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Sore knees when on Greenspeed GTO

Old 06-22-18, 07:42 PM
  #1  
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Sore knees when on Greenspeed GTO

I have given a friend (160 kg weight and about 6'2") the use of my Greenspeed GTO in an effort to help him lose weight and get some exercise. He has disc issues with a back injury and cannot use a diamondback bicycle for exercise. A dealer made initial adjustments and my friend seemed to be OK with the initial adjustments.

With using the GTO, my friend says his knees get sore so he has stopped using it - and thus stopped exercising as a part of his "supposed" weight loss program. He also stopped his ketogenic diet.....

Any suggestions about making adjustments to reduce knee soreness, or is this just something else - a basic lack of commitment perhaps.... I would really like him to get exercise with the GTO, otherwise I might as well sell it.
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Old 06-22-18, 07:53 PM
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Other than the obvious of making sure the leg extension is correct, and making sure your friend knows how to use the gearing (and select a reasonable route) to prevent high torque pedaling, I am not sure what solutions we could offer with so little to go on.

Some folks just want an excuse because they are afraid to do the work to get better.
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Old 06-23-18, 03:38 PM
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Since the fit was somewhat close at least, the most likely cause of sore knees is not shifting properly. High cadences are not natural for first-timers, especially overweight first-timers. You might need to give him some extra coaching.
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Old 06-23-18, 09:05 PM
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+1 to being a masher. That's a great way to get sore knees. Try getting your friend to get back on the GTO and using lower gears. I own a 2001 GS GTO and never got sore knees in many thousands of miles over 9 years of riding it. I'm careful to use the right gear range to keep from stressing my knees. It may also be more the fact that it is hard to ride even a fine trike like this one when you start out until you develop the muscles it take to ride one. It could also be that he would rather be a couch potato.
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Old 06-24-18, 09:01 AM
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The other possible issue I can think of would be pedal width. Overweight people (whose legs will be fat too) will need to have a wider stance, with more toe-out and a wider Q. Pedal Extenders might be necessary.
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Old 07-03-18, 11:30 AM
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A friend of mine rode a Bachetta and initially had knee issues. She eventually deduced it was the angle involved in her seat placement- not a closer-nearer arrangement of the pedals relative to the seat. Anyway, it liked to have drove her crazy before she got it figured out. She had done 1200ks before that and did them afterwards, too, so she was a high-mileage rider and still had problems.

Regardless, people can look for solutions or they can look for excuses. If you quit Bike A and ride Bike B or take up hiking or something, that's a sign of looking for solutions. If you quit Bike A and sit on your butt, that's a sign of looking for excuses. People can change what they do if they want to, but I've never heard of anyone having much luck getting other people to change against their will. If you could nag people into fitness, we'd all be pretty buff.
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Old 07-03-18, 01:06 PM
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The seat on a Greenspeed GTO is fixed in place. You can't adjust the seat angle. The only adjustment is the length of the boom. The GTO came in more than one frame size so there is a limit to how much you can adjust it for different heights.
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Old 07-07-18, 03:56 PM
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I agree with a previous poster that using a high gear leads to sore knees.
I'm 76 and because of some leg injury, I am back on my Catrike.
I have a tendency to ride in the highest gear because I think I am strong and want to go a fast as I used to on my diamond frame.
But doing so will give knee pain. So I back off and even though I feel at times as though I am just spinning, my knees are good.
Suggestion: Ride behind him and look at the rear derailleur gear he is using and advise him to gear down.
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Old 07-13-18, 04:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Cadillac View Post
I agree with a previous poster that using a high gear leads to sore knees.
I'm 76 and because of some leg injury, I am back on my Catrike.
I have a tendency to ride in the highest gear because I think I am strong and want to go a fast as I used to on my diamond frame.
But doing so will give knee pain. So I back off and even though I feel at times as though I am just spinning, my knees are good.
Suggestion: Ride behind him and look at the rear derailleur gear he is using and advise him to gear down.
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Old 09-04-18, 08:50 AM
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Sold the GTO to a fellow in Perth Australia. He commutes 40 km daily to/from work. No issues with sore knees. Finally the GTO is being used 😉 *
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Old 09-04-18, 02:24 PM
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What kind of dealer made the boom adjustment? Was it an experienced recumbent dealer or a typical DF dealer?
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Old 09-04-18, 02:44 PM
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This could be chrondomalcia patellae; the misalignment of the kneecap and wearing of the cartilage under. I was diagnosed with CP 40 years ago by a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon (in the back of a van at a cold bike race in New Hampshire. mid-March). He told me things then and in phone calls after the I didn't see again anywhere else for many years and never all of what he told me in one place. I wrote a summary of that and my journey since for another forum 15 years ago. I still have to abide by the "rules" set down there. And it I do, I can ride the week long Cycle Oregon on the mountain years on my fix gear - in my 60s.

