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Newbie question - Neck strain(9 posts)

Newbie question - Neck strainkac
May 10, 2001 9:01 AM
I just purchased my first road bike a week or so ago, and I've only logged about a hundred miles. My problem is that after my rides, my neck gets sore from watching the road in an aero position. This is especially noticeable if I ride a long time in the drops.

Is this most likely a fit question, or since I'm new to road riding, do I simply need to stretch out my neck muscles/ligaments? If it's a fit issue, will raising my head set possibly help me out?

Raise the bars. Raise the bars. Raise the...Cory
May 10, 2001 9:21 AM
...freaking handlebars.
I won't go through the whole recitation I do every time anybody complains about neck strain, but that's an excellent reason to raise your handlebars to the level of your saddle, or no more than an inch below. You may be able to do it by flipping your stem, or you may need a new one.
Warning: Lance doesn't ride that way, and everybody you meet will tell you it's wrong. You may even think it looks dorky when you see your reflection in a window. But your neck won't hurt, and when you need to go aero, you can still get down on the drops. It's what they were designed for.
But if you don't want to do that, you can do lots of stretches and strengthening exercises for your neck (probably ought to be doing them anyway), and eventually it will work out.
actually ive seen lance pretty unaeroishmael
May 10, 2001 9:13 PM
his stem was really was an older shot with a quill stem...another reason to raise your stem
Stem Optionno excuses
May 10, 2001 10:06 AM
Your LBS should be willing to work with you on the fit issue. For me the solution was replacing a long stem with a shorter one that has a slight rise. The neck relief for me was immediate.
If you didn't acquire the bike through a bike shop (I bought a used bike), you need to find an LBS that can help you through the fit issues.
Here's a good stretch . . .Alan B
May 10, 2001 10:23 AM
I had the same problem. I flipped my stem as another poster suggested and that helped a lot, but the other thing is to stretch the neck at stop lights or rest stops. At first I stretched by rotating my whole head down, chin to chest looking at beltline. This didn't help much. Then a physical therapist showed me a "chin tuck" for another reason, but it WORKS GREAT on the bike. Don't rotate the head, keep looking forward and press your chin back "into your neck" so as to give yourself a double chin. Hold it a few seconds and repeat. Ahhhhh. Relief. Also, the more you ride, the more you will build muscle in the right places, but I still have some discomfort on longer rides even late in the season. The stretch really helps me and hopefully it will help you too.
Dang, that really works!Miklos
May 10, 2001 10:47 AM

Your welcome! (nm)Alan B
May 10, 2001 3:37 PM
your neck is not used to holding up a helmet,Jimbob
May 10, 2001 3:20 PM
it makes it even more straining when your neck is in a horizontal position. Time in the saddle will make this go away. Raising the bars will also transfer more weight onto your butt. Id leave the stem about 1-3" below seat if you ride long distances. If you ride short distances, high bars will work, if you ride long distances, your butt takes all the weight and tires prematurely. The goal is to spread the weight and get aero. Your neck will strengthen accordingly.
Funny thought . . .Andy
May 10, 2001 8:58 PM
I'm jokingly suggesting this so don't go off on me here... I wonder if it would help to condition the neck muscles if you wore some kind of weight attached to your head early in the season. I wouldn't really do this but the thought crossed my mind and I almost fell out of my chair laughing.