Curing Old Aches (Just For Cyclists)

I’ve had a lot of aches and pains from cycling in the last 14 months or so – and I’ve had back problems, tendon problems and so on. Cutting a long and tedious story short (because all medical stories are tedious), I’ve identified the so-called Q-factor as a source of problems.

The Q-factor is the distance between a cyclist’s feet when on a bike – bottom bracket width, crank thickness and offset and the pedals all contribute.

Pedal Extender saving the day!

With apologies for the photo quality – it shows a pedal extender on a very dirty and well used bike

During 2013 I rode most of my miles on a bike with a bottom bracket and crankset fitted around about Christmas 2012. It’s one of the new design Campagnolo ones – and it’s narrow. It turns out that that’s the cause of a lot of very ‘in the joint’ hip pain, and possibly also pain in the tendon behind the knee.

I’ve identified this (and eliminated the other niggles I have from the picture) by dint of riding very little for some weeks, doing what few miles I’ve done on a mountain bike with a wider Q and finding that helped a lot on the pain front; finding hip pain returning on riding the narrow Q bike again, and now trying out Specialized Pedal Extenders – and finding they’re making a big difference for the better.

Perhaps it’s because I’m in my 50s and have a lot of years of riding at a wider Q that’s making the narrower sizing a problem, but if you’ve an otherwise unexplained pain come on in your hips, knees or ankles, and you’re now riding a narrower Q-factor, this could be something to consider.