World Naked Bike Ride, London, 2009

I arrived about an hour prior to the start of the event. A recent anke injury prevented me from participating but I was still curious what it was like. The organizers were gathering already and were busy handing out flags and other paraphernalia.

The police were there already to make sure that everything goes smoothly. Obviously, mostly cycle-mounted officers were there. Their bikes weren`t really fitted with any super-special equipment, however one of the bikes was fitted with this cool light and a siren. It soon turned out, however, that the unit is out of order and even if it worked, a whistle is a much more effective tool to draw attention.

There was an assembly zone north of the Apollo Statue, where riders could change clothes and prepare for the ride. These young lads, Hartwat and Adam were waiting patiently for their first naked ride.

Though the start was still almost 30 minutes away, some folks were already happily naked. Impressive hairdo, by the way.

Police cyclists led and closed the big mass of mostly nude and unanimously cheerful riders.

Not long after the advertised 3:30pm start date the ride set off. There were all kinds of people. Some were masked, some wore silly costumes. Bicycle-wise, there were also all kinds of rides: mountain bikes, serious road bikes, hybrids, pimped monsters, unicycles and even some trikes. They were to tackle 6.2 miles around Central London so I had more than an hour to kill before they were to arrive back to Hyde Park to cross the Wellington Arch.

It took them 80 minutes to complete the loop and they arrived back via Park Lane in one happy, joyful (and naked) crowd.

He obviously missed the point.

Once everyone rode through the Wellington Arch, the crowd started to dissolve. Lot of people remained naked or semi-naked and had a great time chatting about the ride they just completed. Some folks used all the attention to show their talents, like this pedalling musician guy. He should have tried Britain’s Got Talent.

The whole event seemed to me a weird mixture of a Critical Mass ride and an erotic show. It managed to retain the philosophy of the Critical Mass rides where they promote urban cycling, calling the general public’s attention to the vulnerability of cyclists, using nudity as a means to an end. But the most of the crowd, in my opinion, were more interested in seeing tits and dongs than to switch from driving to cycling. Still, it is the least the rider’s fault, so kudos to everybody, who had the courage and rode along.

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