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Shouldering(6 posts)

Apr 15, 2002 10:13 AM
I was shouldering the bike for about a half hour the other day and my shoulder/collar bone area is killing me. Do you guys wear some kind of a pad? Or do I need to toughen up?
coupla optionslonefrontranger
Apr 15, 2002 10:34 AM
I had to shoulder my bike a lot yesterday on a big windy, rolling singletrack ride I did, because I was too lazy to switch my cassette back to the set of wheels with knobs on. I don't bruise much at all anymore, so I think there's a fair learning curve involved in this. I used to get a ton of shoulder bruising when I first started out, so I did use a pad, but after a while I figured out how to carry a bike and run without having it bounce around.

Duct tape or sew a shoulder pad into a skinsuit or old jersey to start with. I used to do this with the old shoulder pads I ripped out of my (women's) suit jackets. A piece of thin, closed-cell foam also works if you can find it.

Then just learn how to shoulder the bike so it doesn't bounce around. I'm very short, so I wrap my forearm around the head tube and hold onto the lower part of the drop. This snugs the head tube up to my shoulder and puts the bike diagonally across my back, messenger bag style, thus stabilizing it and preventing it from bouncing around and bruising my collar bone / shoulder blade.

Recently I've noticed that on short runs, I've developed the habit of shouldering the bike "tall-rider" style, which is with the forearm over the top tube, holding onto the top of the bar. This is probably because it's quicker than weaving the arm around and thru the tubeset to get to the drop, but the payoff is I've noticed a little more instability and bruising, unless I consciously tell myself "yo, dork - snug up the head tube" - it's a different balance, so I'm still getting used to it.

Always remembering to snug the head tube up to the shoulder helps, regardless of which way I carry the bike, and it also helps clear the saddle away from the back of my helmet so I can raise my head and look up, always a good thing.
coupla optionsatpjunkie
Apr 15, 2002 1:51 PM
yes you will develope a certain callousness to it like how we've all adapted to our seats while non riders ask us how do we sit on them? As lonefrontranger says technique will help alot. I wish I could remember the name of the book that is considered the cross bible, it has great tips on shouldering, carrying and everything else. Here is a super old school shortcut, take an extra tube (one that will work for the bike) fold it so it's about a foot long and zip tie each end to the top and seat tubes. Zip tie it so it will make an arch
that will fit your shoulder. It serves as a pad and an extra reserve tube in case you have a really bad day. Those "corner" gear bags were stolen from this idea back in the early 80's.
the book =lonefrontranger
Apr 15, 2002 2:55 PM
"Cyclo-Cross", by Simon Burney. Currently $14.95 at and worth about 3x the price.

My edition's been handed around, to borrow a quote from the Mad Dog "more than Madonna".

I don't know if a regular old butyl clincher tube would actually stand up to the abuse of zip-tying and shouldering and still be useable. That old-school trick was actually done with one's spare sewup and a pair of spare toe straps (easier to undo in case of a flat, and you tended to need spares of those, too). But it would still work OK as far as padding's concerned.
the book =atpjunkie
Apr 15, 2002 5:34 PM
Yes that's the one. BRAVO!! Hey and you are down with the old school. I haven't tried the trick on a cross bike but used to do it on my MTB back in the early 80's. Actually used 2 auto hose clamps and pieces of inner tube for "padding" and it worked quite well. I've seen others wrap the tube in electrical tape as well. Ah yes extra toe are making me miss my friction shifters....not really but sort of.
the book = ps to lone front rangeratpjunkie
Apr 15, 2002 5:44 PM
I just remembered who you were. You are the Athena Class rider who answered that guys e mail about Clydesdales. I wouldn't personally refer to myself as a "fat dude" but I am 6'4" + and 230.
Give em hell girl, big ups to the big folks! I ride with a bunch of pipsqueaks and they don't understand the need to maintain momentum. I'd run up their backsides in the rolling stuff and have to brake, then watch them accelerate away as I try to regain the speed I've lost. They used to think it was funny and say laughing "race tactics big boy". That was until I got in front and when the first one tried to pass I stiff armed him off the trail into a thorn bush...."race tactics" was my response, they are far more respectful now. Keep it up you fancy bike riding "Big Grrrrl"!