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Rollers=numbness! Why?...(12 posts)

Rollers=numbness! Why?...Deadly Tedly
Jan 6, 2002 10:12 AM
...My loving wife got me a nice set of Kreitlers for Christmas, something which was a complete and wonderful surprise. Right now I'm not trying real hard to get a workout on them, just get the hang of riding them and staying on. I just did my 3rd 30 minute ride on them, and I even managed to look away from the front wheel, have short conversations and change hand positions easily. Soon I'll be moving out of the doorway.

However, when I'm done, I'm all numb in my private parts! This time, even one of my feet felt a little tingly (I used clipless pedals for the first time on the rollers today). I'm riding my normal road bike, and haven't altered the setup one bit, just put it on the rollers. I know this bike is a little too long for me, and I need to get a shorter stem. But how come I can ride for three straight hours on the road and feel fine, but 30 minutes on the rollers and I'm all numb? I don't think my form and position are all that different on the rollers, but I guess they must be somehow. Has anyone else experienced this? Am I really compensating for bad fit that much when I ride on the street? I haven't gotten the stem yet because I really only feel discomfort in my neck and back on long rides when I'm somewhat out of shape, but later in the season I feel fine.

I've had this bike for 5 years now, although I spent a lot more time on it this past year than ever before (it was my father's bike). Before 2001, I spent a lot more time on mountain bikes and another road bike I use for commuting.

-Tedly (who won't use the rollers if it causes problems in a "personal" area!)
re: Rollers=numbness! Why?...Jon
Jan 6, 2002 10:45 AM
I experienced similar problems when I started riding rollers a couple of years ago. When on the
road you move around quite a lot on your bike, whether you're aware of that or not. On the other
hand, on the rollers one tends to not to move or shift around because the balance is a little
trickier. Now that I'm more comfortable and relaxed I don't have that problem. However, when
doing longer rides, over an hour, I do step off every twenty minutes or so to drink and stretch. I
do think because you're probably still tense and pretty static on your rollers that any fit issues
may become exaggerated.
re: Rollers=numbness! Why?...Woof the dog
Jan 6, 2002 1:26 PM
it is probably because of your nervousness/fear to rise off the saddle and a longer stem which stretches you out and doesn't allow you to sit on your sitbones but on your crotch. If you raise the bars, it ain't gonna help much, as you will be more upright and that will put even more pressure on the area. The only answer I see is to get a shorter stem.

I use an SLR saddle and ride rollers for at least an hour, sometimes 2 hours. After an hour my you know what does go a little numb, but I put it under hot water (when I take a shower) and give it a good shake to get the blood movin' and it is fine in 10 min after a workout, hehe.

I am yet to find a saddle that would not make me numb on long roller workouts. You can prevent that from happening in its serious form by standing up as often as you can, but it comes on at some point anyway. The earlier you begin standing up, the better it will feel close to the end. I know it is hard to stand up on rollers, but you gotta learn how to do it. Put it in like 53/14, hold your hoods not drops, raise your butt off the saddle but do not put all your weight forward because you may be in a danger of pushing the bike off the rollers. Use hands to control the bike and maintain balance. pedal smoothly. what you are essentially doing is using your leg muscles to keep yourself up in a position similar to sitting, just don't get your shorts caught by the saddle nose. Your legs will get tired quick but they'll get used to it fast and you'll be able to stand up more often. besides, its good strengthening anyway. you could try putting all your weight on the bars, but it is sketchier. Hope this helps.

You need to move around more or take breaks.nigel
Jan 6, 2002 9:00 PM
I agree with the other guys: this used to happen to me, too. On a trainer, it doesn't happen as much, since I can move around more freely and stand up here and there. On rollers, however, a fair amount of one's body weight stays put on the tender, artery- and capillary-filled area (the perineum), since standing or normal amounts of saddle shifting are out of the question for beginners.

After ten minutes, either hop off or come to a halt--leaning against the wall--and stand up for half a minute or so. What you're feeling is normal for beginning roller riders. Move around or take breaks, and your problem's solved.

