Mr. Grumpy Legs

04.29.2009 | 11:00 am

200904290724.jpgA Note from Fatty: Tomorrow is the last day you can register for the 100 Miles of Nowhere. Remember, in addition to all the cool stuff you get, you’re also helping Team Fatty help the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) fight cancer: $50 of your $75 registration goes to the LAF. Men, sign up here. Women, sign up here.

And also, you’ll be able to tell people you participated in the most ridiculous, far-ranging race that has ever existed. I’m also pretty sure we’ll also be able to claim it simultaneously covered more ground and less ground than any other race in history (i.e., it will occur in hundreds of places, but go literally nowhere).

By the way, so far 168 men and 58 women (226 people altogether) have signed up, which means that so far the 100 Miles of Nowhere has raised $11,300 for the LAF. Thanks to everyone who has signed up!

Another Note from Fatty: Some of you were wondering if you can buy extra t-shirts for your crews. First of all, I think it’s awesomely bizarre that some of you are planning to have crews. Second of all, once registration is over, Twin Six is going to make the t-shirt available as a separate item to order. I’ll post a link as soon as there is one!

Yet Another Note from Fatty: At long last, we can declare a winner of the Meet Bike Snob NYC contest! Brad W of Virginia called from Alcatraz (yes, really) to accept the prize. Congratulations, Brad!

Mr. Grumpy Legs

Thanks to a hectic work and life schedule, I haven’t been able to ride my bike at all this week, and I won’t be able to today, either.

This has brought on a peculiar sensation, and I’m curious if anyone else has noticed the same thing happening to them when they go cold turkey off the bike for a few days.

Specifically, my legs have become grumpy. Irritable. Restless.

This is not just a mental thing. I swear. It’s physical. Last night, I was sitting with one of the twins during her 1:1 reading time and my legs — specifically, my quads — were driving me nuts. They literally ached for me to get off the couch and stretch them (I made do by doing constant leg lifts and flexes while sitting on the couch).

Really, the symptoms are pretty similar to how they describe Restless Legs Syndrome, except I already know my cure: go get out on a ride. And as a bonus, this cure doesn’t turn me into a compulsive gambler.

Which is something, I suppose.

Still, I am going to be in an all-day meeting today, where doing constant leg lifts would surely go noticed. Which means that the only way I’m going to be able to stave off my Grumpy Legs Syndrome will be to stand up on a frequent basis and run around the conference table to the whiteboard (I’ll take the long way around) and then make an emphatic and energetic point.

Preferably, one that requires me to jump up and down and perhaps do some squat-thrusts.

So, my question: when you have to go cold turkey off the bike for more than a couple days, do you get the same effect?

Because if I’m the first one to identify an actual, verifiable syndrome here, I totally want it named after me.


  1. Comment by Grizzly Adam | 04.29.2009 | 11:31 am

    It is compounded by the fact that you did 100 miles on Saturday. You need to flush out the junk in your legs, which makes you more fidgety. Right now I have very grumpy legs, and the only cure is a good spin.

    We could call it Fat Leg Syndrome?

  2. Comment by curtis | 04.29.2009 | 11:44 am

    You’re not alone on this one. When you’re used to riding 80-150 miles or so a week like I am, taking time off not only makes my legs feel funny, it also makes my hips hurt. I went on a week vacation last year where even though I was doing a lot of walking, by day 3 or 4 of no riding my legs were bugging me so much that I was having to stretch 3-4 times a day. Once I got home, the first thing I did was hop on the bike for a 40 mile ride, and at the end, everything went back to normal.

    I do like the name Fat Leg Syndrome as mentioned by Adam.

  3. Comment by George | 04.29.2009 | 12:03 pm

    Well, it’s a well known fact, that cyclists’ legs are becoming independent from the cyclist’s brain. So, whether you’re in the saddle or on the couch, they are moving or at least trying to. Have you ever tried to keep a race horse from running…?

  4. Comment by Marrock | 04.29.2009 | 12:06 pm

    Eldenitis… definitely Eldenitis Nelsontosa.

