The first official World Naked Bike Ride took place in 2004 – but the concept existed before the creation of the organisation.
As their name might suggest, World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) organise mass naked rides around the world. The key goal?:
To put a stop to the indecent exposure of people and the planet to cars and the pollution they create.
Indecent exposure... geddit? Yea...
The rides also highlight the vulnerability of cyclists as well as the unique dangers they face, and promote healthy body image.
Attending a ride can great fun – but it’s not for everyone, as we saw in the polarized opinions last year – we looked at the pros and cons...
Making Motorists Sit Up and Listen
World Naked Bike Rides get the attention of the press – putting the vulnerability of cyclists at front of mind for thousands of drivers who might otherwise give those on two wheels little attention (or unwanted attention).
It seems that the ago old “SEX. Now I’ve got your attention" method of grabbing headlines and attention still works – so why not use it?
WNBR reassure potential riders that there are no laws against nudity in Britain and arrest is not a threat- they state:
If you are riding in London, Brighton, Manchester, Southampton, or York, there is almost no risk of arrest. Police are fully aware of our bike protests, the routes and the nudity it involves. The London ride had police approval every year since 2005 and police even provide traffic control.
Most police officers provide support, with some being less friendly, but unthreatening - as creator of the group, Conrad Schmidt, said:
This grumpy police officer came up to me and told me that he thought that what I was wearing was indecent. I looked him straight in the eye and told him that I thought his opinion was indecent. I was right; and no, I was not arrested.
So basically – it’s highly unlikely you’ll be arrested for stripping down in public. However, organisers do ask that you wear clothes before and after the event, to maintain relationships with authorities.
Facing Up to Body Issues
Sadly, in this world of unrealistic airbrushing, wishful Instagram filtering and willowy fashion shoots, there are plenty of people struggling with negative body image.
The naked bike rides are attended by people of all shapes and sizes – and it’s refreshing to see normal, happy, healthy people celebrating their normal, happy, healthy bodies. Hooray.
There’s a reason we wear sports bras
Admittedly, the dress code for a naked bike ride is "bare as you dare" - in other words, you don't HAVE to go totally butt-naked, and you can even wear a sports bra if you don't want to get knocked out by your nunga-nunga's... (only really funny if you were a pre-teen about 15 years ago).
Sports bras protect delicate breast tissue - Shock Absorber showed us just how important they are here. We're not sure we like the idea of riding Britain's pot holed roads au naturel...
There's a reason we wear cycling shorts
Again - you could opt for some clever skin coloured shorts, but if you're going really, truly bare.. it could be uncomfy.
Cycling shorts are designed to protect you from chafing where the sun doesn't (usually) shine - you won't be getting that. And heavens... where WILL you put the chamois cream?
This said, you probably aren't going to be in the saddle for hours on end.
You might get caught on camera
Of course, if you're choosing to go on the ride, it means you support the cause - but that doesn't mean you want your bum plastered on the front of your local newspaper. Unfortunately, it is a public event so you can't stop that from happening.
This said, the WNBR have created a policy for photographers to ensure that pictures are not used out of context and that there is no zooming going on - you can read up here.