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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 12-06-07, 10:09 PM   #1
Elkhound
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Pain in knee

Tonight I developed a severe pain in my right knee. I don't know why, as I didn't do anything unusual to it, but it has made me think--what if I were to become physically incapable of cycling any more? I've just become car-free and was car-lite for a couple of years before; I agree with the environmental, social, economic, and ethical reasons to be car-free--but one must live, and if I can't get to work and other places I need to go on a bike, what alternative is there? It would be wonderful if we lived in a country that has good mass transit and everything were within walking distance, but we don't.

Before I became car-free my main reason for having a car was to take my father places where he needed to go (the doctor, the store, the VA hospital 50 miles away, etc.); although I loved him and was grieved by his death, I was glad that I could finally get rid of the car. But, even if my current knee pain is only temporary, what if disease, accident, or plain old anno domini make me incapable of cycling any more?
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Old 12-06-07, 10:23 PM   #2
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what if disease, accident, or plain old anno domini make me incapable of cycling any more?
They will.
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Old 12-06-07, 10:24 PM   #3
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But not just yet.
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Old 12-07-07, 12:08 AM   #4
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I was having some bad knee problems mid summer after I decided to adjust my seat a little higher right before doing a unsupported 100 mi. ride, boy that was a bad idea. Anyway I am on my feet 100% of the time at work and kind of scared me a bit because it lingered around for 3 weeks and what could become of my life if it worsens. But I see this one guy in our neighborhood who has no legs and arms that only goes to what would be to the elbows, I think he is with out hands also, but I am not sure. I see him at least 3 times a week scooting around town in his wheelchair and he seems content from what I can tell and even see him with buddies hanging out. Basically functioning in society and guess what he is car free and independent from what I can tell. If something like that happens where I am disabled I am pretty sure you or I can adapt to the lifestyle changes necessary maybe tough at first but doable. So if it happens, it happens I think it depends mostly on ones attitude and support group (friends, family, etc.)
As far as the knee pain I went to the doctor and he didn't see anything that looked like that needed immediate concern gave me prescription (which didn't help just some kind of pain killer with bad side effects)and to comeback if continued for more than 2 weeks. But my sister who is a Certified Pilates Instructor really cured the problem, she gave me a set of stretches to do 2-3 times a day and soak in epson salt (I am clueless how this helps, but it really does).
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Old 12-07-07, 12:27 PM   #5
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Since I have both knees replaced allow me to suggest
that you visit an Othropedic doctor to get an true
opinion of your concern and not waste time on a
"General" doctor.

It could be as simple as a knee strain or as bad as a knee
injury. Either way ,if a strain then a pair of "Knee Savers"
will help, if injury you will get the RIGHT treatment sooner.

Whatever you do don't wait to get an ortho doctors opinion.
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Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 12-07-07, 03:09 PM   #6
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The pain seems much less today, but I will contact my doctor. Alas, none of the orthos here will take direct patients; one must be referred by a generalist.
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Old 12-07-07, 03:10 PM   #7
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They will.
And then what?
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Old 12-07-07, 03:14 PM   #8
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And then what?
yes that is a good question.... it will be time for some serious lifestyle-changing decisions.

at that point I think we have 2 viable options:
a) get a car, or
b) relocate to a dense city with everything within walking or a short cab ride away

actually option a is really only a delay tactic, till we're too old to drive safely anymore. Then it's option b, and/or rely on family etc.

my 2 cents. i haven't put a whole lot of thought into it yet as I hope i still have several decades of pedaling ahead of me.

cheers
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Old 12-08-07, 01:44 PM   #9
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The pain seems much less today, but I will contact my doctor. Alas, none of the orthos here will take direct patients; one must be referred by a generalist.
The knee ,in todays world, is often the first joint to give trouble due to the concrete world
we live in. That said, do whatever it takes to KNOW what is going on inside your knee.

