Last week was pretty busy so I was only able to bike commute once. Fortunately it was the evening of the Ride of Silence, honoring cyclists who have died on the roads in the past year. A very somber and sobering event. Then I spent the weekend camping in the rain with my Girl Scout troop. My girls are rock stars!
Unfortunately, I also noticed my pinky on my right hand was freaking out. It didn’t want to straighten. I thought back to the SCU Quad County and how my pinky felt zonked after that ride too. It’s also happened a few times this year, each time a little longer to get full functionality back into my finger (because I’m stupid and keep riding). As in, I can’t put all my fingers together and straighten out my right hand. It’s frightening to think about permanent damage from something you love to do.
I did some Googling (check out this blog about someone else experiencing the same thing!) and discovered this is most likely due to excessive compression on my ulnar nerve even though I have padded gloves and padded bartape. The only cure is rest, stretching exercises, and making sure your bike fit is as good as possible (seat low, handlebars high). With this knowledge, I’m thinking all this bike commuting has been screwing me up (since Lady Rainicorn‘s frame is slightly too big for me). Or perhaps I messed up the geometry when I swapped out the saddle. Or maybe it’s my new bike gloves – they are a touch too big (I thought the Mediums felt a touch too small so I opted for Large).
Sadness – I know!
So I’m going to do a couple of things:
1. put the original saddle back on the bike and see if that helps (I didn’t notice problems before I started messing with the seat)
2. get a bike fit even though I don’t want to (it can be hard to justify spending almost half the cost of your bike on a fit – remember, she’s a Craiglist find under $300)
3. dial back my riding until full functionality returns to my finger (I dislike this the most)
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Next week I am heading out to Colorado for a week of fun and happiness! I’m flying with my bike again on Frontier Airlines – they are THE BEST when it comes to traveling with your bike. I don’t have status with them this year so I’m going to do my best to get my bike box under 50 pounds (it was 51 pounds last summer). I already have an appointment to get my bike reassembled when I arrive and will work out the return trip when I get there. Super psyched to be cycling with my friends and family again!
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See you on the road!
10 thoughts on “Pause”
That happened A LOT to me last year while I trained for my century. All of my movement is back and I ride a few times a week. DId scare me for quite awhile though!
Good to know I’m not alone!
A few years back I broke a bone in my wrist from falling off a roof. During the healing process and for about a year afterward it was painful to ride for any length. One of the solutions I tried which worked well was installing aero bars, the kind popular with triathalon folks. The aero bars allowed me to take almost all the weight off of my hands. Just be forewarned that it is a lot harder to control your bike! I switched back to the handlebars during cornering and in dicy situations for safety’s sake. After a full recovery I removed the aero bars from my bike because riding in that posture is not really my style. Good luck, and remain awesome!
Ha – thanks! I’m going to swap the seat tonight and ride to work tomorrow. See what happens. I have a big ride on the 2nd … don’t want a “dead” finger to ruin a day on the bike!
I’ve had similar hand issues and have always chalked it up to nerve pressure. I hope it all gets straightened out–no pun intended!
Ha! Thanks for making me feel normal. 😀
🙂 Wait. We’re normal?
Ohh, I went to that article on Wartenberg’s. That was TOTALLY interesting. Especially since the nerves were colour coded and you could see where the one in the palm might be causing your difficulties? I am going to see if when my hands are cold I experience those symptoms. Totally great article on it.
You should try the soak in the water…perhaps you can increase the blood flow to the nerve?
As for the bike fit, that might help. It did me a world of good…but I also see your point about spending $100+ … tis not cheap. If you have a bike trainer/stand … you might be able to do it yourself? Harder to do I know … but now that I have had one fitting, I think I might be able to do it on another bike for myself…maybe.
I hope your pinky gets better…and have fun on your trip!
Exactly! It’s not just the usual tingling/numbness that happens sometimes. I haven’t had that in a long time!
Last night I put the original saddle on my commuter and even this morning the ride in felt completely different. I’m pretty sure I screwed something up by changing the seat and not adjusting anything else. And then wearing bike gloves that were too big (and thus the padding was in the wrong spot, putting pressure on the nerve).
The good news is my pinky doesn’t hurt – just doesn’t want to be with the other fingers. Just going to take it easy, stretch my hand/fingers, and hope for the best. 😀