Doing the same activity for hours a day is hard on our bodies, and bicycle touring is no exception. Riding a bicycle (excluding recumbent machines) puts your body in an unnatural position where your back is flexed and your head is held up by your neck muscles for long periods of time.
If you experience neck or back pain on your bicycle, don’t ignore it; your pain could be pointing to a serious issue or could be alleviated. Our suggestions may help ease your discomfort and keep you in the saddle throughout your adventure.
Try to relax while cycling. Look around at the place you’re traveling through. We have a tendency to tense up, especially if we’re excited or riding through busy urban areas. Over time, that muscle tension can cause pain. Relax your arms and let your abs do the work of keeping you upright on the bicycle
Do gentle stretches throughout the day, such as reaching overhead, windmilling your arms, looking left to right, and touching your toes.
If you have a previous neck or back injury, ask your doctor or physical therapist for a few exercises and stretches for you to do during your tour to keep you limber and pain-free.
Stop at a bike shop for a proper fitting. Ask them to help you with bike adjustments and your cycling posture. While they’re definitely not doctors, experienced bicycle shop employees are able to better fit your bike to your body.
If your pain doesn’t go away or increases, stop cycling and visit a doctor.
Agreed! For MTB or shorter trips, I use upright bikes, but once a ride is going to be over 20 miles (and/or many days in a row), nothing beats a recumbent. I've done 80+ mile days and the only thing that's sore are my legs; my neck and arms feel fine!
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The best answer is hinted at by the rider in the graphics - go recumbent.