Around 60 cyclists braved heavy rain in Portsmouth on Saturday as they took part in the fourth edition of the World Naked Bike Ride held in the Hampshire city.
It’s the first of a dozen such rides in towns and cities across England and Wales over the coming two months during a year in which the World Naked Bike Ride, now staged in dozens of locations across the globe, celebrates its 10th birthday.
Aims of the rides include highlighting the fragility of the human body and issues such as the impact on the environment of dependency on cars as a mode of transport.
Saturday’s ride was organised by Ian Henden from Fareham, who told Portsmouth News: “This is bike ride number four. It’s about cyclists getting knocked off their bikes and raising cyclist awareness.
“It’s a carnival. It’s just good fun – the atmosphere and it gets a serious message across.
“We get all sorts – there’s a fair number of naturists, persons of alternative sexual persuasion tend to come out on it too.
“People who want to see what it’s like come out on it too, we don’t have any trouble.”
The newspaper says that a dozen people from France joined in the ride, and that a number of students from the University of Portsmouth turned out to watch.
One, Erica Feng, said: “It’s funny, and being from China it’s a new thing.
“I have never seen this before. My friends don’t enjoy doing it but they came here to watch.”
One first-time participant, Hannah Cripps, said: “I thought it would be fun. People thought I couldn’t do it.
“Now I can really say I’ve been cycling down Southsea with no clothes on.
“Hopefully no-one will recognise me.”
Some pictures from the ride have been posted to the website Demotix.
Portsmouth News says that the event didn’t meet with universal approval, citing several posts on its Facebook page from people concerned at children seeing adults cycling around naked.
One, Joanne Trueman, said: “Disgusting! Kids do not need to see this. Why should I cover my kids eyes? Grown adults shouldn’t be naked in public. It’s as simple as that!”
Ahead of the debut of the World Naked Bike Ride in Portsmouth in 2011, around 1,500 locals signed a petition calling for it to be banned.
However, police said they had no powers to do so and the event passed off without incident.
Other towns and cities here hosting a leg of the World Naked Bike Ride in the coming weeks are:
Canterbury 31 May
Hastings 1 June
Manchester 6 June
Bristol 7 June
Brighton 8 June
Cardiff 14 June
London 14 June
York 20 June
Exeter 28 June
Folkestone 5 July
Clacton 19 July
More details can be found by following the links here.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.