When people speak of suffering on the bike, they usually are referring to pain in the legs from their efforts. For many, though, their suffering comes in a different form: Overuse injuries of the neck and shoulder. Recently, I was doing some research for articles that study the frequency of neck and shoulder pain in cyclists. Although I expected the numbers to be significant, I didn’t anticipate that they would be as high as the rates they report. Most of these studies were surveys given to recreational/amateur cyclists after long distance events of multiple days.
Frequency of neck/shoulder pain (survey results) 44.2% (male) 54.9% (female). Wilber, et al. 1995
Frequency of neck/shoulder pain (survey results) 66.4%. Weiss, et al. 1985.
Wilber CA, Holland GJ, Madison RE, et al. An epidemiologic analysis of overuse injuries among recreational cyclists. Int J Sports Med 1995: 16: 201-6.
Weiss BD. Nontraumatic injuries in amateur long distance bicyclists. Am J Sports Med 1985; 13(3): 187-192.
In my search, I came across a chapter in an old book (now online) called “A Doctor’s View of Bicycling” that was originally published in 1897. From it comes the great picture posted above of A.A. “Zimmy” Zimmerman in an early concept of bicycle positioning for racing. Times have changed… for the better!