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I add to the recommendation for a good bike fit. I have arthritis in both knees and have to have a good fit or I suffer. You might have to bring it back to the LBS as few times so they can adjust the fitting for you.
If you have access to gym, I have found it helpful to strengthen the muscles that support the knees. The exercises that can do that are:
Check out Exrx.net, one of my favorite sites, for great exercises including a video of how to do them, and information about exercise.
Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped.
Getting a good fit is an excellent idea! Be sure you go to a reputable shop with an experience pro fitter.
FYI, Most people do seem to start out with the seat too low - a lot of places set them that way for beginners as it is easier to get on an off the bike safely. Get the fit and ride a few times to see how it goes. Changing the seat position will definitely change the physical aspects of your cycling - and even if the new position is "right" it may seem uncomfortable until you get used to it.
Proper seat height will be much more comfortable once you get used to it, and it will allow you to generate quite a bit more power as you cycle.
well that's good news you think it is doable! :)
I am excited about it!!
I will definitely a professional to take a look at my bike fit. actually I am getting a new bike soon. I am excited about that too! :-) right now I have a hybrid... it was ok last year for my 1.5-mile commute but painful for anything more than a few miles.
50 miles by July shouldn't be a problem, assuming you have no medical problems that prevent it. My coach says you can safely increase your mileage by 20% per week. Grinding up hills in too high of a gear is a real killer on knees. Be sure to downshift on those hills. Good Luck.
The most common cause of knee pain in cycling is not the amount of riding but the fit of your bike; I highly recommend you take the time to find a local bike shop that does bike fitting. 50 miles is very do-able unless you are on a department store bike in which case your LBS will get you set up on something you can actually use consistently; invest some money in cycling and it will be worth every penny.
The 2nd possibility is your cadence - grinding away slowly in big gears. Time yourself for 15 seconds and make sure that you do most of your riding in a gear light enough to count to 20 (80 rpm).
"Learning is a lifelong privilege. Pursue it with passion and zeal, and watch the wonder fill your world." Sanjiv Chopra, MD
Unless there is something medically wrong with your knees, a 50-miler in July is a reasonable goal, I think - unless maybe there are a lot of hills to go up. Your plan is very conservative, IMHO, but I can't tell you how your knees are going to feel after riding. I think everybody's knees hurt a little now and them...
When I started going longer distances, I bought a copy of Coach Fred Matheny's Basic Training Guide for road cycling (check out www.roadbikerider.com) and used a lot of the tips in there. I found the book very useful. Off-the-bike training to strengthen your leg muscles will help your knees and some core strength training will help you tolerate longer distances.
Regards, and best of luck...
I just started cycling last summer but haven't ridden all winter ...
I want to ride in a fundraiser event July 19 ... 50 miles in one day.
I aerobically in shape, but my knees feel weird if I make big increases in distance so I want to start small and work up to long distances slowly. I went cycling today and went 3 miles ... so yeah, that is pretty shameful but that would be my starting point.
please tell me if this is not a realistic plan! I won't be heartbroken if it's not. There is another one in September that I could aim for instead if that would be more realistic. I haven't registered yet for either of them. I would like to ride with my friend on July 19 but I also don't want to mess up my knees.
In a spreadsheet it looks like if I start with 13 miles a week this week, with a weekly "long ride" of 1/3 the total miles per week, and if I increase mileage 12% per week, then I can just barely have enough time to work up to a 50-mile long ride. but that is cutting it close. :P