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165!! Wtf??

Discussion in 'Road & Cyclocross' started by G-Cracker, Nov 4, 2005.

  1. G-Cracker

    G-Cracker Monkey

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    While riding behind me the other day, my buddy commented that he thought my cranks looked pretty short. When we pulled over for a break, I looked at them (never bothered to look before) and noticed that they are 165!

    that' pretty damn short, isn't it? These are the original 105 Cranks that came on teh bike. Should I go for longer length and if so, what benefits/drawbacks will it have?
     
    #1 -   Nov 4, 2005

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  2. LordOpie

    LordOpie MOTHER HEN

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    Short? Depends upon your inseam. what is your inseam?

    Take a thin hard cover book, piece of wood, what have you... stand against the wall with butt, heals, shoulders touching wall... cram it up in your groin... no, not that hard!

    Measure from top of book to floor... as perpendicular to the floor as possible. Wanna get geeky? drop a weighted piece of string and measure it. There ya go :)

    Cranks are typically 20-22% the length of your inseam. Unusually long or short femur? probably should get a pro to measure you.

    One advantage to being at or close to the right length is better power. Another is more comfort, especially for your knees. I noticed both when I went from 170 to 175 and probably should be at 177.5-180 -- which means that 170 was way too short.

    NOTE: If you go with longer cranks, you'll probably have to slide your saddle forward and higher a bit. Ya know, re-position for best fit based on the new length change. It'll probably take you several very small adjustments -and- give your knees a chance to adapt. Not everyone needs to, but what the hell, yeah? Screwing up your knees doesn't make sense just cuz you want to hammer/spin hard/fast during the first, uhh, 100 miles?

    Good luck storming the castle boys!
     
    #2 -   Nov 4, 2005
  3. LordOpie

    LordOpie MOTHER HEN

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    oh, post your inseam, which bike and what size it is (the bike that is). If it's unusually off, we'll probably recommend you take it back to the shop and demand (politely) that they fix the error.

    I mean, if the bike is 54cm, that's questionable. If the bike is 56cm or larger, that'd pretty much have to be an assembly error.
     
    #3 -   Nov 4, 2005
  4. Heidi

    Heidi Der hund ist laut und braun

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    If it felt fine to you, why f with it? I actually just switched to 165's a couple months ago after knee surgery. I'm 5'8 and my inseam is 132. On paper it might not look right, but it is better for my pedal stroke. Before I missing a lot of power from like 10-1 o'clock position because my hip isn't very flexible. By shortening the crank, it meant I didn't have to pedal in as large a circle and it actually increased my power output and efficiency. Go figure.
     
    #4 -   Nov 4, 2005
  5. LordOpie

    LordOpie MOTHER HEN

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    132? Typo?
     
    #5 -   Nov 4, 2005
  6. Heidi

    Heidi Der hund ist laut und braun

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    HAHAHAHAH - no, I have Inspector Gadget legs! Go gadget go!

    Yes, I meant 32.;)
     
    #6 -   Nov 4, 2005
  7. LordOpie

    LordOpie MOTHER HEN

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    Whew! I though you were legs with a head ;)

    Inspector Gadget rules!
     
    #7 -   Nov 4, 2005
  8. G-Cracker

    G-Cracker Monkey

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    Thanks... i'll have to measure tonight at home. I'm sure my co-worker will wonder what the hell I'm doing with a book crammed into my groin. :)

    It does feel fine, really... though I have been experiencing some pain in my right knee for a while now. I bought bike off a friend of mine, so I'm not sure of teh size. It's a mid 80's Criterium Cannondale. I'm 5'10".






    I'll post all info later tonight if I get the chance.
     
    #8 -   Nov 4, 2005
  9. LordOpie

    LordOpie MOTHER HEN

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    knee pain could be a variety of things, especially cleat placement.

    FYI FWIW, I'm 5'10" too and my inseam is 88cm. That's considered long for our height.
     
    #9 -   Nov 4, 2005
  10. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    I'm 6' w/ a 33" inseam. I ride a 172.5 for my longer distance, flat bike, and a 175 for the climber. On my mtb, I run a 170 for the DH, 180 for the FR, 175 for the trail and XC bike. I'd like to run 180s on the DH too so I can have the torque coming out of corners, but my bike sits too low to the ground for that to work out. Your 165s are going to allow for some serious RPMs. If you gain length, you won't be able to do the same kind of RPMs - more movement => more bounce in the saddle. But those hill climbs... It's amazing how much a little change in crank length can add/subtract from your power output.

