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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 07-06-11, 05:26 PM   #1
jhurley
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Knees More Sore Than Legs?

Hello all,

I am still very new to cycling-- Here's my 1st post for more information on that:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...2#post12849072

So here I am 15 days since getting my bike and I've already logged over 100 miles! I never ride for less than 8-10 miles (which is my norm) and have hit 20 in a single ride, too! Not too shabby for a little overweight 29 y/o who hasn't done any exercise in 10-12 years! I have been riding every other day and sometimes back to back, all in temperatures over 100.

So back on topic-- I've noticed that my main soreness and burning feeling isn't in my legs, but in my knees! When I'm riding and after I'm done my knees are always pretty red and that's where my main pain comes from. Is this normal (the redness and/or the pain mainly in my knees and not my legs)? When I'm on a climb and sucking air badly, it's my knees that are screaming in pain, not my legs. Even now after the ride, sure my legs are a little tired, but my knees feel much more sore.

I have never had any issues with my knees in my life-- I've never torn anything, never had any surgery or sprains, etc. But in the last 5 or so years, my knees have always bothered me quite a bit. An example would be if I have to squat down on my feet or drop to my knees to do something, my knees have always started burning up and hurting.

So, without going to a doctor, do you think the issue is my knees? If so, do you think it's just because I haven't been exercising or that I may be developing arthritis or something similar? Is this a common problem with Clydes? If it's just me, I am super bummed because that means that although every other part of me can ride longer and faster, my knees simply won't let me which really upsets me.

Thanks in advance for any replies! I really think regardless that I'm a cycler for life. I really, really enjoy the sport and am loving everything about it (weight loss, getting fit, the suntan, etc.)!
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Old 07-06-11, 05:32 PM   #2
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Cycling is one sport that's known for being kind to your knees, if you do it correctly, and by correctly I mean in the manner in which your body wants you to do it. Some are natural spinners, some are natural mashers. Having said that, and without knowing your propensities, I would offer this: anytime someone new to the sport tells me they have any kind of knee pain, I tell them the same thing - ride in a lower gear at a higher cadence. Even many experienced riders won't push really big gears each season until they've built a high-mileage base of low gear/high cadence riding. Doing otherwise can risk knee injury.
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Old 07-06-11, 05:45 PM   #3
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Cycling is one sport that's known for being kind to your knees, if you do it correctly, and by correctly I mean in the manner in which your body wants you to do it. Some are natural spinners, some are natural mashers. Having said that, and without knowing your propensities, I would offer this: anytime someone new to the sport tells me they have any kind of knee pain, I tell them the same thing - ride in a lower gear at a higher cadence. Even many experienced riders won't push really big gears each season until they've built a high-mileage base of low gear/high cadence riding. Doing otherwise can risk knee injury.
Well I certainly do enjoy a very high cadence. My friends I ride with prefer the big gears and a low cadence but not only is it harder for me to keep up that way but it's much more comfortable for me to ride in a higher gear with a high cadence. On just about every climb, I am pedaling the easiest gears on the bike-- My high front gear and my highest rear gear during much of it. Yet my knees still hurt.

The pain doesn't keep me from doing 20 miles over a hilly route with an average speed of 14-15 mph, so it's not like I'm dying out there, but when I get those thoughts of "wow, I need a break" sure part of it is my heavy breathing and my heartrate, but the biggest burn I feel is always in my knees. I guess that's why they get pretty red.

From your response it sounds like this may be common and something I overcome. Even though I've done 100 miles in 2 weeks of bike ownership, I am still extremely new and green to the sport and still learning. I sure hope that's the case and I certainly don't want to be held back due to any 'condition' I may have with my knees.
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Old 07-06-11, 05:45 PM   #4
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Also check that your saddle height is set at the correct height...

I was riding for a year and all the sudden started having knee pain in my left knee. After researching online a common thing I saw written was "Knee pain in front of knee? Saddle too low. Knee pain in back of knee? Saddle too high." I blew it off at first because I told myself I didn't change my saddle so that can't be it. But, I figured out a week or so later that my seat post slipped down nearly a full inch and I didn't realize it; Bumped it back to where I originally had it (and used some carbon paste, and a torque key for proper tension to hopefully prevent slippage again) and pain went away.
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Old 07-06-11, 05:47 PM   #5
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Add to the above a proper bike fitting. For knee pain the answer could be a simple adjustment with your saddle or even cleats (if you're clipped in). Did you purchase from lbs?

