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  1. #1
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    Muscle Fatigue/Cramping immediately when riding

    So I'm trying to get into this again. I bought my bike in September of 2018 and after only a few rides I put it away because I was incredibly discouraged because every time I rode within a few minutes my thighs would feel like they were cramping up. The most I could ride was 20 minutes or so.

    I wanted to try again, because I really want to do this, but this time there was muscle soreness almost immediately, I couldn't even make it down the street before I went back home because It felt like it would cramp up any second.

    Can this be normal? Can my muscles need to build up THAT much just to ride a bike? I usually use the stationary bikes at the gym to warm up for a bit and I can ride on those on low settings for 20-40 minutes without issue usually. I'm not really sure what the problem is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    So I'm trying to get into this again. I bought my bike in September of 2018 and after only a few rides I put it away because I was incredibly discouraged because every time I rode within a few minutes my thighs would feel like they were cramping up. The most I could ride was 20 minutes or so.

    I wanted to try again, because I really want to do this, but this time there was muscle soreness almost immediately, I couldn't even make it down the street before I went back home because It felt like it would cramp up any second.

    Can this be normal? Can my muscles need to build up THAT much just to ride a bike? I usually use the stationary bikes at the gym to warm up for a bit and I can ride on those on low settings for 20-40 minutes without issue usually. I'm not really sure what the problem is.
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    How good of shape are you in? Current BMI, are you active or not, what is your nutrition like , are you on some kind of crazy diet? Lots of factors, I would start with easy rides in the neighborhood to get your legs

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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    So I'm trying to get into this again. I bought my bike in September of 2018 and after only a few rides I put it away because I was incredibly discouraged because every time I rode within a few minutes my thighs would feel like they were cramping up. The most I could ride was 20 minutes or so.

    I wanted to try again, because I really want to do this, but this time there was muscle soreness almost immediately, I couldn't even make it down the street before I went back home because It felt like it would cramp up any second.

    Can this be normal? Can my muscles need to build up THAT much just to ride a bike? I usually use the stationary bikes at the gym to warm up for a bit and I can ride on those on low settings for 20-40 minutes without issue usually. I'm not really sure what the problem is.
    I was off the bike and generally not to active for a few years due to a medical issue. When I got back on the bike I was not too far off where you are. First, how old are you? Aside from making sure you are properly hydrated you may want to consider a supplement. I started taking a Magnesium supplement to help with my muscle recovery and function (combination calcium, zinc, magnesium) that I just added in with my daily vitamin. Are you stretching regularly? Spending some time each day stretching your legs will help. What kind of bike are you using at the gym? I have a Life Fitness LifeCycle 9500 (bought used from a gym); on level 16 (of 25) spinning at 80rpm takes about 220 watts. The machine maxes out at 550 watts. All told it's really not that much compared to a smart trainer. When I got the go ahead to start exercising again I was working hard at level 8, which isn't really enough to even be able to ride the trails around here. My point being, you might be a lot farther off than you thought you were, and this is normal.
    . . . . . . . .

  5. #5
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    do a lot of road/stationary riding at mellow, puttering speeds. you need some base. that means 30 days of rides ---and no hard pedaling---, go for 2 hours on the bike. then start a serious routine

    this opens things up and also gets the nervous system ready, you need base miles first
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    This sounds like a question you need to ask a doctor. YOUR doctor. Do that ASAP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    This sounds like a question you need to ask a doctor. YOUR doctor. Do that ASAP.
    This. It could be anything that those of us on the internet do not know, and you said you had a previous medical condition that kept you off the bike that may or may not be related.
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    Not a lot of info to go on, 101Surge, like which specific muscles, etc. One thing that comes to mind... since you mention you can warm up without pain on a stationary, but experience immediate pain on the bike... is the bike fitted correctly? I was goofing around one day, and had my seat dropped and took off riding around the neighborhood low rider style. I experienced upper thigh cramp in very short order. Raised the seat, and the pain went away. Check your fitting. Just a thought...
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    Agree with the doctor thing, and can also be very dependent on your current physical condition. If you don't currently, I'd say find a multi-vitamin with Magnesium in it like others said. The vitamins + magnesium will help with muscle cramps. Also, stretch and stay hydrated! Even for a 20 minute ride, stretching and hydration are both important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by terrasmak View Post
    How good of shape are you in? Current BMI, are you active or not, what is your nutrition like , are you on some kind of crazy diet? Lots of factors, I would start with easy rides in the neighborhood to get your legs
    I'm not in the best shape right now, but working on it. Current BMI is around 26-27. I work out three times a week in the gym and do cardio daily, so I'm pretty active at the moment. I don't really do a crazy diet, but I do limit carbs and saturated fat (very minimal red meat intake) I had planned to do easy rides at first and work up, but it's weird that the pain is almost immediate.
    Quote Originally Posted by scatterbrained View Post
    I was off the bike and generally not to active for a few years due to a medical issue. When I got back on the bike I was not too far off where you are. First, how old are you? Aside from making sure you are properly hydrated you may want to consider a supplement. I started taking a Magnesium supplement to help with my muscle recovery and function (combination calcium, zinc, magnesium) that I just added in with my daily vitamin. Are you stretching regularly? Spending some time each day stretching your legs will help. What kind of bike are you using at the gym? I have a Life Fitness LifeCycle 9500 (bought used from a gym); on level 16 (of 25) spinning at 80rpm takes about 220 watts. The machine maxes out at 550 watts. All told it's really not that much compared to a smart trainer. When I got the go ahead to start exercising again I was working hard at level 8, which isn't really enough to even be able to ride the trails around here. My point being, you might be a lot farther off than you thought you were, and this is normal.
    I'm 28. I'll have to look into supplements. I'm not entirely sure what the model of the bike is, I'll have a look when I go in tomorrow. Come to think of it, when I stretch I'm really just stretching out my calves and hamstrings, I have to look into a technique to stretch out these areas. Looking at a chart, it seems to be the Rectus Femoris and the Vestus Medialis.
    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    do a lot of road/stationary riding at mellow, puttering speeds. you need some base. that means 30 days of rides ---and no hard pedaling---, go for 2 hours on the bike. then start a serious routine

    this opens things up and also gets the nervous system ready, you need base miles first
    It's odd because I can do the stationary bike for an indefinite amount of time, but a minute into the actual bike and I'm hurting.
    Quote Originally Posted by fredcook View Post
    Not a lot of info to go on, 101Surge, like which specific muscles, etc. One thing that comes to mind... since you mention you can warm up without pain on a stationary, but experience immediate pain on the bike... is the bike fitted correctly? I was goofing around one day, and had my seat dropped and took off riding around the neighborhood low rider style. I experienced upper thigh cramp in very short order. Raised the seat, and the pain went away. Check your fitting. Just a thought...
    Looking at a chart, it seems to be the Rectus Femoris and the Vestus Medialis. I'm not sure if the bike is fitted correctly, when I bought it the salesman had me sit and stand over a few and told me this would be the right fit, but he didn't do anything too detailed to determine that. I'm looking at images of how it should fit and i'm wondering if I may need to raise the saddle a bit to straighten out my knees more, but I also have no idea how i'll be able to mount the bike if I raise it. I struggle a bit with that as-is.

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    1. you're out of shape. riding a stationary bike isn't exactly the same as riding an actual bike, and it'll use some different muscles because it puts you in a different body position. it's especially different when you throw hills into the mix. I've never ridden a stationary bike that accurately replicates hills. The closest I've come is a smart trainer like a Wahoo Kickr, but even that isn't entirely the same. I suppose the new climb angle adjustment gizmo might help with that, but I have not used one of those.

    2. talk to a doctor to rule out other potential problems. because of the different body position I mentioned above, an actual bike may be putting stress/strain on something different and exposing a problem there.

    3. there is a lot that goes into true bike "fitting" and a fair bit that gets referred to as "fitting" that actually isn't. You got "sized" to your bike, which put you in the ballpark. An experienced salseperson can typically eyeball a person to the right size. Seatpost height is one element of bike fit, but a true bike "fitting" involves a person examining you riding a bike (possibly your actual bike on a stationary trainer) and watching your biomechanics. They'll probably take some measurements, possibly some video, and look for some telltale signs that adjustments are necessary. Chances are, going through a true "fitting" will involve changing the stem or handlebars, adjusting saddle height, adjusting saddle fore-aft, and an hour or two for the process. The saddle itself is technically part of it, too, and you may try out some different options, but realistically, determining if a particular saddle is "right" will require a lot of saddle time on it beyond the fit session itself. Some shops will include a fitting like this with the purchase of road bikes, but I've never seen this as an included item for mountain bikes. Getting a fitting done will typically cost from $100-$300 depending on the depth of the fit and who does it (and whether or not it includes adjustments later).

