Hand numbness and then no hand numbness

I have recently returned to riding conventional bikes after a spell on recumbents. I used 'bents because of having a shoulder replaced due to arthritis and numbness in my hands when on a DF bike.

I have found that a lot of my shoulder pain has much do with the width of the bars. On Sunday I rode my new hybrid with flat bars on a 50 mile ride; after only 10 miles my hands were really quite painful despite frequently changing position and using the bar-ends. I stopped and exercised my hands for a few moments and got back on without really looking forward to the rest of the ride. Miraculously though, I had no more hand pain/numbness for the rest of the journey, even though I changed nothing about the way I rode.

Has anybody else experienced this rather weird state of affairs?
 

AndyCarolan

Do you smell fudge?
Location
Norwich
Did the surface of the road change radically? (Rough tarmac to smooth for example)... maybe some of the road noise was transferring through the bars.

You could try gloves with Gel pads as that may help if road noise is the cause.
 

monnet

Veteran
Could be you were gripping the bars to tight to start with before relaxing into the ride. Happened to me recently.
 

Madcyclist

New Member
Location
Bucks
I've been having similar problems when switching from my fixed wheel commuter to laden tourer. Changing hand positions regularly and making sure I don't grip too hard as helped.
 

cyberknight

As long as I breathe, I attack.
monnet said:
Could be you were gripping the bars to tight to start with before relaxing into the ride. Happened to me recently.
I have a similar experience .
On the way to work on early starts i find that i get numbness and yet on the way home i am fine, i can only put it down to how i grip the bars when i am still waking up :wacko:
 
I have arthritis too. Often get numbness on particularly bad road surfaces and, like others, earlyish in a ride. Slowing down a bit helps ameliorate the bumps and make them easier to avoid. I use Specialized BG gloves which help a lot.
 

Moodyman

Guru
Been there and I noticed there's several factors:

* Uneven or rough tarmac - transfers more road vibration to the hands
* Gripping the bars too tightly
* Rigid fork
* Poor/too thin handlebar grips.

Numbness stopped since I stopped gripping handlebars too tight and changed my grips to Ergon ones.

Also, might be worth checking your position - not putting to much weight on the handlebars. The best cycling position is that which distributes your weight evenly on saddle, pedals and handlebars.
 
Thanks for the ideas and tips.

I already have Ergon grips and find them really useful. Bar ends also allow me to change psoitions frequently. My Decathlon has rigid forks, but they are carbon fibre and I am pleased at the way they suppress vibrations from the road surface. I have slick tyres and the numbness is nowhere near as bad as it was on a mountain bike with a suspension front fork that was shod with knobbly tyres that I used to own. I use a pair of well-padded mits, and have worn gel mits in the past. My bars have been raised slightly with a view to taking weight off the hands and shoulders.

I have never had the pain and numbness appear, only to disappear shortly afterwards; normally it comes and stays until the bitter end. The road surface was not noticeably different on the first part of the ride. Maybe I did have a more relaxed grip on the bars after the onset of the problem. If such is the case, then I have learnt an important lesson. I can't wait until the next substantial ride to see what happens.
 
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