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  1. #1
    I am an incurable. delay's Avatar
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    What to do about sore knees

    Typically I ride fixed anywhere from 5-10 miles a day. Until about a week ago I was using my geared bike for anything longer. Due to shoe failure I have not been able to ride geared. This means it has been fixed all day all the time. As a result, it seems like my knees are getting "tired". Is this typical? Will switching to a larger cog help keep my knees in shape?

  2. #2
    Professional Lady Killer bikeordie's Avatar
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    i use grandpa's cold medicine.

  3. #3
    Chronic Tai Shan ofofhy's Avatar
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    If you have a flip flop hub, you could always go to the flop side and ride SS.
    From Craig's List: IF its a singlespeed that means----all the other parts are broken cut off and dumped...dont buy singlespeeds, the bikes will make your balls fall off

    * no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

  4. #4
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Use a front brake and if needed switch to a lower ratio (i.e. a larger rear cog)

    Al

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    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    also, RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. i've found that when i stress my 22yr old knees but don't rest them, my muscles get sore from the wack ways i compensate, and throws the whole system into lots of pain. take it easy, ice for 20 minutes if there's inflamation, wear a lycra knee brace or acewrap....

  6. #6
    Lowlife Drunk Jose Cuervo's Avatar
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    When I started riding fixed my knees were a little sore and tired at first but it just took time to build up stamina and I got pretty used to it. I do have pretty bad knees as it is from skateboarding for many years and riding a fixed gear definately doesn't help (I just hope i don't regret it in 10 years from now).

    I do occasionally take Glucosamine Sulphate. It is used for the maintenance and regeneration of healthy cartilage in joints. There's lots of info on it out there. I would do some research first though to see if it's right for you.

  7. #7
    hang up your boots ostro's Avatar
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    You should start out with a shorter gear (less gear inches)and build strength. You'll have to climb some hills or go running; cycling tends to build leaner muscle. If your not running a brake, then do so too.

  8. #8
    Lowlife Drunk Jose Cuervo's Avatar
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    Open patella neoprene knee braces work well too. They'll feel weird at first but you'll get used to it quickly. I'm wearing one now that I just got 2 days ago and i can barely feel it.

  9. #9
    plucky russian. salome's Avatar
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    check your seat height too. too low = achy knees.

  10. #10
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jose Cuervo
    When I started riding fixed my knees were a little sore and tired at first but it just took time to build up stamina and I got pretty used to it. I do have pretty bad knees as it is from skateboarding for many years and riding a fixed gear definately doesn't help (I just hope i don't regret it in 10 years from now).

    I do occasionally take Glucosamine Sulphate. It is used for the maintenance and regeneration of healthy cartilage in joints. There's lots of info on it out there. I would do some research first though to see if it's right for you.
    I don't wanna be a party pooper and I am certainly no authority on fixed riding (I'm more SS) but I'd say just don't ignore your knees (or any other body part that hurts!). I had only sporadic minor soreness for years but when I started heading for 40 my knees went south pretty fast. I am still riding but I gotta push low gears now. I think what killed me was too much sit/spin on long hills, pushing a 3:1 or even 2.5:1 with too much crap in my bag (and around my gut ).

    Bottom line - yes, do the RICE thing and supplements if they help but try to balance hills/gears/honking/twaddling. Be nice to your knees and hopefully you'll feel a lot better about them in 20 yrs!

  11. #11
    killer goldfish svwagner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delay
    Typically I ride fixed anywhere from 5-10 miles a day. Until about a week ago I was using my geared bike for anything longer. Due to shoe failure I have not been able to ride geared. This means it has been fixed all day all the time. As a result, it seems like my knees are getting "tired". Is this typical? Will switching to a larger cog help keep my knees in shape?
    you might need to do any/all of the following:

    1. change your gear ratio to something easier
    2. adjust your saddle position
    3. adjust cleat (or toe-clip or foot placement) position

    i find, as someone with multiple knee surgeries in his past, that i need to have my saddle position a little forward and a little higher than i would have on a geared bike. but that's just me.

    and knocking a few gear-inches off the drivetrain will always help. and you'll end up with an excellent spin.

    and one more thing--keep them warm. your knees have precious little insulation of their own. i've taken to wearing knickers or knee warmers (or both if it's cold and wet) when it's below about 70 degrees. it seems to make a big difference.

  12. #12
    hateful little monkey jim-bob's Avatar
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    Low gears and glucosamine work for me. There's no shame in not running a 50/13 or whatever the kids like these days.

  13. #13
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    "Due to shoe failure I have not been able to ride geared. "

    Am I the only one who didnt understand the relationship here?

    Maybe I need beer.

  14. #14
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevo
    "Due to shoe failure I have not been able to ride geared. "

    Am I the only one who didnt understand the relationship here?

    Maybe I need beer.
    My guess what that they have a specific clipless system with geared bike and clips/straps on fixed.

    Al

  15. #15
    ambassador of good will *new*guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevo
    "Due to shoe failure I have not been able to ride geared. "

    Am I the only one who didnt understand the relationship here?

    Maybe I need beer.
    the pedals must be Loctited to the cranks in true bum bike fashion

  16. #16
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    Also, focus on pedaling/spinning technique. If I'm trying to "push" the pedals, I've found that I end up putting a lot of strain on my knees. On the other hand, if I focus on spinning my entire leg in circles that I use the muscles further up on my thighs and the glutes to do the work and it takes the strain off my knees. Just think about lifting and lowering your feet and legs in time with the pedals, but not actually pushing the pedals.

