Cycling is one of the most beneficial and fulfilling hobbies you can do. Not only is it lower impact than running, it is highly aerobic, raising your heart rate without putting as much strain on your body as other exercises. However, as with all physical activity, it’s important that you take the proper precautions to protect your well-being. By following these tips, you can ensure you ride your eBike without ending up with knee pain at the end of the day. Want to learn more about electric bicycles? Want to give one a test ride? Come to The eBike Store in Portland to see what all the buzz is about!
-Keep Your Knees Straight
The number one way people end up with sore knees after a bike ride is if they aren’t making sure their form is right. When you pedal, you should do it in perfect circles, with your knees aligned and straight. When your knees wobble or move to the side — both inwards or outwards — it places increased stress on the cartilage within your knees. It causes the cartilage and your kneecap to rub together, which can damage them and become quite uncomfortable. If you keep your pedaling as straight and circular as possible, you’ll minimize that stress.
-Keep a Decent Speed
Maintaining a decent speed is important when riding, as it helps you to keep a fluid motion when pumping your knees and legs. Experts have reported that pedaling under 60 RPM (revolutions per minute) can be dangerous. The recommendation is to stay above 80 RPM if possible. You can maintain this speed by ensuring you are in the proper gear, as that will help you avoid going faster than you’re comfortable with. This makes the pedal assistance provided by an eBike especially helpful, as it will help you keep a steady speed without putting increased strain on your knees.
-Be Aware of Your “Float”
This entry is mostly focused on people who ride with clip-in pedals, but it can make a great deal of difference. The “float” of your foot position should match the natural angle of your feet and ankles. If your legs are angled too sharply, tension will radiate throughout your legs, which increases the pressure placed on your knees as you ride. It’s recommended to keep your float under 4.5 degrees for the best results.
-Move Back a Bit
While we touched on proper form a bit in discussing your knee positioning, where you sit on your bike has an impact on your knees as well. When you ride too closely to your handlebars, it puts your knees at a more aggressive angle, leading to increased strain and pain. Sit a bit further back on your seat, make sure your feet are firmly and properly planted on your pedals, and you should notice an immediate difference.
-Try Kinesio Tape
If your knees are extra sensitive, be it from old injuries or other afflictions, it might be worth your time to try kinesio or elastic therapeutic tape. It attaches to your muscles and joints, helping to maintain proper knee alignment. Instead of traditional athletic tape, which can hinder movement, kinesio tape mimics skin, which gives you a wider range of movement and has been clinically proven to reduce pain. By opening up your range of motion, it allows your muscles and joints to stay in position in a more comfortable way.
-Know Your Limits
When you’re out for a ride, it can be easy to get carried away. When you don’t understand your limits, you’re likely to push yourself too hard and end up injured. This mentality has been touted for many years, with a lot of athletes being praised for “pushing through the pain”. The problem with that mentality is that pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. When you ignore those warning signs, you will exacerbate the problem, turning something small into a serious injury. If you’re feeling a serious pain, don’t try to tough it out. On an eBike, utilize the pedal assistance to take a break and rest your legs. Then, once the pain goes away, you’re free to start pedaling again.
-Stretch it Out
Whenever you’re going to be exercising or engaging in physical activity, it’s incredibly important to stretch before and after. This helps to loosen up your joints and muscles, preparing them for the activity. When joints and muscles haven’t been stretched, they will be tight and tense, making them more inclined to be injured. Some good stretches to do to prepare your legs for a bike ride include:
- Lunging hip flexor stretch
- Figure four stretch
- Standing hamstring stretch
- Calf stretch
- Quad stretch
- Kneeling quad stretch
- Side lunge
You can see detailed instructions and pictures of these stretches here.
Starting to ride a bike is a fantastic way to get in shape and take control of your health. Your safety needs to be at the top of your list when starting to ride, so keep these tips in mind to avoid coming home with aching knees. Safety doesn’t start and end with your knees, though. It’s just as important to make sure you’re always wearing a helmet and that you know the rules of the road to ensure you are safe when riding around other cars and bicyclists. As you no doubt noted, many of the entries here brought up how an electric bike can help ease the strain on your knees. If you would like to learn more about electric bicycles, call The eBike Store today!