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  1. #1

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    Hello Hello!

    Hi, I just wanted to introduce myself. I'm a 'newbie' as I hate to say. I started riding two summers ago and last summer I bought my own, very first mountain bike! During the summer I was pretty active and did a good amount of riding. It's very intimidating, but I've found but love love love getting out there and challenging myself. Now I feel horrible for even calling myself a 'mountain biker', I haven't riden in months and I am getting afraid to get out there! How ridiculous, I know. I'm a full time college student and a part time preschool teacher. During the weekdays my free time (and daylight right now) is packed with school and work stuff. I'm hoping that joining and being able to be active on this message board will help motivate me to get my butt outside and ride!!

    I do have one question, whenever I ride- whether its on pavement or on trails- after about a half an hour or so of riding my pinky/ring finger on both hands falls asleep! Does anyone know why this might be happening? I was thinking about getting a new handle bar- a riser maybe? Sometimes it gets painful! Would better gloves help?

    Anyway, thats all! Hello! How are you doing today?

    -Megan

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the land of wheels and chocolate! The best way to get back on the bike is to just go out and do it. Don't build big expectations, just go to a familiar trail and feel how wonderful it is to feel the wind on your face, the movement of the legs pushing the cobwebs out, and the thrill of the ride. Remember to smell the dirt (not too close, I hope!), and think of the spring flowers that will soon be upon us.

  3. #3

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    wheels and chocolate..mmm women of my own heart. hah, I'm going to try to get out, eh, next weekend- I've got dental stuff this weekend but I think that a familiar trail is a good way to go - i can think of a few that I'd like to ride. I'm a little afraid, ack I'm hating the way this sounds, of mud. I've ridden in sand but not mud. It hasn't rained here in a while but everything is still pretty muddy and in true newbie fashion- won't the bike and I slip around like crazy?

    -Megan

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by megarino
    won't the bike and I slip around like crazy?
    It all depends on the content of the mud. The more grit the more grip, the more clay the more sway, or something like that...

    I'm not sure what your area is like, but around here (Western Colorado) we don't ride in the mud due to trail damage. However, other places don't have the same problems and there is no ill effects to the trails when they are ridden while muddy.

  5. #5
    L1MEY
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    It sounds like maybe you are irritating the nerves in your hands while you're riding. That could be down to the fit of the bike (maybe you are leaning forward too far), or it could be that a riser would be better than a flat bar, or that you need different gloves, or a combination of all of them. The best way to find out the problem and fix it would be to tackle each issue individually and see if you're still getting any pain. First off, try to correct any problems with your bike fit... this will help you in the long run anyway. Here is a great place to start: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/beginners/index.html. There is also a good section on bike fit in the book 'Mountain Bike Like a Champion' by Ned Overend... I'd recommend picking up a copy anyway, it's a very useful book Once you have any fit problems ironed out, and if your hands still hurt, you might try the riser bar or gloves.

    As for mud, if your area is often muddy you can get different tyres that will help with traction in the mud. I always found riding in the mud a lot of fun, even if I was slipping and sliding everywhere. If you're nervous about hurting yourself from a fall, pick up some armour to give you confidence (I did this when I got clipless pedals).

    Keep us updated

    - Jen.

  6. #6

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    I'll check out that website, thanks. I do think I lean forward too much- it would be nice if I could fix the problem without having to buy anything! I live in northern california- san jose to be exact and its not too cold or wet really but the mud in every park seems to be so different from what I hear. I guess it will just be a trial and error kind of thing, going out and seeing how muddy it is or isnt.

    on my first real ride on a mountain bike I fell, pretty bad IMHO but I was new. I was going downhill on a somewhat steep area and got cocky- thought i could do it no problem but I was wrong! there was a branch at the bottom and i tried to avoid it by turning the handle bars and whooosh...the next thing i know im on the floor sprawled out trying to breathe and my boyfriend is hovering over me looking very concerned. I didn't get hurt very badly, but it scared me and I've still got the scars to prove it! (although I am awfully proud of them, my battle scars) I remember riding out of the park with the families, other people around and my arm is all bloody and my legs are cut up but I was so proud, hah like I had done it- gone for a bike ride. So I fell ah oh well.. but now I'm very afraid of falling, getting hurt, etc. Doesn't armour make you hot? I've heard that its unecessary-but a confidence booster. I'm thinking it might not be a bad idea..

