although most road bikes enable you to adjust the seat to your preferred height, you may feel that you want a higher seat position to generate more power.
A high saddle means that you will have to bend more to reach the handlebars. Consequently, to have a clear view of the road ahead, you will have to adjust the position of your head by raising it higher.
If you ride in this position for too long, your neck will struggle to hold the weight of your head. The consistent strain leads to neck pain.
If you ride in this position regularly, you may end up having a long-term problem that may prevent future cycling. Adjust your saddle position according to your height, and prevent this problem.
2. Riding On a Too Short or Too High Handlebar
The height of the handlebar, either too high or too short, affects the whole riding experience. A short handlebar will make you bend more, and you will have to raise your head more to have a clear view of the road ahead. You ultimately strain your neck muscles more and enhance the chances of getting neck pain.
On the other hand, a high handlebar will leave your arms hanging because they will not get stretched out adequately. You will, therefore, struggle to support the weight of your arms, leading to a feeling of discomfort around your shoulders and neck.
If you maintain this position for a long time, you are bound to feel some pain in your neck.
3. Riding Using a Wide Handlebar
When you sit on a bike with a wide handlebar, your arms tend to stretch out wide. Most often, the load of your arms will strain your shoulders muscles. First, you will get tired fast, and if you continue riding, the strain spreads out to your neck muscles.
Consequently, your start feeling the pain build up on your neck because you will struggle to support your arms while cycling. To help avoid this issue, make sure you buy a bike that features a handlebar that accommodates the overall size of your arms. It should not be too narrow or wide.
Remember that you can only change the height of the handlebar and not the width. Consult with the bike manufacturer to order a handlebar that fits your size.
4. Consistent Bending
Most road cycling enthusiasts, especially professional riders, have the sole aim of attaining high speeds. One common way of realizing a high momentum is pedalling fast.
However, some cyclists tend to bend to generate more power and create a streamlined position that helps reduce the force created by wind.
Although you will attain a high speed, bending will hurt your backbone. It is true if you ride at this position for longer durations.
Your spine connects with your neck muscles, and since you will have to raise your head more to have a clear view, it ultimately leads to strain and, consequently, pain.
5. An Upright Position Can Also Be Fatal
What happens if you sit in an upright position for a long time without stretching? You will feel a certain discomfort from the bottom of your spine up to the back of your head. It is also true while cycling.
If you ride your road bike in an upright position for a long duration without subsequent breaks, be sure to experience neck pain because all the strain gets transmitted from your spine to the neck muscles. You will find it hard to concentrate on the road ahead, and much energy will be lost trying to balance your body on the bike.
To help avoid this issue, take regular breaks if you wish to cover more distance. Alternatively, adjust your body into different positions.
6. Leaning Backward
Riding for a long duration means your spine may get tired to hold your body into position. For example, if you bend a lot while cycling, the spine gets strained. To help reduce the strain on your spine, some cyclists tend to lean back while riding.
The result becomes stretched out arms, and the head hangs backward. The stretched-out arms create more load, and the extra weight spreads to your shoulders and neck region. It leads to neck discomfort.
On the other hand, your head leans backward, which means your neck will have to hold the weight of your head. If your head is heavy, your neck will only keep it in place for a short duration before you start feeling some pain. It is, therefore, advisable to avoid riding in this position for a long time.
The above six postures that will cause neck pain should be avoided at all costs if you wish to enjoy cycling for a long time. Avoid leaning backward, riding in an upright position for a long time, and bending a lot while pedalling.
Additionally, ensure you adjust your handlebar and seat to fit your height. To help reduce the extra strain, take regular bikes to enable your muscles to relax.
The basics are always important. Here are 13 dos and don’ts for beginner road cyclists.