Listen when your body speaks !

The human body is an amazing thing. It even manages to speak to us cyclists in any number of ways. Here is a translation of what your body is trying to tell you when you experience different forms of pain whilst riding your bike.


Pain in your feet :

Your shoe straps are too tight.

Your cleats are too far forward. Slide them back 2mm or less at a time.

You may need orthotics.

Pain in your achilles tendon :

Your saddle is too low and your heel is dropping too much putting extra strain on your achilles tendon with each pedal stroke.

Pain in your shins :

Your cleats are too far forward putting extra pressure on the front of your shins as you try to pedal with your toes.

Pain on front of your knee :

Your saddle is too low and you are putting extra pressure with no respite on your knees.

Pain behind your knee :

Your saddle is too high and you are straining your knee with each overstretched pedal stroke.

Pain in your hands :

Your bars are too low and you are putting too much pressure on your hands or your saddle is not level pushing your weight forward.

Pain in your ass :


The person beside you keeps half wheeling you, or

Your handle bars are too low and you are sitting incorrectly on the saddle

Your saddle is the incorrect shape for your anatomy

The chamois of your shorts is the wrong shape for your anatomy

You need to spend more time training.

Pain in your lower back :

Your saddle is too low.

You are too stretched on the bike and need a shorter stem. It can also be caused by being too cramped on the bike, arching your back which will need a longer stem.

It is also possible to be caused by a leg length discrepancy which needs to be rectified by a bike fit specialist.

Your core is weak and you need to strengthen it up with gym work.

Pain in your neck/shoulders :

Your bars are too low or you are too stretched and need a shorter stem.

You are riding with your elbows ‘locked’ and inflexible.

Pain in your head :

The rider next to you keeps on incessantly telling you how well he is going and how many races he will win even though he has hairy legs and no racing licence.

Pain everywhere else :

Suck it up, tough it out and be the best you can !



Barry Meehan

2 thoughts on “Listen when your body speaks !

  • July 16, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    New to cycling and loss of strength in hands and numbness to tips of fingers? Apparently it’s from pressure on ulnar nerve in wrist area from grip and vibrations.

  • July 16, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    That makes sense Ger. It can also cause Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. Wearing gloves or mitts and possibly adding bar ends to hybrid or mtb handlebars to give an option to change hand position regularly might help too.


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