Bike Tips: Your hands

My fingers are numb during the ride!
Is that normal?

In the last column, we talked about numbness in the feet. Frequently, cyclists also experience the same problems with their hands and fingers, specifically in the fourth and fifth fingers. These sensations are  caused by prolonged pressure exerted by the hands on the handlebars creating compression on the tissues of the ulnar nerve.

  • Technical Tip: Vary the position of your hands on the handlebars every 15 minutes and hold your wrists in neutral when you are resting on the brake “hoods” (the forearm should be in line with the skin between thumb and forefinger ).
  • Positioning Tip: Adjust your saddle to a position where the weight of your body is more towards the back than on the handlebars. If the saddle is too high or too far sloping forward, the weight is more on the hands.
  • Mechanical Advice: Make sure the width of your handlebars is equal to or slightly greater than the width of your shoulders, measuring from the middle of each bar. If your handlebars are too wide or too narrow, you will have more difficulty keeping your wrists in neutral.

An old injury to the joints of your wrist, elbow, shoulder or even your neck could limit movement of the nerves or your joints and thus cause your numbness. In this case, our proposed solutions in this column today will not bear fruit. This is an important clue that you will need to consult one of our physiotherapists.

For you, what are your tricks to get rid of your numb hands when riding?