  5. Comment by Rantwick | 04.29.2009 | 12:09 pm

    I have experienced your syndrome. But how do we name it after you? Fat Leg isn’t bad! Grumpy Fatty Legs? Fat Grumpy Legs? Those don’t sound right… Eldonitis?!

  6. Comment by Rantwick | 04.29.2009 | 12:10 pm

    Hey, Marrock beat me to it while I was composing! Nelsontosa is a nice touch, too. I happily bow to Marrock.

  7. Comment by Mike Roadie | 04.29.2009 | 12:47 pm

    Eldenitis Fatcyclosis

    I get it all the time. Engaging the muscles to increase bloodflow is the only thing that works….aside from sleep.


  8. Comment by Isolation Helmet | 04.29.2009 | 1:08 pm

    I definitely have the leg problem and then I also suffer from digestive disorders. The third thing I notice is that my alergies, which seem to remain in check without bothering me much if I ride regularly begin to annoy the hell out of me.

    It’s like my body just begins to shut down. I have a two week vacation in July with no biking. It’s going to be hell!

  9. Comment by LidsB2 | 04.29.2009 | 1:10 pm

    Fatty’s Funny Fidgetosis. My legs were freaking out on Sunday. Now that I’m back to my post-RAWROD normalcy of inadequate cycling opportunities, I’m fine again. Employment can be such an inconvenience…

  10. Comment by Corey | 04.29.2009 | 1:12 pm

    I’ve never experienced it, but a couple of my fellow bike commuters complain about it all the time.

  11. Comment by WheelDancer | 04.29.2009 | 1:18 pm

    Yes, I get the same reaction with a sudden stop in cycling activity and it is made worse if it follows on the heels of a big effort like RAWROD.

    Whether you call it by it’s common name, Fat Leg Syndrome (FLS) or one of the latin derivatives, Eldenitis Nelsontosa/Fatcyclosis, the cure is the same: FullyClippedIn Spinnectomy in either an MTB or Road setting though there is some evidence that the procedure can be successfully performed on a trainer or even rollers. The trainer and roller procedures can produce undesirable side effects like staging a 100 mile ride to nowhere. Temporary measures such as leg lifts and quad flexes can reduce symptoms but a full cure will require the FullyClippedIn Spinnectomy.

  12. Comment by bikemike | 04.29.2009 | 1:26 pm

    whimpy, wampy, wombly leg syndrome

  13. Comment by MikeonhisBike | 04.29.2009 | 1:27 pm

    I’m totally with you on the leg condition. Mine go crazy after some time off of the bike. I almost have to run around my building at work just to get them to calm down. That is why companies should make lunch time rides manditory at work.

  14. Comment by Charisa | 04.29.2009 | 2:04 pm

    Um yes. In triathlon we call it “tapering” – doing it right now actually. It will make you crazy!! :)

  15. Comment by Hamish A | 04.29.2009 | 3:12 pm

    It’s very, very annoying. I never notice myself doing it anymore but apparently my legs (or at least my feet) are always moving and it’s markedly worse after time off the bike.

    I vote for Eldenitis.

  16. Comment by aussie kev | 04.29.2009 | 3:22 pm

    my wife (sue) hates it when i dont go out for a ride for a few days – i dont just get restless legs , its all over !!!.
    it usually ends up with sue “forcing” me to do the block.


  17. Comment by Joel | 04.29.2009 | 5:19 pm

    @ Charisa – when I used to taper for swimming it was a different beast, where we eased off the work-outs gradually and ended up bouncing off walls like 5 year olds on a sugar binge.

    My legs don’t get grumpy (and I’m voting to Fat Leg Syndrome, because too much FLS leads to Fat @$$ syndrome) but they do feel sore, like I HAVE been riding even when I haven’t. I think it’s the out-of-shape version of phantom limb.

  18. Comment by Debamundo | 04.29.2009 | 6:20 pm

    Yes, yes! I’m so glad to have a name for it finally. Grumpy legs syndrome is perfect!

  19. Comment by Clydesteve | 04.29.2009 | 6:24 pm

    It is not just my legs. I get grumpy all over.

