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Cycling induced anoesis
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Congrats on the new bike and welcome to the world of road riding.

Making an assumption that you weren't fitted at a reputable LBS, I strongly suggest doing so before you begin riding. Given your knee issues (and stated goal of strengthening you knee thru cycling), you don't want to chance reinjury due to bad fit.

For the type of riding you describe, a standard fitting will do, because you're primarily interested in getting the saddle adjustments right, but (as long as you're close to the right frame size) they'll also be able to taylor your reach and height requirements. All in all these adjustments will go a long way in keeping you comfortable and motivated to keep riding.

Lastly, consider a cadence computer. Wired Cateye Astrale 8's can be found for under $30 and (given the importance of maintaining adaquate cadence to save the knees) is IMO a very worthwhile tool for anyone new to road riding, but especially important for anyone with knee issues.
 
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