So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been working on upping my average speed on my 36er - right now on some rides I can average 11mph, whereas maybe 2 months ago I was lucky to hit 9.5 on a fast ride. But after I had started this, I got crazy knee pain. First it was the left knee, but that went away, and my right knee started hurting. That’s actually gone away too, and I sort of figured it was because I’m overdoing the sprint-speeds a bit.
However, I’ve noticed something weird. I’m pedalling with my right foot barely hanging onto the edge of the pedal. I’ve ALWAYS had a feeling, on all 3 of my unis, that my right foot never quite grips the pedal as well as my left, so I don’t think this is anything new at all. The weirder part is, if I look down to my right foot while riding, it looks like my leg is bending outwards from the knee down. It looks almost contorted
Soo yeah. Is this something that needs sorting? I would like it to be sorted purely for the ‘right foot not gripping well’ aspect, but obviously if it’s slowly causing my knees to wreck themselves I want it sorted for that too.
Has anyone else had this? How did you go about fixing it?
That’s a strange problem. It makes me wonder how much q factor your cranks have. If you are running lower q factor crank getting a new set with more might help some. It surely can’t be good to ride bow legged.
What kind of pedals do you use? When your knee is hurting this could be caused by foot placement which does not feel natural.
When pedaling the my feet try to angle out. This is natural for me since i walk in the same way. So somehow my feet tend to migrate outward. This often feels wrong when unicycling. I did experiment with spiked pedals but ended up hating then. The problem is that the orientation of the feet are too fixed and it is almost impossible to get the orientation right when mounting or free mounting. This is a problem when riding off-road.
I prefer to use shoes with a stacked heel allowing rotation and at the same time stop my feet from sliding off. I also have flat shoes with a friction rubber (like 5.10) combined with friction medals (i have MKS PVC PEDALS PB 390) which also allow some rotation and movement but prevent unwanted sliding.
maybe this can solve your problem
I could also be that the cranks are too short requiring too much pressure. I have a 36" with 100 mm cranks but had some knee problems when riding uphill or in high winds.
I’m using qu-ax cranks (125mm) which don’t have much q-factor at all. Unfortunately I’m not really in any position to be spending up on the more expensive cranks!
I’m using some Onza bear trap style pedals they’re plenty grippy when my foot sits correctly on them, as evidenced by my left foot not sliding around
This sounds similar to my problem. If I look down and force my right foot to sit straight, it feels really weird and my foot will subconsciously sneak back to its spot halfway off the edge.
Alrighty, so I usually use heavy work boots that have a decent heel on them. But I’ve recently switched to my SPD shoes (usually without the cleats in!) Because they’re much lighter and don’t limit my ankle movement. They do not however have much of a heel on them, which I usually use to keep my feet still. I’ve tried going back to my boots but it seems I pedal with my foot hanging off with these too.
Hmm. This sounds alright - I’m not sure this is a good idea though, as it sort of supports the bow-legged riding idea. I don’t really want to continue doing that, even if it does mean my foot actually plants on the pedal comfortably
My problem isn’t the ability to adjust my feet, it’s that my foot seems to default to a weird halfway-off-pedal position, and any attempt to change that position messes up my riding style and my foot will creep over to the edge anyway, where it’ll then sit at a funny angle because it’s not flat on the pedal.
EDIT: I should note that I am hoping for solutions involving me, and not unicycle modifications! Seeing as most ~125mm cranks seem to be zero or very low q-factor anyway, and so any uni mods would involve a new frame/wheel (Nimbus Oracle frames are wider than Qu-Ax/KH aren’t they), which is obviously not ideal.
I noticed that a lot of people out there have weird knee motion. I ride my b**e to work everyday and often follow people. Not the jersey dudes who think they’re doing the Tour de France, just regular guys and girls going to work. It happens to a lot of people, and it’s pretty obvious when you follow them: their knee don’t stay aligned with the hip and the foot, halfway through the pushing motion, they shift to the outside.
And I noticed that I do it too, a little (and mainly on the right knee). I don’t know if it’s just because we’re human and not perfect, or it’s just the dominant foot taking over.
Pro cyclists spend hours on the spinning machine to get the most perfect pedaling motion. Maybe that’s a direction, if you really want to improve your performances.
I remember one of the best riders out there in Paris saying that when he want to spin super fast, he tends to put his feet slightly inward, along with the knees.
Alrighty, quick update - tomorrow I did a pretty long ride - it was almost 50 miles! And the ENTIRE way, I had this foot problem. In fact, by the end of it, my foot was aching and I felt like my ankle had fallen asleep. Woke up today and it feels alright.
Tonight, I went out and just did a quick 7 miles, but this time I changed my shoes back to my ol’ trusty workboots. SAME PROBLEM but at least this time I know it’s not the shoes.
Tomorrow I’m gonna fasten my cleats back on my shoes and go ride my 2-wheeler. Maybe a change for a few days will do me good
On a unicycle you obviously want to avoid randomly waving mass around. I learnt to ride on a uni with a seat that was way too low for me making my knees move around a lot and change my weight distribution. I realised very early that I should keep my knees really straight to avoid wobbling.
The importance of straight pedalling also becomes more evident with longer cranks because of the longer movements of the large masses in the legs. One of the efficiencies of a higher saddle is the reduction in the movement of reciprocating mass.
Do you do any soft tissue work? If not, I would buy a 6" diameter piece of PVC pipe (or a foam roller if your really stiff) and roll around on it. Most likely, you’ve got tight hips anyway. If one side is tighter than the other, you’ll notice a difference in the amount of pain that you’re experiencing on that side when you find a trigger point or tissue adhesion.
With strength sports, imbalances are often observable when squatting. They typically result in the knees appearing to track in different planes. This seems pretty similar to what you’re experiencing when you ride your unicycle. If you’re looking for a place to start, I’d try the upper quads, the sides of your thighs, and your glutes.
Thanks for the advice! I have no idea what ‘soft tissue work is’ so I’ll assume I don’t do it :o My exercise regime consists of unicycling… and errm, more unicycling, with the occasional 2-wheeled ride when I need to be somewhere either fast, far away or without sweating like a pig.
I’ll look around the house for a PVC pipe - there’s probably one around here! As well as starting to do a few stretches before/after riding. Nothing crazy, just the usual cyclist ones to shake the stiffness out yer legs!
My dad has recommended I ride my 2-wheeler more too - I have my SPD pedals on it, so I can click in and force my legs to pedal straight… which sounds a bit painful, but I suppose it could help a bit.
Also if you ride on a trainer, you can look in a mirror and see if your knees are inline with your feet, I have a friend who trains this way and he says it helps him not get sloppy at the end of a session.
I use them on the right pedals of my bicycles but haven’t found a need for them on my unicycles, although my right foot does occasionally migrate outward. If you put one on your bicycle, adjust the cleat to allow your foot to angle naturally. They work great for me.
Unfortunately I don’t have a bike trainer to ride on. This sounds like a good idea though
Are you sure this is a good idea? It sort of seems like it’s just going to keep me pedalling bent! The main problem for me seems to be that my shin is flaring outwards from the knee down. The fact that it causes my foot to hang off the pedal is a secondary problem