CP is real, it is a curse, it is lifelong (until you get knee replacements) but if you play by the rules, you can still do a lot. Below is what I wrote years ago. Print it out for your friend.


Chrondomalacia patella. Yes, I can tell you a little about it. I was diagnosed in ’78 and given very good advice by the doctor (an orthopedic in sports medicine. He was also a novice bike racer, so he had more understanding of the cycling aspects of CP than most). I will do my best to pass on what he told me.
In CP, the kneecap is not aligned with the knee under it, hence there is chafing as the knee is moved. This causes wear, first to the cartilage, then to the bone under it. The wear accumulates with number of repetitions and pressure. At some point, the wear can cause permanent damage.

Some people are more prone to CP than others. It can be triggered by exercising in cold weather, exercising without adequate stretching of the hamstrings, i.e. touching your toes or less extreme stretches of the same tendons. It can be brought on by exercising without adequately strengthening the small quadriceps muscles just above the kneecap.
I brought on my CP by training to return my body to racing form after a very serious accident. (I was weak enough after my hospital stay that I was no match at 24 years old for any 7 yo.) The accident was in November, and I returned to riding miles in March. I did nothing to keep my knees especially warm and did no stretching exercises (rationalizing that since my leg never extended to anywhere near straight, there was no chance of injury, hence no need to stretch). I was wearing just full tights and thermal underwear under them in Boston. The temperature was probably not much above 30. The ride that started it was 100+ miles on my racing bike, my first outdoor ride on that bike. It had 175 cranks. My trainer, with fixed gear and very low BB, had 168’s. After the ride I had a dull pain in my mid to upper knee in front. That Saturday was the first race of the season. I was forced to drop out, my knees hurt so much.

After that race, the race promoter introduced me to an orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed me in the back of a cold van. He laid out for me then and in later phone calls a plan that I will pass on here.
He first stressed that I had to stretch my hamstrings, touch toes or lean forward against a wall or post with one leg back and straight and stretch that hamstring or sit and touch toes. I now prefer the lean forward method. Very specific and hard to hurt yourself. (I am now a 48 yo, I damage if I am not careful.)

Second, he had me sit on the floor and do leg raises. He had me raise one leg at a time and hold it several inches off the floor for a while (I don’t remember the time, but 15 secs should work. Important – while the leg is raised, tense up your quads big time and tense up those little quads just above and beside the kneecap. Feel for them and get to know them. It is those little guys that keep you kneecap aligned. If you are in riding shape, you can do this with say 5 pounds on your ankles, but the tensing up is much more important than the resistance.

Third, KEEP YOUR KNEES WARM WHEN YOU RIDE!! For me, this is critical. I wear these dumb looking “knee warmers” for most of my rides, always below 70 degrees, often under tights. Since keeping the hamstrings loose is important, I had to stretch the elastic. To keep them from falling down, I sewed on garters that I clip onto my shorts.

