Wheel-plane crossing

My question is about the legs contacting the wheel during a ride. Last year when I was experimenting with a 36 inch unicycle I noticed that my knees or shins would sometimes brush against the wheel. The contact was brief, just a fraction of a second each time, and very light, sometimes barely noticeable, never hard enough to disturb the ride.

Today during a short (1.25 mile) ride on my 29er I was aware that my legs were often crossing the plane of the wheel, though no contact occurred because of the smaller wheel.

What does this say about my riding? Is this an indication of some problem I can work on, or is it actually a normal occurrence and not a problem? So far I don’t perceive it to be a problem because it has never threatened to disturb my ride. I would only perceive it to be a problem if more experienced riders were to tell me it’s a symptom of some basic defect in my posture or motion.

For now it’s not a big deal, but if you continue to ride this way, it could cause knee problems later on.

Ideally you want to keep your knees in line w/ your feet. Allowing your knees to frequently go in or outside of your feet, more stress will be put on that joint.

A while after I learned, my knees would sometimes hurt, especially when I got to tricky sections. I then noticed my knees often whent to the inside, esp. at those tricky sections. I then started keeping my knees in line w/ my feet like I was told in weight training back in high school, and as long as I did this, I had no pain. It took me a couple of months of regularly looking down and checking during rides before it became automatic.

Edit: if you continue as you have been, you could possibly go on forever w/o any problems, but from the accumulated stress, you could seriously injure your knee from some mild mishap - “the straw that breaks the camel’s back”.

I think it says that you’ve become relaxed in your riding. Concentrating might be the key.

Personally, I only ever bump my leg on the wheel going up hills or when my legs will no longer support me. The forceful twisting motion that I use to get up steep inclines pulls the wheel toward my leg; The same is true when I keep slowing to a crawl because my legs have had enough. It can be avoided by maintaining better posture. Concentrating on keeping the knees pointed forwards and just as importantly, bracing up through the abdominal muscles to keep the upper body straight really reduces the amount that the knees move in. It’s a tough balance between good technique and actually getting up the hill.

It’s been much less of an issue for me these past 2 months because of either shorter cranks or a higher seatpost. I don’t know for certain which part caused this, but I exchanged the really long 17cm Qu-ax stock cranks for 14.5cm; at the same time I raised my seatpost to keep my legs more extended than I was used to. The knee rubbing problem has vanished on all but the steepest of hills. I do wonder if it’s down to being able to maintain a greater momentum on the incline. The long cranks required quite a thrust from every pedal action to keep momentum going as there was a noticeable slowing as I passed through the dead-spot, whereas I’ve a fairly constant speed of rotation with the shorter cranks.

When I first got my KH29 I noticed that I could stop the roll back on a roll back mount by touching my shin against the side of the tire. I stopped doing it because I was wanting to learn to mount “properly”, but…

Interesting you should point that out, as I discovered with my 36er experiments last year that freemount practice was killing my right knee. I now have the rule that if I can’t freemount a 36er in three tries I have to find another way or take a break, to save my knee. I’ll take to heart your advice and try keeping the knee in line with the feet while riding, I don’t really want to press my luck with the knees.

Wow, that would be nice! I’m not aware of being relaxed, but perhaps I’m getting close. Your comments about crank length are interesting and I’ll think about that to see if I get a similar experience when I go to shorter cranks, (sometime in the indefinite future).

but…did you ever manage to get it “properly”? :wink:

I’m not sure why, but when I moved from 26 to 29 (and then 36), I abandoned the roll back in favor of something along the lines of a static mount. I think I instinctively felt that the roll back was impossible, or maybe just impractical, on the larger wheels. My static mount is getting good on the 29 inch, approaching 60% success rate. The 36 is more troublesome, I can get a running mount about 5 percent of the time, with zero success rate on any other mount, (except the “hang onto a signpost” mount). I have decided to concentrate on the 29er until I can freemount it effortlessly without thinking, and then try to extend that to the 36er.