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    have you done a bike fit? Look up online how to set saddle height and all that, you dont need a professional bike fitting for sore muscles. Beginners always put the saddle WAY too low which is basically like doing constant squats to pedal.

    Cycling uses your muscles in a totally different way than walking so everybody gets sore legs at first, even people who ride a lot but took the winter off, it can take a couple weeks to feel normal again. Having the saddle in the wrong position can exacerbate that.

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    eat more dead things with faces (red meat)
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    Surge- you have been experiencing this for well over a year!
    https://forums.mtbr.com/beginners-co...l#post13802938

    Get some in-person help from your bike shop or an experienced rider to make sure there's not something wonky about the bike (tire pressure, brakes rubbing, etc) and make sure the bike fits you relatively well.

    Beyond that, you need to seek help from a medical professional. A person who gets winded and sore after 20 minutes of activity needs to take it easy, learn what's holding them back to such an extreme degree, and learn how to get stronger. If you just keep riding, you might hurt yourself. Until you go see the doc, I am washing my hands of this whole issue.

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    big thing for me is to warm up before riding. it can be a few laps around the parking lot before hitting the trail, stretching is super important. in the first ten minutes I might get "tired" or stiff legs, but pedal through it and ride 20 miles or more.

    like said above, check your bike. What do you ride? is it your size? is it fitted right for you?
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    Your starting too fast. My first ride I made it less than half mile from home and had to turn around. That 8 months ago, yesterday I rode 17 miles with 2000 feet of climbing in a little over 2 hours.

    Start doing daily 10 minute rides, after a week up it too 15 minutes, throw 2 rest days in there as well. Your pushing too much too fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    eat more dead things with faces (red meat)
    I guess that's supposed to be a joke? Are you talking about iron deficiency? That sounds like a doctor needs to weigh in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I guess that's supposed to be a joke? Are you talking about iron deficiency? That sounds like a doctor needs to weigh in.
    not a joke really, a slam at 'very minimal red meat intake'...I mean ...anyway...

    but yeah no matter what,
    go find an endocrinologist
    and get full bloodwork done...
    you may have some real underlying issues
    and an endo can sort out all that funny business
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    not a joke really, a slam at 'very minimal red meat intake'...I mean ...anyway...

    but yeah no matter what,
    go find an endocrinologist
    and get full bloodwork done...
    you may have some real underlying issues
    and an endo can sort out all that funny business
    Weird flex, but good advice at the end there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    not a joke really, a slam at 'very minimal red meat intake'...I mean ...anyway...
    I totally get it. There's a lot of trash diet advice out there, and some of it comes from trainers. We still don't know if OP is actually eating a healthy and balanced diet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    not a joke really, a slam at 'very minimal red meat intake'...I mean ...anyway...

    but yeah no matter what,
    go find an endocrinologist
    and get full bloodwork done...
    you may have some real underlying issues
    and an endo can sort out all that funny business
    Not really sure why it needs to be "slammed" but ok.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    Your starting too fast. My first ride I made it less than half mile from home and had to turn around. That 8 months ago, yesterday I rode 17 miles with 2000 feet of climbing in a little over 2 hours.

    Start doing daily 10 minute rides, after a week up it too 15 minutes, throw 2 rest days in there as well. Your pushing too much too fast.
    That.

    Try to take it easy, which I know is hard when you just started riding, but at least try. Long moderate rides are going to give you the most benefit at this point. They'll start giving you the endurance necessary to build real riding fitness on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    Your starting too fast. My first ride I made it less than half mile from home and had to turn around. That 8 months ago, yesterday I rode 17 miles with 2000 feet of climbing in a little over 2 hours.

    Start doing daily 10 minute rides, after a week up it too 15 minutes, throw 2 rest days in there as well. Your pushing too much too fast.
    I guess it was around half a mile when I had to turn back as well, but that was really just about two minutes of biking. Had it on the second ring, low gear. It was hurting pretty much from the start. The only time it doesn't really hurt is on first gear but that pretty much has me pedaling rapidly and not moving at all. What exercises can I do in the gym to further strengthen these muscles? I don't remember it ever being this difficult as a kid, didn't even think twice about fitment, just got a bike under the christmas tree and took off on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    The only time it doesn't really hurt is on first gear but that pretty much has me pedaling rapidly and not moving at all..
    That is your starting point, you wont stay there forever.

    So go out and do 5 minutes of that a day, then the next week do ten, next week do 15.


    you have to put the work in, and you cannot do to much to start with, but you have to get outside and do it.

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    I don't know, he's only 28 and doesn't sound like he's in too bad of shape. Yeah, will have to build up to really riding but sounds like a major fit issue on the bike or health issue to me.

    Oh, just looked at mack's link to your earlier post. What bike are you riding? I'm suspecting that's a big part of it.
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    If your able to sit in the saddle while standing in the ground its to low. Get on the seat after both feet are in the peddles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by abaughman View Post
    If your able to sit in the saddle while standing in the ground its to low. Get on the seat after both feet are in the peddles.
    This.

    Basic bike fit:

    Your bike seat is at/near the right height when you can put your heel on the pedal (at 6 oclock) with a straight leg.


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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    What exercises can I do in the gym to further strengthen these muscles? I don't remember it ever being this difficult as a kid, didn't even think twice about fitment, just got a bike under the christmas tree and took off on it.
    What you're lacking is endurance, not strength. Just gotta ride more and it will come.

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    Quote Originally Posted by abaughman View Post
    If your able to sit in the saddle while standing in the ground its to low. Get on the seat after both feet are in the peddles.
    Good point, has the bike even been properly fitted to the OP?

    Regardless, it sounds like he is very out of shape, and just need saddle time, but it would not hurt OP to read up on proper bike fitting just to make his work outs, work for him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    This.

    Basic bike fit:

    Your bike seat is at/near the right height when you can put your heel on the pedal (at 6 oclock) with a straight leg.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Yes and take a plumb bob from knee tip, and it should line up with spindle, as far as saddle adjustment front to rear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scatterbrained View Post
    What kind of bike are you using at the gym? I have a Life Fitness LifeCycle 9500 (bought used from a gym); on level 16 (of 25) spinning at 80rpm takes about 220 watts. The machine maxes out at 550 watts. All told it's really not that much compared to a smart trainer. When I got the go ahead to start exercising again I was working hard at level 8, which isn't really enough to even be able to ride the trails around here.


    That thing might not have been calibrated right, If you can hold 220 watts you have enough power to ride just about any trail anywhere. Skill is another thing.



    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    1. you're out of shape. riding a stationary bike isn't exactly the same as riding an actual bike, and it'll use some different muscles because it puts you in a different body position. it's especially different when you throw hills into the mix. I've never ridden a stationary bike that accurately replicates hills. The closest I've come is a smart trainer like a Wahoo Kickr, but even that isn't entirely the same. I suppose the new climb angle adjustment gizmo might help with that, but I have not used one of those.

    I don't know, it seems like my smart trainer replicates hills pretty good, a 15% climb has me in my smallest gear and working hard. IME riding a trainer is harder than riding a bike out in the real world.

    Weird problem the op has, I have no helpful contributions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    Yes and take a plumb bob from knee tip, and it should line up with spindle, as far as saddle adjustment front to rear.
    KOPS (knee over pedal spindle) is an old theory that has been thoroughly debunked. It was marginally useful for fitting the road bikes of a few decades ago, but it means nothing on a modern bike except perhaps as a reference point
    Go look up "the myth of KOPS." Please stop spreading that nonsense because it only confuses people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I don't know, it seems like my smart trainer replicates hills pretty good, a 15% climb has me in my smallest gear and working hard. IME riding a trainer is harder than riding a bike out in the real world.
    Note that I did say that a smart trainer replicates them the best I've encountered. The change in grade doesn't get replicated at all most of the time (except with the new Wahoo climb gadget) but that even has a limited range of gradients that I don't believe is able to fully replicate all the grades we might see on a mtb. Then there's the fact that the smart trainers don't really replicate the terrain surface. The roughness of trails ridden on mtbs adds something a bit different.

    When I used a Kickr (admittedly, I don't own one and my experience with them is limited), there was also really no way to "soft pedal" to take a break but keep moving. If I eased up on pedaling, it'd ramp up the resistance unless I stopped long enough for it to reset. It's certainly harder than riding outside, I agree with that.

    OP definitely has something odd going on. Too many unknowns. Maybe his bike fit is so far off that reading up on basic principles will allow a DIY fit to work pretty well. For my mtb's, that's been "good enough" for me. Though I will admit that a pro fit was worthwhile for my road/gravel bike (I also bought it at a shop that included that service as part of the purchase, so it's not like I paid extra for it, either). I also know people who have had pro fits done on their mtbs (from a fitter who has a special interest in fitting mtbs, not just some guy trying to apply road fit principles to mountain bikes) and they've found it worthwhile. Especially people who are trying to achieve a good fit under some very edge case scenarios. People with physical limitations/health concerns. One lady who's a former 4'9 pro endurance racer who tends to prefer 29ers (her fits look pretty odd and somewhat counterintuitive, but they work for her).