Fourth, back off riding until you have been doing these two things long enough to make a difference. Keep up the exercises and especially the stretches after you resume riding. Build up your riding slowly. The doctor stressed this to me and it has been very true. My ability to come into real form and resilience on the bike is limited more by my knees than by my lungs/muscles.
After rides, take aspirin or Ibuprofen to speed recovery. I personally think aspirin is better, that my knees recover more with it. I disagree with the ice. I have always felt that moving my knees when they are cold is causing the damage I am trying to avoid. Perhaps ice speeds recovery, but I feel it also continues the damage (at least in my knees).

Big gears are the enemy of CP knees. I love to climb hills standing. I love to ride hilly country on fix-gears. It is a fact of my life that I can only ride certain not-so-steep hills on my commuter and that I have to have and use a granny ring on my custom. It is a fact that there are days, weeks and months when I have to let whippersnappers blow by me on hills where I know I can humble them.
Lastly, what you did not want to hear, but again what the doctor told me. Get used to the idea of CP. If you are at all like me, it will be a fact of your cycling life for a long time. 23 years later for me and I am feeling my knees now because of a very easy ride I did in street clothes without knee warmers at noon today. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you can still do a lot of riding. I raced that season (I already knew it was my last) and have done 60,000 (?) miles since. I still commute, but only on alternate days. (But for the first 7 years with CP, I did not own a car and rode everywhere.) I took the time to spell all this out because in the 23 years I have had CP, I have never seen all of this in one place. In fact, I have only heard about the importance of keeping the knees warm from that one doctor. That is the single most important aspect of the program for me. Thank you Dr. Kish, wherever you are. I will probably ultimately need those carbon fiber knees, but by following the regime, I figure I can wait until a) the product improves, b) the price comes down and c) I’m old enough that my cycling level will be within the abilities of those knees. I hope to delay another 10 years. Since I wrote this a year plus ago, my physician has recommended that I take glucosamine. He was very specific, that I should take 3000 mg/day in the form of glucosamine sulfate or glucosamine hydroxide, but to avoid chrondroitin. This I did faithfully for 9 months. Between riding steadily starting two years ago and the glucosamine, my knees never felt better than they did last summer. I was passing whippersnappers uphill. Then my riding tapered off, I tapered down on the glucosamine and got sick so my riding and conditioning dropped. Thanksgiving I rode 50 miles with 2500’ of climbing on a cool day. My knees hurt. How many of those rules outlined above did I break?

Ben
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Old 09-05-18, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
This could be chrondomalcia patellae; the misalignment of the kneecap and wearing of the cartilage under. I was diagnosed with CP 40 years ago by a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon (in the back of a van at a cold bike race in New Hampshire. mid-March). He told me things then and in phone calls after the I didn't see again anywhere else for many years and never all of what he told me in one place. I wrote a summary of that and my journey since for another forum 15 years ago. I still have to abide by the "rules" set down there. And it I do, I can ride the week long Cycle Oregon on the mountain years on my fix gear - in my 60s.

CP is real, it is a curse, it is lifelong (until you get knee replacements) but if you play by the rules, you can still do a lot. Below is what I wrote years ago. Print it out for your friend.


Chrondomalacia patella. Yes, I can tell you a little about it. I was diagnosed in ’78 and given very good advice by the doctor (an orthopedic in sports medicine. He was also a novice bike racer, so he had more understanding of the cycling aspects of CP than most). I will do my best to pass on what he told me.
In CP, the kneecap is not aligned with the knee under it, hence there is chafing as the knee is moved. This causes wear, first to the cartilage, then to the bone under it. The wear accumulates with number of repetitions and pressure. At some point, the wear can cause permanent damage.

Some people are more prone to CP than others. It can be triggered by exercising in cold weather, exercising without adequate stretching of the hamstrings, i.e. touching your toes or less extreme stretches of the same tendons. It can be brought on by exercising without adequately strengthening the small quadriceps muscles just above the kneecap.
I brought on my CP by training to return my body to racing form after a very serious accident. (I was weak enough after my hospital stay that I was no match at 24 years old for any 7 yo.) The accident was in November, and I returned to riding miles in March. I did nothing to keep my knees especially warm and did no stretching exercises (rationalizing that since my leg never extended to anywhere near straight, there was no chance of injury, hence no need to stretch). I was wearing just full tights and thermal underwear under them in Boston. The temperature was probably not much above 30. The ride that started it was 100+ miles on my racing bike, my first outdoor ride on that bike. It had 175 cranks. My trainer, with fixed gear and very low BB, had 168’s. After the ride I had a dull pain in my mid to upper knee in front. That Saturday was the first race of the season. I was forced to drop out, my knees hurt so much.