Congrats on the rollers. What a great--and fun--gift from your wife.

Maybe this is why your wife gave them to you...shirt
Jan 6, 2002 9:31 PM

(running away fast)
shirts don't run...I do ;0) (nm)Woof the dog
Jan 6, 2002 10:10 PM
re: Rollers=numbness! Why?...Duane Gran
Jan 7, 2002 6:05 AM
As others have stated, this is pretty normal and common, but there are things you can do to help it. My max roller time thus far is 1 hour in a day with 1 "butt break" but I plan to do a 2 hour day before the winter is over. I do two thing to help make it bearable:

1) Put the rollers on carpet. I've used them on tile and on carpet, and I find a carpet surface reduces the amount of vibration that goes up the bike.

2) Stand up now and then. This is a very precarious thing to do, so I lean against the wall and then stand. For added fun, do it in the drops and imagine you are sprinting and leaning on a shoulder a little. ;) Someday I'll stand on rollers without leaning on a wall, but for now that saves me from an indoor crash.
re: Rollers=numbness! Why?...Woof the dog
Jan 8, 2002 1:07 AM
yeah, I wanna see you riding drops without your wall. It is so much sketchier than holding the hoods for some reason.

to the original poster: rollers are fun. I did 2 hours today and didn't even go what I'd call numb. When I do get numb, it lasts only about 15 minutes after a ride. Today, I stood up many times and thus experienced no noticeable numbness. Cycling is fun, on rollers too. Just keep at it and learn how to raise your butt off the saddle.


Woof the dog.
Thanks for the help y'all (I think)...Deadly Tedly
Jan 7, 2002 8:47 AM
...and the few snickers. I'm not encouraged by the gist of the responses, which I read as saying basically it's something you live with on rollers, at least until you get to the point that you can move your sitting position around while riding. I'm not going to send the rollers back or anything, but the post below about urethral strictures doesn't reassure me at all. I'll just keep obsessively playing with my setup and taking breaks while I roll, until I find the most comfortable solution or get exceptionally skilled riding them.

-Tedly (who thought cycling was supposed to improve your sex life)
Not to worry if you do it rightKerry Irons
Jan 7, 2002 6:15 PM
You're big mistake is waiting until things go numb before doing anything. People make the same mistake on the road: "and when I got off the bike, I couldn't feel my (insert key body part here) for 3 hours!" Could you feel when you were on the bike but it suddenly went numb just as you climbed off? I didn't think so! The deal is to not let it ever get that far. At the first sign of numbness or discomfort, you should be taking action. As suggested by many, get off the bike or learn to pedal (even just a few revolutions) out of the saddle. You should have no problems. The strictures mentioned elsewhere are the result of abuse and predisposition, not from normal riding. As a general observation, you should have nothing to worry about.
Actually...Deadly Tedly
Jan 8, 2002 7:25 AM
...I don't notice any numbness while I'm riding, until I stop and stand up. And the numbness doesn't last 3 hours, more like 5 minutes, but it's not pleasant. I'm sure it'll go away as I get more skilled with the rollers.

-Tedly (who will stand while holding the wall tonight)
Thanks for the help y'all (I think)...JBergland
Jan 9, 2002 12:50 PM
Try these:
1. Stand Up. As a couple others have mentioned, it's not the easiest thing to do. But honestly, it's pretty easy after you get over the fear of actually doing it for the first couple times. Don't wait until you ARE numb before you start thinking about your circulation. I stand up on the rollers every 10-15 minutes.

2. Push a Bigger Gear. While riding rollers, most people don't push a very big gear for fear of crashing, riding off the front, etc. Spinning a smaller gear while in the saddle puts more pressure on your pelvic area. Pushing a bigger gear won't eliminate this, but it can help to some degree. You also might be surprised at how smooth and stable rollers can be at speed!!

3. Wear Your Best Shorts. I think this one explains it's self.

I have heard of and tried a variety of different things. These three have given me the best results. Tire pressure and carpet (or some other type of padding under the rollers) help with some of the buzzzzzing, but don't often help with the numbness.

Good Luck!!