    Spammy: I have a spare set of DA 7700 in 172.5 if you need to gain length. Drive side is brand new (bent the spider of the old one). Non-drive is a 9.5. LMK.
     
  11. The Toninator

    The Toninator Muffin

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    5'8" 30" inseam.

    170's rhode
    175 mtb

    some people say you sould run the same lenght for 'core' mtb traininig.
     
  12. SuspectDevice

    SuspectDevice Turbo Monkey

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    Crank length is completely insignificant in respect to power production and economy. Run whatever you want within reason.

    As an aside, the reason your bike came with 165's is that Cannondale went to great lengths to make those bikes as kooky as possible. They pretty much have track bike geometry, because, for some reason criterium racing is so rad-extreme bonzaaiii! that they needed to build those bikes...
     
  13. LordOpie

    LordOpie MOTHER HEN

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    uhh, basic force physics would say otherwise.

    but if you're saying that "fit" is more important than supposed increase in power, I would agree.
     
  14. SuspectDevice

    SuspectDevice Turbo Monkey

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    And 30 years of human physiology research would say that the differences in economy and power production are not significant.
     
  15. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    Then can you tell me why running a 172.5 vs 175's in a sustained climb of 5% for an hour tires me out faster?
     
  16. Radarr

    Radarr Turbo Monkey

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    I hate running 175mm+ cranks for DH because my pedals always hit rocks. Hardtail and road stuff is a bit different.
     
  17. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    Hmm. A quick web search found these pages:
    http://isb.ri.ccf.org/biomch-l/archives/biomch-l-1996-11/00056.html
    http://www.nettally.com/palmk/crref.html
    which mentions some of the many variables involved with testing crankarm length. While the results varied (one result found 130mm crankarms producing the best power output), length variance made a significant difference in these tests.

    Traditional thinking has 165's for the shortest of people, 170's for average height, 172.5 for slightly-above average, 175 for the tall, and 180's for the extremely tall.

    I was using 175 on the road, but I switched to 172.5 with no major difference (I am 5'11" with a 30 inch inseam).

    According to your comment, I could switch to 150's or 210's with no major difference in performance.

    You could certainly argue there is no difference between 170 to 175, but to say shorter crank arms makes no difference with "30 years" of research backing you up is foolish.

    P.S. I first thought about crank arm length when I heard Bernard Hinault, who is 5'8", use crank arm lengths from 175 to 180. Possibly, he did not hear about this research, which might have helped him avoid knee surgery near the prime of his career.
     
  18. SuspectDevice

    SuspectDevice Turbo Monkey

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    Because you are used to one more than the other?

    anecdotal evidence is meaningless to me...

    how can you possibly define "tires" it's pretty subjective.
     
  19. SuspectDevice

    SuspectDevice Turbo Monkey

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    Sanjuro,
    in my 1st post I mentioned "within reasonable limits" Where is someone going to stumble upon a pair of 210's or 150's outside of a kids BMX bike?
     
  20. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    I have cranks in the following lengths:
    170 - on a 50# DH race bike
    172.5
    175 (both of these on roadies)
    180 - on a 50# freeride bike

    Subjectively, there is a difference in what crank length sits on what bike. I recently rode the DH bike up Lookout Mountain (4 or 5% for 4 - 5 miles) and I'm telling you, it climbs less effectively than the 180s, and the 180s are on a less climbing-efficient design. Climbing Rabbit Ears Pass (7%, 7miles) on my roadie w/ 172.5 winds me much more than the 175 (I had 2 road bikes of the same model set up almost identical minus the crank length). True, if the duration was shorter, I might not notice. But w/ those efforts and the duration of it, you can totally tell. I'm not arguing to pick a fight. I'm telling you this from experience.
     
  21. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    Ok, so I run 172.5's, after using 170's and 175's extensively. Would switching to 165 or 180 crank arm be a "reasonable" range, and I would notice no difference?

    And I am still waiting to see 30 years of physiological studies which prove crank arm length makes no difference.

    You could certainly argue than a 2.5 mm difference is negligible, and I would have to agree. However, 5mm makes a difference, and 10mm difference would make a huge difference in power, spin, and pedalling style. And I found studies to back this up, along with my 20 years of "field research".