  20. Comment by Barbara | 04.29.2009 | 6:26 pm

    I get it too. Not only does it drive me nuts, but I have never been able to adequately describe the feeling.

    My mother really did have Restless Leg Syndrome before they had all these drugs for it – they used to give you Valium. She discovered that if she walked (my sister bought her a treadmill) for 15 minutes – not even fast enough to break a sweat – before going to bed, she had no problems with her legs. No doctor would tell you this, because the drug companies didn’t study such a solution.

  21. Comment by Jennifer | 04.29.2009 | 7:46 pm

    Barbara, we’ve been telling patients to do that for years; and there have been several sports medicine studies that found 20 minutes of walking a day (and even one study found that just every other day was enough!) would “cure” it.

    Unfortunately, sports medicine doesn’t have the $$$$ to promote walking like the drug companies have to promote (and profit from) drugs.

  22. Comment by Phil | 04.29.2009 | 11:32 pm

    I harsh get that. It drives my wife nuts.

  23. Comment by buckythedonkey | 04.30.2009 | 1:20 am

    I’ve just been diagnosed with something known as “cinema knee”. Mustn’t grumble – it beats “pub belly” any day.

  24. Comment by cyclegoddess | 04.30.2009 | 3:34 am

    Ive been sick in bed for three days and its Driving me crazy!( I have chronic fatigue so have to take it easy with cold or I get chest colds then other bad things, or Id be commuting in 3o weather, as usual).
    I am wandering all over the house, like a lost soul. My legs wont stop.
    I woke myself pedaling in my sleep!!
    Worse, I am going on three day trip on a bus, so that makes no ride for week( sob). help!

  25. Comment by Andrew | 04.30.2009 | 7:42 am

    For sure—though I don’t ride nearly as much as I’d like, taking a few days/weeks off totally gives me, uh… “Eldenitis Fatcyclosis.”

    Dehydrating also gives it to me.

  26. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 04.30.2009 | 12:27 pm

    Oh, yeah. I sit all day at work, and I have the constant urge to stand up, run around, pedal something… Ahhh! It’s happening right now!

  27. Comment by KIWIGT | 04.30.2009 | 2:19 pm

    Hi Fatty, I’ve signed up for the 100 Miles. I’m a Kiwi (New Zealander),just moved to Saudi Arabia & this is a great/bizarre way to celebrate my 40th(& your cause) mid May. The temp outside will be in the 40’s (105+),so sitting on the trainer for a number of hours will be perfect.

  28. Comment by SurlyCommuter | 04.30.2009 | 7:33 pm

    I get the very same thing – and oddly enough I was feeling it at the very same time you were. I must say I’m quite honored to be sharing my significant uncomfortable-ness with a very famous, multiple award winning blogger. I might have to save this date!!!

  29. Comment by Aaron | 05.1.2009 | 11:07 am

    I had to take nine days off last spring to fly out to be with my grandmother while she was in the hospital. Usually when I visit family, I’m able to substitute other exercise for biking, but this time it was pretty much straight sitting. By the end of the week, I was experiencing severe sciatica in my left leg (a chronic problem that cycling and other vigorous activity completely cures) and a sudden and frightening ache behind my right knee cap. Both disappeared once I got back on the bike. I also get the grumpy leg feeling if I have to miss a couple of days in a row, but I don’t know if it’s psychological or physical.

  30. Comment by Melinda | 05.1.2009 | 12:40 pm

    In the winter when my boyfriend cannot ride, HIS whole body is restless. Just as we entered our TRUE first cold snap of the season, you could find us on the couch most nights. We were bummed that it was dark outside before 6 and even more bummed that our bikes sat there mocking us as we walked by them. This particular night, my boyfriend was like one of those tiny rubber balls you would get as a child, remember those? If you threw them across the room, they would ricochet off of everything. He basically was twitching, turning and contorting himself until he was hanging upside down off the couch. His head was nearly on the floor and his legs draped across the back of the chair, STILL moving. I finally asked him was what wrong because if we needed medical attention, I figured now was a good time. Low and behold, he says….”I am restless…I need to ride.” So we rarely can go very long without some form of two-wheeled action!


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