    -Megan

  7. #7
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    Do what you need to do to feel comfortable on the bike. If body armor does it, then wear it. I don't normally wear it, however, on certain trails I wouldn't ride without it.

  8. #8
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    I have had carpal tunnel in both wrists, so I have had to deal with these issues as a cyclist. The sleeping pinky finger sounds like it could be from a pinched or irritated nerve in your wrist. Just curious if you also feel a little tingling in the finger next to the pinky too?

    At any rate, while you are seated and riding, your brake levers should be rotated far enough forward so that your wrists remain straight ("unbent"). I see quite a few people with the shifters/levers rotated too far back so that the wrists are bent while riding. Consider that low hanging fruit (easy to fix and doesn't cost anything to do it yourself) on the fit adjustment scale.

    You may not feel too bent over, but you might be putting enough weight on your hands while riding to irritate the nerves. Another thing to check is to make sure that your seat is adjusted properly. There are three essential adjustments that you can make. The first is to try to make sure it is pretty level from front to back. You may have a slight preference from there, but that is usually a good starting point. If it is too low in front, you will feel like you are sliding forward and this will put pressure on your hands as you keep pushing back to keep yourself on the seat. Seat height is another adjustment that needs to be pretty close to maximize comfort, but that doesn't sound like it is one of your issues.

    The last adjustment for the saddle is the fore/aft adjustment and it can also have an effect on how much pressure you put on your wrists. There are formulas that suggest that when your seat is at the proper height and you have the pedals in the 3 o'clock/9o'clock position, the front of your kneecap (on the knee that's at 3 o'clock) should be directly above the pedal axle. That is fine if you are not having to put too much weight on your wrists because you need to support your torso, but that is often not the case. The relationship between where your feet are anchored to the pedals and the fore/aft position of your saddle is mostly what determines this. Picture your self squatting down by bending at the knees. In order to keep from falling forward, you stick your butt back as a counterbalance. Same principle applies here. I like to move my saddle back far enough so that I am not using my arms to support my torso at all (or very little). I adjust mine so that I can go from from leaned over to bolt upright without needng my arms to do so. That way my arms are pretty much only needed for steering. The thing to watch for is if you move the seat too far backwards, you may start to feel some pain in your knees. If you do, you can move your seat forward in 1/8" increments until it goes away.

    A good pair of gloves that have some gel padding in the palms may help, but you should feel reasonably assured that you have resolved any fit issues before just getting some gloves and calling it good. A pair of barends may also give some options for switching to different hand positions on longer climbs or rides and this can help too.

    A competent shop should be able to dial in the fit properly to (at the very least) greatly minimize your discomfort.
    Last edited by jeffj; 01-21-2005 at 12:14 AM.

  9. #9

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    very informative, and yes- it is not just my pinky finger- it is also the ring finger and in fact my ring finger is numb much longer afterwards and is even painful from time to time. I had the bike shop fit me when I bought the bike, but I was curious and a few times have tried to make adjustments myself. I will have to go back and see what they say..or just try some more on my own hah I like the idea of my hands/arms being used simply for steering, I'll have to give that a shot- thanks.

    -Megan

  10. #10
    L1MEY
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    If you're afraid of falling and hurting yourself, I'd definitely recommend the armour route. It is true that it can be hot, but it's winter at the moment, so by the time summer comes around you should be confident enough to ride without it. Don't worry about what it looks like... you can always wear loose fitting sweats over the top if you think you look daft Also, if you're worried about heat, try to avoid the stuff that is made from neoprene... it looks comfy, but makes you sweat buckets.

