Naked bike rides today get your kit off and get on your bike!
Nude cyclits make environmental point
Leave the Lycra in the laundry basket, dig out that gel-filled seat cover and experience the dubious thrill of riding through your home city completely starkers. This weekend sees the arrival of the World Naked Bike Ride and cyclists across the UK will be celebrating it with displays of the, erm, body beautiful and imaginative approach to skin decoration.
The event has been running across the world since 2004, and while other climates are a little more friendly on the naked cyclist, weather-wise, the Brits consistently prove that getting your kit off and letting it all hang out on two wheels can be fun.
There will be naked bike rides in London, Brighton, Cardiff, Sheffield, Manchester, Southampton and York, with thousands of people expected to take part.
Body painting, customised bikes and colourful headgear are always much in evidence, as are the open-mouthed stares of pedestrians, but the Naked Bike Ride has a serious point to make. Organisers say it is an environmental protest as well as a celebration of cycling and the human body.
Nick Sayers, co-organiser of the Brighton ride, said: "The economic crisis highlights that we can't rely on the authorities to do the right thing. It's time for people to demand concrete action to reduce carbon emissions and make sustainable lifestyles accessible to all. The World Naked Bike Ride is a welcome reminder that you don't need a big carbon footprint to get around, and you don't need credit to have a good time."
He continues: "A recession is a good point to re-think the direction we're going, and alter course accordingly. However, the government's response has been to bail out the motor industry and encourage cheap credit to fuel consumerism and the purchase of more cars. We think our money should be used to create a useful legacy by improving the infrastructure needed for sustainable transport instead."
Rides take place in over 40 cities around the world, and Southern hemisphere rides took place in March this year, including cities in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and Peru.
The event is very big in the United States but unlike the UK, where the police seem more amused by the event than anything else, there have been clashes with the authorities.
In Boulder, Colorado, the local Police Department has issued a warning that it will enforce indecent-exposure laws. Cyclists "not covering their genitals are subject to arrest,” it has said, “and, if convicted under this statute, may be required to register as sexual offenders."
You can find out more about the event and the nearest ride to you by visiting www.worldnakedbikeride.org/uk