A Dalston children’s play scheme inspired by the heroics of Team GB’s cyclists has been criticised for the exceptional number of maimings experienced by participants, and for setting a new record for emergency calls to the London air ambulance.
‘By it’s very nature, the sport of cycling does carry a degree of risk,’ said scheme organiser Mr Vance Armstrong, 42, ‘but the kids understand that when they sign up. All-in-all I feel that the number of intracranial injuries and amputations we have experienced this year are well within the limits of tolerance. They’re a lot better than last year at least.’
Critics of Mr Armstrong’s Geared-Up 4 Fun summer play scheme have cited not only the catalogue of serious injuries sustained by the four-to-14-year-olds in Mr Armstrong’s care, but have pointed out that the scheme’s organiser ‘doesn’t have a clue about the rules’.
‘What’s to know, for God’s sake,’ said Mr Armstrong this morning, ‘Bike racing? It’s going full bollocks around a track wearing a stupid hat, init? And it’s a round track! They’re hardly going to get lost, are they?’
‘Granted,’ he continued, ‘some of the Olympic cycling disciplines are a bit more complex than that.’
‘The keirin, for example, involves us tying the kiddies to my Vespa and getting a real good burn-on for the statutory number of laps. The one who stays up longest is the winner. Very popular among fat kids who can’t be bothered to pedal, is your keirin.’
‘And, because we are inspired by the white heat of Olympic competition, this year we have introduced the madison to our schedule of activities.’
According to Mr Armstrong, the madison actually has no rules at all and involves cramming as many cyclists as will fit onto the track and then ‘riding around for ages, occasionally slapping each other and then sprinting away before the other bloke can get you back’.
‘The madison is very popular with the under-fives, we’ve found,’ said Mr Armstrong, ‘because there’s so many of the little buggers on the track there’s hardly room to fall over. So, to be honest, it’s been a bit of a mystery as to how so many fatalities have occurred this year.’
‘Some of them died of fright, which is normal. But the rest, I believe, had not been properly equipped by their parents.’
Mr Armstrong’s theory is that many children are sent to participate wearing Lycra that is not tight enough. ‘Given an accident, you see, it lets the blood out, don’t it, your saggy Lycra?’ he said, ‘Whereas, properly tight Lycra like what that saucy Victoria Pendleton has on, acts as a natural tourniquet when the worst happens, yeah? So I blame the parents.’
Closure of the scheme would come as a double blow to Mr Armstrong following the failure of his Rock-Climbing for Wheelchair Users program and the impending court case brought after his Clay Pigeon Shooting for the Blind weekend led to the downing of two airliners over Gatwick last summer.