Tomorrow sees Portsmouth host the UK’s first Naked Bike Ride of 2013 – happily, the weather forecast looks a lot more clement than today’s wind and rain – with dozens of riders expected to follow a route that will take in busier streets than in the previous two editions.
Speaking to Portsmouth News earlier this week, organiser Ian Hendon said that 55 people had so far signed up to the ride, and that the amended route had been drawn up in response to demand from locals.
“Albert Road is a fairly cosmopolitan area and as part of our feedback the people there said they felt a bit left out last year,” he explained.
Not all locals embrace the ride with open arms – two years ago, 1,500 of them signed a petition against the inaugural edition, although in the end it took place without incident.
Opponents include Conservative Councillor Luke Stubbs, who represents the Eastney and Craneswater ward on Portsmouth City Council.
This week, he told the Portsmouth News: “If I was to walk out of my flat and walk down the road naked, I would be arrested for it, and quite rightly. How is cycling down the seafront naked in anyway dealing with issues about global warming?”
However, Mr Hendon insists that the participants on tomorrow’s ride will be doing nothing wrong.
“The law in England says that simple nudity in public is not illegal providing there is no intention to cause harassment, alarm or distress,” he said.
“We took leaflets down to the D-Day Museum about two weeks ago and the staff quite happily said they would put them up on the side.
“Who would notice you if you were dressed? Nudity has been a form of political statement since the days of Lady Godiva.”
Tomorrow’s ride begins at 2pm, but participants are asked to arrive at the start, between Marine Court and the Esplanade in Southsea, an hour earlier.
You can find more information, including the full route, on the Portsmouth World Naked Bike Ride website.
The Portsmouth ride kicks off the UK season of Naked Bike Rides, though participants will be hoping for rather better weather than we’ve seen recently as we head into June.
Rides are planned for Southampton on 7 June, London on 8 June, Brighton on 9 June, Manchester on 14 June, Bristol, Canterbury and Cardiff on 15 June, York on 21 June and Clacton on 20 July.
More information can be found via the World Naked Bike Ride UK website.
The rides, which now take place in more than 50 cities worldwide, are billed as a "peaceful, imaginative and fun protest against oil dependency and car culture. A celebration of the bicycle and also a celebration of the power and individuality of the human body. A symbol of the vulnerability of the cyclist in traffic."
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.