Hand issues

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Hand issues

Postby lobstermash » Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:42 am

Hi,

I've recently increased my daily commute distance from 8km to 18km each way. I've always been more comfortable riding on the drops, even on longer weekend rides (after which I haven't noticed this issue). But since upping my commute distance, on my right hand in particular, both my fingers and wrist get very weak by the end of the ride home. My hands don't feel numb and they don't tingle. My wrists and knuckles stay in line with my arm, as in I'm not twisting them at all or holding them in a weird position.

Has anyone else has similar issues? If so, what's the solution? Tilt the saddle back a little? Better gloves? Ride on the hoods?
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by BNA » Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:47 am

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Re: Hand issues

Postby VRE » Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:47 am

I had similar when I increased my commute from 8 to 28km about 3 years ago. Weakness and/or slight numbness in both hands. All I can suggest is that you'll get used to the longer distances. I now have calluses on the heels of both hands from extensive use of the drops, which helps :) .
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Re: Hand issues

Postby lobstermash » Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:24 pm

I did a bit of a google and discovered I'm probably getting lazy on my ride home and have the bar across my Guyons canal. I paid more attention to my hand position on my way home and varied it a little, keeping the pressure on the pads of my hands. It seems to have made some difference.
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Re: Hand issues

Postby lobstermash » Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:14 pm

'Twas vain hope that I'd curbed the issue. A week later and my right hand is getting worse. Towards the end of my ride home my middle finger can't provide enough force to change gear, and I can't open aligator clips with my right hand. It does seem to improve throughout the day a little, but then it's worse again after the day's riding.
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Re: Hand issues

Postby VRE » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:12 pm

Then I'd strongly recommend you seek advice regarding a bike fit. It looks like your riding position needs fixing. There's plenty of advice on this forum (and others) regarding bike fit. I don't know where you live, but there are always some bike stores in each capital city that can do comprehensive bike fits. Some are a bit pricey, but once the bike's adjusted to your anatomy, the riding is much easier :) .
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Re: Hand issues

Postby AP81 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:49 pm

Thou could always try some thicker bar tape with some gel inserts?

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Re: Hand issues

Postby AUbicycles » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:30 pm

The bike fit is worth considering. If you are on the drops for most of the ride I wonder if they have the right egonomics for prolonged riding (fatigue) - something that I would specifically raise in a bike fit.

On the one side, as suggested, training may be an approach, on the other it could be getting bars that are better fitted, for example with the width of the bars, curve of the drops and angle of the drops along with bar tape and wrapping.

The challenge of not getting it solved is RSI and while it is a problem, try different alternative positions, on the hoods, on the flat section and on the corners.
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Re: Hand issues

Postby lobstermash » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:45 am

Thanks for the tips. I'll probably hold off on a fit until I've had more of a play with options.

Last night I rotated the saddle back a notch and rotated the bars to make the hoods more comfortable to ride on. This morning I rode in 99% on the hoods. I could feel I've shifted my COG back a little, and the handling was a bit more spritely. However the saddle felt like it was restricting circulation a little, and I couldn't seem to put power down as effectively. Strava agrees, although a partial headwind didn't help matters much either, with my average speed down about 1-2km/h.
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Re: Hand issues

Postby scirocco » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:57 am

I think you are on the right lines getting your COG slightly further back, as it sounds like your position may be too far forward thus placing too much weight on your hands. But I would have done it by sliding the saddle back 1 or 2 mm at a time, not by rotating it. If you tilt it back you will place pressure on bits that shouldn't be pressed on and get numbness like you have mentioned. You have to strike a balance between not being so nose up that you can feel the nose, and not being so nose down that you feel like you are sliding forward off it.

You may also need to work on your core strength. If you intend/prefer to ride in the drops you will be in a fairly aggressive position and your abs should be doing some work, if they are a bit weak that won't be helping.
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Re: Hand issues

Postby lobstermash » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:02 pm

Yeah, definitely noticed my abs didn't do as much as usual this morning. My core strength is pretty good. I've reverted the saddle to where it was and will play around with sliding it back this evening. However I was also conscious that riding on the hoods made me reach a bit further forward than I'm used to. I shouldn't have broken the age-old rule of only changing one thing at a time...
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Re: Hand issues

Postby lobstermash » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:31 pm

I think I've found a fit that suits me and is comfortable now. I ended up sliding the saddle back about 4mm and tilting it a notch forward. Also, the bar was rotated forward a couple of degrees to allow better access to the drops.

I was comfortable (aside from frozen hands due to the wrong gloves) on the ride in this morning and was able to put power down as normal. The ride this morning was all on the hoods, where I hit my usual top speeds and bang in the middle of my normal average speed. Immediately after riding before adjusting the bike, I was getting a noticable reduction in strength, however that didn't happen after this morning's ride.

The riding position is a little bit more 'superman' than before, and I'm almost wondering if I should change my stem for a shorter one (currently 150mm)...
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Hand issues

Postby singlespeedscott » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:27 am

150mm stem! :shock:

Man, no wonder you could only ride in the drops. What length is your top tube? Roughly how tall are you and what is your saddle height?
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Re: Hand issues

Postby jules21 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:40 am

something sounds very wrong with your bike fit..
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Re: Hand issues

Postby Duck! » Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:24 am

I reckon there might be a bit of a measurement error on that stem there.... Measurements are taken from the centre of the steerer tube to the centre of the handlebar. 135mm is about the longest they go. 150mm sounds more like it's measured overall length.

Still definitely worth going to get the setup properly checked.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: Hand issues

Postby lobstermash » Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:23 pm

Haha, yeah, you're right Duck. I was measuring it wrong :oops: It's 130mm.

I'm 173cm. ETTL is 550mm. In hindsight I might have gone for the next size down, but I think I can make this work. For my previous 16km round trip commutes and the occasional 50+km weekend rides the original setup was fine.

The current setup felt good on Friday going to and from work (36km round trip) and my hand (in terms of strength and fine motor) has already noticeably improved. I'll stick with it for a little while and see if I have any other issues.
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Re: Hand issues

Postby Duck! » Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:46 pm

Unless you've got an extraordinarily long torso, that stem is quite a bit too long for someone of your height. For average proportions, you should be on something around 110mm as a starting suggestion.

For comparison, I'm 175-ish cm, proportionally slightly short in the torso for my height, on a similar-sized frame (555mm ETT), and use a 105mm stem, reduced from the 120mm that was stock on the bike.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: Hand issues

Postby lobstermash » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:16 am

Cool. Thanks for the advice. I'll source a shorter stem. I've got a decent reach, but not of extraordinary proportions. The ride in to work this morning was good and fast, but I'm having to consciously push my backside into the saddle for every descent to keep the weight off my hands.
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Re: Hand issues

Postby singlespeedscott » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:48 am

Definitely sounds like your too stretched out. Shorter stem would be the go.
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