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Advice for my ride...

Old 06-28-09, 02:04 PM
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Advice for my ride...

I've been commuting by bicycle for around 9 to 12 miles each way (depending on my route), over a change in grade of around 200 feet, for the last several weeks, on a hybrid bicycle. I've found that the weekends are an invaluable couple of days for my knees to recover each week, since I don't currently have a vehicle available to me.

I'm strongly considering either adding an after-market electric bicycle kit to my existing bicycle (a 2001 Giant Cypress), or buying a new bike made specifically for commuting. Having read as many descriptions as I can on electric-bicycle.com, though, I'm entirely confused as to what would be best for me.

My steepest incline on my commute (and on my preferred long-distance routes) doesn't exceed around 5 or 6 degrees, and I'd love the opportunity to be able to ride metric and imperial century routes again-- because of bursitis in both knees, I can no longer do this under my own power if there are uphills in the route. I miss being able to enjoy those nice long rides, though.

I am NOT looking for a moped. I want to pedal across the flats, coast the downhills, and enjoy an electronic assist on the uphills (but without turning it over entirely to the motor-- I still want -some- exercise out of this!).

In general, when my knees could handle more, on a crushed gravel trail in Pennsylvania, I handled an average of 13.5mph. Lately, I'm only averaging 8.5mph. This is adequate for my current commute, given the slopes in between home and office, but I'm interested in doing better.

Basically, I want to switch to an electric bicycle, if for no other reason than to improve my uphill efficiency. I'm not into racing, I don't normally ride in groups, and I don't care what my maximum downhill speed is. I just want to be able to ride uphill without killing my knees!

So... given that, what electric bike (under $US 1500) would you recommend?

Thanks,

-Mike
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Old 06-28-09, 04:56 PM
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Welcome to BF.
40 years old with knee problems? Are you sure the saddle height is correct?
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Old 06-28-09, 05:10 PM
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Ron, you beat me to it. Seat adjustment was the first thing that came to mind. I base this on the fact that I had knee problems up until about 2 months ago. I was forever changing the seat position until I finally hit the perfect spot. I have not had any problems since and my average MPH went up about 1 mph

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Old 06-29-09, 02:46 AM
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yep

Already checked that, and to make sure, I had the guy at the bike shop show me how to check it easily (setting the bike so that with either pedal at its lowest position, my leg is ramrod straight when pressing on it with my heel; as long as I ride either on my toes or arches, this means my knees never go 100% straight, but I still get my knees working the closest thing possible to full stroke).

I had to go through a few months of physical therapy for the bursitis last year, so this isn't something I try to mess with...
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Old 06-29-09, 04:41 PM
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How about the fore and aft seat position. And did you have your shoes on or off when you checked the seat height? I can't say for sure if this is the proper way (shoes off) but I do remember reading some where that this should be done with just your socks on. (no shoes) JMO

Belive me I feel your pain with knee problems. Mine gave me fits for over a year.

Edit: And the heel should just lightly touch the pedal

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Old 07-24-09, 10:41 AM
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I agree with the others - knee problems are all about bike fit. Visit your local LBS and ask for help with that. Do not buy any power assisted bike. That is the classic "slippery slope". From there it will graduate to a moped. Then you will need one of those powered wheel chairs in Wal-Mart because your feet get too tired. Then you'll get one for your house because the man on TV tells you he can get Medicare to pay for it and it's FREE! Next thing you know, you are 80 years old and you only stand up to get out of the wheelchair and sit on the toilet or lay down in bed. From there your body rots itself to death. I watched it happen to my step-father. At 82 he got the powered wheel chair for the house and over the next 3 years he just slowly rotted until he died. I would rather have died at 83 trying to go for a bike ride.

In this morning's paper, there was a story about an 87 year old man who rode his riding mower from his trailer down to his mailbox to check the mail, because his knees hurt too much to walk. As he was parking it next to his trailer the mower caught fire and burned down his house. All because his knees hurt too much to walk to the mailbox.

I commute to work 18.6 miles one way. I bought a "touring bike", which is designed for fenders (critical for the rain) and a rack with panniers. Today these are sold as "cyclo-cross" but you can special order them in their proper touring bike configuration, which is what I did. Here is a good link to see what is out there. I found an LBS which carried one of these brands and ordered it.

https://bicycletouringpro.com/blog/to...tance-touring/
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Old 07-24-09, 12:02 PM
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Agree probably fit issues, but could also be from pushing too big a gear at a slow cadence instead of an easier gear at an effortless, higher cadence.
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Old 07-24-09, 01:33 PM
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Sounds kind of goofy, but if you can, sit on your bike and have someone take pictures of you from the side and post them. Sounds to me like your seat position isn't quite right too.
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Old 07-24-09, 10:09 PM
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Cosmo, not goofy in the least. If he can get that picture posted, there's plenty of folks that can take a quick look at it. Even better than a static picture would be a short movie or video clip showing the pedaling stroke would allow the best "remote" analysis.
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