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  1. #1
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    Tendinitis from Geared Bike?

    I've ridden the fixed gear a lot lately but ride a geared bike some. Today i rode the geared bike through lots of rollers with a group. I would use a fairly high cadence with considerable pressure up the short climbs. About half way through the hilly section I got tendinitis below and to the outside of my right knee (weak knee due to ACL injury 30 years ago). It may be my bike set up. I will work on that some. But I was wondering if riding fixed a lot with the pedal automatically coming up weakened muscles resulting in the tendon problem where I was pulling up and back spinning at good cadence and power on climbs. In other words maybe I lost fitness for geared riding! Flats weren't a problem where I could spin at speed but not have to put a lot of pressure on pedals. Anyone experience something like this? I know the answered-"quit riding a geared bike"-lol.

  2. #2
    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowzette View Post
    It may be my bike set up.
    There you go, that an old injury and the competitive pressure of riding in a group can = Injury.

    Traditionally riding FG on the road has been part of building base miles w/ reasonable gearing in the low 70GI, hard to injure one's self unless climbing the big/long/steep and that wasn't part of the program. Riding at pace in hilly terrain w/ fast group requires a different and highly specific program, going directly from FG/Base to hammering the hills w/o preparation may not be wise.

    1st things 1st: Ice, rest & medico as required.

    Next: A thorough and complete check of bike set-up by a good coach/fitter. Road bikes are road bikes whether FG or FW, fit should be identical.

    Back to Base miles as you feel fitter & start the program over.
    Last edited by Bandera; 08-23-14 at 03:00 PM.
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  3. #3
    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    ACL trouble is not uncommon in cycling. I think you're more likely to have something surface on a geared bike where you sit and spin most of the time while on a fixed gear you're changing your positioning/pedaling frequently by sitting and standing a lot on climbs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowzette View Post
    ... But I was wondering if riding fixed a lot with the pedal automatically coming up weakened muscles resulting in the tendon problem where I was pulling up and back spinning at good cadence and power on climbs.....
    Though you might like to believe that you were pulling up a lot, it's not the case. Pretty much all studies show that there is no significant contribution by pulling.

    Like Bandera already said: Ice, rest!!!

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    Bandera is right and pulling up is just wasted energy and a bike is just a bike.

    Is your seat possibly too low and pedaling in too high a gear?
    A proper bike fit may be in order, for me I simply place my pedal at 6 o'clock with my heel on the pedal with a locked knee.
    When I pedal with the ball of my foot I achieve the proper leg angle.
    This works for me but you may have one leg longer than the other.

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    Thanks for the comments. All the advice and comments are good. I think it's time for some professional fitting advice and see if I can ferret this out. When this happened eight weeks ago on the same bike I healed quickly.

  7. #7
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    If you're using a clipless setup, check to see if your feet aren't forced into a different position on the geared bike as opposed to the fixed gear - different pedals with the same shoes could do it. I'd also be looking for any other differences, especially subtle ones. The assumption that your fg is right and the geared isn't is probably a reasonable (though not cast iron) starting point.

    As the others have said though, there is only one cure for tendonitis and that's rest. Bugga.
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    Whatever is causing the problem is "subtle". I use the same pedals, SpeedPlay Zero, on all three bikes. The geo of the bikes are different as are the saddles but the distance from where the sit bones rest to center of the crank are the same. The ACL injury occurred in 1976, martial arts, and did more damage in 1986, causing me to switch from running to cycling. Cycling has improved the knee and doesn't bother me-resent tendinitis issue may or may not be related to ACL weakness. I haven't jumped from fixed base miles to hard, relative term, geared group rides. I've done a number of these group rides on the fixed gear riding "hard", hard for me, I've done some group rides on the same geared bike I rode yesterday, the Lynskey, at approximately the same level of effort and short climbs but maybe not as steep come to think of it. Writing this has been useful. Maybe it is just lack of fitness for the steeper climbs, in the saddle at high effort and I need to work on those in smaller doses at a bit reduced effort! On the fixed gear I would be standing and most of the other geared rides the climbs were not as steep for the length of the climb. Tendon feels OK this morning. I've iced it several times yesterday and again this morning, and I resisted hopping on the fixed gear for an early ride while it is cool by our standards Well my rambling has been useful. I will raise saddle height a bit but I think muscle specificity it the key-more time in the saddle on steeper hills spinning but reduce the gear and effort and let muscles adapt to take stress off the tendon.

  9. #9
    I just wanna ride stryper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tman1965 View Post
    Though you might like to believe that you were pulling up a lot, it's not the case. Pretty much all studies show that there is no significant contribution by pulling.