    That's where I'd circle back to visiting a doctor to make sure nothing else is physically wrong with OP. IF THERE IS, then address it medically first. If it affects bicycle riding long-term, then that's important to know, and might require some high level professional fit services to address biomechanical problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    What you're lacking is endurance, not strength. Just gotta ride more and it will come.
    You think? I'm not tired while riding. I can go run a mile after I get off the bike without any issue. It's just that my inner and lower thigh feels like I've been doing heavy squats every time I pedal.
    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    Good point, has the bike even been properly fitted to the OP?

    Regardless, it sounds like he is very out of shape, and just need saddle time, but it would not hurt OP to read up on proper bike fitting just to make his work outs, work for him.
    I'm not in the best shape, but I don't know if it's bad enough to cause this. I run a couple miles and do a few miles on the stationary bike every day. I did 45 minutes on it today and didn't really feel like I would have any issue doubling that.
    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    I don't know, he's only 28 and doesn't sound like he's in too bad of shape. Yeah, will have to build up to really riding but sounds like a major fit issue on the bike or health issue to me.

    Oh, just looked at mack's link to your earlier post. What bike are you riding? I'm suspecting that's a big part of it.
    It is a Specialized Pitch Sport. As I said, I did 45 minutes on a stationary bike today without any issues. Even if it isn't exactly the same, if I'm able to do that but feel pain after pedaling for a few seconds on the regular bike, I'm thinking it has to be fit. Kind of upset the LBS didn't help me out more when I bought it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Go look up "the myth of KOPS." Please stop spreading that nonsense because it only confuses people.
    Stop, a quote from the article.

    ""Simple methods like the traditional ones will be more useful.""


    Fitting a bike is a very personal thing, and all I offered was a good starting point for someone with an unknown set up.

  36. #36
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    Set the seat the same height as your trainer

    I'm thinking the fit would have to be way off to cause the problems you describe so I wouldn't necessarily blame the bike shop.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    I'm not in the best shape, but I don't know if it's bad enough to cause this.
    Your using muscles that are not used in normal daily life.

    I was there 8 months ago. Get out and ride and build muscle.
    Last edited by Outhouse; 01-03-2020 at 08:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    It is a Specialized Pitch Sport. As I said, I did 45 minutes on a stationary bike today without any issues. Even if it isn't exactly the same, if I'm able to do that but feel pain after pedaling for a few seconds on the regular bike, I'm thinking it has to be fit. Kind of upset the LBS didn't help me out more when I bought it.
    Since you haven't supplied any photographs of yourself sitting on the bike, it's far too early for us to throw the shop under the bus.

    Besides, they're not obligated to run through a 2 hour pro fit for you unless that's a service they advertise as being included with the purchase of your particular bicycle. The standard for shops is to ballpark the saddle height for you, which it sounds like they did. You are free to do whatever with it that you want after that, and I've seen some wacky customer DIY setups. That doesn't mean that saddle height will be exactly right, especially if you have other issues. There's a good chance that after you ride the bike some, you'll decide things need to be adjusted. For my last bike, I was still making fit adjustments to it after over 300mi of riding on it. That includes a saddle swap I had to make because the saddle I WAS using (which is great for me on other bikes) was terrible for me on the new one. No shop is obligated to do that for you unless you've paid for that service. That's the other thing about pro fit service. It's simply not possible to do a good pro fitting on a brand new bike that you haven't ridden. A good fitter is going to have you ride that bike for a good while (usually at least 100mi) before sitting you down for a high level fitting. Because they're going to talk to you about what feels good and what doesn't, and take that into consideration when making any adjustments.

    Also, if what you say about using the stationary bike on low resistance settings is correct, then that's a terrible substitute for actual riding of an actual bicycle. Riding an actual bicycle involves actual resistance because you're pushing at minimum your own body weight and the weight of the bike. And maybe doing that uphill and/or with a headwind. Low resistance on an exercise bike at the gym feels like coasting downhill with a tailwind. If you want to get a workout that way, you need to get that cadence (RPM of the pedals) up high (well over 1/sec, or 60rpm). But at that point, you're really not building strength. You're working on cardio and stamina. Importantly, you need to use some resistance, too!

    Also, when you go out to ride your bicycle, you need to be honest with your abilities. If you have low strength/stamina for riding (running fitness does not translate terribly well to bike fitness as far as muscles used. The cardio transfers, but until you get the muscles up to speed, it's going to hurt), you need to choose , shorter, flatter, easier routes and gauge your output better. It also begs the question about your shifting technique and the cadence you use when riding. If you're trying to mash hard gears, it's going to hurt more than it needs to. You should be pedaling easier gears at a higher cadence. Again, this is something that we can't know for certain on this forum. But it is a tendency I've observed from a lot of new riders - pedaling too big of a gear/too low of a cadence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    Stop, a quote from the article.

    ""Simple methods like the traditional ones will be more useful.""


    Fitting a bike is a very personal thing, and all I offered was a good starting point for someone with an unknown set up.
    KOPS is not a useful starting point, though. A whole lot of people are plenty comfortable riding their mountain bikes and have NEVER examined KOPS. It especially makes no sense in light of the push for shorter crank lengths on mountain bikes to address pedal strike issues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    That thing might not have been calibrated right, If you can hold 220 watts you have enough power to ride just about any trail anywhere. Skill is another thing.






    ........
    I think you misinterpreted what I was saying. Right now for longer efforts (think Alp du Zwift) I'll be spinning at level 16 holding between 190-220 watts, which is half of the machines maximum resistance capacity. After 3 yrs off the bike I was working hard at level 8, which is under 100watts. The OP mentioned working at a low level on the bike at the gym, my point was that the bikes in the gym are offering very little resistance at low levels. Very little. However, that resistance doesn't change much with RPM, it's sort of like riding a trainer in ERG mode. If the OP weights 170lbs (guessing here) and is spinning on the bike at the gym putting out 80watts (guessing again) that's only .96w/kg. Not really enough to do much more than ride a beach cruiser down the sidewalk.
    .
    Of course with the link shared to the other thread we see this issue has been around for a while. Either there is some other issue of fitness or fitment, or the OP is moving in fits and starts without really committing long enough to improve. It's impossible for us to know unfortunately.
    . . . . . . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    You think? I'm not tired while riding. I can go run a mile after I get off the bike without any issue. It's just that my inner and lower thigh feels like I've been doing heavy squats every time I pedal.

    ....

    .......
    You essentially are doing squats every time you pedal. You're using the pedals to propel both the weight of your body and that of the bike using those same muscles. If you're seat is high enough that your leg is almost but not quite at full extension when at the bottom of your pedal stroke then you're good, unless you've got short legs and long crank arms. . . .
    . . . . . . . .

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    Well I went for another ride today. The fit is definitely a factor. I kept riding for a bit and lifting the stem and it felt significantly better every time. I ended up having it a good 4 inches or so higher than it was before and I think I still may benefit from raising it another 1/2 inch or so. Rode around for 10 minutes before I started feeling a little tight and decided to stop at that point just in case. Took a walk after and my legs felt like jello, so the muscles definitely need to build up. I feel like leg days in the gym were all pointless now.

    I did run into an issue though, as suggested, I'm keeping it in lower gears, so I had it on chain ring 1 (of 3) and switching between speeds 1-3 (of 8), however when it was in lower gears like this, whenever I tried to pedal quickly at some point it would feel like something slipped. There would be a loud clank and then pedaling would feel like the gear wasn't engaged correctly and it would take a few revolutions of feeling odd and making noise before it fixed itself and a few more revolutions and it will clank and "slip" again. Moving up to a higher gear fixed this issue, but that's obviously not what I want to do right now. I only have a basic understanding of how the drivetrain works, so I'm not entirely sure what could be wrong and how to fix it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    Well I went for another ride today. The fit is definitely a factor. I kept riding for a bit and lifting the stem and it felt significantly better every time. I ended up having it a good 4 inches or so higher than it was before and I think I still may benefit from raising it another 1/2 inch or so. Rode around for 10 minutes before I started feeling a little tight and decided to stop at that point just in case. Took a walk after and my legs felt like jello, so the muscles definitely need to build up. I feel like leg days in the gym were all pointless now.

