Am I too old to become a Cyclist?

FranLovesCycling

New Member
Hello everyone :smile:
I'm new in this Forum and I'm sorry if my English isn't the best, but it isn't my native language.
I'm a 19 (almost 20) year old woman and I never did cycling. I only played football (soccer) for two years during my early teens.
I have a dream of becoming a pro cyclist, although I'm a bit old to start this amazing sport. People say to me all the time that athletes should start practicing since childhood to reach a pro level.
I'm not in my best shape right now and I believe it's going to take me a while to become fit again. My height is 5'5'' and weight 107lbs.
Do you think it's still possible for me to become a cyclist? If so can you give me some advice on how I should start?
I love this sport and I really want to get on my bike, competing or not.
 

Boopop

Veteran
Hey Fran, I don't think 19 years old is too old at all. I don't have much of an idea how long it takes to get from nothing to top fitness, but I doubt it's more than maybe 5 years. So even if it did take five years you'd then be 24...and that's another ten years or so to keep cycling as a pro. Quite whether this is a good career choice is another matter though, but you may find it thoroughly enjoyable regardless. Good luck and keep cycling! I'm pretty unknowledgable in the steps from going from amatuer to pro so hopefully someone else will offer their opinion.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
Join a local cycling club and start racing with them? As you make progress, work your way up to more competitive races. There will be different categories that you have to work your way through. If you have the right attitude, determination and natural ability then I'm sure that 19 isn't too old to start. Most pro athletes probably start younger than that but there are a few that have very late starts. Belgian Ludo Dierckxsens didn't turn pro until he was 29!
 

DCLane

Found in the Yorkshire hills ...
Nowhere near 'too old'. My son's race team has a ladies arm (youth / junior / men's / women's) and they've had a few riders start between the ages of 18 and 30 for the first time.

Firstly you need a bike. That's useful :okay:
Then build up the miles, with speed following.
Decent racers also spend time in the gym focusing on leg strength.
If you've been a runner then training should be familiar.
The final thing is to learn to ride with others, via a local club, team or group. A race requires not just fitness but also bike handling and an understanding of what's going on. Too often I've been in races where someone moves without looking or does stupid stuff out of inexperience.

The women's racing scene is a bit easier to get into than the men's, simply because there are fewer riders competing. The downside is that there are often a lot less races.

'Racing' can take a lot of different types: road racing or circuit racing (criterium / crit) is common, but there's also cyclo-cross, time trialling (TT), hillclimbing, track (velodrome - indoors and outdoors), gravel off-road, mountain bike, BMX and others.

My son races road / track / TT / hillclimb and I do track / TT plus the odd hillclimb.

I don't know where you are in the UK, or elsewhere, but Ride Like a Girl were running beginner's races in the north of England last year: https://www.facebook.com/Ridelikeagirluk/ and others will do the same when it re-starts. Some of the organisers produced a nice description of how a race works - that'd have been useful when my son started as I was acting off old memories at that point :whistle: - https://www.seacroftwheelers.co.uk/womens-road-race-timeline

Two things:
1. Where the women's races have been smaller sometimes they road race alongside the men.
2. Don't expect the women to be soft. One of my son's team-mates put me in the wall at Manchester velodrome :B)
 
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SWSteve

Veteran
Location
Bristol...ish
I think Lizzie Banks started quite late as well (maybe mid-twenties), and she is dead quick.
 

cyberknight

As long as I breathe, I attack.
Michael Woods, I think. Yes, not too late to start by any means. Of the crossovers, it looks like they've transferred great cardio-vascular and lung conditioning. Roglic seems to be a bit off a one-off in that respect.
i think PR was a"medoicre" jumper ? still brave enough to jump off a ramp with twigs on his feet though
 
Definitely not too old. There was a good pod cast on Trainer Road the other day. I can't remember exactly how old he was but a lot older than 19 for sure and he first became a professional triathlete then a pro cyclist.
We had a young lad in the club to who started cycling in his late teens when he moved to the UK and had a season of the semi pro European scene.
 
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