    Like Bandera already said: Ice, rest!!!
    Ever climb a hill so steep that all of your weight on a pedal isn't enough to cause you to go? If you have then you know that you can end up pulling a lot.
    Any kind of high output effort (steep climb/sprint) on a bike requires pulling. You can only exert your body weight in force downwards before your body is simply lifted up off the seat. To apply more force you need to pull up with the other foot in order to hold yourself down. Pretty simple stuff

  10. #10
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowzette View Post
    Whatever is causing the problem is "subtle". I use the same pedals, SpeedPlay Zero, on all three bikes. The geo of the bikes are different as are the saddles but the distance from where the sit bones rest to center of the crank are the same. The ACL injury occurred in 1976, martial arts, and did more damage in 1986, causing me to switch from running to cycling. Cycling has improved the knee and doesn't bother me-resent tendinitis issue may or may not be related to ACL weakness. I haven't jumped from fixed base miles to hard, relative term, geared group rides. I've done a number of these group rides on the fixed gear riding "hard", hard for me, I've done some group rides on the same geared bike I rode yesterday, the Lynskey, at approximately the same level of effort and short climbs but maybe not as steep come to think of it. Writing this has been useful. Maybe it is just lack of fitness for the steeper climbs, in the saddle at high effort and I need to work on those in smaller doses at a bit reduced effort! On the fixed gear I would be standing and most of the other geared rides the climbs were not as steep for the length of the climb. Tendon feels OK this morning. I've iced it several times yesterday and again this morning, and I resisted hopping on the fixed gear for an early ride while it is cool by our standards Well my rambling has been useful. I will raise saddle height a bit but I think muscle specificity it the key-more time in the saddle on steeper hills spinning but reduce the gear and effort and let muscles adapt to take stress off the tendon.
    You know mate, I wouldn't touch the seat at all AND I think you might be right in thinking it's the steeper hills. On a geared bike, you just go down a cog of five and while it might still be hard work, you can bet you're climbing in a much lower gear than you're riding on the fg. Maybe you simply tried too hard and something has protested in a manner you're interpreting as tendonitis. Strains hurt too you know. But bike fit is the last thing to play with if it's been right up to now.
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by stryper View Post
    Ever climb a hill so steep that all of your weight on a pedal isn't enough to cause you to go? If you have then you know that you can end up pulling a lot.
    Any kind of high output effort (steep climb/sprint) on a bike requires pulling. You can only exert your body weight in force downwards before your body is simply lifted up off the seat. To apply more force you need to pull up with the other foot in order to hold yourself down. Pretty simple stuff
    Apart from the fact that I did not say that there is no pulling at all let's have a look at some physics (because reading scientific studies seems to be too much for some)

    Let's keep it simple and mostly metric:
    Rider A weighs 143lbs/65kg: when does he need to pull because the pedal force is higher than his weight?
    Power P(t)=CL*F*Cad/60*2Pi
    CL CrankLength 170mm=0.17m, Cad Cadence 90 rpm, Pi is Pi=3.14..., F Force due to his weight 65kg*9.81m/s^2=638N
    that gives us P=1022W
    Of course it doesn't work like that because the above calculates it for the force being applied during the whole rotation. Let's assume for the ease of calculation that each leg can apply this force for a quarter of a rotation, that makes in total half a rotation.
    Thus the above power value is only the half : 511W
    That means without any pulling our 65kg rider can dish out some 500Watts. Not bad considering that this is already 7.7W/kg.
    Let's look at a heavier guy 80kg, 175mm cranks, 90 rpm gives us: 647Watts
    The 65kg guy at 100 rpm, 110 rpm, 120 rpm: 567W, 624W, 681W

    Still not enough of course: That means the 65kg athlete needs too pull. Surprisingly it is unheard of that cyclists (especially) sprinters pull at their handlebars.

    And yes of course riders pull, even with their legs, but as I said it's not a lot and it is only in a few situations.
    Have you ever ridden with a powermeter? How often and for how long did you climb with more than 500Watts?

    Back to the studies, there are a number of them out there. Like the good ole German one from 1998: 8 participants, German national elite track cyclist, 6 of them Atlanta 96 participants. 1!!! of the 8 was actively pulling, no wonder they didn't win many medals.

    There are more studies about pedaling technique, pretty much all of them show that even pro cyclist rarely pull during "normal" cycling.

    Yes, during a sprint you need to pull, with the other leg, with your hands. And real forum pros that sprint up every hill pull like crazy.

    I hope you don't mind that I made your "pretty simple stuff" so complicated.

    P.S. If you want to know what's it like to pull all the time try "Powercranks". If you are close to Atlanta be my guest.

  12. #12
    I just wanna ride stryper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tman1965 View Post
    P.S. If you want to know what's it like to pull all the time try "Powercranks". If you are close to Atlanta be my guest.
    I'm not sure, but your math seems wrong considering most of a riders weight is on his seat when spinning a constant 90 rpms during a normal ride, so then his body weight has very little to do with power output in that situation. During an out of seat sprint ya.

    How often and for how long did you climb with more than 500Watts?
    A few times a year I do a ride that includes a climb that's 4.3 miles with an average grade of 5.7%, peak 9.8%. During no point in that climb is my whole body weight standing on one pedal enough to propel me forward with a 46x21 climbing setup on my fg. I would literally roll backward. There's also a 3.6 mile climb later with an average grade of 4.7% which includes a .7 mile section with a 9.2 % grade, same thing but even more so couldn't stand on a pedal. I am absolutely pulling up the entire time I am doing those climbs.

    P.S. If you want to know what's it like to pull all the time try "Powercranks". If you are close to Atlanta be my guest.
    I know I don't pull up during most of my normal riding, but occasionally I end up riding my clippy pedals in normal shoes and notice a significant difference in acceleration and deceleration, especially riding in the city where you do those quite often, as opposed to a longer ride that's pretty non-stop. I'm quite far away in California, although it would be fun to try them. Thanks for the offer.

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