It's hurting to tell you all is not right. DON'T IGNORE THE WARNING.
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 12-09-07, 08:08 AM   #10
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The pain seems much less today, but I will contact my doctor. Alas, none of the orthos here will take direct patients; one must be referred by a generalist.
My next door neighbor just came home from a 5 day stay in the hospital cause by a pain in the knee that he initially ignored. Turns out that
it was a MRSA staph infection that finally got so bad that we had to take him to the ER last Sunday.
MRSA staph is the real bad kind and will not be ignored.
Confined to his house for 7 to 10 more days
and visited daily by a nurse practitioner.
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Old 12-09-07, 11:10 AM   #11
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In response to the original question...If I have the sense to live in a cycle friendly area; if I can no longer ride a "proper" bicycle it will be time to add an electric assist, get a tricycle with assist, or move to an attended care facility. My family has a history of longevity so with the cycling and general activity I plan to still be moving around on my own for quite a few more years.

I also agree with Tightwad and his assessment of the concrete world. I have had one house with slab floors, never again!

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RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 12-09-07, 08:30 PM   #12
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Some types of knee pain are caused by vertebrae being misaligned. I've had that problem before and just one quick adjustment made the knee pain go away. See a chiropractor before spending a ton of money on surgery or any other expensive repair recommended by an orthopedic doctor. It might be what you need or maybe not, but it would be fairly inexpensive to find out.

There are hand cycles and tricycles made today that can be used by anyone with leg problems.

For long distances you could always get a motor scooter. The small 49cc models can be parked anywhere.

Motorized bicycles also work well if you don't mind fiddling with the installation. You can pedal and motor on the same vehicle.
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Old 12-10-07, 02:25 PM   #13
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I had knee pain a year ago that kept me off the bike for 4 months. I walked when I was able to. I took the bus to work. I had to bum rides home (I get out of work after the buses stop running ) and that was NOT a good situation. The taxi home costs $10 for a 4 mile trip.

We have to work toward better public transit. I ***** and moan to my bus company all the time, even though I rarely take a bus when I'm healthy. It's absurd that my bus company -- which won the "Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award" -- only runs until 10 PM on weeknights, and stops much sooner on weekends.

BTW, I agree with tightwad that you get some good medical attention for your knee. It will probably be a waste of time if you just wait around. It was for me, anyway.
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Old 12-11-07, 10:39 AM   #14
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“I had knee pain a year ago that kept me off the bike for 4 months. I walked when I was able to.”

I have what you would call an arthritic knee. Cartilage removed in the seventies. It wasn’t helped when two years ago a driver of a pick-up decided I would make a fine hood ornament. Anyway, I bought a recumbent and lowered my gears. I can’t walk for more than a block or two without a limp but I can ride for thirty miles without a problem.
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Old 12-11-07, 09:51 PM   #15
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This very situation happened to me
Knee pain, can no longer ride

So I went out and bought an electric bike as seen here http://www.egovehicles.com
Still not as good as pedaling a bike but sure as hell beats a car!
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Old 12-11-07, 10:07 PM   #16
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dwoloz beat me to it -- there are some extremely nice little electric mopeds out there now.
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Old 12-12-07, 01:03 PM   #17
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I had knee pain a year ago that kept me off the bike for 4 months. I walked when I was able to.”

I have what you would call an arthritic knee. Cartilage removed in the seventies. It wasn’t helped when two years ago a driver of a pick-up decided I would make a fine hood ornament. Anyway, I bought a recumbent and lowered my gears. I can’t walk for more than a block or two without a limp but I can ride for thirty miles without a problem
.
I plan to get a knee replacement if (when) my arthritis gets bad. I'm not going to monkey around with it the way some of my older friends have.
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Old 12-12-07, 05:58 PM   #18
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This could just be a youth thing (I'm 25), but I once began developing knee pain for seemingly no reason. After a few miles, it worked itself out and went away.
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Old 12-13-07, 08:15 AM   #19
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“I had knee pain a year ago that kept me off the bike for 4 months. I walked when I was able to.”

I have what you would call an arthritic knee. Cartilage removed in the seventies. It wasn’t helped when two years ago a driver of a pick-up decided I would make a fine hood ornament. Anyway, I bought a recumbent and lowered my gears. I can’t walk for more than a block or two without a limp but I can ride for thirty miles without a problem.
Thanks to a foreshortened left hamstring, knocks in both knees, uneven leg length, and scoliosis, I walk with a limp too. Look at the photo of me below, taken by "Bautieri" of Bike Forums at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art:



I too can ride great distances without many problems. And in fact I plan on riding across the United States this summer. Unfortunately, the cold and wet weather of winter is murder on my joints, so my riding is limited this time of year.
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