It’s not every day the streets of London are full of naked cyclists
But it is once a year when the World Naked Bike Ride protest comes to town. This environmental campaign has been riding since 2004 and sees thousands of participants in cities around the world.
The London ride regularly gets over 1,000 riders, but that’s small compared with Portland in the USA where they sometimes get over 10,000. According to the WNBR global wiki, there are over 200 cities in 35 countries that have had WNBR campaigns. There are 33 locations listed in the UK, although not all are currently riding. Typically, there are around 15 UK rides each year, so, if you don’t fancy the bustle of London, how about a pleasant ride around Brighton with a cruise along the seafront, ending with a dip in the sea at the naturist beach. Or try a tour of other great cities like Cardiff, Edinburgh, Bristol, Manchester and many more.
So, what’s it all about? Basically, it’s helping to make the world a healthier place. There are several related themes aimed at getting a better environment with less oil pollution, promoting safe cycling, and having a healthy, respectful attitude to the human being. The protest is well-behaved and good-natured – a convivial activity that seeks to gain attention by being an engaging spectacle. It’s a bit like the way the Pride parades and the Notting Hill Carnival have drawn public attention to some important issues in a popular, entertaining manner. The idea is that participants and spectators share the fun, maybe take home one of the handout cards, then find out more about the campaign’s serious mission.
The London Naked Cyclists ride usually takes place on the second Saturday in June, often riding down The Mall not long after the big “Trooping the Colour” parades that celebrate the Queen’s official birthday. In 2020, London was in the grip of the pandemic. The WNBR London Collective took to meeting in cyber space, cautiously monitoring Government regulations, scientific evidence and best advice. They also considered many alterations to make the ride safer, for example, avoiding tourist hot spots and having rolling, circular routes with no gatherings at the start or finish.
World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is an organisation that sets out to raise awareness of road pollution and change perceptions of the human body through a yearly baked cyclists event. Get involved here!