Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Think I may have to give up commuting.

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Think I may have to give up commuting.

Old 11-20-18, 09:13 PM
  #1  
NiGoCo
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
NiGoCo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 100

Bikes: Couple junkers

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 46 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Think I may have to give up commuting.

As much as I enjoy it I don't think my knees can take it.

A couple weeks ago they started hurting a little. Mainly in the evening and waking up in the morning. The best way I can describe it is a raw feeling. Then the pain started while pedaling. Especially my right knee.

I decided to take last week off and double down on stretches. Finally had two days without knee pain and decided to try again this morning. After about two miles my right knee started telling me on every down stroke that it wasn't happy. It got to the point that I couldn't put any pressure whatsoever on it and I essentially did the last mile or so one legged. I hobbled around until about 2 O'Clock until the pain eased off. I took it very easy in the way home and did okay until I got home and off the bike. They were on fire. I've been melting ice packs on them for awhile now. Man are they hurting though.

My knees are what made me get off the bike seven or eight years ago. After years of abuse doing concrete work and working in crawl spaces under houses I had partially torn meniscus in both knees that I never had addressed. I've since been told by an orthopedic Dr that I have patellofemoral syndrome. I've had two Cortisone shots in my right knee and had enough relief that I could ride around the neighborhood with my wife and son. After that I thought I could handle the commute, especially after the first couple weeks were pain free. But now it's pretty clear that I'm not going to be able to do it with any regularity. Which is a major bummer because I thoroughly enjoy it. I'm not doing heavy construction work anymore but I still have a very physical job and can't take the chance of really damaging my knees.

I'll talk to my doctor again when I go for my annual check-up. Mainly just venting because I've really grown to enjoy getting around by bicycle.
​​​​​
NiGoCo is offline  
Old 11-20-18, 09:35 PM
  #2  
2manybikes
Dog is my co-pilot
 
2manybikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,563

Bikes: 2 many

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 999 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 13 Posts
That sucks!! I have bad knees. What works best for me is two days off after every ride. Doesn't seem to mater a lot how far I go so when I ride, I do long rides. If I start sprinting up too many hills, I need to slow down. Maybe take another day off.
Hopefully you can find what works for you. You might have to do lots of experimenting.
2manybikes is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 12:03 AM
  #3  
Fahrenheit531 
50th Anniversary Edition
 
Fahrenheit531's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 3,455

Bikes: Schwinn Paramount ('71) and Volare ('78); Raleigh Competition GS ('79)

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 544 Post(s)
Liked 56 Times in 31 Posts
You list your bikes as "a couple junkers." Not sure what that means (cruiser? box-store mountain bike?) but a lighter bike and/or a lower gear (spin, don't mash) might do wonders. Might also reexamine your bike's fit. My point is if you really do enjoy it there are other possibilities to explore before throwing in the towel.
__________________
A race bike in any era is a highly personal choice that at its "best" balances the requirements of fit, weight, handling, durability and cost tempered by the willingness to toss it and oneself down the pavement at considerable speed. ~Bandera
Fahrenheit531 is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 12:30 AM
  #4  
dabac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 7,947
Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 813 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I have patellafemoral too.
What works for me is:
-stretching with near religious zeal
-tight cassettes, small steps between gears
-short cranks
-keeping the cadence up and pedal pressure down
-oh, and knee warmers as weather dictates

Knees generally don’t mind bending as such. It’s The bending-under-load they object to.
You can reduce that by using a lower gear and a higher cadence.
dabac is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 01:59 AM
  #5  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 22,467
Mentioned: 166 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8518 Post(s)
Liked 76 Times in 68 Posts
I seem to be just the opposite. The knees start aching if I'm off the bike for 3+ days in a row.

But, a few rest days help too, especially after a hard effort.

If you have been off the bike for a while, ease back into it, rather than going all-in, and take some time off. I.E. start with riding only a couple of days a week, and for short rides.

