Cycling, Center of Gravity?
June 11, 2014 10:06 AM Subscribe
Three years ago, I inherited a solid Biachi road bike from my dad. I'm pretty into it now. I usually bike 50 - 100 miles on the weekends, but as that number has crept up, I've run into some some fit issues. Maybe you can help me out with some conceptual stuff.
Last year, as my rides got longer, I started to get some knee pain. I realized after looking into it a little bit, that, duh, I'd never really been fit for the bike properly. I'm a big guy (6'4", 200 pounds), and I had just kind of winged it in terms of saddle position/handle bars/ etc.
So, I went to my local bike shop and had a fitting. They made some changes to my shoes, to my saddle, to my bars - to everything - and the knee pain has gone away almost completely.
This year, my local bike shop got some awesome new toys for fitting (some motion capture software packages and some other stuff) so I went back and went through it again and they tweaked things a little, but nothing substantial.
I believe that my saddle position is now OK and I believe my stroke when I peddle is pretty good. So, I think I want to leave my saddle alone.
However, I still have two issues that plague me on longer rides - neck pain and hand pain/numbness.
I had opportunity to go to a velodrome recently and I was talking with the coach there and mentioned this in passing and he gave me a talk about center of gravity when I cycle and it made a lot of sense but no one has ever mentioned it to me before, so it kind of shocked me that it never came up in any of my fittings.
The gist of what he said was, basically, that I was putting too much weight forward. He said I was probably putting a ton of weight on my hands when I ride, and he's absolutely right. I mean, when I ride, I feel like I'm basically holding myself up with my handlebars - like I'm falling forward and they're keeping me up.
He said I should raise my bars up until my center of gravity moves back to the point where it's really my core/lower back that's holding me in place, and my hands are mostly just to guide and steer... He said it would eliminate my neck and hand discomfort, and he seemed like a guy who knew what he was talking about.
It makes sense, conceptually, but no one has ever said anything to me like that before. In doing some tests with this, it seems like I may have to lift my handlebars a ridiculous amount to achieve this kind of shift back.
Is that how I'm supposed to ride? Everyone seems to talk about getting down low and being more aerodynamic... but that seems counter intuitive to what he had to say - so maybe it's that I can't take that next step until I get my core and lower back strong enough to hold myself in that position without leaning on my hands? I was just kind of learning to live with having my hands be numb and having to ice my neck after a long ride, but if I can change - even if it slows me down - I would love to.
If you've struggled with this or have some insight, I would love to hear from you.