    Frankly, if you are going to put down a controversial opinion, backing it up with some facts would be informative.
     
  22. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    Also here is more research about varying crank arm length, unless you think this Lennard Zinn guy is a know-nothing who bases his opinion on subjective information:

    http://www.velonews.com/tech/report/articles/5257.0.html

    A quote:

    "When racing in the late 1970s, when I went from 177.5mm to 180mm cranks, the improvement in my results was marked. When I was on the national team in the early 1980s, Eddie Borysewicz, the coach at the time, told me that I should be using even longer cranks yet for time trials and hill climbs. "
     
  23. SuspectDevice

    SuspectDevice Turbo Monkey

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    So, you just keep finding more and more anecdotal evidence. Something published in Velonews nearly ten years ago, with a snippet of a conversation from 30 years ago is far from a peer reviewed journal...

    You need to seperate fellings and emotions from power output and oxygen consumption. Two entirely different things...

    What you find in the literature is yes, some people are more economic on certain crank lengths that are within the standard range, but there are no observable trends as to proportionality. Likely fiber type and neroumsucular recruitment patterns (something that comes with adapatation) are due to the findings of significance presented in the literature.

    A properly designed study to evaluate the effects of crank length on economy and power output in trained cyclists has yet to be performed.

    It would entail a large and diversely built subject pool, of more than 25 trained cyclists, and at least 3 weeks of controlled adpatation on each length of crank, and each crank length would require the same training program over the adaptation period. It would involve at least 5 or 6 muscle biopsies to determine fiber type and possible muscle growth or fiber-type conversion, pre testing to determine a baseline, and at least at the end of each period. In Vivo biopsies would be the most benefical, performed during the actual test run, and beleive me from experience, having someone take a few grams of muscle fiber from the core of your calf during a maximal test is absolutely not fun.

    It would require pre and post training period vo2max tests, and an inital VO2 max test.

    My rough estimate is that it would take a budget of roughly $500,000 to perform the testing, just for lab fees, salaries, administrative overhead,etc... The subjects would need to be compensated financially to the tune of at least $800 or so each, if not more to make it worth their whiles...
    The equipment necessary is only available at about 50 labs in the US and 200 or so labs worldwide.

    If you guys want to pass around a hat to get the ball rolling on this, I'll spearhead the effort, but for now I'll run whatever cranks I have laying around, that fit my bike, and adapt to them. Power=force X angular velocity after all.
     
  24. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    Let's try this then: Work calculation. Granted I've taken some shortcuts w/ some estimates (a pedal stroke isn't constant, more sinusoildal), but they're very real-world numbers and estimations (altho over simplified). Look over this and see if there are any errors in either arithmetic or assumptions. Because if there isn't, then that's a lot of watts difference in an hours time.


    Edited. Made a mistake the first time thru. So, that's roughly 500 Watts in one hour w/ 2.5mm increment at 90 rpm cadence, if the calculations are correct. And if they are, then going from 170 to 180mm = 2000 J increase output w/ a constant cadence of 90rmp. And @ 1 kilocalory = 4.18x10^3, the change = 478.5 calories increase in one hour, pedalling w/ a 170mm vs 180mm crankarm length, all else constant.
     
  25. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    I just want the proof, besides your "opinion", that crank arm length has no effect on power or efficiency. You mentioned 30 years of research supporting your "opinion", which I have not found yet.

    On the other hand, while I have found some research which support different crank arm lengths does make a difference, I do not put much stock in them. Even Zinn admits he has not come up with a definitive study.

    Your recommendation to G-Cracker to keep his current crank arm length is a poor one. Frankly, the more "definitive" an opinion is, the more I believe it has flaws, which you have done nothing to dispell.

    I recommend a longer crankarm than 165mm for a person who is 5'10", based on my own experiences, talking with teammates and riders, dealings in the shop, and what I have read.

    Finally, knocking down my opinion is not proving yours. I might be the voice of traditional thinking, but I am waiting to hear your proof.

     
  26. Reactor

    Reactor Turbo Monkey

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    Not to burst your bubble, and please don't take this personally, but there is a problem with your math, you skipped ahead on the final tally,

    You went from 2014 j/h to 2014 watts (j/sec) without converting.

