World Naked Bike Rides UK (& Manchester Critical Mass)

Brighton:

In Brighton, organisers of the seven-mile ride were warned by Sussex Police last month that participants could face prosecution if officers received complaints about the nudity.

But, after advice from civil liberties group Liberty, cyclists entered discussions with local police chiefs and resolved the impasse.

Co-organiser Duncan Blinkhorn said: "This is a fun if outrageous way to make the serious point that we should not have to tolerate roads, cities and a planet dominated by the brutishness of cars that routinely foul the air we all breathe, destroy lives and impoverish the environment."

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London:

On Saturday 12 June 2010 the seventh London World Naked Bike Ride will return to the streets of the capital, allowing riders to see the city sights from the comfort of a bike or skates. The ride is easy and upbeat, and riders decorate their bodies and bikes with messages of protest against oil dependency and car culture.

Around 1200 riders turned out for the London World Naked Bike Ride on Saturday, completing a 10km circuit through some of the major tourist and shopping streets of the capital and as in previous rides creating quite a stir for the five minutes or so while they passed.

London police, also on pedal cycles but fully clothed, accompanied the cyclists and eased their passage through the traffic. Nudity is not in itself an offence and police allow the now annual protest to take place.

Crowds several deep lined the edge of the road in popular tourist spots including Trafalgar Square, and even many of the shoppers in Oxford St stopped consuming to watch, although from the many comments I heard, many were unclear about the purpose of the event.

Some riders did have slogans on their bodies, mainly about oil and traffic, and some bikes carried A4 posters reading REAL RIGHTS FOR BIKE and CELEBRATE BODY FREEDOM or had flags stating 'CURB CAR CULTURE' which made clear the purpose of the event to the careful onlooker, but for most people it seemed simply a spectacle of naked or near-naked bodies. Though of course also a rare treat for any bicycle spotters.

Riders rode in a variety of dress and undress. Apart from shoes - virtually essential on a bike - some wore nothing, while others added body paint, cycle helmets, hats, shorts or briefs, bras and often a camera; a few rode fully dressed. As on previous events there were considerably more men than women, something that isn't fully reflected in my pictures. Although there were fewer women, more of them were in colourful body paint or otherwise stood out from the crowd.

This is an event that many - riders and watchers - enjoy and something that really does make thousands of people stop and stare, but as in previous years it seems to fail to get a clear message across, perhaps because those taking part do so for such varied reasons. This isn't essentially a naturist rally and nudity alone just isn't enough to get the point of the event across.

* London is the largest daytime WNBR event in the world. We had 1,200 participants on Saturday 13 June 2009!!! Previously we had 1,000 (2007 & 2008), 800 (2006), 250 (2005) and 58 (2004).

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Manchester:

The weather was perfect, the riders were exceptional and the starting point was lovely. We rode in joy and fun and lots of noise for almost the whole route and the crowds loved us. It all went a bit pear-shaped on Portland Street when some well-intentioned but sadly ill-informed constabulary stopped the ride and tried to make us get dressed. We undressed around the corner anyway, and we did get a lot of wonderful media coverage. It ain't gonna happen again folks, we'll make sure of that! Next year's going to have the best ride ever!

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Sheffield:

There were 18 naked riders which was down from last year's 27 participants, although the weather was just as nice and sunny with a warm gentle breeze. The golden sunshine and clear blue skies, made it a wonderful day for everbody. This year, as it was our second annual ride, we were hoping for around one hundred naked riders. However, as the London WNBR was held in the afternoon, this may have lowered the turn out as folk thronged to the London ride which had over one thousand riders.

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Southampton:

On a dry and 'warm enough' evening 150 riders attended. The convoy was led in fine style by a pair of Penny Farthings dating from the 1890s. We felt that these vehicles from a time before the internal combustion engine neatly debunked the foolish idea that roads are made for cars! Helped by the stately pace of the vintage bikes, the ride stayed closely bunched together which gave a sense of unity. We were greeted warmly by bystanders as we passed, and most car drivers were tolerant (though there were the odd few aggressive exceptions). Though numbers were about the same as last year, it seemed to me there was a greater show of nakedness this time, so hoorah for Southampton riders!

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York:

AN 87-year-old woman was among the participants in this year’s York Naked Bike Ride.

Margaret Dustman, who lived in Acomb for more than 50 years before moving to Mirfield, said she took part because she was against people’s devotion to petrol and fashion.

Mrs Dustman cycled off in the altogether, but others were there in various states of undress, wearing Indian headdress, bikinis and various slogans daubed on their bodies.

Other reports, photos and things at http://www.worldnakedbikeride.org/uk/

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The Critical Masses in Manchester have been attended by well over 100 people each month, for the last couple of years - hoorah!

Videos of May 2009 ride parts 1 2 3 4

See you there - every last friday of the month 6pm central library MCR

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