You might post a note under either: https://www.bikeforums.net/fitting-your-bike/ or perhaps https://www.bikeforums.net/pills-ills/

(or click on the red circle and ask for this to be moved). There are some theories that things like seat position can affect different aspects of the knees. At least getting the bike setup properly can help.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 02:37 AM
  #6  
acidfast7
Banned
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: England / CPH
Posts: 8,585

Bikes: 2010 Cube Acid / 2013 Mango FGSS

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1053 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 24 Posts
This is the recycled German city bike right?
acidfast7 is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 02:53 AM
  #7  
KraneXL
 
KraneXL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: La-la Land, CA
Posts: 3,184

Bikes: Cannondale Quick SL1 Bike - 2014

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2811 Post(s)
Liked 63 Times in 54 Posts
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. That old cliche has been my life-long belief, but when I injured my back I lost a lot of mobility on my right side and forgot about it. My arm and shoulder ultimately atrophied and I fell into a deep depression.

Because of it, I gave up training and working out completely for over 8 years. After growing a belly and hating what I had turned in to, I remember that old saying and the promise I had made as a teenager (to never get the beer belly my dad had) and went back to a healthy diet and working out again.

It was a grueling ordeal at first, and excruciatingly painful, but after a while I started to slowly get better. That was 4 years ago, and the improvements continue to this day.

There's no avoiding aging, but the body will always need exercise. Even in our eighties weight training has been proven to have a positive effect. My back may never be cured completely, but I forget I ever had knee problems. That's what leg training (what my doctor said not to do) did for me. Now, more than ever I realize the importance of regular exercise. When you stop, things just get worse all that much sooner.

BTW, I'm not telling you to ignore your doctor's advice, just giving you my perspective and what worked for me. Of course you should do what you think is best for you. Good luck.
KraneXL is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 02:57 AM
  #8  
Teamprovicycle
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Providence
Posts: 723

Bikes: Specialized tarmac sl2 giant tcx zero

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 314 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Well my friend step right we have an e bike for you!!!!!
Teamprovicycle is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 03:05 AM
  #9  
acidfast7
Banned
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: England / CPH
Posts: 8,585

Bikes: 2010 Cube Acid / 2013 Mango FGSS

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1053 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 24 Posts
Originally Posted by Teamprovicycle View Post
Well my friend step right we have an e bike for you!!!!!
I agree. Much better for the environment as well.
acidfast7 is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 07:50 AM
  #10  
alias5000
Raised a new winter bike
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Ontario
Posts: 464

Bikes: HP Velotechnik Streetmachine GTE, 2015 Devinci Silverstone SL4, 2012 Cannondale Road Tandem 2, 2007 Trek 6000, Circe Morpheus

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 140 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by teamprovicycle View Post
well my friend step right we have an e bike for you!!!!!
+1!
alias5000 is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 08:09 AM
  #11  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 22,467
Mentioned: 166 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8518 Post(s)
Liked 76 Times in 68 Posts
I'm not big on E-Bikes, although there are "pedal assist" bikes, or modes for the bikes which require you to actually at least move the legs.

However, if you do go that route, I'd encourage you to keep your pedal bike for riding with the family and trips around the neighborhood.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 09:15 AM
  #12  
mtb_addict 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,742
Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3015 Post(s)
Liked 32 Times in 28 Posts
Central TX is hilly. Can you try a lighter bike? Like a sub 20 pound road bike with low gearing and 25mm tires. And minimize weight, like using backpack instead of panniers.

That should make it alot easier on the knees, than the heavy panzer wagon.
mtb_addict is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 10:18 AM
  #13  
wphamilton
Senior Member
 
wphamilton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Posts: 14,555

Bikes: Nashbar Road

Mentioned: 65 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2506 Post(s)
Liked 55 Times in 33 Posts
It happened to me also, early on, and it was a bear to get over. I'd already gone full on car-free so I had to stick with it, but I was pedaling one-legged for a while, with my right leg just going through the motions. It took weeks until I could do it more normally without pain. I don't know about "torn meniscus" but when I finally healed up I was able to gradually strengthen both knees and continue - this was about 10 years ago.
wphamilton is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 10:24 AM
  #14  
Harhir
Senior Member
 
Harhir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 384

Bikes: ‘94 Fahrradmanufaktur Trekking Bike, ‘88 Gazelle Primeur, ‘00 Lightning Phantom, ‘99 and ‘01 bikeE, ‘9x Mongoose MTB and more to come.