After that race, the race promoter introduced me to an orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed me in the back of a cold van. He laid out for me then and in later phone calls a plan that I will pass on here.
He first stressed that I had to stretch my hamstrings, touch toes or lean forward against a wall or post with one leg back and straight and stretch that hamstring or sit and touch toes. I now prefer the lean forward method. Very specific and hard to hurt yourself. (I am now a 48 yo, I damage if I am not careful.)

Second, he had me sit on the floor and do leg raises. He had me raise one leg at a time and hold it several inches off the floor for a while (I don’t remember the time, but 15 secs should work. Important – while the leg is raised, tense up your quads big time and tense up those little quads just above and beside the kneecap. Feel for them and get to know them. It is those little guys that keep you kneecap aligned. If you are in riding shape, you can do this with say 5 pounds on your ankles, but the tensing up is much more important than the resistance.

Third, KEEP YOUR KNEES WARM WHEN YOU RIDE!! For me, this is critical. I wear these dumb looking “knee warmers” for most of my rides, always below 70 degrees, often under tights. Since keeping the hamstrings loose is important, I had to stretch the elastic. To keep them from falling down, I sewed on garters that I clip onto my shorts.

Fourth, back off riding until you have been doing these two things long enough to make a difference. Keep up the exercises and especially the stretches after you resume riding. Build up your riding slowly. The doctor stressed this to me and it has been very true. My ability to come into real form and resilience on the bike is limited more by my knees than by my lungs/muscles.
After rides, take aspirin or Ibuprofen to speed recovery. I personally think aspirin is better, that my knees recover more with it. I disagree with the ice. I have always felt that moving my knees when they are cold is causing the damage I am trying to avoid. Perhaps ice speeds recovery, but I feel it also continues the damage (at least in my knees).

Big gears are the enemy of CP knees. I love to climb hills standing. I love to ride hilly country on fix-gears. It is a fact of my life that I can only ride certain not-so-steep hills on my commuter and that I have to have and use a granny ring on my custom. It is a fact that there are days, weeks and months when I have to let whippersnappers blow by me on hills where I know I can humble them.
Lastly, what you did not want to hear, but again what the doctor told me. Get used to the idea of CP. If you are at all like me, it will be a fact of your cycling life for a long time. 23 years later for me and I am feeling my knees now because of a very easy ride I did in street clothes without knee warmers at noon today. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you can still do a lot of riding. I raced that season (I already knew it was my last) and have done 60,000 (?) miles since. I still commute, but only on alternate days. (But for the first 7 years with CP, I did not own a car and rode everywhere.) I took the time to spell all this out because in the 23 years I have had CP, I have never seen all of this in one place. In fact, I have only heard about the importance of keeping the knees warm from that one doctor. That is the single most important aspect of the program for me. Thank you Dr. Kish, wherever you are. I will probably ultimately need those carbon fiber knees, but by following the regime, I figure I can wait until a) the product improves, b) the price comes down and c) I’m old enough that my cycling level will be within the abilities of those knees. I hope to delay another 10 years. Since I wrote this a year plus ago, my physician has recommended that I take glucosamine. He was very specific, that I should take 3000 mg/day in the form of glucosamine sulfate or glucosamine hydroxide, but to avoid chrondroitin. This I did faithfully for 9 months. Between riding steadily starting two years ago and the glucosamine, my knees never felt better than they did last summer. I was passing whippersnappers uphill. Then my riding tapered off, I tapered down on the glucosamine and got sick so my riding and conditioning dropped. Thanksgiving I rode 50 miles with 2500’ of climbing on a cool day. My knees hurt. How many of those rules outlined above did I break?