    I did run into an issue though, as suggested, I'm keeping it in lower gears, so I had it on chain ring 1 (of 3) and switching between speeds 1-3 (of 8), however when it was in lower gears like this, whenever I tried to pedal quickly at some point it would feel like something slipped. There would be a loud clank and then pedaling would feel like the gear wasn't engaged correctly and it would take a few revolutions of feeling odd and making noise before it fixed itself and a few more revolutions and it will clank and "slip" again. Moving up to a higher gear fixed this issue, but that's obviously not what I want to do right now. I only have a basic understanding of how the drivetrain works, so I'm not entirely sure what could be wrong and how to fix it.
    If you had to raise the saddle that much, then your fit was way off. But that kind of improvement is what you're looking for, so that's good. If you look up mtb fitting, you'll see recommendations for how much of a bend your knees should have when your saddle is at "ride height" and at that point, it's going to be very helpful to have another set of eyes to help you. The earlier recommendation regarding having a straight leg at full extension when your HEEL is on the pedal should ballpark it and you can fine tune from there over time.

    When talking about gearing on a bicycle, keep in mind that a "low" gear means one that's easier to pedal. A "high" gear is harder. Even though a low gear on the cassette is the larger one and the high gear on your cassette is the smaller one. If you have multiple chainrings, this flips for the chainrings (lower gear is on a smaller chainring, whereas a higher gear is on a bigger chainring). With as long as you've owned the bike, there's a good chance it needs a little bit of attention from a bike mechanic. When new, the housings are going to bed in a bit over time, which will throw off adjustments and require addressing that. This happens even when the bike is sitting, so it doesn't matter how much you've used it. Once they've been bedded in, this won't necessarily need to be addressed at the same frequency in the future. It's also worth noting that bikes that sit in garages for a long time often get bumped and knocked over because not everyone has a secure storage space like hooks on the wall/ceiling or a stand for parking. I've seen a ton of derailleur hangers bent this way.

    Park Tool has a nice series of service videos and guides on youtube/its website that can help you deepen your understanding of how your bike works. And many manufacturers post their own service videos on youtube, also. I recommend starting slowly here. Working on bikes requires a softer touch and greater attention to detail than a lot of other mechanical tasks because the parts are smaller, have higher levels of precision, and often use lightweight materials that can be damaged by ham-fisting.

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    A protein shake before riding got me through this stage of conditioning...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    If you had to raise the saddle that much, then your fit was way off. But that kind of improvement is what you're looking for, so that's good. If you look up mtb fitting, you'll see recommendations for how much of a bend your knees should have when your saddle is at "ride height" and at that point, it's going to be very helpful to have another set of eyes to help you. The earlier recommendation regarding having a straight leg at full extension when your HEEL is on the pedal should ballpark it and you can fine tune from there over time.

    When talking about gearing on a bicycle, keep in mind that a "low" gear means one that's easier to pedal. A "high" gear is harder. Even though a low gear on the cassette is the larger one and the high gear on your cassette is the smaller one. If you have multiple chainrings, this flips for the chainrings (lower gear is on a smaller chainring, whereas a higher gear is on a bigger chainring). With as long as you've owned the bike, there's a good chance it needs a little bit of attention from a bike mechanic. When new, the housings are going to bed in a bit over time, which will throw off adjustments and require addressing that. This happens even when the bike is sitting, so it doesn't matter how much you've used it. Once they've been bedded in, this won't necessarily need to be addressed at the same frequency in the future. It's also worth noting that bikes that sit in garages for a long time often get bumped and knocked over because not everyone has a secure storage space like hooks on the wall/ceiling or a stand for parking. I've seen a ton of derailleur hangers bent this way.

    Park Tool has a nice series of service videos and guides on youtube/its website that can help you deepen your understanding of how your bike works. And many manufacturers post their own service videos on youtube, also. I recommend starting slowly here. Working on bikes requires a softer touch and greater attention to detail than a lot of other mechanical tasks because the parts are smaller, have higher levels of precision, and often use lightweight materials that can be damaged by ham-fisting.
    Ok, so I'm guessing this isn't something that commonly happens? I was thinking maybe something to do with being on the low gear on the chain ring and low on the cassette, but I guess normally that shouldn't be an issue? I figure I'll take it to the bike shop before I start messing with it if it isn't something easy to address.

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    Upon further inspection, the chain is hitting against the front derailleur.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    Upon further inspection, the chain is hitting against the front derailleur.
    Sounds like you just need a drivetrain adjustment. I definitely recommend taking it to a bike shop and let them adjust your gears. Also are you cross chaining? If so, that also explains some of the noise you hear. The front mech cage may have some tiny indents that causes chain rub which lets you know that you are either out of adjustment or you are cross chaining. There are quite a few YouTube videos that discuss cross chaining. It would be a good idea to check them out!
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    What did your doctor tell you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    Ok, so I'm guessing this isn't something that commonly happens? I was thinking maybe something to do with being on the low gear on the chain ring and low on the cassette, but I guess normally that shouldn't be an issue? I figure I'll take it to the bike shop before I start messing with it if it isn't something easy to address.
    Recognize that low in the rear means a big cog. Low in the front means a small chainring.

    What you do want to avoid when you have three chainrings in the front is cross-chaining, which means in the left (or right) most chainring, and the right (or left) most cog. That is, opposite extremes. That chainline puts undue stress on the chain and the derailleurs and can cause rubbing on the front derailleur when it's not otherwise present.

    But if you raised your saddle 4 inches, that was most of your problem. And it makes me wonder if your saddle is high enough yet. The heel on the pedal, leg straight will get you close. You also need to be aware that you will be on your tippy toes while standing over your bike in the saddle. Bike noobs seem to be shocked by this. Or maybe its a product of being raised on BMX-type bikes, which are not designed for seated pedaling.

    Looking back at your new bike thread, you may be of the notion that your feet should be flat on the ground, or nearly so, when you straddle your bike sitting in the saddle. That is an erroneous thought. You will need to tip to one side or the other to get a foot firmly on the ground with your saddle adjusted properly.

    Also, if you get your saddle too high, you will probably be warned by pain behind your knees after riding a while, because your knees are slightly hyperextending as you pedal. If this happens, lower 1/4 or 1/2 inch until it doesn't. Similarly, a seat thats only a bit too low will tend to produce pain in front of your knees, slightly above or below the kneecap. If this happens, raise 1/4 or 1/2 inch until it stops.

    Fore and aft positioning of the saddle can have some impact on comfort and pain, but baby steps here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    Recognize that low in the rear means a big cog. Low in the front means a small chainring.

    What you do want to avoid when you have three chainrings in the front is cross-chaining, which means in the left (or right) most chainring, and the right (or left) most cog. That is, opposite extremes. That chainline puts undue stress on the chain and the derailleurs and can cause rubbing on the front derailleur when it's not otherwise present.

    But if you raised your saddle 4 inches, that was most of your problem. And it makes me wonder if your saddle is high enough yet. The heel on the pedal, leg straight will get you close. You also need to be aware that you will be on your tippy toes while standing over your bike in the saddle. Bike noobs seem to be shocked by this. Or maybe its a product of being raised on BMX-type bikes, which are not designed for seated pedaling.

    Looking back at your new bike thread, you may be of the notion that your feet should be flat on the ground, or nearly so, when you straddle your bike sitting in the saddle. That is an erroneous thought. You will need to tip to one side or the other to get a foot firmly on the ground with your saddle adjusted properly.

    Also, if you get your saddle too high, you will probably be warned by pain behind your knees after riding a while, because your knees are slightly hyperextending as you pedal. If this happens, lower 1/4 or 1/2 inch until it doesn't. Similarly, a seat thats only a bit too low will tend to produce pain in front of your knees, slightly above or below the kneecap. If this happens, raise 1/4 or 1/2 inch until it stops.

    Fore and aft positioning of the saddle can have some impact on comfort and pain, but baby steps here.
    It's definitely a lot better now, but I still only feel like I can go for about 10-20 minutes, that might be conditioning at this point. Although, the tightening/pain is right above the kneecap and it's only on one leg, so maybe I do need to make it a little bit higher still... Although, I'm a little confused about how you described standing over the bike while in the saddle. If I am over the saddle, I won't be able to tip toe at all, I'm just reaching the pedals. I usually tip the bike over and stand over the tube and then step on the pedals and push off to hop up on the saddle, but there's no way I'd be able to stand with my crotch over the saddle.

    As for the bike... well it broke again and almost sent me flying. I'm going to make another thread for that as it is a separate issue.

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    You are correct that you should not be able to reach the ground while on the saddle unless you are tilting the bike way over. Depending on the terrain and your conditioning, 10-20 minutes might be pretty normal. Cycling, and I would say especially if you're climbing much, is different than other exercises.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    You are correct that you should not be able to reach the ground while on the saddle unless you are tilting the bike way over.

    That depends on a few things, tall people with big feet can touch the ground with their tippy-toes.

    I'm still trying to figure out why a 28 y/o is having this much trouble riding a bike. I don't mean that in a bad way, very strange.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    It's definitely a lot better now, but I still only feel like I can go for about 10-20 minutes, that might be conditioning at this point. Although, the tightening/pain is right above the kneecap and it's only on one leg, so maybe I do need to make it a little bit higher still... Although, I'm a little confused about how you described standing over the bike while in the saddle. If I am over the saddle, I won't be able to tip toe at all, I'm just reaching the pedals. I usually tip the bike over and stand over the tube and then step on the pedals and push off to hop up on the saddle, but there's no way I'd be able to stand with my crotch over the saddle.