    Joules = Watt/sec.
    2014 joules/hr * 1hr/3600 sec = .5597 joules/sec = .5597 watts - seconds / seconds = .5597 watts increase = .0001337 Kcals/sec * 3600sec/hr = .481 Kcal/hr (of work, about 2Kcal of food).


    There is also a gross conceptual error. I've never heard of a rider able to push the 500 watts you originally came up with on an ongoing basis, much less gain 500 watts from a 10 mm chain in crank length. Lance Armstrong can push around 400 watts at LT. If I use the same eroneous conversion as you did, I get 18.86 KW output for your 180mm crank rider or about 25 horsepower.

    What you've proved is it takes .5 watts more to swing a 19 kg weight in a 180 mm circle, which is true, it takes more work to move the same mass a longer distance. It appears there is also an error in your calculation of work, but I don't have time to check it now.

    The truth in infinitely more complex. Longer cranks weigh more than shorter cranks, but the difference is trivial. Longer cranks have a higher speed at the pedal at the same RPM and gear combination, But two riders probably aren't going to have the same RPM and gear ratio in the real world. The leg pushing the pedal is a complex bio mechanical device with multiple joints and multiple sources of power(muscles). How efficient the crank is has a lot more well it works with the person using it. Injuries, leg length, flexibility, muscle composition, training -- all have a role in how a person pedals, and hence which crank works better.
     
  27. Zutroy

    Zutroy Turbo Monkey

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    I don't ever recall seeing a study done looking at real world power output in relation to crank arm length. So i don't think anyone can say one way or another. Thinks like body position, seat angle, proper seat height, cleat placement are probably going to have a much larger effect on your ability to generate and sustain power, than 5mm of crank difference. Be more worried about the other variables on a bike listed above. I've seen very few people that have all the things they can adjust in Ideal positions.
     
  28. The Toninator

    The Toninator Muffin

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    you dont have any relational or quantitative mathematics in your response. Please rewrite and submit. Try to include terms like force vector, watts, kilo joules etc.
    thanks

    btw that reactor dude is crazy with the ciphering.
     
  29. SuspectDevice

    SuspectDevice Turbo Monkey

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    Thanks, math dudes! From the physiology side longer cranks aren't more advantageous because force is not the limiting factor in power production. Human legs have plenty of excess strength when it comes to pushing on cranks, but optimal contractile velocity of muscle tissue, occurs at higher legspeeds.

    As some anecdotal evidence, I have improved the TT performance of one of my clients by switching him to shorter cranks, as the smaller pedal circle allowed him to get lower more comfortably without hittin his knees against his chest. His poweroutput in a 40k is about the same as with his older,longer cranks, but his reduction in frontal area gained him 30 seconds...
     
  30. Reactor

    Reactor Turbo Monkey

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    I re-did the power formulas from Pau11y's paper.

    180 mm crank.
    W=Force * distance * cos(force vector)
    32.23 KgM/S = 19 Kg * (2*pie*180*1.5 Rev/sevS, assumes constant force, in the direction of movement, which isn't true.)
    32.23 KgM/S * 9.804 = 316 joules/sec = 316 watts total power required.

    170 mm crank
    30.44KgM/S = 19 Kg * (2*pie*1.5 rev 170mm crank/sec)
    30.44KgM/S *9.804 = 298.45 Joules /sec = 298.45 Watts


    But this still isn't the correct way to find which cranks are more efficient. You need to start with power and figure out how much force is applied to see the real story.

    Given you want to make 299 watts of power, how much pedal force would be required?

    We know form the above example it's 19 KG at 90 rpm on a 170 mm crank.

    So we solve for 180 mm cranks:

    298.45watts = 298.45 Joules/sec = 30.44KgM/S so assuming it's 90 rpm, the pedal force is
    30.44 KgM/s / (2*pie* 180 * 1.5 times/sec) or
    30.44 KgM/s * 1 second / 1.696 Meters = 17.9 kg of pedal force.

    In other words, less pedal force applied over the greater distance traveled by the 180 mm crank is the same as the larger pedal force over a smaller distance required by the 170mm cranks. This however doesn't account for the losses due to the feet, pedals and end of the crank moving at a higher rate of speed. In the end it's almost a wash. Longer cranks will be better for hill climbing, until it gets long enough to interfere with the ability of your body to pedal, which should happen at about 20%- 22% of your inseam, or 172mm to 190mm with a 34" inseam, with about 175-180mm being the norm. In the end it's the crank you are comfortable with, and doesn't hurt you, that's the best choice.

