Today’s question is about why you could get numbness while riding inside on rollers, even though it’s the same bike used outside without any problems…

Hi. I can ride my bike 50, 60 miles or more with no numbness in my crotch or hands. 30 minutes on the rollers however and I start getting numbness in both. Any solutions?

Numb Nick

Hi Nick,

Your problem is pretty common when riding inside, whether it be on rollers or a stationary trainer.

The most likely cause is that you are not moving around on the bike and changing positions like you would outside.

Think about it. When you’re outside, you alternate between standing and sitting. You might shift forward or back on the saddle when climbing a hill. You alter your body position to achieve proper cornering form. You change hand positions constantly for braking, shifting, better aerodynamics, etc. Even turning your head to look left or right forces you to change position.

When riding the rollers, you don’t have to do any of that stuff. So, you probably don’t. Thus, you are leaving your body in the same position for 30 minutes, concentrating all your weight on the same small parts of your hands and butt.

If you don’t believe me, just go for a ride outside and count the number of tiny movements you make. Then compare that number to the position changes you make when riding rollers.

The second possibility, since you’re on rollers and have to maintain balance, is that you are tensed up and gripping the handlebar too tightly. This happens to riders that are new to rollers. They tense up their bodies and don’t move at all.

To fix this, do two things:

  • Relax
  • Move constantly

First, relax your body.

You need to be calm and fluid on the bike. Being relaxed will actually improve your balance.

Second, move around and constantly shift your positioning.

You want to change hand positions, slide forward and back on the saddle (typically required when changing hand position,) and stand occasionally.

I know I change my hand position at least every couple minutes. I will also stand every 5 or 10 minutes, depending on what type of workout I’m doing.

Try that next time you’re on the rollers and you should be able to ride 30 minutes (and beyond) without much hand and crotch pain/numbness.

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