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Old 01-08-06, 08:32 PM   #1
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Knee Pain and Bike Fit

I've been using the same shoe/cleat combination (SPD) since I bought my bike last spring, and after several months have the bike fit pretty well dialed in. Lately I've been pushing myself more, riding longer distances, "attacking" hills (the quotes are to assure those who've read my posts that I still suck on hills, but not relative to how awful I was when I started out).

After a pretty strenuous ride early this week I experienced knee pain for the first time, just above the patella on my right knee. I was concerned, because I destroyed this knee 26 years ago in a climbing accident, and the patella is held together with wire to this day. I started checking everything, and when I changed clothes I noticed that the cleat in my right shoe was almost 1/2" further back toward the heel than in the left shoe. I moved it up even with the left shoe, and noticed at once that the ball of my foot was now right over the pedal.

Two hard rides since, and not a bit of knee pain. Lessons: at my age, any structural pain needs immediate attention; and the process of adjusting and fiddling with bike fit is never really over.
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Old 01-08-06, 09:15 PM   #2
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I also have a "watch-over-it" knee from a skiing crash some years ago. Things that are important to me: My knee loves ice after hard efforts, and then gentle, loosening spins the day after. Periodically I check, among other things, the screws on my cleats, some of which almost guaranteed will loosen with use. LOL...I've been cycling off and on for several years and still fuss and fret over trying to improve fit...Perfect Fit being some kind of Holy Grail.
..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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Old 01-08-06, 10:24 PM   #3
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Excellent advice Bern and another great example of why "fit" can make a difference. We can get by with being out of position until we really start to pick things up.

I had exactly the same experience and now ride with the cleat on my right shoe a little more forward than my left. I got the knee pain in the same spot as you after doing some pretty hard and long climbs.

You can't suck at climbing any more than I do.......although like you I'm getting a little better at it.
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Old 01-08-06, 10:58 PM   #4
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I still use and like the older "cage" style toe clips and straps. I was doing a lot of commuting in center city Phila. back in the late 70's, and I got tired of unclipping and reclipping every few minutes with traffic and lights. So I removed the cleats on my riding shoes, and just used them for their stiffness. To this day, I do not use cleats and I love it. You do have to use the right sized cages without the cleats, and you have to have the straps just so . . . but it's so nice to just slip your foot in and out smoothly and quickly.
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Old 01-16-06, 06:47 PM   #5
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Regarding knee pain, I think I am pretty qualified to speak about such issues. Total of six surgeries here, one on left, five on right, the last being an ACL replacement when I was 48 (now 53). I ride the 10-20 mile range a couple of times a week and usually a longer ride on weekend (41 miles yesterday) and try to get at least 50 miles a week. SPD clips on a 95 model Schwinn Transit set up as a tourer. I have found a little bit of angle adjustment (really, just a little) to pigeon toed helps some. Some days I lower the seat a tad and some days raise it a little. I tend to have the right clip a little farther forward than the left. Some days the knee is a little stiff, some days I wouldn't know they were bad except for the loose cartilage and debris that is always there. All this is to say....just get out there and spin...use it or lose it..and never give in to knee pain.
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