It’s not unusual to feel a bit of muscular soreness if you’ve done some hard work on the bike. Chronic pain is not normal though. You need to systematically eliminate a number of things in order fix it.
If you’re experiencing joint pain in hips, knees or ankles, something “mechanical” is wrong.
First thing to check is your set-up. Is your seat the right height? Is it in the right place in relation to your pedals? If you use clipless pedals, are the cleats on your shoes in the right place? Getting this right will fix a lot of problems.
Neck and shoulder pain can be caused by incorrect set up too. Are your handlebars too high? Too low? Are they too wide? Women generally have narrower shoulders than men so standard width bars can place a strain on their shoulders. Depending on the type of handlebars, you can either cut them down or replace them with a narrower set.
Is your head stem too long so you’re stretching too far? Worse, is the bike too big for you?
Foot problems can be caused by shoes. Sandshoes have soft soles that don’t give you much support. Try a stiffer soled shoe. If you already use cycling shoes, do they fit you properly? If they’re too big, for example, your feet can move around in relation to the pedals and cause problems.
If your shoes and set up are correct and you still have trouble, a podiatrist can help. Many people wear orthoses in their shoes to overcome mechanical foot problems.
What if it’s just your “tender bits” that give you trouble? That’s often a matter of incorrect set up too. Make sure your saddle is the right height – and level! You might find a different saddle suits you better.
Check your knicks too. They lose their effectiveness as they get older. If you’ve never tried cycling knicks, they might be just what you need.
What if everything checks out and you’re still in pain? It could be time to see a professional. Physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths and massage therapists can all help get your body right.
If you’re thinking about taking up cycling after an injury, check with your doctor that it’s an appropriate exercise for you. And do make sure you get set up properly before you head out on your first adventure.
Cycling is meant to be a pain-free, enjoyable exercise. If it hurts, don’t ignore it.
See you on the road soon, God willing.