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  1. #1
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    My first 40 mile ride, now knee pain

    Hi! I'm new to cylcling for about one year now. I just did my first 40 mile ride on my Specialized Sequoia. My left knee is now bothering me, and I did not have problems before. I'm, 64 years old and weight in at 255. Do you think it's just my age, or bike fit. I tried clipless pedals, but after a fall, I felt not safe in wearing them as I do a lot of riding on the road with cars. This was last year. I read that clipless may keep my feet in the right postion and avoid knee pain. Should I go back to them ? My next goal is a 70 mile ride.

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    Dunno, but I really like the clipless. According to the fit charts etc. my saddle height should be around 68-69cm from center of bottom bracket to top of saddle (short inseam for my height), but I have knee pain if the saddle is lower than 74. Just my experience.
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    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    I really like the clipless also. I think the biggest benefit to them is keeping your foot properly placed on the pedal while using higher cadences. The cause of most peoples knee pain while cycling is using too high of gear and too low of cadence. You should strive to spin along with little noticeable pressure on the pedals. Also, how much and what distances have you been riding?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally K
    Hi! I'm new to cylcling for about one year now. I just did my first 40 mile ride on my Specialized Sequoia. My left knee is now bothering me, and I did not have problems before. I'm, 64 years old and weight in at 255. Do you think it's just my age, or bike fit. I tried clipless pedals, but after a fall, I felt not safe in wearing them as I do a lot of riding on the road with cars. This was last year. I read that clipless may keep my feet in the right postion and avoid knee pain. Should I go back to them ? My next goal is a 70 mile ride.
    What is your cadence? I find if I am in too high a gear on long rides I have more problems with my knees. If you are running a low cadence, try spinning at least part of your ride. It may help out with your knees.

  5. #5
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    There are many reasons for knee pain. Being 64 is not one of these reasons. You may want to use the search function of this forum for lots of threads. I seem to remember the following leading comments:
    1) Saddle height. I think higher is better than too low. My knees are almost straight in foot down position.
    2) Cadence. You should be above 80 RPM. Big guys (I am big) tend to mash the gears. No good.
    3) Proper shoes. I prefer clip-less. My wife insists on clips and has frequent knee issues which go away with adjustments.
    4) Arthritis. (I got that too) Low load spinning solved my problem but it took a lot of spinning.
    5) Balanced exercise. Biking is good but a walk in the park may be better. (Use good cushioned shoes)

  6. #6
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne
    There are many reasons for knee pain. Being 64 is not one of these reasons. You may want to use the search function of this forum for lots of threads. I seem to remember the following leading comments:
    1) Saddle height. I think higher is better than too low. My knees are almost straight in foot down position.
    2) Cadence. You should be above 80 RPM. Big guys (I am big) tend to mash the gears. No good.
    3) Proper shoes. I prefer clip-less. My wife insists on clips and has frequent knee issues which go away with adjustments.
    4) Arthritis. (I got that too) Low load spinning solved my problem but it took a lot of spinning.
    5) Balanced exercise. Biking is good but a walk in the park may be better. (Use good cushioned shoes)

    I agree with Will's feedback. Another thing that can cause knee pain is the saddle being out of adjustment- either being too far forward or too forward back or too low (or a combination of these). If the knee pain is in the front of the knee, try moving the saddle back a little and see if that helps. If the knee pain is in the back of the knee, slide the seat forward a touch.

    I had pain in one knee but not the other but my seat height was fine. I simply adjusted the cleat a little bit forward on that foot and that has eliminated my pain. I've found pushing a hard gear and letting the cadence drop (Will's #2 above) has caused me some knee pain as well. It also works pretty hard on the hip flexors.........
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    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    The two biggest causes of knee pain in cycling are (1) a seat that's too low and (2) consistently pushing too big a gear. They aren't the only possible causes, but they are the place to start.

    As for (1), I learned the "pain in the front/rear of the knee" adage slightly differently - pain in the front of the knee (like right under the kneecap), raise the saddle; pain in the back of the knee, lower the saddle. Of course, I learned that waaaay before clipless pedals came around, back when adjusting cleats wasn't an option because they were nailed into place. In any event, for road riding, make sure your legs are close to fully extended at the lowest part of your pedal stroke.

