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I did the smart thing and went in for a bike fit 3 weeks ago. I had some serious pain in my hands which has since been essentially resolved. Now, in the drops and at the hoods, I get pretty wretched neck pain 4 miles in. I stretch my traps before and during the ride but can't get any relief. I had not owned a road bike before and just started biking on a daily basis 10 - 15 miles at a time.

Is there a fit issue that still needs to be resolved or am I paying the price for weak trapezius muscles? The pain essentially goes away by the end of the next day.

Thanks.

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    What changes to your position were made? I'd go back to the store and tell them your issues. They may have overlooked your level of bike fitness and/or flexibility. The changes may have to be introduced more gradually - you should not be getting uncomfortable after only 4 miles! – adey_888 Sep 16 '14 at 5:37
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    If you've not commonly ridden in forward-leaning road bike position before, it will take a few weeks to strengthen the muscles that you're using now and you hadn't used before. Especially holding the head up that much is apt to be "unfamiliar". – Daniel R Hicks Sep 16 '14 at 11:33
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You don't mention your fitness level, or how hard you are riding.

Riding 10-15 miles (16-24 km) straight away sounds too much for you.

I recommend you aim for 5 miles, every second day. While riding, consciously change your hand position between the tops (the straight part of the handlebars), the hoods, and the corners of the bars, with an occasional stretch down to the drops. Stop a little after you feel those muscles getting tired.

The reason for riding every second day is to give those muscles time to recover and respond to the demands you're putting on them. They will grow stronger, if you don't over-stress them and give them time.

As they get stronger, you can increase the distance, by say, 10% until you are comfortable with the new distance. Don't over-do it. If you injure yourself then your whole cycling plan will get set back by months. So do monitor how you're going, talk to the people at the shop, and definitely see a doctor or physiotherapist if you think something more serious is happening. (Of course, none of us here are doctors, so don't even imagine that this is medical advice!)

In a couple of weeks you should be back to 10 miles again, and be ready to ride further or faster or every day.

  • Especially if there is persistent pain after riding, one should give that time to abate before another lengthy ride. – Daniel R Hicks Sep 17 '14 at 11:51
  • For persistent pain or discomfort I recommend a doctor or physio. For transient discomfort or temporary pain, yes, let it pass before trying again. – andy256 Sep 17 '14 at 11:54
  • By "persistent" I mean lasting for hours after the ride has ended. – Daniel R Hicks Sep 17 '14 at 11:59
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    Ah. Your persistent equals my transient :-) – andy256 Sep 17 '14 at 12:00
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Go back and get fit again. You paid them, it shouldn't be painful. It might be a little uncomfortable at first, but shouldn't be as painful as it sounds. A new stem and stack height may help.

  • This is actually a good answer. The bike fitter may have put you into a too aggressive position. Stem height is easily adjustable. – Rich Wagenknecht Sep 20 '14 at 14:47
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Do you typically have muscles knots in the area of your trapezius muscles? If so, you may also need to do some strength training of that area. I've provided one link below (there are many others out there) for some exercises.

http://stress-free-mama.com/trapezius-muscle-pain/

Cycling is actually pretty demanding that you have decent core strength and flexibility. In addition to the suggestions above regarding bike fit, you should start a core strength program too. The exercises don't take long and it's something to do on your off days.

Pro cyclist Tom Danielson has an entire book on the subject and if you search Youtube you'll find several videos that describes the exercises.

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