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Riding a 1974 Schwinn Women's Road Bike - should my shoulders hurt like they do?
#1
Lately I've been riding this '74 Road Bike- I think it's a Schwinn Continental based on the serial number- and it rides just fine but I'm not used to riding a bike like this. Because it's a road bike you have to lean forward so dramatically in order to ride it and my shoulders and upper back ache so bad, which they shouldn't, because I'm pretty young. How can I improve my posture when riding a road bike? Is this supposed to happen?
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#2
Hi Chelsea and welcome.

That is not unusual if you are trying to ride with your hands in the lower position. If you watch other riders you will see most keep their hands on top of the bars except for sprinting. Some new bikes have even added a second set of brake levers on top.

It takes racers lots of time to get used to that contorted position and I bet they hurt too . So the more you ride the easier it gets, however do vary your posture and hand position. There are even add on bars you can get.

However you should make sure that the bike is set up properly for you first.

BTW here is some info on your bike.

http://www.trfindley.com/flschwinn_1971_1980/1974_21.html
Never Give Up!!!
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#3
Quote:However you should make sure that the bike is set up properly for you first.

The most important thing is what George said. A proper fit will keep that from happening or at least reduce it to where it is minimal. There are several types of fittings from just getting the seat properly adjusted to computerized fittings used by the pros and many long distance riders. The first thing is that you want to make sure the bike is the correct size for you. Seat height and position are also very important, especially on a road bike as it helps eliminate knee and shoulder pain.

If the bars are too low or too far away from you and you have to reach out with a stiff arm to grab them, then you may need to shorten the stem to bring the bars further back. If the bars are too low, then the same thing will happen because you are forced to ride with a stiff arm. You should be in a fairly neutral position when bent over, with relaxed shoulders, enough to be able to bend the elbows. This will keep the pressure off the shoulders and help keep your hands from going numb. And (as George also mentioned), don't use the bottom of the drop bar unless you are wanting to get a lower position when riding into a headwind. Keep your hands on the top of the drop bar with your elbows bent.
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Giant
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#4
With the above good advice try stretching before you ride, during your ride (like stop somewhere), and after your ride. Don't jump on your bike and go 20 miles if you have not rode a bike in a long time. Try starting with 1 mile on your first day, then rest for a day. Then maybe 2 miles two days after. Basically what I am saying is build up your stamina. If you do not then you will be disappointed.
Other then that it is all I have to add. Welcome to Bicycletutor and the Bike world Big Grin .
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#5
Hi Chelsea;

Wrench Science has a very good fit system online:
https://www.wrenchscience.com/Login.aspx?ReturnUrl=/Secure/Fit/Height.aspx
the downside is that you have to register, and you get almost daily e-mails after that.

Continentals are stiff - which is good, but they are heavy, and thus tiring to ride. With the relatively narrow bars, they also tend to take a bit more shoulder effort to turn.

If you do choose to try Wrench Science's fit calculator, check all the different options: road, mountain, etc, and notice how the recommended width of the handle bars change. Road is geared towards aerodynamics, thus as narrow as possible. Mountain towards leverage, and quick easy turning, and thus as wide as practical.

If your bike's frame is about the correct size, and you have to change and/or move the bars around, I suggest some thing like these:
http://www.amazon.com/Origin8-Threaded-Threadless-Quill-Adapter/dp/B0037N6PEC/
http://www.amazon.com/Avenir-200-Stem-Black-80mm/dp/B002BVW4E6/
http://www.amazon.com/Avenir-Classico-Road-Handlebars-Black/dp/B003FQIR6U/
http://www.amazon.com/Avenir-Flat-Road-Handlebars-Black/dp/B002BW1BJO/
http://www.amazon.com/Avenir-Mountain-Handlebars-Black-600mm/dp/B002BW3H4Q/

The Avenir bars and stems are light, strong and stiff. I just installed a 200 series stem and mountain bike bar on our tandem.

If you want to make further improvement to your bike; consider Tektro dual pivot brakes, I recently installed Tektro R559 brakes on my 1985 World Tourist - they are incredibly powerful brakes, that require much less effort than the original brakes.

Scroll down to the section called "Reach" - but read the whole article
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/calipers.html
you may be able to find them less expensive on Amazon:
http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/brake-calipers.html

On my World Tourist, I flipped the rear brake around and put it ahead of the chain stays, because of the cable braze ons along the top tube put the cable on the right side of the bike. This actually gives more room for fenders and rear rack.
Nigel
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#6
Thank all of you so much!! I'll be heading down to some of the bike shops I know of in town and maybe they can help with the actual manual adjustment of the seat, etc. I think a lot of the problem IS the seat, because it's way too high. I'm only 5'6" and the tires are 27". So a little tweaking may be in order.

Again, thanks so much! There is a lot to learn.
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