A teenager who overcame a rare form of cancer last year was featured on the BBC’s Morning Live programme yesterday morning as he embarked on a charity cycle, having only recently learned how to ride a bike, to raise money for a youth cancer foundation. However, 19-year-old Angelos’ altruistic endeavour didn’t go down too well with a section of Morning Live’s viewership, who branded him and his riding partners “selfish a***holes” for riding three abreast and holding up traffic during their brief piece to camera.
Angelos was joined yesterday morning by retired footballer-turned-television presenter Jermaine Jenas, as he aimed to complete a roughly 50 mile ride from Wallingford, Oxfordshire, to central London, in a bid to raise funds as part of Children in Need for the Teens Unite Fighting Cancer charity, an organisation that helped the teenager adapt to life following his cancer diagnosis and overcome the lasting impact of the disease.
The 19-year-old, who is part of Children in Need’s Challenge Squad for 2023, was diagnosed with sclerosing rhabdomyosarcoma, an extremely rare form of cancer (with only six cases diagnosed in England each year) in 2021.
After being given the all-clear last year, following a difficult treatment period punctuated by restricted hospital visits, Angelos says he was then able to overcome the “traumatic experience” of returning to everyday life by attending Teens Unite Fighting Cancer’s activities and residential stays, where he learned new skills and bonded with other young people affected by cancer.
The 19-year-old was then inspired to finally learn how to ride a bike to raise money for the charity that helped him during his recovery from cancer, and appeared on Morning Live yesterday not long after he set off from Wallingford, as he rode alongside former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder and current One Show host Jenas and another cyclist.
Speaking during the segment, Angelos described every metre cycled as “another pound donated” for the charity, while Jenas, suffering his way up a particularly draggy section of road, added: “This is all part of what we’re doing for Children in Need, Angelos has pushed himself so far, so get behind us and keep supporting us.”
However, some daytime TV viewers – evidently tired of critiquing Rylan’s onscreen chemistry with Cat Deeley on the other channel – weren’t impressed by the heartwarming segment and, more specifically, the charity cyclist’s decision to ride three abreast while speaking to camera.
“Just seen on BBC’s Morning Live, three cyclists (one interviewer and two others) abreast a single carriage road, barely pedalling, so they can talk,” Ricky commented on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“I know it’s for charity but have a thought for the f***ing miles of traffic being held up by these selfish a***holes.”
“Those cyclists wanna be more considerate of the queue of traffic behind them,” another social media user concurred.
“Look at them holding up all those people! Peddle [sic] for the love of God!!!!” exclaimed one exasperated viewer, while another added: “Car drivers pissed off behind holding them up. Road rage alert!”
“Can you imagine you’re a delivery driver up against a deadline or on the way to a hospital appointment or work and Jermaine Jenas is on a bike cycling slowly while he does a live piece to camera for Morning Live?” a fifth viewer, presumably an Arsenal fan, wrote.
“Do these egos know no bounds? It may be for charity but selfish and dangerous!”
The criticism of Angelos and his riding partners’ positioning on the road isn’t the first time this year that charity cyclists have been attacked on social media.
In September, Lady Bathurst was accused of “showboating” and “lacking concentration” by online motorists after she was on the receiving end of an extremely close pass by an oncoming driver during a charity ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
Lady Bathurst was cycling the length of Britain to raise awareness of her charity, the National Foundation for Retired Service Animals (NFRSA), when she was captured on camera almost being struck by a motorist who was overtaking a lorry on the other side of the road at speed.
While National Active Travel Commissioner Chris Boardman described the shocking incident as “common criminal behaviour” and something that “shouldn’t be normal, but it is”, others on social media responded to the clip of the near miss by arguing that Lady Bathurst should have been wearing hi-vis and that the charity cyclist was lacking “concentration” at the time of the close pass.
Attempting to pin at least some of the blame for the incident on the charity cyclist, one social media user argued that “you took your eyes off the situation unfolding in front of you to smile and converse with the cyclist across the road instead of moving over to the left of the cycle lane as a precaution. That wave almost cost you your life.”
“I could have been doing a handstand and cartwheels,” Lady Bathurst pithily replied. “The fact is at whatever stage, I was safely within the lines of the bike lane. The motorist overtaking did so in a reckless manner and was doing well over 70.
“I’d argue the stupidity of the driver nearly cost me my life.”
Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.