    As for the bike... well it broke again and almost sent me flying. I'm going to make another thread for that as it is a separate issue.
    Where your feet wind up relative to the ground when you are seated will depend on the bike in many respects. I've had some bikes where my toes just grazed the ground, but on my current hardtail, they hang free. The ground is a terrible reference point for how the bike should fit you when you are seated. What IS important is how things work when your feet are on the pedals and your butt on the saddle. And it's absolutely true that changing shoes, saddle, or pedals to something with a notably different thickness (thicker or thinner) can actually require you to adjust your seatpost to accommodate that change.

    The goal is to put you into a riding position that you can sustain for a good bit of time, conditioning notwithstanding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Where your feet wind up relative to the ground when you are seated will depend on the bike in many respects. I've had some bikes where my toes just grazed the ground, but on my current hardtail, they hang free. The ground is a terrible reference point for how the bike should fit you when you are seated. What IS important is how things work when your feet are on the pedals and your butt on the saddle. And it's absolutely true that changing shoes, saddle, or pedals to something with a notably different thickness (thicker or thinner) can actually require you to adjust your seatpost to accommodate that change.

    The goal is to put you into a riding position that you can sustain for a good bit of time, conditioning notwithstanding.
    I've been a bit confused, because I think I have the saddle height at a point where I am almost fully extended when at the bottom of the pedal, but from what I see, most people are able to be seated on the saddle, have one foot on a pedal and the other touching the ground with only a slight tilt of the bike. I cannot do that, I would need to tilt the bike to a point where I wouldn't be able to be seated on it for me to be able to touch the ground. This makes it very a bit tedious when stopping/starting since I have to jump off the saddle and stand over the tube.

    As for the cramping/tightness, well it has gotten better to the extent where I don't feel it immediately anymore, but still after a few minutes of riding I'll start to feel tightness right above my knee and I know I better start heading back before it cramps up.

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    They might be using a dropper seatpost. With the saddle dropped.

    Seat fully up/extended, Id guess my foot is 4-5 from the ground when pointed straight down.


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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    That depends on a few things, tall people with big feet and a low bottom bracket and long cranks can touch the ground with their tippy-toes.

    I'm still trying to figure out why a 28 y/o is having this much trouble riding a bike. I don't mean that in a bad way, very strange.
    Expanded on it for me.

    Yes, does seem odd. Maybe he does need to visit a doctor, I'm not familiar with pain above the kneecap.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    They might be using a dropper seatpost. With the saddle dropped.

    Seat fully up/extended, Id guess my foot is 4-5 from the ground when pointed straight down.


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    For an example of what I'm saying,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ouc9gKki60
    See at 1:40, he's able to be on the seat and have one foot making contact with the ground. I can't do that. If I am sitting on the seat there is no way I can keep the bike upright if not moving.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    For an example of what I'm saying,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ouc9gKki60
    See at 1:40, he's able to be on the seat and have one foot making contact with the ground. I can't do that. If I am sitting on the seat there is no way I can keep the bike upright if not moving.
    A 27.5 wheeled bike with a low bottom bracket will put your feet a lot closer to the ground than a long travel 29er with a high bottom bracket. Which is to say, you can't reference yourself off of others. I can only touch the ground when my saddle is dropped, even then I have to lean the bike over.
    . . . . . . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    For an example of what I'm saying,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ouc9gKki60
    See at 1:40, he's able to be on the seat and have one foot making contact with the ground. I can't do that. If I am sitting on the seat there is no way I can keep the bike upright if not moving.
    Maybe you missed this sage bit of wisdom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    The ground is a terrible reference point for how the bike should fit you when you are seated.
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    I'll say it again for effect: where your feet end up relative to the ground has nothing to do with how a bike fits. Stop worrying about that and focus on how it fits while you're feet are on the pedals. That is absolutely 100% all that matters here.

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    https://forums.mtbr.com/southeast-mi...l-fl-ms-la-ar/

    In the time it has taken to diagnose your issues online, you could solve your issue 100X with help from a local riding community. Find a group of people who ride close to wear you live and ask for in-person assistance. Successfully diagnosing bike fit and mechanical issues online has a 100:1 chance.

    Also, GO SEE A F-KING DOCTOR!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    They might be using a dropper seatpost. With the saddle dropped.

    Seat fully up/extended, Id guess my foot is 4-5 from the ground when pointed straight down.


    Or they might not. With my dropper fully excited I can touch both toes to the ground. Maybe your feet are small? Your bb is high? Or you're not very tall? Possibly all 3.

    Whether or not you can touch your toes on the ground while perched atop your saddle is a terrible way to judge proper saddle height.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Or they might not. With my dropper fully excited I can touch both toes to the ground. Maybe your feet are small? Your bb is high? Or you're not very tall? Possibly all 3.

    Whether or not you can touch your toes on the ground while perched atop your saddle is a terrible way to judge proper saddle height.
    330mm BB, very low sag bike. I'm not particularly tall, but have relatively long legs for my height (31.5" inseam, 5'6" on a great day).

    And, yes, as everyone is saying:

    Whether or not your can touch your toes on the ground while perched atop your saddle is a terrible way to judge proper saddle height.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    https://forums.mtbr.com/southeast-mi...l-fl-ms-la-ar/

    In the time it has taken to diagnose your issues online, you could solve your issue 100X with help from a local riding community. Find a group of people who ride close to wear you live and ask for in-person assistance. Successfully diagnosing bike fit and mechanical issues online has a 100:1 chance.

    Also, GO SEE A F-KING DOCTOR!
    Also, this.

    That said, I can't help but wonder if the OP is using the correct terminology.

    When I think of a cramp, I think of an intense, stabbing pain in a involuntarily locked up muscle. I've had hamstring cramps that have required me to manually pull my leg back into an extended position with my arms and non-cramping leg. I.e., imagine flexing a bicep to the point of pain, but not consciously doing that.

    If the OP is experiencing that after a few miles, the OP really needs to consult a doctor, because that is not at all a normal response to short duration mild or moderate exercise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Also, GO SEE A F-KING DOCTOR!
    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    That said, I can't help but wonder if the OP is using the correct terminology.
    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    I've been a bit confused, because I think I have the saddle height at a point where I am almost fully extended when at the bottom of the pedal, but from what I see, most people are able to be seated on the saddle, have one foot on a pedal and the other touching the ground with only a slight tilt of the bike. I cannot do that, I would need to tilt the bike to a point where I wouldn't be able to be seated on it for me to be able to touch the ground. This makes it very a bit tedious when stopping/starting since I have to jump off the saddle and stand over the tube.

    As for the cramping/tightness, well it has gotten better to the extent where I don't feel it immediately anymore, but still after a few minutes of riding I'll start to feel tightness right above my knee and I know I better start heading back before it cramps up.
    The bolded part here is making me really think OP has his terminology mixed up, too. A cramp is specifically a muscle issue. The muscle contracts uncontrollably and it's very painful. Honestly it's downright debilitating. But it's temporary and typically can be fixed with diet and some stretching. "Tightness right above the knee" suggests something entirely different to me. That's pointing to joint or connective tissue (tendon/ligament) issues. And this is why it's absolutely critical that you go see a goddamn doctor. If you kept trying to power through a terrible bike setup, you actually can cause problems with your joints and connective tissue.

    I have permanent damage to the cartilage in my knees from playing soccer and a bunch of horrible ergonomics related to common footwear. I was seeing a physical therapist for it clear back into high school. At 39, I can only tolerate very small amounts of running anymore. Anything more than a 5k is going to cause a lot of pain. I even have to be careful when hiking. Stepping wrong, and especially dealing with irregular, loose surfaces can cause pain that takes months of light duty to resolve. Hopefully you haven't created any permanent damage, but you're going to have to see a doctor to see what your EXACT problem is and identify exactly what you need to do to recover from it and most importantly, avoid it in the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    It's definitely a lot better now, but I still only feel like I can go for about 10-20 minutes, that might be conditioning at this point. .
    Well when I started I was only able to do 5 minutes, and at 4 hours now with no pain.

    Provided you have nothing medically wrong. you are only going to make small gains from one week to the next. It takes time. And yes you need to stretch before riding.

    If stretching before a ride causes pain, then yes you have a medical issue, if no pain exist, then you can take time and do NOT over do it, then we know it is a conditioning
    issue. And you can keep building without ""powering through it""

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Also, this.

    That said, I can't help but wonder if the OP is using the correct terminology.

