I write from experience. I’ve been cycling for 50 years and coaching for 30 years and have personally experienced every affliction you can think of — and some you haven’t imagined! Rather than suffering repeatedly, I’ve learned from each painful experiences. We learn more from our riding problems than from rides that have gone well. And it’s easier for you to learn from another rider’s problems than to suffer yourself.
As a rider and coach when a problem occurs, I read the professional literature and trustworthy research to learn as much as I can. I learn about multiple possible causes for a problem and the possible solutions. Below are columns based on the research I’ve done and the practical experiments of my clients and myself. We’re each an experiment of one. I encourage you to read about your specific issue and then experiment to figure out what works for you.
Cycling is big business. The global bicycle market size was valued at $54.44 billion in 2020. Companies claim that a certain product or program will solve your problem. However, many of these claims are not supported by robust scientific research. To help you I wrote this column The Importance of Evaluating Claims about Product and Techniques Yourself.
Riders’ Common Problems
A Question of the Week posed in the past was, “What is the Biggest or Most Common Physical Issue that Affects Your Riding?” RBR readers responded:
- Saddle Discomfort / Saddle Sores – 135 votes, 20.5%
- Upper Back, Shoulder, Neck Pain / Discomfort – 115 votes, 16.8%
- Numb / Painful Hands – 108 votes, 15.9%
- Something Else – 97 votes, 14.6%
- Lower Back Pain / Discomfort – 77 votes, 11.5%
- Cramps – 74 votes, 11.0%
- Hot / Painful Feet – 62 votes, 9.1%
My Columns Responding
I’ve written a series of columns responding to the survey and to other ask the coach questions.
Anti-aging: Dealing with Aches and Pains responds to a reader’s question and discusses how to deal with aging by taking care of your body and whether supplements are effective.
Tips to Avoid Injury In study of 518 recreational cyclists 85% reported at least one non-traumatic injury in a year! I explain how to train and ride to avoid injury.
10 Tips to Prevent Saddle Discomfort Almost every rider has had pain in the nether region or even saddle sores. I describe the multiple types of pain / sores and how to prevent them. I discuss the various lubes and the one recommended by a dermatologist.
Upper Back, Shoulder and Neck Discomfort / Pain describes what causes these, preventive exercises and what to do on the bike.
Hand Pain or Numbness explains the physiology of two different hand problems and describes how to deal with these with riding techniques, equipment and core strength.
How to Avoid Bonking explains why you bonk and what to do nutritionally to avoid it.
Low Back Discomfort or Pain uses a personal example to describe seven different things I’ve done.
Cramping part 1 uses readers’ questions as examples to explain the various possible causes.
Cramping part 2 suggests possible solutions.
Hot / Painful Feet don’t really result from hot weather. This column explains the actual causes of hot foot and possible solutions.
Nausea, part 1 is a dialog with a reader his experiences and possible causes.
Nausea, part 2 describes what to change to avoid nausea.
Preventing Cycling Ailments bundle includes 4 articles totaling 56 pages:
- Butt, Hands, Feet What causes pain in cycling’s pressure points, how to prevent these pains, and what to do if it happens during a ride. 12 pages
- Preventing and Treating Cramps What causes them, how to prevent them and how to break and flush them illustrate with photos. 10 pages
- Nutrition for 100K and Beyond: What to eat and drink to avoid bonking and other riding problems. 17 pages
- Gaining a Mental Edge: Sports Psychology How to deal mentally with problems when they do occur. 17 pages
The Preventing Cycling Ailments bundle is $15.96.
Stop Cycling’s Showstoppers is about prevention. I address all of the things that can go wrong and interfere with a ride. I explain how to avoid issues involving equipment, nutrition, weather, ailments, injuries, discouragement, and more. In addition, this eBook is a valuable primer on topics such as riding comfort, training and riding skills. Stop Cycling’s Showstoppers is a workbook to help you diagnose and prevent problems. The 65-page Stop Cycling’s Showstoppers is $14.
Coach John Hughes earned coaching certifications from USA Cycling and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. John’s cycling career includes course records in the Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200-km randonnée and the Furnace Creek 508, a Race Across AMerica (RAAM) qualifier. He has ridden solo RAAM twice and is a 5-time finisher of the 1200-km Paris-Brest-Paris. He has written over 40 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training and nutrition, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach John Hughes. Click to read John’s full bio.