Took my new Cannondale out yesterday and 40 mins into ride started getting pains just below neck top between shoulder blades, the bike is the right size a 56 I am 179cm, is this due to me not being used the drop bar posture or am I doing something wrong ? Have been told it may take a few rides for the muscles to get used to the posture, just mystified any advice would be welcome.

  • I recommend a full bike fit. I had severe pain between the shoulder blades on rides longer than an hour and the fitter made major adjustments to my stack and reach that made the pain go away completely. Jun 7 '14 at 18:07
  • Do you have a chiropractor? You spine may need a professional fit also.
    – paparazzo
    Jun 7 '14 at 18:47
  • 2
    While getting a professional bike fit may be advised, the pain you describe is entirely believable if you've never ridden drop bars before. You are using muscles you haven't previously used. Jun 7 '14 at 22:37
  • I think you're probably right to wait and see for a couple of rides, and if you're not happy go for a fit. Things you could tweek in the meantime would be saddle height and position, also stem length (maybe a buddy has a shorter/longer one you could try?). But really if you did it yourself you'd be stabbing in the dark, and a pro fit would be more systematic. "Aches" (as opposed to shooting pain) are not unusual after some time in the saddle, but here I'm thinking 3 or 4 hours, not 40 minutes. You can imagine, as Dan says, that a lot of this depends on what you're used to.
    – PeteH
    Jun 8 '14 at 12:02

You should try a professional bike fit.

Just because you are 179 cm doesn't mean a 56 is right for you (the sizing of a bike with a given number varies on the type of bike and manufacturer and model). Normally, when you switch to drop bars, you will be sore (but pain is different, and should be alarming, though going for a 40 minute ride while just starting out may be a bit much). The geometry of the bike can also cause problems - racers may cause more pain than touring bikes due to their more aggressive geometry, for example.

Here are some tips from sheldon brown on pain, and what to do about it.

  • Seems like I will have to book up a professional fit, hope it would eliminate the issues I have, thanks for the replies.
    – Savi
    Jun 8 '14 at 14:50

For anyone reading this who lacks the ££££ or even $$$$ to pay for a "full bike fit", there are books around that explain it all pretty well, I've never had a full bike fit despite being a rather oddly proportioned individual (shortish arms and trunk, short bullish neck and longish legs) A book I esteem highly is called "Richard's Bicycle Book". Which is quite possibly out of print but even so does turn up on ebay at prices even I wouldn't jib at. Author is Richard Ballantyne. He explains the ins and outs of getting the settings all tuned up to your own peculiar needs. As well as setting up your bike, just about everything else bike related is covered - it's a kind of cyclist's bible.

  • I just went on Amazon (U.S.) and there are copies of "Richard's Bicycle Book" for a penny, + $3.99 shipping. I ordered one, looks interesting.
    – obelia
    Jun 12 '14 at 0:01

yes i have been riding for long time but started to get pain when i went out on longer rides upper back neck i have raised the stem shortened it changed bars wider seat before after done exercises physio changed bike frames done the bike dynamics bike sizing check i still get pain i should be able to ride a 100 easily but pain in upper back stops me as most bike s go up in size the top tube lenghthens as i need shorter top tube bigger head steerer its more like trial and error which is expensive if you havent got much money . all i can say is people change there bike size and ride diffrent bikes to prevent rsi i reckon that what they do in the tour as their bike positions seem a times impossible set ups like riding on the hoods they are very upright back seems very relaxed then they appear over stretched its not all its cut out to be as many pros are million airs and have many bikes and team of massages on tap and pro bike fitters there is a lot not being said ebay is full of frames for sale why people are in pain. or materialism if there was no pain there would be no need to change frames all the time the cycling industry is a big racket !expensive and complicated

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    – jimchristie
    Oct 6 '15 at 23:33

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