    When I think of a cramp, I think of an intense, stabbing pain in a involuntarily locked up muscle. I've had hamstring cramps that have required me to manually pull my leg back into an extended position with my arms and non-cramping leg. I.e., imagine flexing a bicep to the point of pain, but not consciously doing that.

    If the OP is experiencing that after a few miles, the OP really needs to consult a doctor, because that is not at all a normal response to short duration mild or moderate exercise.
    Well, to be fair, I haven't actually cramped/locked up this time around. But I think the discomfort I am feeling is an indicator that it will happen if I continue, so I usually head home and stop as soon as I feel this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    The bolded part here is making me really think OP has his terminology mixed up, too. A cramp is specifically a muscle issue. The muscle contracts uncontrollably and it's very painful. Honestly it's downright debilitating. But it's temporary and typically can be fixed with diet and some stretching. "Tightness right above the knee" suggests something entirely different to me. That's pointing to joint or connective tissue (tendon/ligament) issues. And this is why it's absolutely critical that you go see a goddamn doctor. If you kept trying to power through a terrible bike setup, you actually can cause problems with your joints and connective tissue.

    I have permanent damage to the cartilage in my knees from playing soccer and a bunch of horrible ergonomics related to common footwear. I was seeing a physical therapist for it clear back into high school. At 39, I can only tolerate very small amounts of running anymore. Anything more than a 5k is going to cause a lot of pain. I even have to be careful when hiking. Stepping wrong, and especially dealing with irregular, loose surfaces can cause pain that takes months of light duty to resolve. Hopefully you haven't created any permanent damage, but you're going to have to see a doctor to see what your EXACT problem is and identify exactly what you need to do to recover from it and most importantly, avoid it in the future.
    It hasn't cramped yet this time around, but I know what it feels like when a cramp is coming on so I stop riding as soon as I can when I start feeling that discomfort. The area that I am feeling it in is the vastus medialis.
    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    Well when I started I was only able to do 5 minutes, and at 4 hours now with no pain.

    Provided you have nothing medically wrong. you are only going to make small gains from one week to the next. It takes time. And yes you need to stretch before riding.

    If stretching before a ride causes pain, then yes you have a medical issue, if no pain exist, then you can take time and do NOT over do it, then we know it is a conditioning
    issue. And you can keep building without ""powering through it""
    What kind of pain did you feel after five minutes when starting? I don't have any pain stretching and it's completely gone once I stop pedaling, which is why I believe this to be fit related. I can walk, run, ride a stationary bike, weight train my quads in the gym right after and not really have any issue, but specifically when I'm cycling it gets bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    I'm not in the best shape right now, but working on it. Current BMI is around 26-27. I work out three times a week in the gym and do cardio daily, so I'm pretty active at the moment. I don't really do a crazy diet, but I do limit carbs and saturated fat (very minimal red meat intake) I had planned to do easy rides at first and work up, but it's weird that the pain is almost immediate.

    I'm 28. I'll have to look into supplements. I'm not entirely sure what the model of the bike is, I'll have a look when I go in tomorrow. Come to think of it, when I stretch I'm really just stretching out my calves and hamstrings, I have to look into a technique to stretch out these areas. Looking at a chart, it seems to be the Rectus Femoris and the Vestus Medialis.

    It's odd because I can do the stationary bike for an indefinite amount of time, but a minute into the actual bike and I'm hurting.

    Looking at a chart, it seems to be the Rectus Femoris and the Vestus Medialis. I'm not sure if the bike is fitted correctly, when I bought it the salesman had me sit and stand over a few and told me this would be the right fit, but he didn't do anything too detailed to determine that. I'm looking at images of how it should fit and i'm wondering if I may need to raise the saddle a bit to straighten out my knees more, but I also have no idea how i'll be able to mount the bike if I raise it. I struggle a bit with that as-is.
    LOL, I have a 29 BMI and I race Cat 1 MTB and can be competitive at the state level at times. I got on my first bike since childhood at 32 with the goal of riding 7 miles to work.
    I rode the streets and bike paths for 6-8 miles at 12mph average.
    Over a month, that turned into 10-12 miles @12mph
    Over 3 months that turned into 10-15 @14mph
    Then I started riding Trails and averaged 8, Then would push to average 8-9 mph for 10 miles.
    Thought I was fast...
    Month 9 Race my First Race Cat 3 race and got smoked
    Month 15 Joined Strava and couldnt understand how people went so fast, but realized it must be humanly possible.
    Month 24: Completed my first Cat 3 season (averaging 10-11 MPH)
    At that point I could ride 40mi MTB on bike path at 15 mph average

    I'm now 5 years in:
    I've seen places I never imagined I would get to.
    I can ride 60-70 Street miles at 17 MPH on the MTB
    I regularly race MTB trail races that are 4-9 hours that average 11-12 mph. (many of these races I flirt with real cramps for 20+ miles. I've been locked up on the side of the trail and pulled it together and finished. You can cramp when you ride beyond your fitness for too long. The bike just allows you to ride faster than you can handle.
    I have friends and fellow racers that still can beat me by an hour in those same races!
    My shoulder is separated. My body is bruised. I wouldn't trade any of it for the world. Its a long road, and you will probably go down a different path, but you will be rewarded in the end with the experience. I can guarantee it.



    First: Go get a blood panel done just to make sure you are in good health.


    Second: In my experience, I have seen people say they are "Cramping" when they are just merely riding at the end of their fitness limits. I wont get Nerdy here about lactate threshold and blood acidity...The cool thing about the body is, it will recover quickly (even while pedaling) Back off for a bit and easy pedal. If you were cramping in those muscle groups, Things would be nasty and you probably wouldn't be able to push through to make it home given your experience. You probably wouldn't be able to walk, as getting off the bike would be even worse. The VM is used to straighten the knee and would lock out your thigh. The muscle you listed are not necessarily the primary muscle for cycling either. It does get aggravated when the saddle is low, and it will be a numb pain and quite frankly HURTS and can BURN.


    Others have stated to try to get a fit through the internet or friend or shop. I would definitely try it. Heck, I have been racing for years and recently raised my saddle again! there is more to just raising the saddle. You must set the angle. I like a 1 degree tilt downward toward the bars, but that's personal preference. One thing for sure is that when the crank arms are flat, your knee joint is ideally close to center of the middle of the pedals. This will get you close enough.

    https://www.bikeradar.com/advice/fit...-height-right/

    Keep in mind, The more you raise your seat post, the more you may have to slide your saddle forward on the rail. There are times where you can feel like you are pedaling from "behind the Bottom bracket" (Center of Crank). THIS can cause some pain from that manifests in different areas such as lower back and lower Glutes!

    Most newer riders will make these fit mistakes and may never completely fix them all. They do not like the sensation of being too high or too far forward as they build confidence behind the bars on a mountain bike.

    Third: I did a fair amount of time on the LifeFitness Trainer prior to my first Cat 3 season. Anything below the setting of "10" is basicly reserved for a 5-10 minute warmup and is not enough to move you very quickly on an MTB. (5-6 mph on dirt?). perhaps work until you can do 20 minutes at 10 and try to ride at 1-2 minutes at 11-14 setting at times. This applies to most brand of stationairy bike. You may be able to ride but at too low of a resistance level. Always use the manual setting and control the resistance yourself. I watch Youtube MTB like #followcamfriday by Nate hills while stuck on the indoor trainer.

    Fourth: Let that fitness build. Play with fire, Push yourself, back off, recover, repeat.

    P.s. Throw the bro science out the window. MTB needs carbs! you will have horrible experiences trying to ride glycogen depleted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    It hasn't cramped yet this time around, but I know what it feels like when a cramp is coming on so I stop riding as soon as I can when I start feeling that discomfort. The area that I am feeling it in is the vastus medialis.
    lol, do you think posting it again is going to get you a diagnosis? Nobody here is a doctor. Even if they were, they wouldn't diagnose you over the internet. How thick are you? 1. Go see a doctor about your leg/knee pain. 2. Get your bike fit straightened out. Pay someone to do it if you aren't going to stop screwing around. 3. HTFU, princess. MTB is hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    lol, do you think posting it again is going to get you a diagnosis? Nobody here is a doctor. Even if they were, they wouldn't diagnose you over the internet. How thick are you? 1. Go see a doctor about your leg/knee pain. 2. Get your bike fit straightened out. Pay someone to do it if you aren't going to stop screwing around. 3. HTFU, princess. MTB is hard.
    Wasn't expecting a diagnosis. I didn't "post it again," I replied to a response in the thread I created, figured that's how these things work... Point of the thread was to see if anyone had any similar experiences or knowledge that can explain the issue. No need to respond again if the thread is making you feel some form of hostility. I think I've gotten everything I'm going to get from this thread, no need for any continued responses. Thanks everyone for the input.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post


    What kind of pain did you feel after five minutes when starting? I don't have any pain stretching and it's completely gone once I stop pedaling, which is why I believe this to be fit related. I can walk, run, ride a stationary bike, weight train my quads in the gym right after and not really have any issue, but specifically when I'm cycling it gets bad.
    Legs felt like they would fall off lol I could not peddle any further, just pain everywhere. I hydrate well so no cramps. A few nights I had cramping when in bed.

