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Naked cyclist arrested while riding bike along coastal path slams “upsetting” public negativity

44-year-old naturist Stuart Gilmour was reported to the police during a fundraising cycle for mental health charity Mind

A naked cyclist who was arrested at the weekend while riding along a coastal path as part of a charity fundraiser has criticised what he calls the “upsetting negativity” that often surrounds naturism in the UK.

Stuart Gilmour, a 44-year-old HGV driver, was cycling on the Wales Coast Path from Prestatyn to Colwyn Bay, wearing nothing but a pair of trainers, when he was reported to police by a member of the public and arrested, North Wales Live reports.

After spending a few hours in a cell, Gilmour was eventually released after CCTV footage of him cycling along the promenade towards Colwyn Bay proved that he was not indecently exposing himself.

Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (England) and the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, public nudity is not illegal in Britain unless there is intent to cause alarm or distress to others – something organisers of local editions of the World Naked Bike Ride, who clear the events in advance with police, make a point of emphasising every year.

However, Gilmour – whose “eventful” ride in north Wales at the weekend forms part of his bid to cycle 1,000 miles in the nude to raise money for mental health charity Mind – says that while the online and public reaction to his naked bike rides is mostly positive, he does find some of the personal attacks “upsetting”.

> End to End: ‘Free Wilders’ to cycle naked across Britain

“I find the negativity upsetting at times,” he told North Wales Online. “It’s just people attacking me before they know me and jumping to conclusions. The vast majority of people I encounter react positively, and I try to engage with people who aren’t onboard and talk to them about naturism and why I’m so keen to promote it.”

The 44-year-old, who has been practising naturism “almost 24/7” for roughly ten years, continued: “For me, naturism is about pure comfort. I’m more comfortable naked than when I’m wearing clothes. I feel like I’m judged more when I’ve got clothes on, if they’re too tight etc.

“Naturists are some of the nicest people you could meet. They don’t judge you on the way look but on the kind of person you are.

“I think the problem is that people associate nudity with sexuality. Naturism has nothing to do with sexuality. A lot of it is about body positivity, which is a big thing for me. We’re told we’ve got to be on this diet or the other – if you look at men’s magazines, for example, you’ve got guys who are ripped with huge muscles.

“That’s not attainable for a normal guy working nine to five and looking after a family. I’m just trying to promote being happy with who you are because we are only here for a short amount of time, so just accept the person you are and enjoy life.”

> Naked tandem cyclists “deliberately” struck by motorist

He does, however, accept that a balance should be struck, especially when entering shops or pubs during his naked cycles.

“I don’t just walk in and expect to be accepted because that’s their private property, so I always ask permission,” Stuart says. “The way I do it is that I’ll go in clothed, have a chat with them, and from then on I’ll just turn up. With pubs for example, I’ll cycle to the door with my shorts on and pop my head in to ask beforehand.

“It’s their business at the end of the day and they might have kids around. There are times I’ll have a pint outside without any clothes on and times I’ll be inside and fully dressed. The vast majority of people I come across respect it once they know what I’m doing.”

> World Naked Bike Ride cyclists defend protest ride in face of calls for ban

The Manchester-based cyclist’s arrest at the weekend isn’t the first time in recent years that naked bike riders raising money for charity have encountered controversy and sometimes dangerous opposition from other members of the public.

Last July, two tandem cyclists, who were riding the length of Britain in the nude to raise money for Mind, as well as awareness of rewilding, were reportedly struck by a motorist who “deliberately” swerved into their path as they passed through Perthshire.

Naturists Colin and Sadie, part of a group known as the Free Wilders – who believe that rewilding is “possibly the most important thing for us to do right now to prepare ourselves for the challenges of climate change” – were riding the 960 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End when a motorist allegedly drove straight towards the pair and struck them near Bridge of Earn.

And in June, the post-Covid reemergence of the World Naked Bike Ride events across the UK – which aim to protest car culture and dependency on oil, as well as highlighting the vulnerability of riding a bicycle – attracted some online criticism, with Greater Manchester independent mayoral candidate Nick Buckley announcing that the event “will not be allowed” in the city upon his election.

“We need to bring back common decency and self-respect,” Buckley claimed. “Morality and lack of shame are missing in action.”

However, away from the cesspit of inevitable social media overreaction, the rides in London, Brighton, and York enjoyed a carnival atmosphere, with York organiser John Cossham saying that the public reaction was one of "just cheering, clapping, laughing – and we were able to use the spectacle to share our pro-cycling and anti-fossil-fuel sentiments.”

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.

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35 comments

Avatar
peted76 | 5 months ago
4 likes

I'm blaming the comments in this thread today on the weather. 

I think a naked bike ride sounds quite liberating.. albeit not on my road bike which has a cut out in the saddle.

Avatar
Steve K | 5 months ago
4 likes

On a (not very) serious note, I would have thought it was very uncomfortable cycling naked.  No (extra) padding for your bum and a risk of bits getting squished.

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HoarseMann | 5 months ago
9 likes

Maybe he just likes the feeling of riding along with the wind in his hair.

