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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-03-04, 08:15 AM   #1
inja
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Pre-ride STRETCHING?

I have a 10 mile (each way) hilly commute, and I have "sensitive" knees.
They get sore when it rains, in cool weather, and after certain rides.
I have been considering stretching (quickly) before my rides in the AM...
Does anyone do this, and If so, What stretches do you recommend?
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Old 10-03-04, 08:28 AM   #2
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I can't remember the links, but lots of research is indicating that stretching before exercise does NOT reduce injury, but that warming up (i.e. going slowly at the start of activity) does. Joint pain that is weather sensitive is very suggestive of arthritis, which may not respond much to cool muscle stretching. The good news is that if you keep the joint warm (knee warmers or tights) below 50, some say 60, degrees F; the smooth ROM repetition of cycling is good for the joint, helping to maintain joint flexibility. Some people do well with the chondroitin sulfate + glucosamine supplements. Be sure your gearing is low enough that you can sit and spin up those hills. Also consider a professional bike fitting to be sure you are protecting your knee's. Finally, go to your M.D. and make sure that you have osteoarthritis not rheumatoid, as the treatment is different. Good luck, and keep riding.

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Old 10-03-04, 08:32 AM   #3
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What part of the knee would you stretch??
I'd say try to keep them warm by putting on more clothes. On really cold days i put on thin neoprene knee protectors - works great!
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Old 10-03-04, 12:07 PM   #4
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Definitely keep the knees warm...I've found that having my seat post too low puts strain on mine (broke a kneecap a bit over a year ago, cracked it against a curb when I missed the ramp to ogle some eye candy) so jack it up!

Also, find a comfortable pair of shoes. I know, it sounds a little crackpot, but seriously...go on a cruisade to find a good pair of shoes. I have a pair I affectionate call my 'tanks'. I've had them at least a third of my life, they are a fairly uniform blackish-grayish-brownish color, regardless of the original blue and yellow, very scruffy, wrinkled, rumpled, ugly, missing at least a quarter inch of the sole where I've quite simply worn it off walking...

At one time I think they were tennis shoes. I'm doing well to remember that far back, really...

Anyway, the point is: I can come into my room after a long day in boots, hells (or heels, same thing), flipflops, whatever...put on the tanks...instant relief for my aching knees. It might be phsycological comfort, it might be physical of having a properly fitting shoe. All I know is that they help my knees.
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Old 10-03-04, 09:44 PM   #5
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It's all about keeping the knees warm. I've started to use leg warmers as my new commute presents me with a big hill early on.

I also consciously take it easy until I feel my knees warm up. I keep the cadence high and relaxed. That first 0.1 of a mile - it's important to be careful.

You should also be careful if you miss a couple of days of commuting (even Mondays can be bad if you spend the weekend on the couch) - the knees seem to be sensitive to getting out of shape.
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Old 10-04-04, 01:32 AM   #6
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I'm a n00b to cycling, but rather then "stretch" prior to my ride, I've actually felt alot better in post commute by walking a few blocks before mounting. That kind of warm up made my really, really bad right knee(from fencing in college) not hurt at all...oh! And taking a 2 day beer-o-thon in between training helps alot, cuz everything hurts after that.
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Old 10-04-04, 09:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lufty
I'm a n00b to cycling, but rather then "stretch" prior to my ride, I've actually felt alot better in post commute by walking a few blocks before mounting. That kind of warm up made my really, really bad right knee(from fencing in college) not hurt at all...oh! And taking a 2 day beer-o-thon in between training helps alot, cuz everything hurts after that.

This (walking) is actually the most recommended thing to do before a ride. I do have some stretches (bike specific) somewhere around here... If I can find them I'll post them.
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Old 10-04-04, 10:49 AM   #8
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The current wisdom is not to stretch cold muscles. you would probably be best off by riding lightly for a mile or two to warm up the legs, then stop and do some stretches.

I have issues with one of my knees and find that if I stop about every 10 miles or so and do a few stretches, I have far less trouble.
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Old 10-05-04, 10:32 AM   #9
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I used to live on a steep hill, commuting in the upwards direction. I also lived on the 4th floor, so, I would often run up and down the stairs for a quick warm-up.
Make sure you have a low-enough gear. If you spin in a stupid-low gear for a minute or so, that will warm you up on a hill.
I usually stretch during the cooldown, on the bike. When Im rolling along, I stand on the pedals and lower my ankles, then lean over the bars.
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Old 10-05-04, 10:53 AM   #10
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you could try stretching the warm muscles after your rides to see if it helps subsequent rides
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