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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...

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!

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on

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