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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 01-07-07, 10:20 PM   #1
zippered
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yet another thread about sore knees

ok so "winter" hasn't really started, but i'm still noticing that the cold wind is bothering my knee. i developed patellofemoral syndrome while boxing a few years ago, and (a few falls later) i still have trouble with that knee in particular.

so i'm turning to the collective wisdom of bike forums: anyone have any DIY or really budget ideas for keeping knees warm? i'm trying to think of some way of creating another layer inside my wind-blocker tights, but i don't want to impede my movement or damage the material.

cheers!
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Old 01-07-07, 11:21 PM   #2
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There are several varieties of knee warmers. Some are long, just short of being leg warmers, others are a little longer than a knee pad. Might try those. Should be able to wear under your tights, and they start around $20.
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Old 01-07-07, 11:39 PM   #3
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You could try wearing things like:

-- sweat pants over your tights
-- wind pants over your tights
-- knee warmers (which you can get inexpensively from Nashbar) over or under your tights

I use all of the ideas above ... sometimes even all together depending on how cold it is!
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Old 01-08-07, 04:58 PM   #4
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thanks for the replies!

my thought was that knee warmers might be restrictive?

i would prefer to be able to make something myself if possible, like a patch insert or something?

if i'm going to work, then it's usually not too far to cope with, otherwise i wear the tights to be more "streamlined" and don't really want extra bulk on top.

hmmm
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Old 01-08-07, 10:08 PM   #5
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While I don't have trouble with my knees they do bother me in the cold if not pretty warm. I just wear a pair of really good but slightly loose fitting cycling tights over my regular cycling tights when it gets cold. If you can wear one size larger then usual for the outer tight so it's slightly loose fitting it works really well and keeps the knee from binding too much.

This works really well. I use Sugoi Firewalls on the outer layer which are a bit expensive but well worth it. While your legs can deal with quite cold temperatures while riding your knees will feel better if you not only keep your knees warmer but your whole leg. If the whole leg is warmer the knee stays and feels warmer.

And as long as the insulation on your legs stays breathable it is better to have a little more because your leg muscles function better when they are warm enough that the blood capillaries on the surface are not constricting due to the cold.

Last edited by Hezz; 01-08-07 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 01-11-07, 07:55 AM   #6
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Put knee warmers underneath your tights, they will probably fall down if worn outside, and you should be fine. I wear DeFeet coolmax($20) and they also have wool($25). You can also use them for Fall temperatures when it is too warm for tights. DeFeet is a good brand and they will stay up by themselves.

The pros recommend protecting your knees anytime the temp is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Old 01-11-07, 05:39 PM   #7
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70 degrees huh? that's like, around 20 C! i thought it would be below 5 or so...

well, unfortunately the pain has gotten worse the last couple days, so i've been given a tensor brace to use. i wore it on the way home today, and like i thought, it helped with warmth, but was uncomfortable on the skin behind my knee. can't win 'em all i guess.

i am still very reluctant to spend that much $ on what is essentially just a circle of material. so perhaps tomorrow i'll try going to a material store and see if i can find anything that will work, and i can hand stitch it myself. i was thinking that a shoulder pad with elastic straps for above and below the knee might work; like a knee pad, but less bulky.
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Old 01-11-07, 07:15 PM   #8
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maybe trying something like Sportsbalm or A535 might be another thing to try. Sportsbalm lasts long to, thats what I use all the time.
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Old 01-14-07, 10:42 PM   #9
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Is it just in the cold that you have trouble? I had that same problem in the middle of last year, but it was all the time, not just in a cold wind. A few weeks of physical therapy that involved some focused quad strengthening fixed things right up. The therapist said something about a strength imbalance between the inner and outer muscles.
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Old 01-15-07, 12:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zippered
70 degrees huh? that's like, around 20 C! i thought it would be below 5 or so...

well, unfortunately the pain has gotten worse the last couple days, so i've been given a tensor brace to use. i wore it on the way home today, and like i thought, it helped with warmth, but was uncomfortable on the skin behind my knee. can't win 'em all i guess.

i am still very reluctant to spend that much $ on what is essentially just a circle of material. so perhaps tomorrow i'll try going to a material store and see if i can find anything that will work, and i can hand stitch it myself. i was thinking that a shoulder pad with elastic straps for above and below the knee might work; like a knee pad, but less bulky.
Actually, I've heard that the cut-off point is 65 degrees (18C) ... it is actually quite high. Definitely a lot warmer than 5C. If you've been riding around at 5C without any protection on your knees, that might be part of your problem!

How much money do you think knee warmers are? You know you can pick some up for about $15 at Nashbar.

If I were you, I would NOT go with a shoulder pad setup. That'll end up being too much thickness and pressure over your knees and could end up causing patello-femoral pain syndrome. Covering the knees is a very touchy situation ... too little and your knees get cold which can cause some problems. Too much and you end up with other problems.

That's why things like sweats over your tights can work quite well. That's what I use when I cycle in cold weather.
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Old 01-15-07, 07:19 PM   #11
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yeah, patello-femoral syndrome is an imbalance between the quad muscle and the muscle on the side of the knee (i don't know what it is called). as far as i understand the quad muscle pulls the knee cap out of alignment and causes friction on the femur. apparently if your feet pronate you are more likely to develop this problem. i went to physio for a few months several years ago; electro-stim and ultra-sound got me walking and stuff again. i still find that it seizes up after sitting for longer periods of time, and that i have to flex and stretch my leg several times until the pressure releases.

anyhoo, about two weeks ago i started noticing that my knee was feeling achy after riding and i suspected that it was the cold wind that was exaccerbating the condition. that's why i thought i'd create a layer between my knee and my AM-FIB tights. cost is an issue because i'm living on a rather low income right now and because i resent paying a lot of money for a bit of material when i'm creative and able to sew a basic stitch.

i'm sure some topical ointment would help temporarily relieve the muscle tension, but again there's the cost factor (and my partner is sensitive to anything that has a scent). like i said, i tried riding with a tensor brace, but i hated how much it rubbed the skin behind my knee. i see the point about a pad pressing down too much though. i'm going to try wearing a pair of leg warmers tomorrow to see if that helps. i also have the phone number of an OHIP physio clinic close to my house (that i was supposed to go to for my neck, but that's a whole other bunch of issues) so i'll have to get around to doing that.

did i mention i'm only 26?! *sigh*
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