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 89 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
I also recommend looking into an electric assist bike. They have become hugely popular in Europe but they are still kind of a novelty here. I also occasionally have knee issues and I noticed that these kind of bikes can be a big relief when I rode my late dad's ebike in Germany this summer.
Harhir is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 11:00 AM
  #15  
daoswald
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Salt Lake City, UT (Formerly Los Angeles, CA)
Posts: 1,025

Bikes: 2008 Cannondale Synapse -- 2014 Cannondale Quick CX

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 175 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 26 Times in 14 Posts
Not to belabor what is probably already obvious, but is your bike fit correct?

Many people get knee pain (in front, and internal) when pedaling with too low a seat, or at too low cadence. Many people get pain in the rear of their knee, and possibly in their lower backs when the seat is too high.

Too-low cadence and too-low seat height are really common maladies among commuters I see out there in the wild. You may not be one of those who has those problems but those who do have them are not doing their knees any favors.
daoswald is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 11:07 AM
  #16  
acidfast7
Banned
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: England / CPH
Posts: 8,585

Bikes: 2010 Cube Acid / 2013 Mango FGSS

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1053 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 24 Posts
If I was in the ebike market ... I'd look for something like this ...

https://www.lidl.de/de/telefunken-ko...0-zoll/p249484



but, I'm not and ride the FGSS until it snaps in half.
acidfast7 is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 11:14 AM
  #17  
acidfast7
Banned
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: England / CPH
Posts: 8,585

Bikes: 2010 Cube Acid / 2013 Mango FGSS

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1053 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 24 Posts
or something like this. should be under 600 USD shipped to your door.

acidfast7 is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 12:08 PM
  #18  
PaulRivers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6,313
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 432 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Not sure what you're using now. My foot and knee pain went away when I stopped using clipless and started using flats (FiveTen Freerider shoes, Dmr Vault pedals).
https://www.adidasoutdoor.com/five-t...shoe/FT07.html
https://www.dmrbikes.com/Catalogue/P...lt-2/Vault-NEW

Things that caused me issues:
- Clipless pedals (yeah not a problem for everyone but they were for me)
- Cheap plastic square flat pedals - slick surface let my foot slip around and my leg would try to stop it from slipping and it would cause issues
- Smaller pedals - I have big feet and if the pedal platform wasn't big enough my feet would hurt
- Pedals with no concave - no huge issues just not as comfortable, my feet like the pedals with a concave shape better

Five Ten shoes use a special sticky rubber that grabs to metal pins like they're clipless (except you can lift your foot off the pedal easily). Dmr Vaults have the pins, are big enough for my feet, slight concave shape is very comfortable.

Obviously a certain level of medical problems will mean one cannot bike period at some point so I don't know if this would help. But this is the most comfortable I've found for my knees and legs.
PaulRivers is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 12:48 PM
  #19  
NiGoCo
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
NiGoCo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 100

Bikes: Couple junkers

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 46 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for the encouragement. Some good thoughts here that I will take into consideration. I'm not completely giving up yet. Just discouraged as I had thought the knee issues were behind me.

Just to touch in some points quickly.

I'm not opposed to electric, if all else fails then I will certainly be looking that direction.

I'm pretty confident my bike fit is not too far off.

I've paid attention to my cadence and try to keep from grinding too much.

I'm using flat pedals.

The bike is heavy probably closer to 50# than 40# when commuting. But even my lighter bike caused the same issues which is what led to getting the Cortisone shots.

