Cycling 101: Troubleshooting Common Pains

Cycling 101: Troubleshooting Common Pains

Woman got injured while cycling in park

Riding a bike should be a fun experience – not a painful one. If you find it painful and uncomfortable, then something is wrong. It can be with your gear, bike setup, fit, or riding style. With all the moving pieces involved in cycling, deciphering what’s gone wrong can be a bit tricky. We have, however, prepared some troubleshooting tips for cycling’s most common pains and aches. Check them out here:



Common Causes: Too much weight on your hands; too much or too little bend in your wrists


What You Should Do: Try leveling your bike saddle. You have to be mindful of the saddle tilt. If it is just even a little nose down, this means you are dumping too much body weight onto your hands, so make sure it is at level or even tilted up a bit to create more comfort. Handlebars that are too low can also cause hand pain. Cycling gloves can alleviate a lot of hand pain. Think about where it hurts most on your hand, then choose the gloves with the most padding in that area.



Common Cause: You are too stretched out.


What You Should Do: If you are experiencing neck pain, you should first establish what a neutral head position on a bike should feel like. Your shoulders should be able to make an angle of 90 degrees or even slightly less between your upper arms and your torso with both your hands on the hoods. (road bikes). If your head is positioned more forward, it puts stress on the upper trap muscles that support your head.



Common Causes: Too high/low saddle; poor core strength; large differential between the saddle and handlebar height


What You Should Do: You should always check your position first. If your hips are rocking side to side as you pedal, then your lower back is taking a beating. You should lower the saddle until they are stable. If it is too low, your knee will come up above hip level at the top of the pedal stroke – this can also flex and stress your lower back. The next thing you should check is your posture. Aim to have a flat back with normal low-back curvature. If you have a rounded spine, then you are stressing your back. It can help to bring your handlebars and saddle closer.



Common Cause: Saddle height; cleat position


What You Should Do: If you are feeling pain in the front of your knee, then your saddle might be too low. If the pain is felt in the back of your knee, then your saddle might be too high. You should also check your cleat position as this is a commonly overlooked source of knee pain. Your neighborhood bike pro at Fort Myers Schwinn Cyclery can help you check your cleat position.


If you are feeling pain as you ride your bike, make sure to address it as soon as you can. Do not wait for your problems to worsen. Just like how the old adage goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry!”

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