Learning to idle, is it supposed to hurt your knees so much?

I am a runner and mountain & road biker, so I use my knees quite a bit and have legs that are in shape but the idling thing hurts!
Am I doing it wrong or do you switch off from leg to to leg a lot? My downward knee gets a few back & forths in and then it just hurts from the pressure I am applying to the downward pedal.
I am 3 weeks in(will be 4 on Thursday).
I can ride frontwards a great distance on flat, decent incline, and mild decline. I can stall and go. I can hop. I can freemount.

Suggestions? I know idling is an important skill, isn’t it?
I’m not looking to do tricks really, just end up being able to ride a decent distance(6-8 miles) and muni my local singletrack.
Can I get away with not idling and just hopping or stalling with a 3&9 pedal rock?

The importance of idling would depend on what kind of riding you do. With muni, I don’t think you would really be doing a lot of idling itself, but learning to idle gives you the ability to react in a different (and often less strenuous) way than hopping.

It sounds like you’re putting too much pressure on the pedal when you idle, you shouldn’t be pushing any harder than you do when you pedal. The motion should be fluid and easy. Obviously, it won’t start out that way, but it will get that way as time goes on.

Try easing up on the force you’re exerting. Maybe your arc is too small which is causing you to jerk the idle back and forth. Try doing a bigger arc. Your crank should be fairly close to horizontal at the top of the arc, front and back. Your foot should move up and slow as it approaches horizontal, and then slowly start back down, allowing the momentum to carry the pedal back up the other side. The speed should not be constant, but more like a pendulum.

You could check your seat height too, but if that was the problem I would think it would show while riding too

I hope that helps

I’ll try easing my stance a bit tomorrow. It is weird, since most people refer to idling as giving you a break and being a way to catch your breath. I thought the opposite! Hardest thing I have tried to learn so far.

I was going to ask a similar question. I don’t have pain in my knees, but I find that I keep easing my rear out of the seat. Gradually, I find that I’m standing on the pedals with very little if any pressure on the seat. Does that mean the seat needs to come up more or do I just need to sit down? I do find that everything is easier when I remember sit down. I also feel more steady.

you can always raise the seat post

If you experience pain in your knees when you idle but not ride my only explanation is that the seat post is to low. And you also need to put nearly all you weight on the seat and not stand on the pedals themselves. I have never had that problem but I know that if your’e riding with the seat too low(as in not doing tricks), for long periods your knees will get pretty sore. I rode a giraffe unicycle in a parade, after just learning to ride it and freemount it, so I rode with it low so I could free mount it easier, and it was a fairly long parade, and later that evening my knees were really sore until the next day. A tip that helped me idle is to just figure out how to idle backwards one time, then after doing that try to only pedal forward once and do it again. This will help you become more comfortable with the one stroke, and then slowly add more idle strokes. Don’t practice holding onto something it won’t help either.

Raised my seat. That helped! Raised it again to barely a bend in my leg and then everything went to the crapper! Too much side to side shifting in the seat for me with it that high(at least right now) which made me fall constantly.
So I put it back down to the first seat raise mark and that was perfect. Not only could I idle without knee issues, but I could ride and mount and balance much better.
That was the help I needed! Thanks guys!