Edit: Add to the one above the one above.
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Old 07-06-11, 05:48 PM   #6
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Also check that your saddle height is set at the correct height...

I was riding for a year and all the sudden started having knee pain in my left knee. After researching online a common thing I saw written was "Knee pain in front of knee? Saddle too low. Knee pain in back of knee? Saddle too high." I blew it off at first because I told myself I didn't change my saddle so that can't be it. But, I figured out a week or so later that my seat post slipped down nearly a full inch and I didn't realize it; Bumped it back to where I originally had it (and used some carbon paste, and a torque key for proper tension to hopefully prevent slippage again) and pain went away.
Pretty sure that my saddle height is nice and high/correct but I'll look into that. I do have a different issue with the saddle, however; I think I have to move it forward a little because it seems when I'm sitting on it properly that I have to reach too far and so I have a tendancy to ride way up on the front of the saddle and constantly find myself adjusting my butt further back on it, only to feel like I'm reaching too far again. Maybe that has relations to my knee burn?
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Old 07-06-11, 05:50 PM   #7
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Add to the above a proper bike fitting. For knee pain the answer could be a simple adjustment with your saddle or even cleats (if you're clipped in). Did you purchase from lbs?

Edit: Add to the one above the one above.
What do you mean by "purchase from lbs"?

I do have clip-in pedals, some type of $80 Shimano ones.
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Old 07-06-11, 05:54 PM   #8
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Pretty sure that my saddle height is nice and high/correct but I'll look into that. I do have a different issue with the saddle, however; I think I have to move it forward a little because it seems when I'm sitting on it properly that I have to reach too far and so I have a tendancy to ride way up on the front of the saddle and constantly find myself adjusting my butt further back on it, only to feel like I'm reaching too far again. Maybe that has relations to my knee burn?
A possibility to the contrary. Let's say your stem is too long and is pulling you too far forward to begin with, causing your knees to be forward the pedal spindle. Moving your saddle forward would be the last thing you would want to do. Guaranteed to make your knees worse!

As I suggested, until you become more experienced with bike fit and can do it on your own, I would have a fitting with your lbs.
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Old 07-06-11, 05:58 PM   #9
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What do you mean by "purchase from lbs"?

I do have clip-in pedals, some type of $80 Shimano ones.
"lbs" Local Bike Shop. And now that you've confirmed you're clipping in, the stakes are even higher for a proper fit. Another way of obtaining the right bend of your leg at the 3 o'clock position is by adjusting your cleats. If your cleats are too far forward, for example, that will "drag" your foot too far back and cause pressure on the knee.

Even the angle of your cleat, if turned slightly to one side, could cause knee pain. The spinning in cycling is cumulative and improper bike fit will surely add up to pain.

Last edited by Sundance89; 07-06-11 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 07-06-11, 08:17 PM   #10
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...I am pedaling the easiest gears on the bike-- My high front gear and my highest rear gear during much of it.
Not sure if you meant "large" when you said "high" in front, but if so, you need to shift onto your small chainring up front, not your large one. Low gear is small up front/large in back. High gear is the opposite.
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Old 07-07-11, 08:12 AM   #11
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I completely agree everyone else that it is most likely a fit issue. My lbs was willing to not only do an initial fitting but help me with fine tuning the fit after I had got some time in the saddle. I don't know if your lbs is willing to do this as well but if not I would suggest finding someone who can fit you properly.
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Old 07-07-11, 05:39 PM   #12
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Pretty sure that my saddle height is nice and high/correct but I'll look into that. I do have a different issue with the saddle, however; I think I have to move it forward a little because it seems when I'm sitting on it properly that I have to reach too far and so I have a tendancy to ride way up on the front of the saddle and constantly find myself adjusting my butt further back on it, only to feel like I'm reaching too far again. Maybe that has relations to my knee burn?
I found myself pushing back on my seat like you. Oddly, it was because my seat was way too far forward. You may need to move your seat back and if the reach is too far, have other modifications made to your bike.
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