Last Sunday I rode 32 miles of Puget Sound’s typical up-and-down topography, and when I got home, I felt it in every muscle I had. I walked yesterday to change it up, and today’s ride was the first since the long ride.
I thought I was still suffering issues from the extra long ride, as my knees were both hurting so badly I had to warm up with a very slow pace for a couple miles before they were ready to exercise. I thought it was early signs of arthritis in my knees. Then I remembered my most recent trip to the bike shop.
I recently bought my daughter a used bike and helmet for a very early Christmas present. She had been looking for a compelling outdoor exercise and, not having a car, she could get around better by bike. I watched as the bike shop employee carefully adjusted her seat to the right height for her. I suddenly realized that is probably my problem.
A proper seat height, the guy at the bike shop said, should accommodate you sitting with your full weight on the seat. At the bottom stroke of the pedal, your leg should be more or less fully extended with the heel flat on the pedal, without leaning over to do it. Any shorter the seat could over-stress your knees, he said, while if adjusted too high, could cause you to strain just to pedal.
I found my seat could be raised almost a full inch with that measurement, and I raised it midway through my ride. The rest of the ride was a breeze– it was almost like I had renewed knees!