Boy banned from cycling to primary school in Portsmouth to be youngest competitor ever in Abu Dhabi triathlon

Sam O'Shea has beaten obstacles in Britain and abroad

by Sarah Barth   January 19, 2013  

Sam O'Shea Abu Dhabi triathlon

A boy who sparked a national campaign when he was told by teachers that he wasn't allowed to cycle to school is to be the youngest person ever to compete in the Abu Dhabi triathlon.

Sam O'Shea was aged 11 when he was banned from riding to his school in Portsmouth, with staff at St Paul’s Primary School citing a lack of storage space and dangerous roads around the school as the reason for their stance, even though Sam’s mother, Angela, spent months arguing that Sam's one-mile journey, almost all on cycle paths, was safe, a view supported by an official risk assessment.

In response, the CTC  produced a Right to Ride to School leaflet, noting that schools cannot issue outright cycling bans and advising parents how to lobby.

Sam moved with his family to Abu Dhabi in 2010, but his mother got in touch to tell us; "Ironically, although we live less that 2km on one straight road to his school we will not let him cycle as it is too dangerous - especially at that time of day! "

But his love of bikes continued despite the setbacks, and after intensive training Sam, now 14, is ready to compete in the Abu Dhabi triathlon on March 2, lining up with the likes of Alistair Brownlee, who won the Olympic gold in the triathlon in London last summer.

We wish him luck!

8 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Nice one, I look forward to seeing him compete in more events as his progresses in the sport.

I don't understand kids being told they can't cycle to and from school. I used to do many miles back and forth a day to get to school.

But then they cut P.E time in schools and complain kids are unfit, fat, lazy......

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9361 posts]
19th January 2013 - 20:41


Good lad - shows the school to be run by idiots too


posted by OldRidgeback [2577 posts]
19th January 2013 - 22:23


Gkam84 wrote:
But then they cut P.E time in schools and complain kids are unfit, fat, lazy......

and sell off the playing fields... Angry

posted by kitkat [282 posts]
19th January 2013 - 22:31


Good lad, stick in with your training and show everyone what you can do Applause

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

posted by stumps [3235 posts]
20th January 2013 - 15:27


Good lad but don't overtrain when you're young! A death sentence to many a young athlete.

Don't know much about cycling in Pompey nowadays, (I was born there), but the roundabout at the top of it was a death trap and the most scary thing I ever cycled around until I tried the Elephant and Castle many years later.

posted by Alan Tullett [1581 posts]
20th January 2013 - 15:38


Good Luck Sam Smile

At my sons school they are allowed to travel to & from school unaccompanied from Yr4, But they cannot cycle alone until they have completed Bikeablity training which the school runs in Yr6!
Waste of 2 years Confused And IMO most of the kids by Yr6 have picked up bad habits that could have been prevented with earlier training.

I'm only here for the cake

Dizzy's picture

posted by Dizzy [66 posts]
21st January 2013 - 10:03


I reckon the school will have him splashed over any promotional material showing him off as a former pupil if he wins anything.

posted by farrell [1943 posts]
21st January 2013 - 14:24


Good on the lad....though having worked around the Whiteley/Fareham area a few years ago, it's not the most cycle friendly environment in places.

Wish him the best in his future endeavours and do look forward to seeing him progress.....wonder if he might give the Brownlee brothers a run for their money in a couple of years time?!

posted by Furry Mommy [32 posts]
2nd March 2013 - 20:30