Former runner considering wheels


New Member
May 16, 2010
Hello everyone.

I grew up a distance runner but since college I've slipped away from it for a variety of reasons. I see cyclists zipping by on the local roads and I figure I could enjoy it and get good hard exercise, but I'd like to know about a few things before I invest a lot of money that doesn't exactly pile up in my checking account.

1) As a runner I became challenged by intestinal issues. "Runner's trots" if you will. I've learned to make things better through diet but I just can't run/train the way I could before this started. Running tends to take minor gastric issues and make them a lot worse. Does this tend to happen to riders also?

2) I have slightly crooked legs. The best description I have is that if stand with my feet square, my kneecaps point slightly inward. Or, if I was doing squats in the gym, I had to open my toes so that my knees would extend straight in front of me. Aside from obvious things like stretching, is there anything in my equipment or training I should consider?

3) What tips do you have on sharing the road with inattentive, self-absorbed, obnoxious drivers? I've had my share of experiences as a runner, but something about being perched up on a bike and generally unable to step aside has me concerned. Unless (until?) cycling becomes a passion in my life I don't want to exit it on the hood of an SUV.

Thanks for your input.

I have found one source that addresses question #1: CYCLING PERFORMANCE TIPS - which is to say that cyclists and swimmers have much less trouble than runners w.r.t. lower GI disturbance.

I do have another question:

4) My left leg is 10mm longer than my right. Is this important?

I hope that won't discourage you from riding... To start with I found this Bike Fitting Tips from an online article hope it helps!

The importance of bike fit can't be overstated. You pedal thousand of revolutions per ride, putting thousands of pounds of pressure on the joints. If you aren't aligned well the joints are getting loaded improperly which can lead to over use injuries. Cycling can be pretty kind to the body as it doesn't have the impact of running but you can still hurt yourself if you are set up wrong.
You and your bike must work like a fine tuned machine. Think of you knee as a hinge. If a hinge isn't side loaded it will eventually bind and wear prematurely. Your knees work the same way. If even one aspect of fit is misaligned you can hurt yourself. The good thing is that bike fit, while a little complicated due to all of the inter-relationships of machine and body, isn't rocket science.
If you can't get into see a professional bike fitter, these rules will help you improve your bike comfort and performance.

Rule 1: Everything is connected.
If you move your seat back you will need to lower your saddle and possibly shorten your stem. Everything on the body is interconnected so you can't just move one piece without is affecting all the other adjustments to some degree. Remember that song about the shin bone being connected to the knee bone. When fitting a bike, I start with the cleat set up and work up from there. Cleats need to be anywhere from 5-15 mm behind the ball of the foot. Your saddle height needs to be high enough that you get a good extension at the bottom of the pedal stroke (around a 30 degree knee bend at the bottom) but no so high that the hips rock when pedaling. A slightly lower saddle will feel smoother pedaling at high cadence while a slightly higher position will maximize leverage when pushing bigger gears. Depending on your riding style this can influence where in the range you want to position the saddle.

Rule 2: Fit you bike to your body as you body won't adapt to your bike
If you need a higher bar position or shorter reach, then make the changes as your body won't adapt to a position that is much out of your comfort zone. In particular are side to side balance issues. If your hips sit twisted on the saddle you will need to adjust slightly to the opposite side of the forward hip. If one leg is longer than the other or just behaves that way on the bike, you should shim the shorter leg for half the the difference. With road pedals, you can put a shim between you cleat and shoe. If you have mountain bike clipless pedals, then it's best to fix build up the insole in the shoe of the shorter leg if you have the room within your shoe. If you shim the cleat on a mountain bike it can create instability as the cleats are so small.

Rule 3: Look for balance when riding
If any body part protests (hurts) when you are going hard then look to re-balance your position. If you get numb hand you may need to move your saddle back and down, shorten your reach or raise your bar. It's often a combination of these to achieve a balanced position that lets you put out your maximum sustainable power with minimal body fatigue. By having your cleats back on your shoes, your saddle back and your bar position adjusted to match, the postural muscles will have the least amount of engagement making for a more comfortable ride. This combination will also tend to increase the involvement of the hamstrings and glute muscles there by increasing endurance as the load is spread over more muscles.
I read your post it's really very useful for me. I also wondering for running and I want to get different opinions from the former runner. It's very informative information to me.

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