My cycling is limited by my knees, which get sore after about 2 hills. Here in San Francisco, hills are basically unavoidable, and my knees give out long before my muscles. We ride a Greenspeed tandem recumbent trike with extra-low gearing (lower than a standard mountain bike) but even in the lowest gear my knees still get beat up after a depressingly short time. So anybody have any suggestions for avoiding sore knees when cycling, apart from taking ibuprofen? Do rotor cranks help? Any other esoteric equipment available out there? Thanks!
robots in disguise
This probably isn't the answer you want to hear, but since this is the training forum: the gym.
I don't mean to be insensitive -- I've had some knee pain too, on longer rides when my body tired. For me, it had to do with the strength of my quads and, as I fatigued, increasingly poor form. I ride a road bike and a fixed gear, so this may not apply to your (recumbent) situation. I would like to note that I've had no problems on the fixie, because I've never taken it on 5+ hour journeys.
Anyway, without more information, my $.02 is that it has to do (despite what you wrote) with fatigue, probably slightly off form as you get to the top of Twin Peaks and are (momentarily) tired. If you let your legs flail out to the side, that can do it.
Hello, neighbor! Thanks for the reply, but I'm not sure that more exercise is the answer here. I have joint problems all over (wrists, knees, etc) and most types of exercise make my joints feel worse. Cycling is one of the few things I can do, in moderation, that doesn't beat up my cartilege. But I'll carefully observe my "form": I don't think my legs flop outward but I never really paid attention before. Thanks for the tip. Gotta go now - need to take some ibuprofen for my wrist ...
Is this pain in the joint, tendons around the joint, or where? Normally, spinning up is the answer, but it sounds like your gearing is already low enough. Maybe you need to put a shock collar on your partner to "encourage" them. If this is tendon pain then look at the inclination of your torso to the lower leg on the crank....maybe a seat shift would help? Are there any fitting exerts for bents that you can talk to? Sorry, don't know much about bents but I know that you don't want a permantent injury!
One thing you might want to make sure is that you're fitted correctly on your tandem bike. A number of factors like saddle height, pedal adjustment, cleat position, etc. can cause problems for your knees, especially if you already have issues with your joints. If you haven't done so, I would go to a good bike shop and have them check over your setup and make sure your riding position, seat height, pedal and cleat positions are finetuned to your body, otherwise it might aggrevate whatever problems you may have with your joints.
Knee pain is not terribly specific, and it could be many many things. As someone who has dealt with everything from severe ITB to 2 ACL reconstructions, the best advise I can give is to go and see a good physical therapist. Unless you have gravel inside your joint capsules you should be able to pedal with light resistance without much discomfort
Have you thought about getting a bike fit and finding a physical therapist to look at your pedal stroke and muscle balance. Since you're here in SF, you could go hit Presidio Sport & Medicine for both. I used them for a bike fit last fall and it was like night and day for on-bike comfort.