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f your hand is in the air, then you will understand how painful and frustrating this can be. At one end of the scale it can be annoying, with the other end ruining your ride, and even causing you to take time off the bike! Time off the bike is that last thing any of us wants to happen.
It can manifest itself in different ways; common symptoms are numbness, stiffness, tingling, feeling weak or struggling to hold the bars, and in some cases, just bloody painful! Sometimes there are reasonable explanations; a longer than usual ride or maybe you haven’t been out riding for a long time. And if that is the case – take it easy and ease your body in gently. It is sending you a message! If you don’t fall into that bracket, then you need to delve a little deeper, as no one should have to endure pain as part of a normal day to day bike ride. There are a range of options to help. Now, before you start spending money on the latest equipment, there is one thing you need to get checked out. Make sure your bike setup & position is spot on – and use a professional bike fitter if required. You cannot under estimate the importance of this. If you tick that box and are happy, then it is time to try to make your cycling that little more comfortable.
There is a market
for handlebar grips and tape. These come in all shapes, sizes, colours and materials. Some of these are thicker than the norm, and are specifically that way to improve comfort and help prevent pain.
And if you haven’t already guessed from the title, this article is all about a handlebar grip I was sent earlier this year to try out. It is called Fat Wrap, and as you can imagine, this stuff is pretty fat, designed to give any cyclist (not just touring cyclists) greater comfort and hopefully prevent and reduce or eradicate any discomfort when cycling. And if you double wrap your handlebar tape today, then do read on – Fat Wrap could mean an end to that. Lets find out!
I first heard about Fat Wrap when Kent, the owner of Tasis Bikes (creator the Fat Wrap bar tape), got in contact to publish a great article he wrote about the many handlebar choices for Bicycle Touring.
fantastic article that talks you through all the weird and wonderful handlebars choices out there, with a steer towards cycle touring. Do check it out if you are thinking about handlebar choices, or would just like some general advice.
Fat Wrap is aimed at a multitude of people; those who suffer with the discomfort I mentioned earlier, and for people who are looking for a way of preventing it from ever happening, or those who just want a little extra comfort. Fat Wrap is marketed at the bicycle touring market, which by the nature of the hobby, often entails multiple days cycling long distances. Even those of us that don’t suffer discomfort when out cycling our regular local rides, may still be susceptible, especially when you throw in a sudden change to distance or consecutive days in the saddle.
What Kent didn’t realise when he kindly sent me some Fat Wrap was that I suffer from pain when riding my road bike over longer distances (60+ miles), and when I steer away from the road to slightly off road. I don’t use my road bike for touring, however longer Audax or similar rides are something I enjoy and can mean 8+ hours in the saddle. For me it starts with mild stiffness in the wrists and across the top of my hands, and if I don’t keep changing position it can result with a little numbness. Nothing too serious and it never stops me riding, but all the same, a bit of a pain (excuse the pun!). Changing position, stretching and taking regular breaks works well, but the only real way to stop it is to stop riding. And I don’t want to do that! I have tried different tape products in the past, and to be fair the slightly thicker varieties have been okay, especially when they are brand new and haven’t lost their newness. I know my bike fit is pretty good, it is just the extra long distances when it happens. And especially when I ride long tracks and badly kept paths – not ideal for a road bike I know, but good fun all the same!