How to prevent numb hands when cycling

If you’ve ever felt your hands go numb while riding your bike, follow these simple tips to prevent it from happening

Clock17:00, Thursday 18th April 2024

Numb hands is a common complaint among cyclists and can ruin your enjoyment of a ride. There are some simple ways to lessen the chances of it happening though. Here Manon Lloyd, James Lowsley-Williams and Conor Dunne offer their best tips and tricks to prevent it.

Hand position on the handlebars can help prevent numb hands

Change your hand position on the bars

One of the key reasons behind numb hands is gripping the handlebars too tightly. Keeping your hands in one position for too long can restrict the blood flow, causing numbness.

Try moving your hand around on the bars to vary the position. Alternating between riding the hoods, drops and flat part of the bars will help distribute pressure more and prevent over strain in any particular areas.

Top Tip

Try bending your elbows and getting in almost an aero position to take the pressure off your hands even more.

Saddle height, position and your reach to the bars are all important

Double check your bike set-up

A proper bike fit is crucial for comfort and performance. Make sure your saddle height and position are correct. If the saddle is tilted down slightly it will force more pressure on your hands which you'll eventually feel, especially on longer rides. Also check your reach to the bars from the saddle as an aggressive set-up can cause increased pressure on your hands and wrists.

Read more: How to find the perfect bike fit

Top Tip

Consider raising your handlebars or using a shorter stem to take pressure off your hands. You could even try different shape bars that put your hands in a different position on the bars if you're still having issues

Wearing gloves like these AGU ones can protect against road vibration

Invest in some quality cycling gloves

Sometimes numbness comes from vibrations from the road's surface travelling through the bike to one of your main contact points – your hands. Wearing gloves with padding in the palm can absorb and reduce some of those vibrations as well as the pressure you force though your hands.

Read more: How to avoid getting a numb penis when cycling

Top Tip

Try double wrapping your bar tape on your bars for extra padding, like the pros do for Paris-Roubaix!

Manon Lloyd riding in a relaxed position on the bike

Try to relax more while riding

Our final tip relates to the fact that sometimes we can all be guilty of gripping the bike too tightly. Try and remind yourself to relax your arms, have a slight bend in the elbows and lighten your grip on the bars. This will help stop you cutting off the circulation to your hands.

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