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Adjust Your Bike Seat to Avoid Knee Pain

Added to the list of the many things I didn’t know about bikes: how to sit on them. I know, it sounds obvious, but apparently my seat was too low. My knee has been aching the last few weeks, and when I did some research online I found out that it was either because my seat was too low or my gear was too high. Probably a combination of both.

My leg should be at 80–90% extension.

My seat was so low that I could stand flat-footed on one side when I stopped at lights. Apparently it should be high enough that with my foot on the pedal at its lowest, my leg should be straight, but my knee shouldn’t be locked. (My knees tend to hyperextend.) With the seat up that high I have to balance precariously on tip-toe when I stop, but it does feel easier to pedal. And I find that I sit more upright.

I had also become a little bit 3rd-gear-happy since I got comfortable with it. It’s a pain to downshift and upshift every block at stop signs, so I’d just been leaving it in a higher gear unless I was actually on an incline. I’ve stayed in lower gears this week, “spinning” faster, at around 80–90 rpm. It seems to have made a difference. Hopefully my knee pain will go away entirely. I’ll let you know.

One year ago: Dishcloths vs. Sponges.

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