Added the old stem extension to her today. Raised the bars about 2" above the saddle. Hitched up the dog trailer and took the mutt for a 20km ride while the lad was at soccer training.
Inside of 5km, my fingers were going numb
Interestingly, it started in a different place to before (thumb this time). Also, it reached a point of 'numbness' that was really no worse than really bad pins and needles, then didn't get any worse. That's over a non-stop 20km ride.
I'm now forced to wonder if yesterday's ride, had it been done in one hit instead of broken in the middle, might not have produced a similar result ie, numb hands but only to a certain point.
So, raising the bars isn't the answer.
I was also interested to note that the vagueness in the steering I noted when I tried this with drop bars was there but, as expected, the wider mtb bars coped will with that.
I also noted that due to the short reach, it was difficult to ride with any appreciable bend in the elbows. It's also interesting to note that the most comfortable df bikes in the fleet stretch me out.
I am led to conclude that once the bars get to saddle height, reach is your friend, not height. Reach allows you to lean forward with a decent bend in your elbows and it's this bend combined with a flexible abdomen that reduces weight and stress on your hands and shoulders.
Once again, the fact that I was sold a frame that was too small has caused problems because the top tube is simply not long enough to provide me with adequate reach. Yes, I am fighting a physical problem, but that is simply serving to highlight the inadequacies of an overly short bike.
Yeah mate, I can see you sitting there nodding smugly. We proved all this with the Jamis didn't we.
In one respect, I'm glad tonight's experiment didn't work, because the old girl looks bloody awful with the stem extension.
The next step will be to remove the stem extension and to install my adjustable neck. This is a lot longer than the short neck I'm using. I'll use the adjustable feature to place the bars at saddle height and I'm guessing I'll gain about 3cm in reach.
I WILL still have problems with my hands, but I believe that unless the medical community can do something, the answer to that problem is the recumbent (with USS - rats, more expense for the conversion
). However, with luck, I reckon I'll wind up with numb hands but not so bad I can't operate the controls, especially seeing the bike in this configuration won't be doing more than 30km in one trip.
That dreadful Bontrager saddle HAS to go
Oh, btw, the slick tyres and narrow rims on the trailer made a dramatic difference. It still slowed me down, but on the road, I really didn't notice the trailer behind me