Life’s a cycle as wheelchair-bound teen sets amazing targets

by Rose Barrett
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By Rose Barrett

Just see the beaming smile of cyclist enthusiast, Sean Byrne and you’d think he hadn’t a care in the world. 

The 16-year-old youth from Skerries has a rare genetic disorder, FARS 2 which among many things causes spastic diplegia. So also, has Sean’s younger sister, Ciara (11).

Both are wheelchair users but each have a love of cycling. Despite being a wheelchair user since the age of 11, Sean has developed an unwavering passion for cycling.

Through Sean’s physio in the Central Remedial Clinic, he was introduced to cycling using a tricycle at nine years old.  Covid restrictions really saw him develop his technique and advance onto road cycling.

Liam, Samantha and Barry Byrne with Ciara and Sean

In November, 2020 Sean reached his 1,000km cycling goal.  The physical effort and energy that Sean needs to use, would equate this to 10,000kms of someone without a physical disability.

In June, 2021, Sean incredibly passed the 2,000km mark.  His parents Samantha and Barry, a fellow cyclist, couldn’t be prouder of the teenager, as is older brother Liam (20).

Paul Deans, a family friend explained: “Sean is very dedicated, trains up to four or five a week with this dad, Barry; usually they do one-hour sessions covering 12 to 15kms. But Sean’s current tricycle weighs 26kgs.  Any cyclist will know that this is quite a heavy load to carry with you in normal circumstances.”

Paul added that parents Samantha and Barry are amazing parents, and determined to give their children the best quality of life possible.

Sean and Ciara Byrne

Together, Swords Cycling Club and Velo Club Balrothery suggested a fundraising cycle for Sean, in order to purchase a lighter, carbon tricycle weighing 14kgs. 

“The difference this would make for Sean, it would allow him to continue to make strides in the sport he loves so much. He would be able to cycle further and with greater ease, plus cycling is marvellous for maintain the muscle function” said Paul.

It was Sam McArdle and Sean’s dad, Barry who organised the fundraiser, set to be held on September 4 next.

“Along with a few members of Swords CC, a GoFundMe page was set up in conjunction with a fundraising cycling event.

Sean stops for a coffee after one of his cycles

“September 4 will see the cycle commencing from the Man of War car park (Balbriggan) at 8.45am and finishing that evening at the same car park.”

It is hoped 200 riders will take part in this event with the option of cycling 50km or 100km. Any excess funds raised will be managed and used for Sean and Ciara’s future.

Registration will be opened soon on the GFM page. If you’d like to donate or register, see https://www.gofundme.com/f/seanscycleforatricycle  Entry per cyclist is €25 per person.

To help Sean achieve more cycling with a lighter tricycle, all donations large or small will be appreciated!

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