Question: I’m new to road riding after years of BMX racing and mountain biking. I get pain in my knee when I ride long and hard. It’s the patella that hurts, not the tendon. What’s the cause? — David C.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Patellar pain can result from several things. In your case, it might be simple overuse combined with a position on the road bike that’s new to you.
Usually, pain on the front of the knee means the saddle is too low.
Or, it could stem from incorrect lateral adjustment of your cleats. This might be the case even if your cleats allow your feet to “float.”
Finally, too many hills in an overly large gear can cause the pain you describe.
Visit a qualified bike shop, cycling coach or physical therapist who specialize in bike fitting to make sure your bike fits properly. If your saddle height and cleat position check out, and you’re spinning moderate gears, have your knee examined by a cycling-knowledgeable physician.
Read more about knee pain and cycling:
Got knee pain? It might be your bike fit.
In researching Bike Fit 101: Your Toolset for a Great Bike Fit, Schultz read all of the books and articles from the best fitters and, combined with his own experiences as a GURU-certified bike fitter, he created a best-of-the-best bike-fitting process in the form of a step-by-step how-to manual that you can use to do a bike fit yourself, or fine-tune your fit.
But this book is more than that. It also provides a toolset for those of you who prefer to work with a professional fitter. It shows you how to find a quality fitter, and how to work with that fitter to get the best possible fit for your cycling goals and needs. If you approach a professional bike fit with the toolset and knowledge gleaned from this eBook, you’ll be prepared to work with your fitter in much more of a two-way relationship – enhancing the likelihood of a great bike fit for you.
Coach Fred Matheny is an RBR co-founder who has four decades of road cycling and coaching experience. He has written 14 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach Fred Matheny, including the classic Complete Book of Road Bike Training, which includes 4 eBooks comprising 250 pages of timeless, detailed advice and training plans. The Complete Book is one of the many perks of an RBR Premium Membership. Click to read Fred's full bio.