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Idiots guide to pedaling

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Idiots guide to pedaling

Old 07-22-19, 04:35 PM
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Champ340
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Idiots guide to pedaling

Hello friends,

I'm after some advice on how to pedal correctly. Mainly I want to concentrate on efficeincy and reducing knee discomfort.

I've had a bike fit so I feel I have done everything I can in that department. I tend to get a wee bit of discomfort after a long day out of the saddle climbing. It tends to be above the kneecap, and outer knee.

I've read about trying to scrape mud off with your heals? Anyone else have any tips or good videos/articles to look at?

Many thanks.

Last edited by Champ340; 07-22-19 at 04:38 PM. Reason: Spelling error
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Old 07-22-19, 04:46 PM
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All of my knee pain is just below the kneecap, so I'm not the best help.

Scraping is done while seated, and not while climbing out of the saddle.

Try an equally long day without doing any out of the saddle work, does the knee still hurt?
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Old 07-22-19, 05:12 PM
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Not all bike fits are equal so I wouldn't necessarily assume that your fit is perfect.

That said, you might have more luck just increasing your cadence which will reduce the forces being applied. Try sitting and spinning rather than climbing out of the saddle.
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Old 07-22-19, 07:10 PM
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Champ340
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Not all bike fits are equal so I wouldn't necessarily assume that your fit is perfect.

That said, you might have more luck just increasing your cadence which will reduce the forces being applied. Try sitting and spinning rather than climbing out of the saddle.
Thanks for that. Maybe I will book in at a different bike fit person. At $200 a pop it will be a tough pill to swallow but better than wrecking my knees.

I have been increasing my cadence, keeping it between 90 and 110 which I find is helping.

Many thanks.
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Old 07-23-19, 12:34 PM
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I'm not sure it's your pedaling. Feeling mild discomfort after a long day doing anything strikes me as normal. I feel mild discomfort a good deal of the time, not just in cycling but in almost everything physical that I do.
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Old 07-23-19, 12:44 PM
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Stretch, if not doing so already.

Every night before bed is wonderful.


-Tim-
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Old 07-23-19, 12:49 PM
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dunno of this is helpful to you, but, I've read that one should keep their back straight. when I ride by shop windows I can see that mine is not. I've also read, it helps to straighten your back by visualizing pushing your butt out, as if, to arch your back the other way. which of course, I can not do, but I can visualize that. sometimes I have to remind myself. it feels a little awkward, but I've done it riding by a shop window & my back is better but still not straight & my butt certainly is not sticking out. but if is a step in the right direction
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Old 07-23-19, 12:59 PM
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It's not pedaling so much as it is spinning. Just how big of a gear are you trying to push? I don't know the specifics of your situation, but if you're out there mashing with every stroke instead of spinning then you're gonna have problems. Try downshifting and focusing on higher cadence spinning and less mashing.


-Kedosto
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Old 07-23-19, 01:01 PM
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Did your bike fit include cleat placement to get your feet that correct angle for you?
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Old 07-23-19, 01:20 PM
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I think a cadenceof 90-110 qualifies as 'spinning.' The old heuristic is: knee pain on the front, seat too low. Knee pain behind knee, seat too high.

What led you to get a bike fit? Can you go back with your complaint?
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Old 07-23-19, 01:29 PM
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Three posts, you don't say how long you've been at it. You can get all kinds of advice when asking here on BF and all is good intentioned and gives the "what works for most people, what the TT, racers, fondo riders do". With that said, I say go ride a while if new, find "your" rythme, best position, most comfortable, etc. To justify "My thinking", I use Froome as an example. When he's climbing, he's usually spinning , maybe scraping dung like Lemond did while others are out of saddle, and he looks miserable but it must be what works for him. My legs from the top down to include the feet look just like yours but I bet we might be way different. WOW, I almost sound like I know what I'm talking about don't I?


LOL, Buckey Cats fan.
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Old 07-23-19, 01:37 PM
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I see people riding with knees spread. Mine nearly brush the top tube.

Did i I miss a comment about cleats/pedals?
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Old 07-23-19, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
I see people riding with knees spread. Mine nearly brush the top tube.

Did i I miss a comment about cleats/pedals?
My racing days mantra after my knee issues showed up was "brush that paint" (on the top tube). Always helped. I was feeling my knees the other day, "Oh yeah." Still works.

And yes, for some of us, cleat placement and angle is key.
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Old 07-23-19, 01:57 PM
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Rollers
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Old 07-23-19, 02:01 PM
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Brushing the top tube, been doing that since mid 1970's with help from cleat angle. PLENTY of video on You Tube regarding pedaling technique/efficiency, even lots about bike fit. Agree about spinning and gear inch. Would LOVE to spin my 53/12 at 90.
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Old 07-23-19, 02:10 PM
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If you work on and/or maintain good flexibility and muscle balance for both upper and lower body combined with a proper fit you will not have to worry about form per se while pedaling in the saddle. The preceding will by default have you maintaining proper form. You will automatically pretty much always naturally be in the proper form. The proper form varies from individual to individual so you shouldn't be overly strict on trying to maintain a one type form for all is the right one.