    Just keep building, when I started I could run a mile, and have done cross country off and on for years. Bike riding worked muscles I had not used in 15 years. So im now 8 ish months in and can do well on long steep trails, but ive damned hard for improvement. I get passed every time out by everyone, but I keep on riding.

    You have seen improvement, as you do, you will meet other riders. don't be shy to ask them for help on seat position and other tips. Most important, keep working and gains will be had

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    What did your doctor say about this issue?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    What did your doctor say about this issue?
    You just posted some "advice" yesterday. Where did OP say that he was going to the doctor in the last 24 hours? Are you just posting again "for effect," or to be an insufferable gooch?

    You woke up, logged on, decided you were bored, and posted in a thread in which you had already admonished someone, but received no response. Go ride or post in other threads, you're of no help in this one.
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    I've had a similar issue (still on-going since I'm building up strength and endurance now). My first few times out on the trails I could barely make it to 45 minutes... my legs/thighs were burning (no cramping) arms felt like jelly, a bit of lower back pain and sweating a storm... super out of shape and my active lifestyle was back in HS (16+ years ago), so, one could say I had no business hitting the floor running but I was determined... my body was not.

    So, after my 6th ride I decided to take a break from the trails washed the bike and switched to my gravel/road set. Going to build endurance and strength via the road/gravel with steady pacing as mentioned above. There is great advice above and it's obviously recommended to go see your doctors before anything else. I personally don't like going to the Doc and at times it gets in the way of work (my excuse). Doc first, proper fitting second then proper seating which goes with fitting... this takes time like anything strenuous on the body, just cause you buy a mountain bike you're not going to be able to just hope on and expect to do a 2hr ride as if it was nothing even if you have done it before.
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    Quote Originally Posted by razorbackmtb
    Are you just posting again "for effect," or to be an insufferable gooch?
    Both.

  75. #75
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    check this out


    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4830654/


    turns out athletes can get severe cramps (cyclists especially) due to stenosis

    more reason to SEE A DOCTOR
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    Sorry I posted that bit about feet on the ground. I wasn't intending for you to use it to evaluate saddle height. Only that your feet probably aren't touching the ground solidly when the saddle is adjusted properly. As people have noted, that can vary with different factors.

    That used to scare the dog out of me when I was 8 and people lowered their seats because of it. I just got used to it. But I have been at several beginners clinics where people that haven't been on a bike in years have their seat too low because it's scary not being able to put your feet on the ground. But it isn't really. That posture has nothing to do with cycling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by }{yBr!D^ View Post
    I've had a similar issue (still on-going since I'm building up strength and endurance now). My first few times out on the trails I could barely make it to 45 minutes... my legs/thighs were burning (no cramping) arms felt like jelly, a bit of lower back pain and sweating a storm... super out of shape and my active lifestyle was back in HS (16+ years ago), so, one could say I had no business hitting the floor running but I was determined... my body was not.

    So, after my 6th ride I decided to take a break from the trails washed the bike and switched to my gravel/road set. Going to build endurance and strength via the road/gravel with steady pacing as mentioned above. There is great advice above and it's obviously recommended to go see your doctors before anything else. I personally don't like going to the Doc and at times it gets in the way of work (my excuse). Doc first, proper fitting second then proper seating which goes with fitting... this takes time like anything strenuous on the body, just cause you buy a mountain bike you're not going to be able to just hope on and expect to do a 2hr ride as if it was nothing even if you have done it before.
    On building fitness for MTB. Be aware that, depending on the trails, the essential characteristic of MTB versus road riding is short bursts of high effort. A lot of road riding can be accomplished without short bursts of high effort. So, unless you are deliberately doing things like intervals on your road riding, you aren't building good conditioning for mountain biking. You may be able to go longer/further, but climbs are still going to kick your butt.

    At some point, good fitness and conditioning is good for most things, but that probably applies to people with more time to devote to it than most of us have. So, you need to be rather deliberate about road riding to prepare for MTB.

    For those who don't know, intervals means short bursts of maximum effort. Find a hill on the road, ride up that sucker as fast as you can possibly go, for 30 seconds to a minute. Catch your breath, do it again. Do it til you can't stand it any more. Do sprints in the flat if you have no hills. That will get you ready to ride trails.

    Also, riding once or twice a week isn't going to build much fitness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    On building fitness for MTB. Be aware that, depending on the trails, the essential characteristic of MTB versus road riding is short bursts of high effort. A lot of road riding can be accomplished without short bursts of high effort. So, unless you are deliberately doing things like intervals on your road riding, you aren't building good conditioning for mountain biking. You may be able to go longer/further, but climbs are still going to kick your butt.

    At some point, good fitness and conditioning is good for most things, but that probably applies to people with more time to devote to it than most of us have. So, you need to be rather deliberate about road riding to prepare for MTB.

    For those who don't know, intervals means short bursts of maximum effort. Find a hill on the road, ride up that sucker as fast as you can possibly go, for 30 seconds to a minute. Catch your breath, do it again. Do it til you can't stand it any more. Do sprints in the flat if you have no hills. That will get you ready to ride trails.

    Also, riding once or twice a week isn't going to build much fitness.
    I actually have done this with a bridge that goes over I-75 right by my house... I'll keep that in mind for building up strength.. it was mainly for endurance but you're right. ty sir
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    Sooo... let's recap...

    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    ... I can ride on those on low settings for 20-40 minutes without issue usually. I'm not really sure what the problem is.
    Lower gears hide peddling leverage issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    ... It's odd because I can do the stationary bike for an indefinite amount of time, but a minute into the actual bike and I'm hurting.
    Stationary bike fits you better than your real bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Surge- you have been experiencing this for well over a year!
    Sooo... working on it hasn't helped... the bike still doesn't fit right.

    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    The only time it doesn't really hurt is on first gear...
    Again, lower gears hide peddling inefficiency.

    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    ... I'm not tired while riding. I can go run a mile after I get off the bike without any issue. It's just that my inner and lower thigh feels like I've been doing heavy squats every time I pedal.

    I'm not in the best shape, but I don't know if it's bad enough to cause this. I run a couple miles and do a few miles on the stationary bike every day. I did 45 minutes on it today and didn't really feel like I would have any issue doubling that.
    Hmmm... cardio, OK. Muscle, OK.

    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    Well I went for another ride today. The fit is definitely a factor. I kept riding for a bit and lifting the stem and it felt significantly better every time. I ended up having it a good 4 inches or so higher than it was before and I think I still may benefit from raising it another 1/2 inch or so.
    Hmmm... adjusting fit makes it better...

    I'm not pretending to be an expert, but if this were me, I would look nowhere else but bike fit. And that goes beyond seat height! You need to consider reach, bar width, etc., as well because they can change your upper/lower torso angle which can impact your peddling ability.

    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    I've been a bit confused, because I think I have the saddle height at a point where I am almost fully extended when at the bottom of the pedal, but from what I see, most people are able to be seated on the saddle, have one foot on a pedal and the other touching the ground with only a slight tilt of the bike. I cannot do that...
    Whether or not you can touch the ground has nothing to do with bike fit for riding. You only need to worry about the bikes stand over height if you're concerned about touching the ground, which is independent of seat height, reach, etc..
    You didn't quit riding because you're old, you're old because you quit riding.

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    I ride my full suspension bike 90% of the time. When I would occasionally get on my rigid Surly and ride the road to my National Forest routes, during warmup I would get a burning pain in my upper inside thighs and some also inside and just above my knees. After I'm warmed up it's not a problem. I tweaked the seat height and fore-aft and it made a huge difference (with very little adjustment). It's still there sometimes.

    I also get similar but not as severe on my FS bike with the shock locked out, also when warming up. But I attribute it to the fact that my seat is adjusted perfectly for riding unlocked and sagged, and locking the shock changes that seat location. This also goes away after getting warmed up.

    When it happens I shift to down to an easier gear and increase my cadence. I have really tight hamstrings, which is the other part of why this has been happening for 6 years, despite having worked up to over 2000 mi per year.

    And no, you shouldn't expect to have your feet flat on the ground while sitting on the saddle. Adjust your saddle to fit while your feet are on the pedals, not the ground. AND, of you've raised your saddle, because of the seat tube angle, it is also further rearward than it used to be, so you may need to adjust the saddle forward toward the handlebars to maintain your reach (assuming it was acceptable to begin with). Somehow a few millimeters can make a huge difference for some people in all these cockpit adjustments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I'm still trying to figure out why a 28 y/o is having this much trouble riding a bike. I don't mean that in a bad way, very strange.
    I read this whole thread mostly just to see how long it would take someone to come out and say this. Post #51.