    Of course I'm not a PT or biomechanist, so I don't know which muscles are involved in either scenario, but it works well for me. I spun 77" for 65 miles on Sunday with absolutely no knee problems. On the other hand, if I'm sloppy I can feel an ache after 5 miles.

    And keeping them warm is good sound advice. "A warm joint is a happy joint."

  17. #17
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ostro
    If your not running a brake, then do so too.
    I find that not only having, but using the brake makes the biggest difference in knee pain. I have one, but some rides avoid using it and while I very rarely skid to a stop, I apply heavy slowing resistance. This kill my knees more than anything. Days I heavily, almost exclusively, use the front brake I can ride for 20mi with lots of starts and stops with no knee pain. So I am now mixing in some lighter resistance to slow, but not overdoing it to allow my legs to strengthen for this new use.

    Al

  18. #18
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    I'm shocked and amazed that no one, especially in this forum has stated the obvious!


    O.k., dirty mind took over for a sec.
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
    "Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger

  19. #19
    I am an incurable. delay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by *new*guy
    the pedals must be Loctited to the cranks in true bum bike fashion
    Right... you got the bum part right. Problem is I only have one set of platform pedals, and I am too lazy to take the 2 minutes to constantly switch them back and forth.

    I have SPD-SLs on my road bike that require a road shoe. I have mtn shoes, but the instep on my road shoes ripped....to make matters worse my mtn pedals broke a month or so ago. Thats right, right now I have shoes and pedals but not two that work with each other. I am also too lazy to switch pedals between two bikes. I hope that explaination is enough for you.

  20. #20
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    A second set of platforms can be had for less than the price of a cog

    (this coming from the guy who endorses one bike; sheeez i'm confused)

  21. #21
    King of the Hipsters
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    Bostontrevor has it right.
    Most knee pain comes not from the degree of exertion, but from the mechanics of exertion.

    We all have different bodies, but as general rule, we all learned to ride a bike by mashing on the pedals.
    This puts the big burden on the muscles in the front of the thighs, which not only straighten the leg, the also pull the lower leg up into the knee joint, increasing pressure on the knee.
    If we can transfer some or more of the work to the muscles in the hips and buttocks, then we don't pull the lower leg up into the knee joint with such severity.

    We also have other mechanical issues, mostly having to do with the typical American habit of walking around with our toes slightly out.
    Not everyone does this, but most Americans do, and this creates its own set of problems when pedaling.

    In any event, to wake up the hips, first stand with feet about as far apart as when pedaling, and with the toes straight ahead.
    Put the right hand on the right hip and buttock.
    Step backwards with the right foot, with the intent of keeping the toes perfectly straight ahead.
    For most Americans, this will require them to consciously turn the right heel outwards in order to keep the right foot straight as it steps backwards.
    As one steps backwards, turning the right heel out in order to keep the right foot straight, he will feel some muscles working under the hand on the hip and buttock.
    Put both hands on both hips and buttocks and slowly walk backwards, turning the heels outward so that the feet stay straight.
    If the rider can awaken those same muscles while pedaling, in most cases, the knee pain will go away.
    It won't hurt to get a cog with more teeth, as a higher spin rate and an easier spin allow a person to concentrate on learning instead of powering.
    Also, imagine a rubber band between the heels and keep the heels apart.
    Screw the toes inward on the downstroke and the heels outward, not so much that one can see, but so that one can imagine it.

    Pigeon-toed people have other issues, and should probably see a physical therapist or foot doctor.

  22. #22
    hang up your boots ostro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    I find that not only having, but using the brake makes the biggest difference in knee pain. I have one, but some rides avoid using it and while I very rarely skid to a stop, I apply heavy slowing resistance. This kill my knees more than anything. Days I heavily, almost exclusively, use the front brake I can ride for 20mi with lots of starts and stops with no knee pain. So I am now mixing in some lighter resistance to slow, but not overdoing it to allow my legs to strengthen for this new use.

    Al
    I have never ridden brakeless, but i could definately feel the difference in those days when i am braking vs the days i back pedal. Seems to me that most of the damage caused by fixed gear riding is caused by the backpedaling. I could be wrong but why risk it.

  23. #23
    robots in disguise beppe's Avatar
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    I am going to start writing in Ken Cox fashion.
    By this I mean each sentence gets a line, and there is a line break between paragraphs.
    I am doing this because I think this is the reason everyone loves Ken, and I want to be loved too.

    (Ken, don't think this is malicious.
    It's not.)

    Salome wrote:
    check your seat height too. too low = achy knees.

    A seat that is too high can also cause achy knees.
    The pain will be on the back side of the knee, often towards the inside or even along the innermost tendon.
    I think everyone here has had good ideas to help the original poster.

  24. #24
    King of the Hipsters
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    Beppe wrote:

    "I think everyone here has had good ideas to help the original poster."

    Yes, put them all together.

    I once rode with a fellow who augmented his income by fitting people on their bikes.
    He said stuff just like beppe did when he wrote:

    "A seat that is too high can also cause achy knees.
    The pain will be on the back side of the knee, often towards the inside or even along the innermost tendon."

  25. #25
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    Take care of them, Dont ignore them when they are in pain. if you dont you will always be in pain.

    S/F<
    CEYA!

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