Riding out of the saddle on a climb does produce different and greater forces on your knees. However, if you use proper form, (you will have to develop that), and you have healthy knees you will be fine there too. At a certain point in terms of weight the heavier, a rider is the more difficult it is to climb out of the saddle. You won't find too many 200 pound or 200 plus riders coming out of the saddle very much especially on longer climbs. (And the older they are that amount will get less after a certain age.)
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Old 07-23-19, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Champ340 View Post
Thanks for that. Maybe I will book in at a different bike fit person. At $200 a pop it will be a tough pill to swallow but better than wrecking my knees.

I have been increasing my cadence, keeping it between 90 and 110 which I find is helping.

Many thanks.
If you like the fitter and they are competent you should be able to go back for 1 or 2 fine tunings. All anyone can do is fit you in the bell curve. Your normal may be a bit different. Can't hurt to ask before you drop any more cashe!
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Old 07-23-19, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
dunno of this is helpful to you, but, I've read that one should keep their back straight. when I ride by shop windows I can see that mine is not. I've also read, it helps to straighten your back by visualizing pushing your butt out, as if, to arch your back the other way. which of course, I can not do, but I can visualize that. sometimes I have to remind myself. it feels a little awkward, but I've done it riding by a shop window & my back is better but still not straight & my butt certainly is not sticking out. but if is a step in the right direction
Thank you I will definitely try keeping my back straighter. I will try rocking my hips forward as well.
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Old 07-23-19, 03:33 PM
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Thank you for all of the awesome replies everyone.

To add a bit of context. I purchased a new second hand bike and that was when I got the bike fit, new stem, new handlebars. A month later I got new shoes. The cleat position was traced off my old shoes and replicated on my new shoes. I use Shimano yellow cleats on dura ace pedals. I also switched the 23 cassette to an 11-28.

I'm 185lbs and my rides are no longer than 2 hours. Average 4-500km a month. I got back into cycling last November after a 4 year hiatus.

I will try scraping the paint off the top tube and keeping my back straight. Also spin up the hills, the steeper ones around me I have no choice but to get out of saddle. The higher cadence seems to be helping. Like I say it's only mild discomfort but I just want to ensure I am pedaling correctly so I can get the most out of my knees.
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Old 07-24-19, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Stretch, if not doing so already.

Every night before bed is wonderful.


-Tim-
Might help, might not.

Current research advises caution, since stretching has been shown to lead to weakening of connective tissue in some cases. At 67, I ride fairly hard for up to 14 hours a week, and I've never felt the need to stretch.
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Old 07-24-19, 06:36 AM
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I agree to reduce down force on pedals and spin more, after riding like that for a while slowly increase how hard you are pedaling. as you get stronger so will your knees.

also stretching after rides is important. at least try grabbing your foot with your hand and pulling up to your butt and holding for 30 seconds with each leg. do this 2-3 times after each ride.
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Old 07-24-19, 06:41 AM
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Old 07-24-19, 06:44 AM
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BTW, I regularly ride on the road depicted on this video. Normally very windy, especially in the afternoon. But nice ocean views, surfers and dolphins.
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Old 07-24-19, 06:45 AM
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And finally...

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Old 07-24-19, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Champ340 View Post
Thank you for all of the awesome replies everyone.

To add a bit of context. I purchased a new second hand bike and that was when I got the bike fit, new stem, new handlebars. A month later I got new shoes. The cleat position was traced off my old shoes and replicated on my new shoes. I use Shimano yellow cleats on dura ace pedals. I also switched the 23 cassette to an 11-28.

I'm 185lbs and my rides are no longer than 2 hours. Average 4-500km a month. I got back into cycling last November after a 4 year hiatus.

I will try scraping the paint off the top tube and keeping my back straight. Also spin up the hills, the steeper ones around me I have no choice but to get out of saddle. The higher cadence seems to be helping. Like I say it's only mild discomfort but I just want to ensure I am pedaling correctly so I can get the most out of my knees.
I ride many many miles in high gear, use platform pedals, and the rare times I get knee pain, it's clearly muscular and goes away within an hour or two of rest. I'm not saying any of that will apply to you, but what I am saying is no one on this forum really can know what's causing your pain, and you might need to do a lot more trial and error if it recurs. For a variety of reasons unrelated to my knees, I need to be able to shift my feet around while riding, so cleats have never been an option for me. I question whether there is any science behind the long-term effects of any cleat placement.

I'm not going to dig it out again, but there's a study that indicates spinning and mashing both increase slightly the chances of repetitive knee injury at about the same rate, just that there is a difference in the type of injury you'd see with each.
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