    As for (2), train yourself to keep your pedaling cadence up, like 80+ rpms on the flat. (Splurging on a bike computer that has a cadence feature can help you get used to doing this,but it is certainly not essential.) If you are like me, your cadence will naturally go higher on downhills, even gentle ones, and will naturally go lower on all but fairly gentle climbs. That seems to be pretty normal.

    If you consciously train yourself to think in terms of keeping your revs high and your gears low, and you get your seat height right, odds are you will take care of your knee pain issues. If not, then start playing with the cleat adjustments, saddle fore-and-aft adjustments, checking to see if you have uneven length legs (yes, that can cause knee pain), and some of the more esoteric ways of addressing the issue.

    Good luck, and here's hoping you bag that 70-miler, sans knee pain.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally K
    Hi! I'm new to cylcling for about one year now. I just did my first 40 mile ride on my Specialized Sequoia. My left knee is now bothering me, and I did not have problems before. I'm, 64 years old and weight in at 255. Do you think it's just my age, or bike fit. I tried clipless pedals, but after a fall, I felt not safe in wearing them as I do a lot of riding on the road with cars. This was last year. I read that clipless may keep my feet in the right postion and avoid knee pain. Should I go back to them ? My next goal is a 70 mile ride.
    Remember the old joke:

    Patient: Doctor, it hurts when I do this...

    Doctor: Then don't do that!

    Considering your age and weight, your knee may be wearing out. If it keeps hurting, see a doctor, get scans, and find out if something is messed up inside.

  9. #9
    Geezer Member Grampy™'s Avatar
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    The posts about cadence are probably your most likely..... you should also check your cleats on the clipless..... look at how your toes point when you walk.... they should point the same when you pedal.
    Carpe who?

  10. #10
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Unless I missed it, you didn't indicate where the knee pain is. Is it in the front of the knee? This is often a sign of pushing too big a gear and not spinning. Is it on the top of the knee? This is likely caused by a seat that is too low and/or pushing a big gear. Is it on the outside of the knee? This can be the result of your feet not having enough lateral free movement or your foot positioned the wrong way. If you can determine where the discomfort/pain is you can narrow your initial attempts at resolving it. With that said, I'd encourage you to rest it before pushing it too hard again.
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  11. #11
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    It looks like the general concensus is to spin more. I was using the big 52t gear at about 60 cadence 15MPH. Thanks for eveyones input. I'll drop down and try spinning more with less pressure. I was also using sneakers and not my SPD clips. Haven't been using them to much after my first fall.

  12. #12
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    So far plenty of answers that give good advice- but I will give one more. The knees rely on the quad muscles to keep working properly. Get the quads built up and it will not only help the knees- the whole leg improves.

    Can commiserate with you as I had to give up running 25 years ago with knee problems. Like you it only came after a certain milage- and I took up cycling to keep the legs moving. Initially had knee problems but worked on the quads and no more problems.
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  13. #13
    Bikin' and Hikin' RockyTopBiker's Avatar
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    You know you are dead.

    When you wake up in the morning and nothing hurts.......then you know you're dead.

    I'm hitting 65 myself in December and plan to ride my age. My knees will not be the only thing hurting.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by deraltekluge
    Remember the old joke:

    Patient: Doctor, it hurts when I do this...

    Doctor: Then don't do that!

    Considering your age and weight, your knee may be wearing out. If it keeps hurting, see a doctor, get scans, and find out if something is messed up inside.
    I hope you do not mind another opinion on this issue. IMHO it is too important to let it slide.
    I DID go to a MD and had x-ray as well as MRI following an accident to my knee. The MD said exactly this: Sorry but you have Arthritis in both knees and there is nothing we can do except
    give you this Vioxx.
    I said to hell with this and started to do no load spinning. About a year later I was able to get off all pills and started serious biking including XC. The Arthritis is there, I can feel it whenever I do something stupid like mashing too high a gear or go jogging.
    If I use my head properly I have no problems and my biking performance is slowly improving.
    The PO should see an MD. However, inactivity is a sure road to being invalid soon.

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