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is it bad for a 14 year old boy to be cycling long distances

love2ridelove2ride Posts: 224
Hi
I'm 14 and i was wandering if it is bad for me to cycle long distances as i am still growing.

if it is how far can i cycle?
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Posts

  • It will really depend. A lad in my club who is 15 has ridden about 100 miles per week on average over the winter plus a turbo session. The best thing to do would probably to join a club. Most will have raced at that age so they should be able to advise you on how much you should be doing.
    "A cyclist has nothing to lose but his chain"

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  • a_n_ta_n_t Posts: 2,011
    well it's better than mugging old ladies :lol:
    Manchester wheelers

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  • dsmiffdsmiff Posts: 741
    I have the same worry with my lad. I have never really had an answer other than not to concentrate on the one sport too early; my lads do athletics, football and swimming in addition to cycling – I think there is a risk of over use of the same muscles???
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  • ManaruManaru Posts: 18
    I'm 15 and ride about 120 miles a week and I'm fine.
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    My 11yo does about 17 miles with me at the weekend and is fine. We have a 14yo on our club runs(approx 60miles) and he is fine(in fact I want him banned as he rides up all the hills on the big ring!!)
  • TempestasTempestas Posts: 504
    edited March 2009
    :roll:
  • If I remember correctly, when I was a junior there was no gear restriction but in Scotland there was.

    I think the medical argument is that if you're pushing big rings all the time as a junior it's easy to 'over-strengthen' and thicken the wall of a heart, but as the heart is growing at quite a rapid rate this thicker muscle wall means that it doesn't actually grow as it should (or something like that).

    As you can tell, my medical knowledge is absolutely disastrously ropey, but I think there's some element of truth in there somewhere.
  • Murr XMurr X Posts: 258
    I would be hesitant to do long miles before you are fully developed physically.

    Although cycling is generally accepted to be a healthy activity the opposite can be true and don't take anyone seriously that says it can't be.

    OK going to extremes here way back even when I was 7-8 years old and before I had a coach I would frequently ride 120+ miles weekly just for the love of doing it (yes everyone thought I was mad). Sure I was fit and it never seemed to tire me out at that age but weather it was doing more harm than good is another thing and it never once crossed my mind that it may not have been such a smart thing to be doing.

    I seemed to brake bones frequently and it was suggested in my late teens that I take a bone density check. I did hoping that things would be OK as I had been very careful about taking care of my health... Well things were not so sweet and I was diagnosed with osteopenia bordering on osteoporosis - a very frightening condition for an athlete not yet 20. The DXA scan showed that my lower back and hips were osteoporotic :cry: and I felt pretty sick to say the least.

    Its important to note that others in my family were also checked (reluctantly) and showed no signs of bone deterioration and I have no doubt that this condition was largely brought on by a large training load, ie riding long miles that I didn't need. Cycling is not a load bearing exercise and more importantly on top of that when you are sweating calcium is lost and is leeched from the bones to replace it... Also hormone levels usually take quite a nosedive further contributing to this.

    For the past few years I have greatly decreased the mileage, have hit the gym (not good for cycling), "retired" from road racing :lol:, been taking it easy in general and always take calcium suppliments through the day and more if I am cycling (especially in the heat).

    I would work on speed first, duration later personally. Don't tire you're self out for no reason, listen close to you're body and eat plenty and take calcium suppliments if you are riding lots. I have no doubt that cycling can be a healthy sport/hobby and a great exercise so have fun!
    Just don't go crazy at you're age. :)
  • knedlickyknedlicky Posts: 3,097
    When I was about 11 years, I used to ride about 20 miles during the week and 25 miles on alternate sundays in summer. By the time I was 15 years, the summer alternate-sunday rides were 70-80 miles. Matches about the same as some other examples. Football was my cross-training.
  • dsmiffdsmiff Posts: 741
    Nothing here eases my worries, my Lad is 9 and does the same rides as me and can only ride with other adults or older kids.

    Reading Murr X reply scares me to death as my son sounds very similar and it worries me watching him sometimes.

    We planned to do a handful of races with him this year just to see how he was getting on (all the guy's he was competing with this year have moved up an age catorgory so it should be quite easy), I was also planning to do some longer rides - maybe not such a good idea, I think we will stick to around 2 hour rides for now. (Should I treat him to McDonalds or bacon buttied after the ride to replace the salt?)
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  • hey, im only 14 and ive benn riding about 150 miles a week for a few months now,

    2 weeks ago i did a 108 km ride and i've never had a problem of any sort.

    cheers, jack
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Tempestas wrote:
    markos1963 wrote:
    My 11yo does about 17 miles with me at the weekend and is fine. We have a 14yo on our club runs(approx 60miles) and he is fine(in fact I want him banned as he rides up all the hills on the big ring!!)

    Someone should tell him to drop into the little ring, it's essential for young riders to keep their gears down as per the BC gear restrictions. One of the most overlooked muscles in the body is the heart and this is one of the reasons for the gear restriction, if you push a bigger gear it can effect heart development. I am sure if you do a net search on the subject it should help, I am no expert and have not been that young for ages :roll: but hope this puts you on the right track.

    He's not grinding away, the big censored is nearly 6 foot tall and is sprinting away from us!!
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    Your heart doesn't know what gear you are in - what gear you are in is irrelevant - it may possibly make a difference to your muscles, bones and soft tissue in your legs but not your heart.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • If I remember correctly, when I was a junior there was no gear restriction but in Scotland there was.

