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I think Ive been getting a cramp in my right quad. I assume its a cramp, but ive never had one before.

I bike 10 miles per day 5 days per week. I always ride the same way (to and from work). On one particular stretch (comm ave in boston) i usually try go about 25mph the whole way. This is where i get the cramp.

It started happening last week and just assumed it was because of the colder weather. Is there anything i can to prevent it from happening?

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See this thread. – Daniel R Hicks Oct 2 '12 at 22:55
up vote 7 down vote accepted

There are a number of reasons you could be cramping - if that is, in fact, what it is.

  • You are not properly warmed up before exerting yourself
  • You are exceeding your limit of fitness
  • You are not properly hydrated
  • You have not eaten enough food to fuel your ride

Without additional information it's really hard to diagnose something like this, but those are some common causes of cramping during a ride or any athletic activity. You may also look at your technique to see if you are favoring one side over another or have a setup that is not ideal.

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Food and hydration, +1 – heltonbiker Oct 2 '12 at 18:54
hmm, i did drink tequila each night before and didnt optimally hydrate myself thereafter. ill not drink tonight and see if the problem persists – mkoryak Oct 2 '12 at 19:23
The next question is...have you ever been hungover before? Because drinking tequila then exercising the next day usually sucks. – Brad Oct 2 '12 at 20:34
I have positively confirmed insufficient hydration as the cause of my cramps. So I agree with this answer. Something else that helps is to be in a correct potasium level. Here in my country you resolve that easily by eating a banana prior to a race or ride. Eat another during the ride if the ride takes longer than 2 hours of continuous pedalling. – Jahaziel Oct 2 '12 at 21:02
As mentioned below, hydration can be a big factor (typically around the lack of salts in your body). For me it is because I am usually low in magnesium so I will often have a magnesium supplement in advance of a big race or enduro ride. The other thing that I have found can bring on cramps quite quickly is poor fit of bike (as mentioned below; usually a saddle being too low). The way I adjust my saddle is to place my heal on the pedal at full leg extension. If my knee is slightly bent I raise the seat, if I can't reach I lower it until I can. – Dan Oct 4 '12 at 10:53

It might be due to your saddle not being high enough.

I had a similar problem with my left quad and found that making the saddle higher on my bike resolved the problem.

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Make sure you are hydrated before you begin any ride in any weather and carry additional water, Gatorade or other favorite hydration drink. A snack like an energy bar may also help. Make sure you seat is adjusted properly! Your saddle height should be high enough that your knees are directly over the ball of your foot at the bottom of the peddal stroke. If your leg is nearly straight, then you're likely "reaching" on the pedal stroke and your hips will be "rocking" in the saddle. This will cause stress on your quad muscles. If you don't use either "peddal cages" or clip peddals so you can lift up with one leg as the other leg is pushing down on the opposite pedal, this can cause fatigue in your legs. You may have to experiment for awhile to see what works or doesn't work, so keep a record of possible "cures."

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I have heard all of the reasons for getting cramps such as not enough electrolytes, not enough fluids, heat along with all of the fixes but the one that actually is the biggest cause and the hardest to swallow is not enough saddle time. Back when I was riding a lot, I would get cramps on every long ride that I went with the fast group or when I attacked a hill at the end of a 60 mile ride. More miles and harder miles fixed that problem.

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When you exercise more, and especially when you exercise to where the muscles are pretty exhausted, as they recover and rebuild they store more glycogen. The extra stored glycogen makes it possible to exercise even longer the next time. (The trick is to not overdo and damage the muscles due to metabolic exhaustion.) – Daniel R Hicks Oct 5 '12 at 0:54

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