“It’s not me, it’s you.” That’s what I hear on a fairly regular basis. Actually, it’s some variation of the following statement: “I need bike that gives me position X because position Y gives me a sore neck/back/etc”.
Now, sometimes, it could be the bike. It could be the bike when it’s the wrong size for you, if you have some sort of specific physiological issue, or if you or someone else has put you in a crazy weird position on the bike.
Aside from these situations, it’s not the bike, it’s you.
What I mean by this is that the bike isn’t wrong, it’s just that you aren’t strong enough to be in that position for any useful length of time. It may not be the kind of bike you are after, but blaming the bike is just shifting responsibility for your woefully weak core muscles. Most people don’t work the fields anymore. Most people work jobs that are of a sedate manner. Tired from the mental and social strain, as well as a lack of physical activity, they go home and sit on the couch. The vicious cycle continues.
Look at babies – that’s what you start life with. You used to be able to just flip your foot up to your face and play with it like it was no big deal. You used to superman like a boss when someone picked you up. Now you groan when you have to pick something up off the floor. That position on the road bike? The one that’s not upright and supported by sofa cushions and an automan? That’s a perfectly fine position that cool looking road bike puts you in – just not for someone who can’t sit with good posture for more than 30 seconds.
I’m not saying that a road bike is the ultimate position, but I’ve heard too many people speak derogatorily about “those” bikes and their ridiculous positions. It’s not the bike, it’s you.
Two things can be done about this… obviously, there are any number of things that can be done about it, but let’s just stick with two.
1. If you get a sore neck or back on the bike or have poor posture in general, consider donating a few minutes of your time to yourself a few days a week for some specific strength building exercises. Read through this article from Cyclist for a good overview of the problem from a cycling point of view. Yoga or pilates for cyclists is on the rise these days, and for a good reason. It’s not actually the case that there is a type of yoga is all that specific for cycling, it’s just that yoga is particularly good for cycling in general.
2. Start riding to work. This is not going to solve the problem of getting sore on the bike, but if you are sore, tired, and generally lethargic from lack of activity, then working in a workout (cycling) into something you have to do anyway (go places) is a great place to start. You’ll also benefit from getting to work fresh and alert, rather than still sleepy from the drive, and you’ll perk up and de-stress from a hard day on the way home.
So, before you start blaming the bike, consider the reality that you may not be the Herculean specimen that you rather fancy yourself to be (I can just about wrap my hand around my bicep, so I’ve come to terms with this), and muster the courage to mumble a quick, “it’s not you, it’s me”.
Header image: source