1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    speed consistancy??

    So this is kind of an off shoot from my question/comment on knee pain. I have been told there is nothing wrong physically with my knees other than just lack of the type of movement you incur while riding so its just me being a wuss and need to suck it up and ride more to get them worked back into being used and abused.

    So on to my question, someone posted to ride in a higher gear and just crank out the revolutions. My question is how do you maintain a constant speed, I am always starting out in what I consider a middle of the road gearing and then shortly after starting out I am just about maxed out on gearing. I get this weird senstaion pedeling with no resistance so I am usually jumping gears back and forth. Is this normal to do or am I just an odd duck.

    I am currently only on the streets and some small gravel paths as I am trying to get my endurance up for actually hitting a trail in the near future, I want to ride the whole trail not stop every few feet.

  2. #2
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    I would not be so quick to ignore knee pain. A little muscle soreness is one thing, but actual pain is a red flag that you are doing damage.

    Don't try to pedal an overly hard gear. Find a gear that gives some resistance, but not too much, and just go at a pace that doesn't leave you winded all the time.


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  3. #3
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    I should change the note about my knees, the pain is more of a dull ache of them being used not so much a pain. The kind of feeling you get after you have run for a long time and your legs are just getting exhausted.

  4. #4
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    Do you do any strength training for your legs? If not, you may be using your muscles in combinations that are not usually encountered in everyday life when cycling, and this is the reason for your pain. As for the speed; as mentioned before, find your "sweet spot" as far as resistance/endurance goes. I shift gears literally hundreds of times on my normal ride; trail levels out a bit, shift up; hill gets a bit steeper, grab a lower one. There is a reason they put so many gears on our bikes!

  5. #5
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    Soreness in muscles: OK
    Soreness in ligaments and tendons: PAY ATTENTION
    Soreness inside knee joint: WARNING

    It's hard to tell from your description exactly where it hurts, but I offer the above as a guideline I would use. Disclaimer - I have no medical training whatsoever.

    I would also suggest that you check your saddle height. Too low can cause knee pain, and sometimes too far forward/back can as well. See the link for a full explanation.

    CYCLING PERFORMANCE TIPS -

    A common method of determining saddle height is to set it so your leg is fully extended when your heel is on the pedal and the pedal is at 6 o'clock. When you move the ball of your foot to the pedal, your leg will be slightly bent. This is the optimal position for power. Note, this is a starting point - tweak to suit. For difficult terrain or downhill, it is common to lower the saddle to get is out of your way and to lower your center of gravity.

    I agree with Mr. Gennick that you should also pay attention to your cadence. Try measuring it using a watch and count full rotations of one side for 10 seconds, then multiply by 6. This will give you a sense of what a particular cadence feels like. 75 to 80 might be a good target to shoot for. Note, it's not important to always maintain exactly that cadence, but pushing big gears at a low cadence puts a lot of extra stress on your knees.

    If you're jumping into riding and your body is not used to it, don't push too hard at first. Ease into it and give your body time to adjust and adapt.

    Hope this helps.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  6. #6
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    Here's a car analogy: many people shift their bikes like cars, when they get bogged down they drop a gear to make pedaling easier, and they use a limited number of gears, which causes they legs to often spin faster or slower depending on the gears. What you really want is to be a human CVT... leg your legs spin at their most comfortable pace, and change the gears to match.

    In short, yeah, you should shift all the time to keep your legs spinning at the rate you want them to spin at, especially on pavement / gravel. There's nothing wrong with changing up your cadence, but don't let the gears dictate it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by EABiker View Post
    Do you do any strength training for your legs? If not, you may be using your muscles in combinations that are not usually encountered in everyday life when cycling, and this is the reason for your pain. As for the speed; as mentioned before, find your "sweet spot" as far as resistance/endurance goes. I shift gears literally hundreds of times on my normal ride; trail levels out a bit, shift up; hill gets a bit steeper, grab a lower one. There is a reason they put so many gears on our bikes!
    I used to work out everyday about 2 years ago but life got in the way.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by fireball_jones View Post
    Here's a car analogy: many people shift their bikes like cars, when they get bogged down they drop a gear to make pedaling easier, and they use a limited number of gears, which causes they legs to often spin faster or slower depending on the gears. What you really want is to be a human CVT... leg your legs spin at their most comfortable pace, and change the gears to match.

    In short, yeah, you should shift all the time to keep your legs spinning at the rate you want them to spin at, especially on pavement / gravel. There's nothing wrong with changing up your cadence, but don't let the gears dictate it.
    Good analogy. And good advice on using the shifters as the way to maintain cadence - that's exactly what they're for.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  9. #9
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    Looks like I need to just find my rhythm.

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  10. #10
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    I'm not sure street or path rides will accomplish this goal:
    I am trying to get my endurance up for actually hitting a trail in the near future, I want to ride the whole trail not stop every few feet.
    Unless you're often out of the saddle doing 2-3 minute climbs, you can expect to gasp and stop when taking on a steep climb. A spin class would actually be a better way to prepare but there's no need to put it off: The sooner you start doing trails, the sooner you'll get into trail shape.

    One other thought I had in regards to knee pain is to examine your pedal stroke. Make sure your knees stay in line with your foot on the downstroke If you have a tendency to let them wander out or in, the misalignment can provide ongoing soreness.
    Joe
    Chicago, IL

  11. #11
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    If your cadence is so fast that you are kind of bouncing on the seat, it's way too fast. If you are doing this and have any imperfections in your knee joint (cartilage tear, patella tendonitis, etc) you will definitely feel ache/soreness.

    I used to wear a strap on my knee when riding. My knees also used to be so stiff after a ride I could hardly go up and down stairs, and I would ice them after every ride. Now, 2 or 3 years later, I can ride for several hours with no problems afterwards.

    Any time you do something strenuous, and your body isn't used to it, there is a lot of soreness etc. For biking, over time, you are strengthening everything from your hip to ankle.

    I agree with previous posts, that you have to find that ideal cadence range and shift to keep rpm's near that cadence. My guess for a starting point would be between 70 and 80, based on the info in the op. If there is a flat/downhill terrain that will last 5 or 10 seconds, I don't worry about down shifting to pedal for such a short period of time. You'll get a better feel for it as you ride more.

  12. #12
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    So you have to stop. Go during the week at less used times at the beginning.
    Since you got a medical determination of no knee damage see if you can get a prescription for strengthening physical therapy sessions. A friend just completed 15(2-3 per week)and also now has a targeted regimen of exercises for home.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by scribble79 View Post
    So this is kind of an off shoot from my question/comment on knee pain. I have been told there is nothing wrong physically with my knees other than just lack of the type of movement you incur while riding so its just me being a wuss and need to suck it up and ride more to get them worked back into being used and abused.

    So on to my question, someone posted to ride in a higher gear and just crank out the revolutions. My question is how do you maintain a constant speed, I am always starting out in what I consider a middle of the road gearing and then shortly after starting out I am just about maxed out on gearing. I get this weird senstaion pedeling with no resistance so I am usually jumping gears back and forth. Is this normal to do or am I just an odd duck.

    I am currently only on the streets and some small gravel paths as I am trying to get my endurance up for actually hitting a trail in the near future, I want to ride the whole trail not stop every few feet.
    Yup, when I first started my thumb got sore from shifting so much....

    So yeah shift to maintain cadence......as you get fitter you can spin faster and push harder, yet still be comfortable....therefore shift less....

    But when I get tired.....I shift plenty to stay close to my optimum cadence.

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