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Healthy trip? on yer bike!

If a newspaper wanted to invent a story to fit a "Health and safety gone mad" headline, then a school cancelling its annual end-of-term cycling trip round the small island of Cumbrae as it was considered too risky would fit the bill. To crank up the outrage it would add the pupils were taken to Mamp;D's Theme Park, where nine passengers were trapped for eight hours on a rollercoaster recently, as a "safer" alternative for a healthy reward trip.

I have often accompanied pupils to Cumbrae and they enjoy being able to cycle on roads for a change rather than on pavements, with the worst mishaps being ripped trousers and a few bruises from pedals.

Schools need to introduce their charges to risk in a controlled environment, so that in real-life situations they will be better equipped to evaluate the level of risk.

The school is sending out a message to parents that cycling is dangerous. It has missed an opportunity to influence them into making a healthy choice for their teenagers in a country where 40 per cent of them never practise sport.

Gordon Cairns, Haggs Road, Glasgow.

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