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  1.  
    I have been touring the west coast (Seattle to SF) but have had to cut the trip short due to an "over use injury" on both my knees. I am bummed that I have to stop, but I get it. Stopping now is going to save my knees later, however, I would very much so like to be proactive about fixing this problem because I am not at all ready to give up riding bikes. I am still trying to figure out a way back to seattle, so I havent looked into it much yet, but has anyone els come across this problem, and some brilliant places to start as far as fixing it.The doc gave me advise as to getting rid of the problem short term (ibuprofine, ice, not-riding etc.) I am 22, and feel that my joints should be able to take it, but if not, then I really really need to figure something out to strengthen my joints up for a more long term fix.
    • CommentAuthordanzap209
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2010
     
    Add a front brake....
    • CommentAuthoreaglerock
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2010
     
    Posted By: danzap209Add a front brake....

    According to this thread, he's riding a Trek 520 - a geared, be-braked bike.

    Steven, I can imagine a variety of things that could have aggravated the issue; mileage is only one of them. How far did you get before you had to bail? How much were you carrying, and how was it distributed? You'd said you intended to take the coast road (roughly US 101/CA Hwy 1), but there's a point in Oregon west of Portland where 101 crosses the Coast Range; how high was that, and did you crap out before or after?

    What was the gearing on your bike? Were you making an effort to spin in lower gears?
  2.  
    My guess is poor bike fitment. I recall someone here discussing getting professionally fitted to their bike not too long ago. This seems like something that would be immeasurably beneficial prior to embarking on a journey like yours. Long distance traveling will amplify problems you wouldn't otherwise notice on shorter commuting trips. Also, twenty-two is way too young for knee problems to start unless you had a previous injury or something.
  3.  
    i had knee ache when i first started riding fixed gear seriusly, like riding around faster than just commuting on a SS, the big gearing and the braking realy started to hurt my knees, could hardly walk, but i took it abit easier and over time i started to build more leg muscle(hill climbing helped) and having stronger legs helped my knee ache alot i think, since my legs got stronger i have less ache/no ache, unless i go for a big long ride ofcorse

    im guessing your not on a fixed gear but maybe some gym work out to give you more muscle to cope with the strain of pedaling so much, maybe it could help?
  4.  
    Posted By: Michael PerzMy guess is poor bike fitment. I recall someone here discussing getting professionally fitted to their bike not too long ago. This seems like something that would be immeasurably beneficial prior to embarking on a journey like yours. Long distance traveling will amplify problems you wouldn't otherwise notice on shorter commuting trips. Also, twenty-two is way too young for knee problems to start unless you had a previous injury or something.


    I agree. Seat position really is one of the most important things and also how your feet are attached to the pedals (If your feet are pointed slightly outwards other muscles get stressed and those muscles are also attached to your knee).
    From all the other longer trips (fixed gear) I read and heard about nearly half of the guys had to quit because of knee pain and I was wondering how you could go on a 1000+km ride when you are not really sure about your bike fit... even getting a brand new unknown frame before hand.

    So the solution might be to get properly fitted or experiment a lot with saddle position and height.
    Also going to the gym will help... go to a proper one where are physiotherapist coordinates your training.
    A massage by a good physiotherapist also does wonders to your knees.
  5.  
    it could be anything from cleat position to tight muscles. i had this problem earlier this year and apparently my IT bands were too tight.
    • CommentAuthorkaaos
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2010
     
    Steven,
    I suggest you try Speedplay pedals. They are well known for reducing or curing a knee problem. Speedplay pedals have adjustable float (0 - 15 degree) which is very good for those who have a potential knee problems. Google them to find more info.
  6.  
    Posted By: kaaosSteven,
    I suggest you try Speedplay pedals. They are well known for reducing or curing a knee problem. Speedplay pedals have adjustable float (0 - 15 degree) which is very good for those who have a potential knee problems. Google them to find more info.


    Time Atac alium also have a good reputation for being "knee-friendly" , they also sold them as touring pedals.
    • CommentAuthoreaglerock
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2010
     
    Posted By: William3000From all the other longer trips (fixed gear) I read and heard about nearly half of the guys had to quit because of knee pain

    Has the possibility occurred to you than in those cases, the fact that the crippled riders were on fixed gear - a bicycle completely inappropriate to riding long distances under load with varied terrain - was not peripheral to their knee pain?

    Just because it's physically possible and ideologically/aesthetically desirable to do something doesn't mean the thing you're doing is a smart idea.

    As far as proper fitting goes, I think several of you are assuming facts not in evidence. Steven: I remember you purchased the bike specifically for this trip. What size adaptations did you have to make to get it to fit (stem, bars, seatpost, crankarms)? What were the relative heights of your saddle and your handlebars? What saddle did you end up riding? If it was all-leather, how broken in was it?

