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During the last 2 months, I rode on my road bike for a few times (about 7 times) a way that is about 60 km (37.282 mi) long. Two days before, when I did this ride, after the midst of it, I started to fill very comfortable regarding the effort that I needed to put on pedaling, even though I started to pedal on the harder gear speed. Almost the hardest on my bike. The ride was beautiful and amazing, I did it in a very good time. Now comes the problem - I don't really think it's a problem, but I want to meet any possible bad thing that can happen if I can do this. After I rode, my feet feel a kind of weary, but especially my knees. It's not pain. I'm just weary on my knees. When I sit on chair or bad (before to sleep), I feel very comfortable with my knees, it's a sensation of total relaxing on my knees. I have to underline that I'm not very trained, and this is the majority of time in the last two months that I spent on my bike. Before, I rode only on my little town with my city bike.

I'm interested if anyone experienced this before, and if this is due to the lack of train mostly or if it's due to bad saddle fit. Any other possible issues?

N.B. I know I must check for saddle position. Actually I'm searching for the best fit that I can have, but because in my town I don't have a specialist in this area, I have to document myself for getting the best fit.

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What was your average cadence? A very hard gear with low cadence can be painful for your knees. –  Eric Smekens Jul 4 at 6:36
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As regards saddle height, you have the bike already so you can probably make a lot of progress by trial and error. Your leg should be not-quite-straight at the bottom of your stroke. Start from there, and when you next go out on a ride take the necessary tools to adjust the seat post, you should be able to get a decent fit by feel alone. –  PeteH Jul 4 at 6:52
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If there was a problem with forward/back position I'd expect this to lead to reach-type problems. Upper arm, shoulder, that kind of thing. –  PeteH Jul 4 at 7:33
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Pedaling with a "harder" gear can be damaging to the knees, as can riding with your seat too low. The two together is especially bad. A simple rule of thumb for cadence is to pedal at least as fast as you breathe, and try to get your cadence to 2x your respiration rate. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 4 at 12:51
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Just in case it's unclear, "cadence" means the rate at which you turn the pedals, measured in revolutions per minute. A cadence of 60 (which is about the minimum you should ever do when doing serious riding) is one full revolution of the pedals per second. For a young, healthy individual who aspires to be a better cyclist, a cadence of 80-90 is a good target. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 4 at 12:53

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

If you ride further or faster than you're used to, then some weariness in the legs is normal and should pass within a couple of days. I rode my biggest ride to date a couple of weeks ago and when I got home I nearly lost my balance walking around the house as my legs were a bit weaker than I expected. With a couple of days rest they were back to normal, however.

Besides rest, what can help your recovery is static stretching (not bouncing or bobbing). Here are some suggestions for knee stretches.

As others have suggested, a higher cadence (therefore a lower gear) may help, even if you can't measure it precisely. I have a knee injury from running, so I change down a gear the moment it gets uncomfortable.

For bike fit, trial and error can work well, here's a link to some simple bike-fit tips which may help you move in the right direction.

All that said, if discomfort becomes pain you should obviously stop doing what hurts and get advice from a physio, ideally one with cycling expertise.

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very comprehensive answer to my question. Thanks! –  artaxerxe Jul 4 at 11:07
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Is that a typo? I think (and Paul and Eric say) that low cadence is a problem. Low cadence puts more load the knee per stoke, high cadence reduces the load and usually reduces soreness. –  andy256 Jul 4 at 12:16
    
Yep, a higher cadence may very well help. The OP's problem sounds like a combo of low cadence and too-low seat position. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 4 at 12:49
    
Yes, thanks. Corrected now! –  James Bradbury Jul 4 at 17:47
    
I always knew running was bad for you ;-) –  PeteH Jul 4 at 19:23

Great answer from James, let me just add a really quick tip. Before you go and read 1000 articles about riding position, just try the following:

  • Raise the saddle a tiny bit. Most people ride way too low, and that just leads to knee problems if you start riding greater distances. I know it made a huge difference for me.
  • Increase the cadence so you never feel like you have to "push hard". Pushing hard can be good training, but only do it if your knees feel comfortable.

Those should alleviate most of your problems. Other than that, you might just have been exhausted.

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+1 Both good points –  andy256 Jul 11 at 10:48
    
@andy256 - Which were already mentioned, of course. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 11 at 11:27
    
Whoops Daniel, just saw you wrote exactly the same. Here goes for not reading ;) –  Huffman Jul 14 at 14:36

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