Phil O’Shea

Wizard on Wheels

New Zealand Cycling Legends is a series of books celebrating New Zealand's greatest cyclists. The first in the series tells the story of Phil O'Shea, the greatest of them all.

This is the first extensive account of Phil O'Shea's life and racing career, with an impressive raft of achievements set against the backdrop of a golden era for cycling – the early 1900s. O'Shea was a champion of champions with victories ranging from 1/4-mile sprints to 265-kilometre road races and spanning 20 years. His legendary achievements earned him superstar status and the moniker of “wizard on wheels”.

$20

Now also available in a Kindle edition.

Born in 1889, O’Shea’s quiet, unassuming persona was juxtaposed by an extraordinary athletic ability. He won every track and road cycling title he set his mind to, during a time when competitive cycling was one of the world’s most popular sports. The hallmarks of O’Shea’s career were the amazing speed with which he rose to the top and the length of time he stayed there. Within two years of entering his first race in 1909, he had become road champion of New Zealand – and Australasia. A decade later, nothing had changed.

He went to Australia and won their road championships three years straight. After 1923, he concentrated on track racing. Champions from around the world were imported for O’Shea to compete against in front of home crowds. He was the greatest all-round cyclists New Zealand has ever produced.

  1. …it gives an insight into O’Shea’s wonderful career. Having read it, I feel a strong case could be made for O’Shea’s induction into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.

    Joseph Romanos, The New Zealand Listener

  2. … an amazing story about an amazing athlete. O’Shea’s feats were astounding. I doubt that there has ever been a tougher man in New Zealand sport …

    Brian Turner, poet and cyclist

  3. No one rider has left such an indelible mark on New Zealand cycling as the fabulous O’Shea, who reigned supreme on the road from 1911 to 1924.

    The Otago Daily Times, 28 September 1962