    I think the medical argument is that if you're pushing big rings all the time as a junior it's easy to 'over-strengthen' and thicken the wall of a heart, but as the heart is growing at quite a rapid rate this thicker muscle wall means that it doesn't actually grow as it should (or something like that).

    As you can tell, my medical knowledge is absolutely disastrously ropey, but I think there's some element of truth in there somewhere.

    Oh dear - when I was young I was a big, big gear masher. Hmmmm. Chuckling at "absolutely disastrously ropey" by the way, heh heh!
  • lfcquinlfcquin Posts: 470
    I started riding when I was 11 and started racing at 12. I used to go on club runs every weekend, used to ride to school every day and would race locally in the evenings. Not sure what mileage I did, but it was reasonably high.

    My own view is everything in moderation. Do the mileage you feel comfortable doing, but make sure you do other sports and concentrate on your core fitness too. Try and stretch regularly because your flexibility will disappear quickly if you don't and will be very difficult to get back as you get older. I don't think you would need to worry about bone problems if you mix your cycling with other exercise or sports that help develop your core and use different muscles.

    I agree with the comments about joining a club as the right club will look after you, give you good advice and take care of you on runs. I also agree with the comments on the gearing. Keep spinning low gears as long as possible, it will help you develop a good cadence as much as anything else!

    Most of all, keep it fun and don't take it too seriously. :D
  • i'm 14 and rode 146 miles this week. it was my longest ever. i only started riding in the summer. but i feel fine. i had no problems this week. i am as fresh now as i was last week
  • as all the above posts. There's nothing wrong with it, stay away from weights, but everything else you can do. I coach rowing and there are a lot of juniors at the club, basically they're not allowed to do weights and have to do other sports as well for cross training. If you fancy a nice tie in sport, head down your local club...
  • toontratoontra Posts: 1,160
    Mark Beaumont (round the world record holder) did a Land's End - John o'Groats the long way (over 1000 miles) aged 15.


    a serious case of small cogs
  • I've been 15 for 26 years now and I still can't do big cogs up big hills :( . I think I'll see the doctor.
  • torintorin Posts: 102
    im only 13 and rode 71 miles averaging 20 mile an hour yesterday with a load of british cycling coaches watching me so it cant be bad at all
  • Richard_DRichard_D Posts: 320
    I would say go for it. My son is 14 at the moment and was just old enough to do the L2B last year. He thoruoghly enjoyed it and was sprinting through Brighton to ensure he finished in front of his parents. We had built up the distance so by the tine he did the L2B he had already done similar distances. He is and was mixing his Cycling with other sports both in school and out of it.
    If you are worried join a club or see your GP. Both should be able to tell you if you are over doing it.
  • Giant PhilGiant Phil Posts: 116
    I cycled Lands End to John O Groats when I was 14, did my fitness no end of good, and got me into cycling. I played rugby, hockey and competed in county Judo competitions, and haven't broken a bone, and have no serious issues to do with health. Sometimes suffer from very mild back discomfort.

    Did have a hypo-glycemic attack when I was 15, which wasn't too nice, but was working hard on a really cold day, without a proper meal in me, so it was my own fault.

    I think its important for young people to take into consideration, that with sports that are usually imposed on them at school, mileage does have to be limited, otherwise fatigue can become a serious problem. Just be sensible, and listen to your body, if you feel permanently tired, probably best to get some rest, and lay off the cycling for a week or so.

    Phil
    Giant SCR, BRIGHT Orange.
  • jimycooperjimycooper Posts: 740
    hey torin, are you on the talent team?/??
  • torintorin Posts: 102
    jimycooper wrote:
    hey torin, are you on the talent team?/??
    no im not old enough and i dont think ill get in when i am as i only started last year
  • TempestasTempestas Posts: 504
    edited March 2009
    :roll:
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I cant see the Heart thing at all..... Sounds like one of the old cycling wives tales...

    As Tom points out - your heart has no idea what gear its pushing round.

    180bpm is 180bpm - whatever ring you're on. Surely its more to do with Cadences - so juveniles are banned from the big gears to keep your cadence up.

    And what kind of 7 year old does 120 miles a week ? How does that work out ???
  • TempestasTempestas Posts: 504
    edited March 2009
    :roll:
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    They arent talking about the heart though ?

    Clearly its not sensible for a developing heart to go through too much exertion - thats why you cant run a marathon until you are 18.

    A good guide would probably be on the British Cycling site - how long are the schoolboy races ?
  • TempestasTempestas Posts: 504
    The heart is a muscle and requires aerobic exercise to develop.

    A good example of this is body builders, they push big weights and become physically strong, but could you see one running the 400m's? Hence the reason for low resistance, high repetitions to develop aerobic fitness. So by keeping gears down, revs up you develop the heart.

    I have searched the BC website but cannot find anything, this is why I asked a friend who coaches cycling and he provided me with the above example.

    Schoolboy racing has changed a lot and it's all age groups now, the younger the rider the shorter the distance. I don't think they exceed 15 miles now for the oldest age group.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Look at what the bodybuilders are developing - they're working their muscles - thats what they are focussing on - the hearts not the main thing here.

    How can a heart tell what cadence its riding at ? Theres no way it can tell.
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