  11. #11

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    I did it! I went out for a ride, I think it went pretty successful. It started raining just as I was getting into the park and I got my first shot at some mud (not too bad- but it was hardly 'muddy'). The trail that I chose is mostly a paved bike path around a lake area, but it has some nice single track off to the sides of the trail that I really enjoyed! I still chickened out on a few areas, always makes me frustrated when I look back- my worst biking habit is that I get just about to something a little tricky and right as I'm about to do it I give up- thats when I fall on my butt. Someday I'll get over the lame fears right? I hope so! I had such a great time, thanks for the encouragement! I can't wait to get out there again..

    -Megan

  12. #12

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    Good For You!

    I hope you have many more wonderful rides!
    donna

  13. #13
    crash test dummy
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    Some days the lion, others the lamb...

    Quote Originally Posted by megarino
    I still chickened out on a few areas, always makes me frustrated when I look back- my worst biking habit is that I get just about to something a little tricky and right as I'm about to do it I give up- thats when I fall on my butt. Someday I'll get over the lame fears right? I hope so! I had such a great time, thanks for the encouragement! I can't wait to get out there again..

    -Megan
    I've been mtn biking for a decade now, and even after dozens of gnarly descents, huge drops, gap jumps, etc., some days I just don't feel like doing the tougher sections. No big deal - I'll just hit them next time around. If I force myself when I'm not feeling right, I hesitate and often bail - just as you describe.

    You have plenty of time. Mountain biking is about fun, challenge, and a bit of fear, but not to an uncomfortable degree. One day you'll be feeling great, and on a whim you'll go attack a bunch of sections that used to scare you....BAM! You'll clean them and laugh and never think twice again.

  14. #14
    pillage! plunder! 4 parts
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    Finger numbness

    There are some things you can do to help with the numbness off the bike. Buy a set of these from any sporting goods store for about $6. You can even use them at work or at home when you are watching The Collective or something like this. It strengthens the hands and forearms which can help even with carpel tunnel symptoms. I was scheduled for surgery for very similar symptoms this as I work on computers all day long and they told me I wouldn't be able to ride MTB anymore. Well, I friend recommended these and within about 2 months I was not only back to riding but without the surgery. They are hard to use at first but can make a difference.

    I will 2nd the opinion about your break levers. If they are too horizontal off the bar and require your wrists to be bent to operate well it can restrict blood flow to the hands. I used to notice it most on the downhills where you are prone to setting up your hands on the brake levers. Angle them down for comfort and you might notice the difference.

    These might be some good options to try before tackling the expense of modifications to the bike with riser bars etc.

    Welcome to the awesome world of MTBing. Cool that you dig the scars too!
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    don't question why you ride but rather why you don't ride more.

  15. #15
    No more slogans!
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    I had that problem myself when I was riding straight bars. Carpal Tunnel affects the main fingers of the hand and the 4th and 5th fingers are affected by the Ulnar Nerve. That nerve goes through the chest area and through the elbow which can effect the hands if you have poor posture on your bike like Jeffj said. When you said it happens after about 30 minutes (like I had) that shows that your arms are fatiquing a bit which is probably the start of that nerve compression in your shoulders and arms. What helped me was strength training, a low-riser handlebar and a good bike allignment (especially the brake levers!) did it for me. Hope it all works out.

  16. #16

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    I think that tonight I will move my brake levers a bit. Yesterday when I was riding I was moving my hands around and I think that should do the trick- at least its worth a try! I realized that my hands are perpendicular to my arm- bent at such a funny angle- no wonder my fingers are falling asleep! I'm also trying to get some more strength training in- I had no idea it might help with this, thats a little bit more motivation to do it..Thanks!

    -Megan

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