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HomeSafety- November 2018

November 2018
Fun With Bikes

Sarasota-Manatee Bicycle Club Safety

Should Cyclists Fuel With Candy?



How effective is candy as part of energy source, as opposed to performance gels, and bars marketed towards athletes?

The idea behind straight sugar-type candy (e.g. Swedish Fish, gummy bears, SweeTarts) is to rapidly bring up your blood sugar without causing GI issues.  Candy like gummy bears—a high-glycemic index carb that’s digested quickly—are a great way to immediately replenish depleted glycogen stores as part of recovery from a grueling effort. 


During a ride though, you wouldn’t want to fully rely on candy as your fuel source, you still want “real fuel” as a nutritional base—especially during long rides. However, you can top off your glycogen stores with candy if you feel your energy levels dropping quickly, or if you need a boost to keep up with powerful surges, particularly in the last hour of a ride.

So go ahead keep some sweets in your back pocket to keep you going on long, fast rides.


Prevent Numbness While Cycling

You know the sensation: An hour into your ride you start feeling some tingling in your hands and up into your fingers. You shake them out, hoping to relieve the dull ache, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Next you start to feel a tingle in your big toe. Before long, your foot, hand and entire bottom has gone numb and you spend the rest of your ride squirming to get the feeling back.

The good news is more than likely that you are able to solve the numb feelings while cycling.

While many people place a lot of their focus on the legs, the rider’s hands are also extremely important. After all, if cyclists hands go numb then the constant shifting can put you in less efficient positions and it can also be a hazard, adversely affecting steering and braking.

Let’s start with your Hands

Numbness in the hands can be the result of tension in the shoulders, road vibration, a handlebar reach that’s too far or leaning too much weight on the handlebars.

What can you try: Beginners often have a hard time relaxing their grip on the handlebar, causing tension in the shoulders and arms. While riding, keep your grip light and loose, which can also prevent oversteering when you encounter an obstacle. Change hand positions frequently by rotating between the tops, hoods and drops to help relieve muscle tension and remind you to loosen up.


To prevent numbness you need to ensure that your wrist and hand position is in line with your forearm. If there is a bend in your wrist it will cause a pinch in the nerve and your hands will go numb. If you adjust your position and you find that you are unable to get your forearms, wrists and hands flush it may be an issue with your bike fit.

You can also try using a thicker foam-type handle bar tap to allow for more shock absorption. Change hand position frequently.


 Another good solution for numb hands is a decent pair of well fitting gloves with a fair amount of padding to spread out the pressure on 

the hands. Cycling gloves protect your hands when you are riding, and help alleviate pain from a bumpy ride but will also offer that extra little bit of grip to ensure your sweaty hands don’t slip off the handlebars at a crucial moment.


Before your ride and at breaks, you can do some wrist work, twirling them around one way and then back the other and move them up and down.


The groin area

Saddle numbness is often caused by compression of nerves and blood cells, resulting in a lack of blood flow to the perineal area.
An ill-fitting saddle, a poor position or not alternating between sitting and standing enough are the primary causes for most cyclists.

What can you try: To find the right saddle, pay attention to the shape of the saddle rather than switching to a bigger, cushy saddle with lots of padding. The shape of the pelvis varies greatly from one person to the next, which means some people respond better to a curved shape rather than a flat saddle — or vice versa.

You can also choose a cut out or a saddle with a channel designed specifically to relieve pressure from the perineum.

If the problem is caused by your position on the saddle, you may be putting pressure on the wrong parts of your body. Ideally, you’ll want to place most of your body weight on your sit bones rather than directly on soft tissue areas.

To remedy this problem, make sure you aren’t sliding forward onto the nose of your saddle while you ride and keep your weight toward the rear of the saddle on your sit bones. Leaning forward on your saddle compresses the nerves in the soft area between your groin and butt, which cuts off blood flow and feeling.

Check your saddle tilt. The top should be parallel to the ground, which allows your sit bones to carry most of your weight.
Next, check your handlebar reach as described above; a long reach rotates your hips forward and transfers weight to your perineum.

There's no evidence that a gel seat will help reduce perineal symptoms. In fact, in some cases, too soft a seat can cause more discomfort than a slightly firmer saddle. A gel seat may work better for short-distance riding like errands or commuting, but it might not work as well for longer rides because it lacks stability and support.

The search for the perfect saddle can take time.The conventional wisdom in the biking world is to experiment with saddles until you find the one that works best for you.

A saddle that's wrong for your body can place excess weight on nerves and blood vessels, numbing you from your hips down, so test-ride  saddles with varying shapes and thicknesses before you buy.

And your Feet


Ill-fitting footwear is the root cause of most lower-extremity numbness.

What can you try: When shopping for cycling shoes check out the sole of the shoe, if you aren’t using shoes with cleats to click onto your pedal, make sure your have a hard soled shoe. Riding with soft soled shoes can cause numbness and pain to the bottom of you feet on the pedal. Also consider your shoe width and height in addition to numerical size, shoes that are too small pinch nerves at the ball of the foot.


In ConclusionConclusionGet Moving!

The best thing you can do to prevent numbness while riding is simple: Move your body. Not only will this help with pain, because you’re not putting pressure on just one spot, but it also increases blood flow, which helps decrease numbness.