Two summers ago I spent some money and got a proper bike fitting. For those of you who don’t bike, biking long distances, or fast, or fast for long distances is a little bit different than jumping on a bike and going around the block. What a bike fitting does is set the seat height, the forward backward seat location, length of the handlebar stem, etc. That allows the geometry of your body to work with the bike. It made a huge difference in my riding. I felt stronger and more comfortable on long rides.
One of the things that we did when I got my bike fitting was add orthopedic inserts into my shoes. My arches were collapsing when I peddled which can put pressure on your knees and hips.
Last summer I started to have trouble with my left knee. I blamed that on running. (I don’t really like running, so it was an easy blame.) The knee started hurting about when I started to run longer distances. So right around the time I raced in the Wilmington Whiteface 100 race I stopped riding. And a weird thing happened.
Nope, my knee didn’t get better. (Tricked you eh!) It stayed sore all summer. Not so much that I couldn’t ride, just enough that I knew it was there and I had to take it a little easy when I was riding.
Then this fall it dawned on me. My knee started hurting when I started mountain biking hard in the spring. I replicated the geometry from my road bike. That shouldn’t be the problem. And then the light bulb went (the rest of the way) on. My shoes. The one pair of biking shoes that I never had inserts in was my MTB shoes. So I moved the inserts between my shoes (so I wouldn’t have to buy them if they didn’t help) depending if I was riding road or mountain.
That was it. Knee pain went away. (Of course I have now jinxed myself, sigh.)
So, the take home message is properly fit equipment matters. If you bike, and if you have not had your bike professionally fit, do it. It’s totally worth it.