Ben
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Old 09-07-18, 12:39 PM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
What kind of dealer made the boom adjustment? Was it an experienced recumbent dealer or a typical DF dealer?
Definitely an experienced GS dealer in Melbourne. Like I said, the fellow has a "history" of making excuses for not doing much in terms of physical activity. He is s very heavy smoker and at 160kg he is definitely shortening his life. His excuses won't help him live longer 😕
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Old 09-09-18, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by tmac100 View Post
Definitely an experienced GS dealer in Melbourne. Like I said, the fellow has a "history" of making excuses for not doing much in terms of physical activity. He is s very heavy smoker and at 160kg he is definitely shortening his life. His excuses won't help him live longer 😕
Doesn't sound like I'd put too much confidence in his boom length setting prowess.
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Old 09-10-18, 08:41 AM
  #16  
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The fellow using the GTO habitually looks for excuses to avoid exercise. He would not bother trying a different boom length, nor would he try different (lower) gears (more spinning). His excuse for not using the treadmill he bought 2nd hand (and used for a couple of weeks) was that it was boring and "not sturdy enough". Remember he started cheating on his diet, and his weight is still almost 160kg and he has given up his latest diet fad.

IMHO it is not an issue with the equipment he uses, but rather with his attitude toward exercise - of any kind. Now that I know more about his "modus operandi", I should not have even bothered trying to help him by loaning him the GTO... No matter, as someone else is using the GTO while my friend's son is still fat and outta shape - and heavily smoking. 🙄
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Old 09-13-18, 01:39 PM
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If people don't want change to you can't help. Nothing is free and easy.
As for the knees: I also had knee pain when I switched from an upright bike to a recumbent. It is a different style of riding and requires adjustments. Now with using lower gears more often and after adding clipless pedals to use the pedal strokes more efficiently my knees rarely flare up again. I only regret not going clipless much earlier.
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Old 06-19-19, 01:09 AM
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I want to revisit this because I was having knee trouble on my Rambler and I found a solution. I often have some knee pain for a few weeks when I start cycling again after a layoff, but this went on and on. I finally figured out that if I point my toes rather than letting my ankles drop, it really helps. This seems like it has most to do with how the weight of the leg is supported. I don't know if seat angle would have made a difference... Maybe.
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Old 06-19-19, 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I finally figured out that if I point my toes rather than letting my ankles drop, it really helps. This seems like it has most to do with how the weight of the leg is supported.
I don't see it mentioned when people talk about fit but I have to have the front of my knee in ~1 cm in front of the spindle on a DF bike or above the spindle on a recumbent even if the extension is correct. I figured this out on my recumbent first and noticed I was pushing through the pedaling circle instead of tangent to the edge and that was hurting my knees. If I focus on pushing the pedals at the correct angle, it gets my knees up into the correct position and my knees are fine after the ride. If I don't focus the tendons don't hurt during the ride but are stressed afterwards. Sounds kind of similar to your pointed toes thing. With shorter cranks I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have to think about it.
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Old 06-23-19, 07:53 AM
  #20  
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I'd check the crank length. On bikes and trikes with a higher bottom bracket, sometimes a shorter crank helps. I have a 160mm on my trike even though I am almost 6'. Helps a ton
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Old 08-27-19, 10:27 AM
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tmac100
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Bikes: More bicycles than I can ride at one time: 2 custom made tourers, a Brompton 6-speed, and an Indian-made roadster.

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My friend (see post #1 ) in Australia tells me he just bought a Greenspeed Magnum XL. He says the seat is adjustable - as compared to the GTO he first tried. So thst may help with his lower back issues.

Hopefully he will persist with adjusting both the boom length, and gear selection to prevent his knee problems. I mentioned he should persist in riding tge trike spite of "not feeling like it today" and also to use lower gearing to make for faster pedalling and less stress on his knees.

Time will tell what happens with his mindset and efforts....

Interesting comment about the crank length and it's effect.
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