New cyclist - Aches and pains

ciremast

Member
Location
London
I just started cycling for the first time since being 10 years old, having spent a few hundred quid on a single speed, and after a couple of days and about 10 miles of cycling on each day, I've got aching hands from pressing the brakes, an extremely sore gluteus maximus, legs that are almost too painful to walk on and a sore neck.

My bike is correctly sized and everything, the saddle and bars are at the correct height, thus it's very annoying to have acquired these ailments, particularly as I consider myself a physically fit 18 year old who should be unfazed by a medium distance cycle commute.

Is this a common occurrence among those who take up cycling for the first time? How long will it take for my body to become accustomed to cycling?

Thanks.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Why do you think the bars, saddle and brake levers are in the right places?

Try this: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/pain.html
 

arch684

Veteran
If you have just started cycling you should take it easy and build up your distance gradually. Don't worry about speed that will come in time
 

doughnut

Über Member
I feel your pain :smile:

I'm 51 and began cycling last April for the first time since I was about 16. I bought a £110 Rockrider 50 from Decathlon. For the first 3-4 weeks I could only manage 5 miles at a time along the canal path followed by about 30 mins of gasping for breath on the kitchen floor, followed by a couple of days of hobbling around in pain. I had painful heels of my hands where I was leaning on the handlebars, and a mild sore neck.

By mid Autumn, I was regularly cycling for 15 miles with just a minute or two recovery. I bought a B'Twin 500 road bike which made riding on the road massively easier and faster. The pain in my hands went away sometime around the change in bike, though that might just have been a coincidence - I also got some cycling gloves with padding on the heels of the hand. Still had a mild sore neck, but my legs were fine.

Since then I have increased my mileage, done two or three 50 mile rides and will probably do a 70 mile ride next time there is decent weather at a weekend. Now, I am fully recovered by the time I have wiped down the bike after cycling for 50 miles and my legs have no pain whatsoever (the morning after my last 50, I went out for another 30 mile ride). I still have a sore neck and its caused a lot of pain in my right shoulder and arm (lots of muscles in spasm I think) - my theory is that for about 30 years I have sat at a desk working on computers and my posture is diabolical (rounded shoulders, head slightly leaning forwards, etc); riding for up to several hours in this position results in the pain I think, so I am currently trying to fix my posture (see the turtle link in https://www.cyclechat.net/threads/shoulder-an-neck-pain-from-riding.168109/). Hopefully, this will sort things out.

So I would say keep riding and the legs will get used to it - build the distance up gradually. At various times I remember saying to my wife "No way I will ever ride more than x miles in one go", x being 5, 7, 10, 15, 18, 25, 30. I just don't say it any more - after a 50 mile ride at Christmas where it seemed like 49 miles was into-the-wind and most of the time it was sleeting pretty hard, I'm pretty confident that on a good day I could easily make 100 miles. I've also been going to spinning classes at the local leisure centre over winter and this has really built my leg strength up. For the pain in your hands and neck, I would look closely to see if there is a reason - for myself, I decided that if I wanted that pain to go away then I had to change something; it wasn't going to go away in time if I just ignored it.

Keep the faith - it will get easier as you ride more.
 

Turbo Rider

Just can't reMember
You know what they say , no pain, no gain ! I 100% believe it too.....
What he said. Eat right and stretch it out afterwards as well though...and the handlebars can make a difference with your hands. Bendy bars mean more hand positions. Gears mean you can take the pressure off of different parts of your legs and learn to use different muscles when you need to. Hard to explain without you having gears though. Clipless pedals can help too...but they can hurt you too. Learn to enjoy the pain and work through it, but don't cripple yourself :thumbsup:
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
You will hurt at first.

I had a period of a few years not riding as much (job and stuff) but getting back on my road bikes was agony after - I was in trouble after an hour - the back would go. Thats even with bikes that were perfectly set up for me.

Keep at it, and build up slowly. Do get a check out with your position on a bike at a bike shop.
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
Buying/riding a SS bike is a pretty brutal way to re-start cycling.
Single speed isn't brutal. Fixed is !!! Love my fixed.

OK, go to the gym and work out, you'll get the 48 hour burn after. Cycling is no different. If you are used to it, then you will hurt after. If a regular cyclist takes 2 weeks off cycling, they will be hobbling about for a week or two after getting back on the bike.

It's just about getting used to it. How often are you cycling ? If you are riding often, like daily, this is much better.
 

Boon 51

Veteran
Location
Deal. Kent.
Practice, practice and more practice..
As been said its very hard on the body when you first start cycling.
I've been riding 18 months, my first ride was less than a mile and now I've done 6X 100 milers.
Its been hard graft but I love cycling to bits even if I do live in the mountains so it involves a lot of climbing.
I'm lucky enough to be only 63 so still very young.. :whistle:
 

PaulSecteur

Specialized fanboy
One of my bikes (Specialized Roubix) is known for its comfort, and I had a fit session with Adrian Timmis of Cadence sport with the emphasis on comfort rather than performance - so its the 2 wheeled equivalent of a sofa. But, having not done any miles for a while I know its going to be felt when I do get back on it, and that's from a reasonably short lay off.

As a new rider you have to expect some time to be taken to adjust to it, and it can be difficult to know the difference between a "getting used to it pain" and a "There something wrong pain". Padded shorts without boxers underneath can really help, even if they are decathlons or sport directs cheaper offerings to get you going.
 

boydj

Guru
Location
Paisley
Try to relax on the bike, elbows slightly bent and not gripping too hard. Anticipate the road ahead so you can back off, rather than having to brake hard. Don't push too hard for a few weeks until you have built up a bit of stamina and got used to your position on the bike. Change hand positions regularly - drops/hoods/tops - so you are not stuck in one position too long. Take it easy and enjoy it.
 
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