Sometime around my 46-and-a-halfth birthday, while descending a flight of stairs, I noticed a creaking, crunching sound coming from somewhere "down below". I checked my cleats, examined my shoes, and even inspected the steps for spilled Cheerios - because that's precisely what it sounded like. Nope, it the sound was coming from the silently turning and meshing cogset that had transported me from the bottom of Great Britain to the top, across Cuba, the USA, and beyond - my knees. I confess I'd never had a professional bike fit done, despite cycling being my stock in trade, in the same way I've never had a facial or pedicure or shamanic healing or colonic irrigation done. It's just one of those things you think about but never get done, right? I dropped a line to Ed Pavelka and Fred Matheny at the roadie bible, . They were adamant: Lynette, you need to see a cycling medical specialist. The best in the business is Andy Pruitt at the . If you can't go to Colorado maybe he can recommend someone in your area. Generally, pain behind the knee indicates a saddle that's too high. But there can be a lot more to it than that. Good luck. Medicine! Clinic! I hadn't been inside such an establishment for years. Was I falling apart? Since Boulder wasn't visible from my New York window, a visit to a local recommended knee specialist, Mark Feldman, determined that I had a "relatively benign form of ". Wiki it and you'll see it's a term for anything resulting in noisy knees. In my case, no bones or diminished cartilage involved - just fluid. "Stop riding a bike," joked Feldman as he strode into the room with my x-rays. Then more seriously, "Yes, if you stopped, your knees would get better. But my job is to keep people doing their sport - i.e. manage without damage." As he examined the x-rays I sat dreading the result; a friend told me about a mogul skier buddy who had to have bone fragments sucked out from under her kneecaps in order to walk again. But my knees looked "clean" - not bone-on-bone, but some misalignment resulting from my occupational hazard - riding a bike. The problem is that bike riding is a very "planar" movement, and if you've ever tried to do anything in a straight line without adequate support, gravity, chaos theory, Satan ... will all force you from your path. "Over time, with repetition, your knees can start to track incorrectly, creating inflammation," he said. I was given two knee braces with donuts cut out for the kneecaps to use "when exercising", a script for Voltaren of things got bad, a physiotherapy prescription for strengthening the area, and instructions to get a proper bike fit done. Now, my Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro Petite fits me better than any regular bike could - it's one of the advantages a small-wheeled bicycle - it can fit all riders great and small. My issues, shared by small women and people developing a tendency towards misalignment, are trifold: I took some of Feldman's advice, but serendipitously, found myself booked in Colorado, doing my traveling bicycle adventurette show. Despite his booked-out-for-months schedule, Andy Pruitt made a special space for me to get the "full kneedown" at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. Pruitt needs no introduction to the cycling and running cognizancia. Losing his leg below the right knee in an early hunting accident didn't stop him from becoming a medal -winning Paralympian in skiing and cycling, developing his world famous "3D gait analysis" bike fit procedure and became the traveling medical advisor to the USA Cycling Federation. He just happens to be a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket owner from way back too. "I needed a bike to travel easily with my tools of the trade - medical bag, duffle, and of course, bicycle." Andy prodded and poked my knees then took a "merchant" x-ray - a view of the kneecaps that looks two ice cream sundaes complete with chocolate topping and a cherry on top - the patella. He pointed to a slight shift in my patella to one side - caused by incorrect alignment, and some fraying that looked like "shag carpet". He took my Specialized Sonoma recreational riding shoes - fine footwear for anyone else but me - and twisted them about. "Too soft - you need a supportive shoe." Andy actually worked in developing the Specialized Body Comp footwear but the particular shoe I'd chosen - the sexy, multi-use Sonoma - didn't have all the features of the more serious models in the range. Oh why do good, solid bike shoes have to be so ugly, and personally, I count the very well respected SIDI as being the ugliest of them all? "A shoe you can easily walk in is just not going to serve you, " he said. So much for my rabid insistence on multi functionality, as demonstrated in my Traffic Cone Bag! He also recommended I do some cross training to complement pure bike riding. "Not running, but dancing, skating, hiking, anything that gets your leg moving in other planes - is a necessary adjunct to cycling, which happens all in one plane, and clauses weak glute muscles." So: stiffer shoes, more varied motion, glute exercises and a bike fit were prescribed. I was scheduled a day later for a 2D bike fit and Pruitt-trained with biomechanics pro, Avery Frazier, Avery went through an exhaustive process, first examining and testing my flexibility, then using a "goniometer" - which doesn't measure what you think it does - to test leg angels. The Assometer, however, does measure precisely that - it's a temper foam pad where your sit bones are measured, then a wide enough saddle prescribed accordingly. My right foot naturally turns out from the hip, so my cleats had to be turned accordingly, something I thought I'd done - perhaps they'd worked their way back. Check your gear often! She even detected a slight tilt in the ball of my feet - called "forefoot varus", which she corrected by slipping some thin wedges into my shoes. Of course, all these adjustments should be done on the final shoes, not the ones about to be ditched ... As for my actual bike measurements, the seat had to go back a couple of centimeters, but other measurements seemed good - something Alan Scholz has become expert at due to years of sizing customers for Bike Fridays.But my stance width remained the single, tough-to-crack problem. Fellow bike fitter Sean Madsen leaned over and suggested a research narrower bottom brackets made by niche manufacturers, but of course that would entail getting a whole new bike.At least there was something we could do about the pedals. Avery recommended some fancy Speedplay titanium pedals and shoes that could get me that shrinking "Q" factor - but this was tough to swallow. Carry around two pairs of shoes? Are you nuts?"I think you've misjudged what a serious cyclist you are, by avoiding "lycra-lizard roadie shoes," said Andy. "Anyone who is riding a bike for commuting purposes and more, especially someone with your issues, needs to have equipment promoting the right fit."