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Ride On | 5 months ago
4 likes

Just put some pants on. You can still be body positive.

Avatar
Dnnnnnn | 5 months ago
2 likes
Quote:

I feel like I’m judged more when I’ve got clothes on

As opposed to...

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Dnnnnnn | 5 months ago
4 likes
Dnnnnnn wrote:
Quote:

I feel like I’m judged more when I’ve got clothes on

As opposed to...

Well judges tend to suspend proceedings if you turn up naked.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
7 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:
Dnnnnnn wrote:
Quote:

I feel like I’m judged more when I’ve got clothes on

As opposed to...

Well judges tend to suspend proceedings if you turn up naked.

Fair enough, it'd be a waste of their time if you came to court without a suit.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
12 likes

Or any briefs, obviously…

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joe9090 replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
4 likes

i see what you did there

Avatar
Dnnnnnn replied to joe9090 | 5 months ago
5 likes
joe9090 wrote:

i see what you did there

You shouldn't be looking.

Avatar
Dnnnnnn replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
1 like
Rendel Harris wrote:

Or any briefs, obviously…

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Gm_Crop | 5 months ago
10 likes

Well there's a man who doesn't worry about helmets.

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Off the back | 5 months ago
11 likes

It's sad when you think that to some, the very nature of seeing a human body in its most natural form  is deemed as offensive.  

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chrisonabike replied to Off the back | 5 months ago
0 likes

I agree with the sentiment but pedantically - natural forms are those found in nature. For tens of millenia at least and possibly "since *humans*" the most natural form of humans has no more been "naked" than the natural form of the horse involved a saddle and horse shoes.

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Off the back replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
2 likes

That's only true in a society where you are told it's moraly repugnant to be naked. Thankfully there are tribes in Africa and South America where this is not the case and they don't feel shamed by the very body God gave them. 

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chrisonabike replied to Off the back | 5 months ago
2 likes

Did you not pay enough attention to the National Geographic in your youth? 

If you did you may have noted that even in very hot places there are still usually conventions on "clothing" for anyone deemed "adult".  Even when this is little more than a piece of string or a gourd and a winning smile...  Note that this may not be for the purpose of "hiding" things exactly - any more than a medieval codpiece or one of the Kardashians sporting her own version of Spanx.

It appears to be an example of a general human characteristic.  Along with fire and more recently finding alternatives to plain water to drink.  Lots of other things other animals do also e.g. tool use, building housing, (simple) languages, culture, riding bicycles...

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Brauchsel replied to Off the back | 5 months ago
4 likes

The large majority of human societies, including all the most-advanced (on any objective metric), have not only adopted clothing but have developed a taboo against public nudity. That rather suggests that there may be some advantage (if not strictly an evolutionary one) to clothing, rather than anything God might want people to do. It doesn't seem that He has particularly favoured those tribes thus far, unless early mortality, ever-reducing territory and generally-hard lives are evidence of His moving in extremely mysterious ways. 

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Off the back replied to Brauchsel | 5 months ago
2 likes

Lots of words. You're just talking utter sh!te. You can't say anything on these pages without total f@votary's like yourself and most others trying to be smart and can't just leave a comment. 
 

think I'm done with Road.cc it's just full of pricks who can't take a joke or try to be smarter than they actually are. 
 

best you all just go f**k yourselves 

Avatar
LookAhead replied to Off the back | 5 months ago
11 likes
Off the back wrote:

think I'm done with Road.cc it's just full of pricks

Thankfully, however, one fewer after today it seems👍👍

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David9694 replied to Off the back | 5 months ago
0 likes

Oh, Cheers. I guess we'd get it over with quicker if we all followed Mr Gilmour's example. 

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mark1a replied to Off the back | 5 months ago
10 likes
Off the back wrote:

best you all just go f**k yourselves 

Well that escalated quickly...

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David9694 replied to mark1a | 5 months ago
5 likes

Haven't had a good flounce in a while 

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mark1a replied to David9694 | 5 months ago
2 likes

It didn't take long for the cracks to appear.

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hawkinspeter replied to mark1a | 5 months ago
6 likes
mark1a wrote:

It didn't take long for the cracks to appear.

I heard that the police wanted to examine the bike and especially the saddle, but the evidence was tainted.

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David9694 replied to hawkinspeter | 5 months ago
5 likes

There were some skid marks on the coast path 

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Brauchsel replied to Off the back | 5 months ago
0 likes

Don't let the door trap anything dangling on your way out. 

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brooksby replied to Off the back | 5 months ago
3 likes
Off the back wrote:

f@votary

A what now?  Is that like covfefe?

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 5 months ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:
Off the back wrote:

f@votary

A what now?  Is that like covfefe?

It's pronounced "Fanshaw"!

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
1 like
chrisonatrike wrote:

It's pronounced "Fanshaw"!

I wonder if this cyclist ever visits the Vale of Belvoir?

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chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
2 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

I wonder if this cyclist ever visits the Vale of Belvoir?

Six Mile Bottom, I heard.  But I believe the location you mention has been the scene of some strenuous efforts, if disappointingly short times.

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