I'm wondering what are your experiences with knee health and track cycling. There's an article on Sheldon Brown about how knee problems and cycling came about with the advent of the free wheel. But, I hear of all these stories about track bikes any knee problems. I plan to train on a track bike (on the streets) and hopefully make it to the velodrome when I'm ready. I do not want to be a fake bike messanger. My idea of cool is a beautiful pedal stroke, not racing down a hill with cars. If I'm fit to the bike properly and practice good form, what things should I look out for regarding my knees? Thanks very much.
If you get a bike that fits, practice good form, choose a gearing that allows you to spin and not mash during your ride, and use a brake instead of just using your knees, there is a good chance that you will not develop knee problems.
Many people on "track bikes" today are riding them on the street without hand brakes, so they have to use huge, instantaneous back pressure to stop, thus creating knee issues.
Don't knee problems occur also when you're mashing up a hill? That's pretty much unavoidable on a single-speed, except to avoid the hill altogether.
Small gear and SPINNNNNNNNN. With the freewheel came all those gears. Those big one's that are suposed to be for going down hills, are the ones that destroy knees when used incorectly. People that can't spin well just go for a bigger gear and mash the knees.
Thanks for the response guys. Speaking of spinning and gearing, what gearing do you recommend? I've been road biking seriously for 2 years. I'm no pro, but not a slouch either. Should I go with a 50 crank and have an assortment of cogs?
OK i have no idea where do u live and i have no idea if u r rasing or not but what i would do is use an OLD technique... hope u like it... ok?...
Start with 42 ,hope u have 42, because 50 is kind'a too much. ok 42x18 or 42x19... thats freaking light gear for sure... but i bet u'll be jumping in the seat after 5 minutes... thats the idea about spining heheh... use that for 2 weeks or so... go using 42x19 for 10 to 20 kms no more than that OK?... sightseen pace ok? do not run...!!! go to roll only.. i think u got the idea...
then change to 42x18 for 2 more weeks.. the same stuff.. (please do not go out averyday OK? M-T-F is more than ok and sundays sight seen again).. then change to 42x17.. then try to do longer trips with change in the cadence... do changes of speeds time to time... progresive changes of speed...
then after 2 weeks change again, this time to 42x16... the same than before but more violent maybe but do not abuse... changes of speed... 1/2 then 3/4 the sprint... stuff like that... I could be cool in the middle if u can do this... do 100 kms in the 6th week or so, but at sightseen speed ok? nothing crazy because 100 kms using fixed gear is freaking tough... ok?
Then change to 50x20 or so... good luck if u want more details... I'll answer further qwuetions...
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42x18 is not for me. My comfortable cruising speed on flats is 22-25 mph, and my cadence at that speed would be 115-130, which is too fast for me. I am not comfortable with anything over 115 rpm. I suppose 42x16 would suit better, but then what would I do when I want to get up to 30mph?
On the other hand, is there a way for me to condition my legs/form so that I am not bouncing so much at > 115 rpm?
Ok, I'm missing something -- I think. My crank options run from 46-52. I'm looking at the record pista. Are there Italian gearings? I think a 52 Italian suit is a 42 American, but I'm sure it doesn't work that way! Should I be looking at other cranks? I have Centaur on my road bike and think campy has been worth the extra $$ -- but it the gearing is off... Thanks again
hehehe thats a good one well usually the work is done in a road bike thats why u are able to use a 42 wheelchain... of chage the cracks for cheappo ones, who cares u wont race using those ones, the purpose is another... right?
Well worker4youth, the idea is get u used to race cadence.. thats why i sugested to go at 1/2 speed not a full speed the 1st two weeks... I know that 42x18 is quite easy to move or pedaling, and thats when people screwup because they get exited... "yeahhhh is easy to move'.. lests go faster..!! and thats not the idea.. because u have to get your body used to the cadence, your lungs, your heart.. everything... If u train or go to the road to put as much speed under my way of see the stuff u r kind'a wrong because u dont have a base where to build things. thats why the fixed gear should be done gradually and slowly. U need to build the bases.
Some may agree on this... when racing, specially in track u need to have your legs prepared to get moved fast, fast reactions, faster changes of cadence, stop sudenly, etc. In the road we have different cogs, but is quite funny to see people in a race going with 53x14 o 13 thinking they are going fast and suddenly somebody pass them as a lighthingbolt using less multiplication and going freaking fast leaving everybody behind... well whats the solution for some racers? put 53x11 and suddently a faster race cadence and they cant catch up, the lungs are clog, the heart is exploding and they simply cant catch up... the training solution for them usually is go to the gym to get stronger... I think that many of u got the idea now that the solution is get faster... not stronger...
I see that many people is getting trap with those devices to measure speed... i mean for distances are cool but for speed? actually the performance in earlier stages of traning as the one im telling about using a fixed gear bike arent intended to be used using the speed device thing, because u loose concentration, the idea is get u used to the cadence, eventually ull get faster and stronger every day but more than a benefit use one of those tihngs is the opposite because it will forced u psicologicaly to stand in one speed... u r concentraded in the god darn device not in pedaling that is the main issue here, learn pedaling afeciently. If u learn pedaling u wont need that thing ever...
"On the other hand, is there a way for me to condition my legs/form so that I am not bouncing so much at > 115 rpm?" <--- well the short answer??? is NO! hehehe 115 rpms is fast but u can go to 120 or 130 for sure with the time, dont be worry about the speed, when u are in a learning process speed is only a factor.. when u are racing speed is not important, what is important is being more efficient than the other guys and then try to win the race... I remember years ago Bernard Hinault won a classic maris something race... he won using 53x16 thats it... that was enoughf to win the sprint...
I have no idea about ur person, maybe u r a strong person, and thats why u cant stand over 115 rpms for more than 5 minutes w/o boucing over the saddle, u r too strong. Maybe u need to re-educate your pedaling technique as 50 years ago. Nobody is doing this anymore (that i know of) but u'll have a lot more balance and u'll improbe a lot your style aswell... Use your bike with toes and straps pedals... but dont use the straps, only the toes... ride like that for 2 months or so... your feets and your legs will have to re-learn pedaling as the feet will tend to go out of the pedals.. u'll be forced to round your pedaling or u'll lose coordination and some balance (balance pedaling not balance over the bike hehe), even u'll learn how to really go over the pedals nicely and gracely because if u do it like a caveman your feets will end over your head because u dont have straps. Obviously use your cycilng shoes
I think many will say this guys its crazy... but is winter over here.. no racing season... it is a nice time to learn new old things. I dont think anybody will waste time on this... but well hope this it will work for many people.. thats all... thanks
Many do not know how to spin and they think they are doing quite well because they think they are going fast using 53x14 or so on the road...
Yeah, something like that is way to big. Right now I'm running 44x16, and I'm thinking of going smaller... maybe 39x15 or 16. That would be better with the hills I usually negotiate. I also run a front brake - I ain't to proud to brake.
That said, if I do a workout on the track, I warm up with 48x16, then flip over to 15 for sprints... and I feel it in the knees going upstairs the next day. Nothing tragic though.
Last edited by socaljoe; 12-24-05 at 12:46 AM.