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Katy Trail Rock Island Spur Comments

Hi, I am planning a short 3 day ride with a friend in August. I have been "training" in my neighborhood on trails. Ours have lots of hills! I also have been off my bike until now, for about 4 years. (I have 3 year old twins). Before that I was in good shape and never had a problem with long rides or hills. Now I am 41, a little out of shape and my knees ache when I ride. I don't think the extra 25 lbs would have much to do with it, but I hope to take care of that too. I can't imagine different shoes would make a difference. Would toe clips take some pressure off? Just curious. Maybe this is just the difference between 30 and 40!
posted Jul 19 2007 8:47AM - Michele, Chicago

I would attribute "knee ache" to riding on hills if a great amount of downward force is applied (depends on angle of slope, etc.), being off the bike for a period of time, and probably the difference between 30 and 41. Toe clips keep your feet positioned on the pedal and actually allow for exerting greater force both downward and on the up cycle too. I don't see that they would lessen knee ache.

Perhaps adjust your seat height periocically to change your cycle and know that the Katy is Flatland.....perhaps a few long grades, but no hills. Advil works well too.
posted Jul 19 2007 10:34AM - Trek Biker, St. Joseph, MO

Indeed, reducing pedal force reduces knee pain. The best way to do that is to increase your cadence (revolutions per minute of the pedals). A novice frequently pedals with a cadence of 50 to 60. It takes some practice, but spin your way up to 90 to 100.
posted Jul 19 2007 12:09PM - Nails

Thanks! I kind of figured it was good ol' mother nature... This might be a silly question, but how to you count your cadence? Do I just time it and count, maybe 10 sec and multiply, like taking a pulse?
posted Jul 19 2007 2:31PM - Michele, Chicago

You'll need a bike computer that has a cadence option. Models avalable include:
Cateye: Strada Cadence, CC-CD300DW, and Astrale 8.
Topeak: Comp140.
Vetta: VL110 T2X, VL110A T2X, VL110HR T2X, V100 WL2X, V100A WL2X, V100HR WL2X, and RT77.
Or you could really geek it by getting one of the Polar heart rate monitors designed for cycling (S725x/S625x, CS400, CS300, SC200cad, CS200, CS100b, and CS100) with the cadence option.
After a while the cadence becomes second nature. Enjoy!
posted Jul 19 2007 5:42PM - Nails

Or....knowing that you've not been on the bike for about 4 years...and realizing that you would fall into the novice or casual rider catagory cranking at approx. 60 cycles per minute....you can simply count one thousand one.....one thousand two....as counting seconds. When you turn your crank one revolution per second, your cadence is approximately 60 cycles per minute...more than one crank turn per second and theoretically you've reduced knee pain potential.

I'd opt for this nongeeked out method....pocket the bike computer/cadence monitor/altimeter/gps bling ching and spend the money on lunch at Les Bourgeois in Rocheport and on a few bottles of Riverboat Red to enjoy with my friend after I got home.
posted Jul 19 2007 10:11PM - Trek Biker, St. Joseph, MO

Nails is on target. Spinning faster in lower gears will help your knees a great deal...even
though it seems opposite of what seems logical. It's a physics thing...the faster you spin, the
easier it is and the more efficiently you move yourself along. Pushing in a high gear so you
can barely turn the pedals is hard on your knees and not the most efficient way to ride. A
cadence bike computer will be a HUGE aid in this endeavor...all you have to do is watch the
number on the read out and not try to count while you are trying to spin faster and stay
upright and watch where you are going.... : )
posted Jul 19 2007 10:18PM - sharonbikes, Kansas City

You guys are awesome! Great advice! I was out this morning and tried to bike in a lower gear as much as possible. I have a 6 year old sigma sport bc401 that only does trip, dist, speed and time. Does anyone know if the mounting hardware is standard if I stay with the same brand? (I'll check REI too.) I am sort of a gear geek already, but must of my gear is for hiking/camping. I used to bike "alot" on trails before kids. Now I have a burley (Used) for the twins, and am hoping that this trip, and getting ready for it will jump start me into getting back into shape! I need energy to run after 2 three year old! Maybe a new computer would be a good investment on my quest for better health! My husband has a heart monitor, but I don't this it is biking specific. We have a gps, but it is a few years old, and isn't bike specific either. I like it for average and max speed (and all the fun stuff for hiking!) Thanks again for all the expert advice!
posted Jul 20 2007 9:22AM - Michele, Chicago

The Sigma Sport BC 601 is a wired unit for just speed detection. So that makes it automatically incompatible for a unit with cadence. The only current Sigma Sport model that supports cadence is tbe BC 1606L DTS Wireless. FYI, while your BC 601 slides on the mount to lock in place, the BC 1606L has a twist lock for its mounting.
posted Jul 20 2007 5:41PM - Nails

This is an old thread, but you probably should check your bike fit, too. Make sure your saddle is the right height, the frame size is appropriate for your size, and the reach to the handlebars fits you, too. A good bike shop can help you with this. Most people start out with their saddles way too low. That is certain to blow out your knees.
posted Aug 16 2007 6:29PM - KT, Arkansas

KT is right...I would check both the bike fit, and the seat height and position. Excedrin makes a pain reliever, however for that kind of pain...I pack that too, just in case!!
posted Sep 5 2007 7:39AM - Tom Austin, Centralia IL

My name is Robert and my full-time job is teaching bicycle education here in Columbia.

Your primary problem is probably bike fit.

Here is what you can do. Have a strong friend hold the front of your bicycle and crawl

#1. Put your heel on your pedal and put your foot straight down. Your heel should still be
in contact with your pedal (barely) with your pedals in the 0/180 degree position. Keep
raising your seat until you lose contact with the bottom pedal and then lower it back about

After adjusting it you should ride with the ball of your foot right over the pedal axle and
you should be in the ideal position. Your leg should have just the slightest bend to it
when at the bottom of your pedal stroke.

The other thing and probably the thing that is happening to you is seat position front to

#1. Make a plumb bob by taking a shoe string (or any other type of string) and placing
something heavy but small on the bottom. I use fishing sinkers.

With you seated on the bike and your pedals at completely parallel to the ground place the
plumb bob just below your knee cap. This should be touching the very bottom of your
knee cap bone. Now let the bottom hang below and have someone look at it from the
side. This should be dissecting the very middle of the pedal or the axle of the pedal.

Fix these two problems and I would be that your knee trouble will be over.

Also your cadence should be at least 90 rpms even for a beginner. You do not need a
fancy computer to do that.

Just take a watch with a second hand and count how many times your right knee comes up

Do that for 15 seconds and multiply by 4.

Hope that helps. You can email me at robert@pednet.org if you have any other questions.

posted Sep 5 2007 8:38PM - Robert, Columbia

Robert, I tried step #1 and step #1 but neither one works on my recumbent. Just kidding. Thanks for the helpful information.
posted Sep 7 2007 9:41PM - crbears, Ashland

Tags: Rocheport, Columbia, Les Bourgeois Winery & Bistro, Revolution Cycles, Hiking, Running, Bikes and gear Modify Tags

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