Bikes are not going away. Just the idea of being able to commute daily at the moment.
NiGoCo is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 12:51 PM
  #20  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 22,911

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3029 Post(s)
Liked 113 Times in 92 Posts
drats, good luck
rumrunn6 is offline  
Old 11-21-18, 09:55 PM
  #21  
KraneXL
 
KraneXL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: La-la Land, CA
Posts: 3,184

Bikes: Cannondale Quick SL1 Bike - 2014

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2811 Post(s)
Liked 63 Times in 54 Posts
Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
Not sure what you're using now. My foot and knee pain went away when I stopped using clipless and started using flats (FiveTen Freerider shoes, Dmr Vault pedals).
https://www.adidasoutdoor.com/five-t...shoe/FT07.html
https://www.dmrbikes.com/Catalogue/P...lt-2/Vault-NEW

Things that caused me issues:
- Clipless pedals (yeah not a problem for everyone but they were for me)
Pedals or float? There's all types of adjustments that can be made.
- Cheap plastic square flat pedals - slick surface let my foot slip around and my leg would try to stop it from slipping and it would cause issues
- Smaller pedals - I have big feet and if the pedal platform wasn't big enough my feet would hurt
Have you tried mountain bike platforms? I wear size 48.
- Pedals with no concave - no huge issues just not as comfortable, my feet like the pedals with a concave shape better

Five Ten shoes use a special sticky rubber that grabs to metal pins like they're clipless (except you can lift your foot off the pedal easily). Dmr Vaults have the pins, are big enough for my feet, slight concave shape is very comfortable.

Obviously a certain level of medical problems will mean one cannot bike period at some point so I don't know if this would help. But this is the most comfortable I've found for my knees and legs.
For every problem there is a solution. I also use good insoles for extra support, stability, and cushioning.
KraneXL is offline  
Old 11-22-18, 11:40 AM
  #22  
NiGoCo
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
NiGoCo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 100

Bikes: Couple junkers

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 46 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Been thinking more about the electric route. It may be a way to get some strength back in my knees without hammering them too much which is happening now. If my commute was half the distance I don't think I'd have any issues. It is what it is though, maybe electric would allow me to do the distance with much less strain and be able to build strength over time.

If I did go that route I'm leaning strongly towards converting the commute bike. I think I'd lean towards pedal assist only with no throttle and a small motor. Maybe 250W would be enough to take the edge off.

Need to do some more research. There is an ebike dealer in the next town over. I may stop in there to see what they have.
NiGoCo is offline  
Old 11-22-18, 11:44 AM
  #23  
acidfast7
Banned
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: England / CPH
Posts: 8,585

Bikes: 2010 Cube Acid / 2013 Mango FGSS

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1053 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 24 Posts
Originally Posted by NiGoCo View Post
Been thinking more about the electric route. It may be a way to get some strength back in my knees without hammering them too much which is happening now. If my commute was half the distance I don't think I'd have any issues. It is what it is though, maybe electric would allow me to do the distance with much less strain and be able to build strength over time.

If I did go that route I'm leaning strongly towards converting the commute bike. I think I'd lean towards pedal assist only with no throttle and a small motor. Maybe 250W would be enough to take the edge off.

Need to do some more research. There is an ebike dealer in the next town over. I may stop in there to see what they have.
It's the way forward and they're used a huge amount in Germany.
acidfast7 is offline  
Old 11-22-18, 03:47 PM
  #24  
Hoopdriver
On Holiday
 
Hoopdriver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,059

Bikes: A bunch of old steel bikes

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 389 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Teamprovicycle View Post
Well my friend step right we have an e bike for you!!!!!
A friend who once once a casual commuter invested in an e-bike. Now he sends me daily updates about his ride and has withdrawal symptoms if something prevents him from riding,
Hoopdriver is offline  
Old 11-23-18, 01:43 AM
  #25  
ferten
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 10
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Sometimes I wonder if knee pain is due to athritis or bad eating habits. I remember having knee pain on my left knee sometimes when I bike. Sometimes, there's no warning at all. There would just be a really sharp pain out of nowhere. But it has been four yers since then and my knee has gotten much better. Never went to the doctor or anything. Just waited it out.
ferten is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.