    The big question is: Did the frame fit you correctly before you started fiddling with fit, or did you have to go to Frankenstein lengths (supertall/long/short stem, big-layback seatpost) to get it to fit comfortably?
    • CommentAuthorRuffinit
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2010
     
    Eagle- good questions.. The biggest two issues with knee pain are 1) saddle height is too low and 2) foot position in respect with the pedal axis. Toe in/ toe out. Some of the pedals above address this through "float", but if your adjustment is proper the float is negated. There are three different places where your knee pain can reside: front of knee, center (actual joint) or behind the knee. In front of and behind generally have to do with the saddle height. Center of knee generally has to do with the twisting motion of poorly adjusted cleats (toe-in / toe-out).
    • CommentAuthordeermatt
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2010
     
    One factor that I KNOW causes knee pain , is your cleat placement, as it really changes your pedal stroke. If your knee is not coming straight up and down, then your knee joint is irregularly grinding on each stroke, causing knee pain. I had knee pain for a while , I noticed my knee would come up, then inwards, then back down, not normal. I'm not saying this is your problem ,but it could be.

    Best of luck .
    • CommentAuthoreaglerock
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2010
     
    Another issue that can affect your knees, but that doesn't get a lot of press around here, is Q-factor: The horizontal separation between your pedals. This is determined by a number of factors, including BB spindle length; but I think one of the biggest elements is the angle of the crankarm relative to the frame's centerline. I went from using Shimano XT cranks on my VooDoo (triple-ring mountain crank; wide Q) to TA Pro V on my Raleigh (triple-ring road/touring crank; ultra-narrow Q) and found the narrower crankset far easier on my knees.

    What cranks are you using?
    • CommentAuthorbionnaki
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2010 edited
     
    I have found that simple platform pedals to be more forgiving during long tours. I like retention systems just fine for riding around, commuting, centuries...but for, say, a few weeks on the bike, platforms work best for me. I use MKS RMX pedals. There is also SPD pedals that have platform on one side, clipless on the other.

    I'd take it easy so as to not aggravate your injury (that what it is) and consider "riding free" when on the bike for long periods of time.

    http://www.cptips.com/knee.htm
  7.  
    Awesome. Thanks for all the input. As far as the bike... yeah I used a touring bike for touring... not a fixed gear. It was the Trek 520. I am fairly certain most everything is fit correctly as far as seat position,seat hight, seat (very well broken in brooks) and steam length. The cranks feel like they are a comfortable length, but the spindle is pretty long. Maybe I will try out a narrower spindle. I don't know a ton about cleat position though. I have the cleat on the rear part of the ball of my foot, but not behind the ball. I dont really have them toed in or out. The shoe looks pretty much parallel to the crank arm.
    I did make an effort to spin faster, and not mash in a high gear. The gearing goes pretty freaking low. In the lowest gear it is a few less teeth than a 1:1 ratio. I can check later, but the bike is still all boxed up from the greyhound ride back to seattle.
    • CommentAuthorbionnaki
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2010
     
    Sounds like an issue with cleat positioning. Take notice of how you naturally walk...and get to a reputable fitter. Long tours + clipless = no room for error.

    Read the link I posted and determine where the pain in your knee is...that will help pinpoint where the trouble is.

    I'm guessing IT band trouble since that is the most common. If so, get a foam roller and do this regularly:
  8.  
    Here's a dumb question...is there a possibility that your saddle is too high? If your leg is completely straight at the lowest point of crank rotation I can see how you might be hyper-extending your knee without noticing it right away, especially while spinning.
  9.  
    nope. Saddle position was on. I did some experimenting with saddle position on training rides dialing it in by adjusting it a half cm, ride 25 miles, do it again. So I certainty was not overextending. That IT video looks great. I will have to start trying that out.
    • CommentAuthoreaglerock
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2010 edited
     
    Posted By: Steven BellThe cranks feel like they are a comfortable length, but the spindle is pretty long.

    That's useful information, but it doesn't quite address my question, which is really about the angle of the crankarms relative to the spindle. Pro V crankarms are 90ยบ to the spindle, parallel to the chainrings; the arms look flat. Most road cranks have a small outside angle (Campagnolo seems to have a smaller angle than Shimano); most mountain cranks have a wide outside angle. With flat crankarms, the Q-factor is not changed by the crankarm length; with angled crankarms, longer crankarms increase the Q-factor, because they place the pedals further from the centerline.

    Pro V-type cranks often don't work with more modern frames, because modern frames tend to have wider angles on the chainstays (and chainstays with multiple curves), which reduces pedal clearance and forces cranks to wider angles. With older straight-arm cranks like Pro V or old-style 144 BCD cranks like 60s/70s Campy Record or Sugino Mighty, you often need to use a longer spindle to get the arms to clear without clunking the arms on the stays. But if you're using an older frame with straight chainstays, the straight-arm cranks often work quite well.

    Again: What's your crankset model? Surely you're bike-nerdy enough to have it committed to memory...
    • CommentAuthorjkel850
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2010
     
    Learn about pronation. Most people's feet are not straight in regards to the pedal spindle, they tip in or out. When cleated in, the foot is tipped to level causing undo stress on the knee. An indication of this is side to side motion of the knee at the top of the pedaling stroke. Put a mirror in front of a trainer and watch your knees. The quick and dirty fix is to shim the cleats on the sole of the shoe to correct for the angle. There are kits available for all types of cleats for around $25. This made a huge difference for me in regards to knee comfort, it completely eliminated it, I do mean completely!
 
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