    Edit: I've ridden 172.5 on specialized roubaix comp and 175's on a K2Mod3 and as far as I can tell there was very little difference. The 2-3 pound difference in bike weights made more difference then the crank lengths.
     
  31. Reactor

    Reactor Turbo Monkey

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    Occupational hazard of being a former nuclear engineer, currently on major drugs compensate for a car vs. bike head injury.
     
  32. The Toninator

    The Toninator Muffin

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    Homer - "New-clee-er"

    Accident? what happened? I just found out that i broke my helemt in the accident that i broke my collar bone.
     
  33. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    Hehehe.. thanx fer the redo on the numbers.. I'm friggin' famous for mis-placing signs and screwing up coversions. That arguement between Sanj.. and the other guy was getting stoopid and I wanted to put some numbers to it. Yeah, the difference is slight, but in a centruy where you're doing multiple passes at altitude... I swap out cranks depending on the ride. Flatter, faster spins, I go short. Longer, w/ more hills, I go long. The difference between 170 and 180 (to me) feels the same, until you get up in the 100 rpm range where the long ones cause me to bounce more in my seat...
     
  34. Sir_Crackien

    Sir_Crackien Turbo Monkey

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    while i don't really ride raod at all i can tell you that i'm very uncomfortable riding any crank that is not a 175. to the point that it is the only crank lenght that i will ride. i can feel the 2.5mm differance in either direction.
     
  35. Reactor

    Reactor Turbo Monkey

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    I was riding in the bike lane when a young woman, in a hurry to get home, passed me with her brakes on and immediately turned in front of me. I went onto the trunk, and then the ground. Severly sprained or strained every muscle on the left side of my body, had a concussion, back pain, seperated shoulder, totalled my bike, and my helmet and everything I was wearing at the time. To date her insurance company has offered me ~$400, about six months after the accident. I've had about $10,000 in treatment, my health insurance and car insurance companies have paid the lions share.
     
  36. The Toninator

    The Toninator Muffin

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    man that sucks. I've had that happen almost a billion times and maybe only connected 2 or 3 but not nearly as severe as yours.
    heal up quick.
    i just did my first mtb ride monday in 8 weeks. felt good to be out.
     
  37. Reactor

    Reactor Turbo Monkey

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    I'm actually I'm almost healed, it happened about eight months ago. I still have odd aches and pains, and headaches but it all seems to be getting a little better all the time. I think I made a major mistake when I rode El Tour de Tucson (109 mile), It was a little soon to push that hard for that long. Thanks for the good wishes.
     
  38. Changleen

    Changleen Paranoid Member

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    Whoa, Sorry to hear about that Reactor. I've got a broken rib from Xmas day drunken stupidity and I'm whinging enough about that.
     
  39. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    Reactor, are your persuing any civil action against the driver and her insurance Co? Was there any crimial action against her?
     
  40. Reactor

    Reactor Turbo Monkey

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    Location:
    Chandler, AZ, USA

    Oh, yeah. The insurance company wouldn't even talk to me until I got a lawyer.

    Some free advice: Here in the states insurance companies have figured out that the more they drag their feet, and the harder they make it on you to collect, the more likely you are to give up in frustration. If you persist they'll try to have a private investigator depose you, out of the blue and before you know your rights. Then they'll try to use whatever you told the investigator to trip you up at trial. They'll try all sorts of dirty tricks, even up to the point of disputing multiple deposed witnesses and a police report, send you check for trivial amounts with "final settlement" written on the memo line.


    In my case the insurance company says I was riding on a sidewalk. I was riding a very expensive road bike, with 120 psi tires, in the bike lane. An independent witness confirms this, the police report, written by police that picked up bike debris from the bike lane confirms this. Their insured ( a young blonde on a cell phone) doesn't even remember seeing me, much less hitting me (except for the loud thump). Yet the insurance company says I was riding on the sidewalk. The kicker is, in Tempe AZ, where the accident happened it is legal to ride on the sidewalk and city code requires all motor vehicles to yield to all pedestrians and cyclists on the sidewalk, so their point is moot.

    If you get hit get a lawyer right away.