Q: I was wondering if you could provide some advice. Whenever I cycle for long periods – and sometimes even short trips – I suffer from sore and painful thighs.
This is particularly acute when cycling up hills, which makes sense, but is something that many of my fellow cyclists do not seem to suffer from.
It doesn’t seem to matter what bike I’m on (I own three), or how high/low the saddle is, the problem is the same. It’s even more frustrating as my thigh muscles are fairly strong due to years of badminton and cycling. Any advice you could offer to help me solve this problem would be much appreciated.
Sam Margolis, email
A: It’s quite hard to diagnose with just ‘sore and painful thighs’ to go on. However, I can throw in some ideas which you could try out and see if any of them fix the problem:
1. Take longer to warm up before you start to push bigger gears, this may help on the shorter rides.
2. Get a regular sports massage, ideally once a week for the next month. This may reduce any muscle adhesion in the thigh which may be causing pressure to build and pain to be experienced.
3. Check your saddle height fits with our previous articles and that you are sitting far enough back, with a flat saddle and are relaxed when you are holding the handlebars and/or brakes.
4. Look at the way you ride; do you have to get out of the saddle more than others, are you tending to push too hard a gear, or do you lack a fluid pedal stroke? These can be cured (over time) by practising 8sec seated and standing sprint efforts sprinkled into a ride every two minutes, leaving the bike on the 39T for a fortnight or watching the cycle computer cadence figure and keeping it above 95 for ten-minute blocks in a ride.
Don’t give up searching and I hope some of these help. I have to say I’d be inclined to put my money on the massage – I know it costs, but as the advert says: you’re worth it.