    Wholeheartedly agree that it is very strange that a 28 year y.o., allegedly active individual is having this much trouble getting started riding. Seeing a physician is definitely in order.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairbanks007 View Post
    I read this whole thread mostly just to see how long it would take someone to come out and say this. Post #51.

    Wholeheartedly agree that it is very strange that a 28 year y.o., allegedly active individual is having this much trouble getting started riding. Seeing a physician is definitely in order.
    Not if he's going too hard all the time.

    Which would be why he can ride the stationary bike just fine, because the effort required for that is a lot more steady.

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    From the original post:
    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    So I'm trying to get into this again. I bought my bike in September of 2018 and after only a few rides I put it away because I was incredibly discouraged because every time I rode within a few minutes my thighs would feel like they were cramping up. The most I could ride was 20 minutes or so. (emphasis added)

    I wanted to try again, because I really want to do this, but this time there was muscle soreness almost immediately, I couldn't even make it down the street before I went back home because It felt like it would cramp up any second. (emphasis added)

    Can this be normal? Can my muscles need to build up THAT much just to ride a bike? I usually use the stationary bikes at the gym to warm up for a bit and I can ride on those on low settings for 20-40 minutes without issue usually. I'm not really sure what the problem is.
    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    Not if he's going too hard all the time.

    Which would be why he can ride the stationary bike just fine, because the effort required for that is a lot more steady.
    This is not what the OP initially described. A 28 y.o. active individual should be able to sustain 20 minutes of moderately intense exercise fairly easily. I routinely have patients being worked up for heart transplants do 12 to 15 minutes on a maximal cardiopulmonary treadmill test. Are they tired? Yes, but rarely do I have to stop a test because someone complains of cramping.

    There's really only three potential causes for what he is describing:
    1) The OP is far more deconditioned than he is admitting. We can only take him at his word regarding his fitness level.

    2) There is something massively wrong with his bike fit, or possibly with the bike itself. This has been discussed extensively earlier in the thread and seems to be at least partially responsible, yet the OP continues to report some symptoms.

    This leaves the only possible etiology which has not been fully (or barely) addressed by the OP...
    3) There is a physiologic explanation for his symptoms (e.g. anemia, electrolyte imbalance, enzymatic deficiencies, neurogenic abnormalities, etc. all come readily to mind).

    ASFAIK, this has not been explored which is why I urged him to see a physician.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairbanks007 View Post
    From the original post:




    This is not what the OP initially described. A 28 y.o. active individual should be able to sustain 20 minutes of moderately intense exercise fairly easily. I routinely have patients being worked up for heart transplants do 12 to 15 minutes on a maximal cardiopulmonary treadmill test. Are they tired? Yes, but rarely do I have to stop a test because someone complains of cramping.

    There's really only three potential causes for what he is describing:
    1) The OP is far more deconditioned than he is admitting. We can only take him at his word regarding his fitness level.

    2) There is something massively wrong with his bike fit, or possibly with the bike itself. This has been discussed extensively earlier in the thread and seems to be at least partially responsible, yet the OP continues to report some symptoms.

    This leaves the only possible etiology which has not been fully (or barely) addressed by the OP...
    3) There is a physiologic explanation for his symptoms (e.g. anemia, electrolyte imbalance, enzymatic deficiencies, neurogenic abnormalities, etc. all come readily to mind).

    ASFAIK, this has not been explored which is why I urged him to see a physician.
    Just saying that a bad approach is more likely than the sudden onset of a serious medical condition.

    If you're riding an exercise bike in a gym for 40 minutes, with the poor ventilation of a gym, you're probably going pretty easy. So it may seem like an indication of the ability to ride a bike, for a beginner, it is not. A beginner's aerobic capacity is so low that they constantly need to go anaerobic, which causes rapid fatigue, which can cause cramping because cramping is caused by muscle fatigue. Since so much of mountain biking requires full gas for them, or at least seems like it does, they never recover and it's just full gas, rest, full gas, rest, etc.

    I thought I was pretty fit when I started riding many, many years ago, and could go pretty well on level ground, or on a treadmill or stair machine on the gym...but as soon as I hit an incline, it was pretty clear I wasn't very fit for cycling.

    A trained athlete would have the same problem if they didn't have the experience to know better than to do that.

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    Not if he's going too hard all the time.

    OP said he was cramping horribly within a few minutes and didn't mention going particularly hard. I'm not saying it's a medical condition (but it could be) just saying it seems pretty weird.

    Also stationary bikes can be as hard or harder than riding outdoors ime, just depends how many watts you feel like laying down.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    OP said he was cramping horribly within a few minutes and didn't mention going particularly hard. I'm not saying it's a medical condition (but it could be) just saying it seems pretty weird.

    Also stationary bikes can be as hard or harder than riding outdoors ime, just depends how many watts you feel like laying down.
    When I feel bad during exercise, I tend to look at what I'm doing...the question of "am I dying" is pretty far down the list of possibilities. Especially if I don't have problems when not exercising.

    If it was some sort of a problem with transporting oxygen, it would present itself in normal activities as light headedness. If just your muscles hurt, it's probably just related to your muscles.

    Edit: It could be a neuromuscular condition, but that would also present itself in other activities....like weight lifting, or the stationary bike, etc.

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    When I feel bad during exercise, I tend to look at what I'm doing...the question of "am I dying" is pretty far down the list of possibilities. Especially if I don't have problems when not exercising.

    Yeah I totally agree, again, never really said that I thought it was a medical condition, only that it sounds super weird to get severe muscle cramps within a few minutes of riding. Hope the op gets it sorted out.
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  88. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    When I feel bad during exercise, I tend to look at what I'm doing...the question of "am I dying" is pretty far down the list of possibilities. Especially if I don't have problems when not exercising.

    If it was some sort of a problem with transporting oxygen, it would present itself in normal activities as light headedness. If just your muscles hurt, it's probably just related to your muscles.

    Edit: It could be a neuromuscular condition, but that would also present itself in other activities....like weight lifting, or the stationary bike, etc.
    A couple of things, first who said anything about dying? Second, problems with oxygen transport manifest themselves first during exercise when O2 demand is higher, only in later or more advanced stages will you see them at rest. The most common cause of feeling lightheaded is hypotension, usually secondary to dehydration, not poor central O2 transport. Dehydration is also one of the more common causes of cramping. One would assume that the OP is not dehydrating during the course of a 20 minute ride. The most common symptom of poor central O2 transport is marked shortness of breath, which the OP didn't mention.

    I evaluate these things for a living all day long, 5 days per week, and have for over 20 years. What the OP is reporting is not a normal response to exercise for a person of any age, let alone an allegedly active 28 y.o.

    I agree that a sudden medical issue is unlikely, however I have seen things like this happen to more than a few people. Often the initial presentation of a more serious issue is decreased exercise tolerance, hence why we do stress testing. If he is being honest with his reported fitness (he may not be), and his bike fit woes have been solved (they may not be), the only thing possibly left is a physiologic cause.

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, stated by Sherlock Holmes. If his problems are persisting despite addressing the first two possibilities, and he says they are, he needs to see a physician.

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    I'm sticking with the notion that the bike isn't set up right (fit).
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    Quote Originally Posted by 101Surge View Post
    So I'm trying to get into this again. I bought my bike in September of 2018 and after only a few rides I put it away because I was incredibly discouraged because every time I rode within a few minutes my thighs would feel like they were cramping up. The most I could ride was 20 minutes or so.

    I wanted to try again, because I really want to do this, but this time there was muscle soreness almost immediately, I couldn't even make it down the street before I went back home because It felt like it would cramp up any second.

    Can this be normal? Can my muscles need to build up THAT much just to ride a bike? I usually use the stationary bikes at the gym to warm up for a bit and I can ride on those on low settings for 20-40 minutes without issue usually. I'm not really sure what the problem is.
    This sounds like electrolyte imbalance to me. Check your diet. Either dehydrated or over-hydrated is my guess.


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    So, 4 weeks ago the OP chimed in... did he push too hard and die? No word whether or not he saw a doctor... it doesn't seem so complex... regardless of age, picking up or starting something new your body will not be ready with what you want to do... even if you've had past experience doing it it won't reflect when you're using more of your body than that of a gym environment. He's simply not fit to cycle and needs to condition himself and pace everything to build the muscle needed to be used on the terrain of choice.. "it's not-a-hard."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairbanks007 View Post
    .I evaluate these things for a living all day long, 5 days per week, and have for over 20 years. What the OP is reporting is not a normal response to exercise for a person of any age, let alone an allegedly active 28 y.o.

    ... If his problems are persisting despite addressing the first two possibilities, and he says they are, he needs to see a physician.
    This was my response several weeks ago and it's been ignored. OP has not returned with an update, so I hope he's OK.

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