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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 10-28-10, 03:01 PM   #1
bbeasley 
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Tinge of knee pain

My latest attempt at the Clyde 20, the other night, resulted in just a touch of knee pain. From what I've read here knee pain and low cadence seem to go together.

I'm so enchanted with cycling (the weight loss doesn't hurt either) I'm hyper vigilant to anything that could screw it up. My favorite phone app can't do cadence and I'm kidding myself when I count using a clock. My count results in a cadence of about 70 but I know I don't hold that other than when I'm counting.

I usually ride 18 to 25 miles with the first and last 2 being a slow warm up and cool down. Today, I re installed my clipless pedals thinking perhaps they would help by forcing a better stroke? So far I'm not a fan of clipless as they add a level of complexity I don't enjoy. Now that I'm comfortable on my bike perhaps the clipless will be okay.

Bike: Trek 2.3
Experience: about 2 months
I'm riding about 80 miles per week in the 14 MPH range
5' 8" 230lbs (new low weight )

What else should I be doing to protect my knees?
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Old 10-28-10, 05:04 PM   #2
Seattle Forrest
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Originally Posted by bbeasley View Post
Today, I re installed my clipless pedals thinking perhaps they would help by forcing a better stroke? So far I'm not a fan of clipless as they add a level of complexity I don't enjoy. Now that I'm comfortable on my bike perhaps the clipless will be okay.
One weekend this spring, I rode about 70 miles, and then found myself in knee pain that I'd never felt a hint of before. I couldn't get into a car without twisting my whole body - the normal way of doing it was much too hard on my knee. In my case, it was a bad pedal stroke, although I'm not sure what changed. But, as a result, I got clipless pedals, and the problem went away almost instantly. Your mileage will almost certainly vary ... you probably don't have the same issue I did.

Where, exactly, are you feeling the pain? The first thing I'd guess is that your saddle might be too high or low, and probably too low. But if you post more details, someone might have good advice.
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Old 10-28-10, 05:25 PM   #3
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Seattle Forest,

I may have been premature in posting this. It was nothing like the pain you describe. Today I did a leisurely 20 miles with the clipless pedals and I feel no discomfort in my knee at all. I bought the bike from an LBS and they did a in depth fitting after 50 or so miles. I think I need to up my cadence and stick with the clipless pedals.
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Old 10-28-10, 05:55 PM   #4
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I was having a little knee pain. The tendon that sits right behind the knee cap. I sought some advice from a pro ridder and he told me my saddle was too low. I raised it 1/2" and have not had any knee pain since.
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Old 10-28-10, 06:08 PM   #5
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I was having a little knee pain. The tendon that sits right behind the knee cap. I sought some advice from a pro ridder and he told me my saddle was too low. I raised it 1/2" and have not had any knee pain since.
Did the 1/2" you raised it cause your leg to fully extend at the bottom of the stroke?
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Old 11-02-10, 09:13 AM   #6
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I encourage you to stick with the clipless. I have a history of knee problems (due to a couple of past non-cycling sporting incidents), and I really feel a benefit from the clipless pedals. There are a couple of benefits from these, firstly that they give you a consistent rotation, and more importantly you can use the different directional forces that employ your leg muscles rather than your knees. For example, try pulling back using your calf muscles from 6 o'clock to 9 o'clock. Hard to do on each and every rotation of your pedals, but you can do for a little bit to help get you to up your speed and your cadence.

As for your cadence, I recommend you to try to get on a stationary exercise bike as I think almost all of them will show your cadence, and you can get a feel for what it is like to pedal at 70, 80, 90 and 100. For me personally, not going up hills, but on the flat, I try to keep my cadence at around 90 to 100, although do drop to around 85 into wind sometimes. If I am getting down to 80, it is time to downshift and up my cadence.

Not sure if my behaviour is "should-be", but works well for me and my knees.
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Old 11-02-10, 10:09 AM   #7
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Update

I've now rode a 54 mile and 20 mile with clips. The knee pain is gone and my speed picked up a tick. Should I survive learning how to clip in, I'll stick with it.

If you hear the following within 1 mile of leaving a red light:

clipity
clickity
clipity
clickity
*&%^()^(*^&*&
clipity
clickity
clipity
clickity
*&%^()^(*^&*&

Repeat

It will signal two things:

1. You are moving very slowly
2. I'm behind you
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