World Naked Bike Ride

London, 2024.

World Naked Bike Ride

I've lately been leaning into naturism and naked experiences in all forms. This past weekend, I unlocked a new level or ticked off a milestone or whatever - I rode in the London edition of the World Naked Bike Ride.

Overall, it was a success. We got naked, rode through the streets of London. Job done. I'm really glad I did it.

What made the whole experience really enjoyable was that I'd convinced my friend Uli to do it with me.

"Convinced" is possibly overstating it, you could probably describe it as bullying. I was prepared to do the World Naked Bike Ride on my own, by myself - and you could absolutely do that - but I was really happy to have a naked buddy to navigate the experience with.

After meeting at my place for pre Bike Ride lunch and sex, we cycled - fully clothed - to Tower Bridge, which was the starting point that we had decided to join.

The logistics of London's World Naked Bike Ride are a bit complicated - there's multiple start points across the city.

It's important to remember that World Naked Bike Ride is an environmental protest. It may not be as effective as throwing soup at artwork and gluing yourself to things, but the point is to raise awareness of environmental issues and challenge the car-centric traffic policies of our cities.

Uli had printed some signs - he has a kick-ass printer at his office. Other people had flags or body-paint. It was a relaxed and festive atmosphere as we stripped off our clothes and attached Uli's signs to our bikes.

Soon enough, we were off. The marshals did a good job of keeping us all together and keeping us safe. From Tower Bridge, we wound our way through the city, across Southwark Bridge, up along behind County Hall - where we all stopped for a bit of a break - and then back past the Southbank, over Blackfriars bridge, down Fleet Street, through the West End, down The Mall, and eventually finishing at Wellington Arch.

Cycling down The Mall was particularly glorious. By this point, all the different starting groups had come together to form an enormous naked peloton. We were over a thousand strong.

Throughout the ride, the response of the - unsuspecting - general public was uniformly thrilled to be able to witness huge numbers of naked people riding through the streets of London. We only copped one bit of verbal abuse that I'm aware of - four middle-aged football fans, who appeared to be drunk, shouting aggressively. I think their team had lost a match - I felt a bit sad for them.

As we cycled, everyone along the streets pulled out their phones and took photos and filmed us. Where do those photos end up? Who knows.

The obvious thing, I guess, is that the World Naked Bike Ride is a great naturist experience and an ideal way of celebrating all bodies from a body-positivity perspective. It's hard to explain just how quickly you forget that you're naked and how the nakedness of everyone around you becomes immaterial. Even when you're cycling down streets thronging with people in clothes - it's very surreal but it's something that I'm really pleased to have been able to experience.

As I debriefed with Uli over a post-ride beer, we agreed that the World Naked Bike Ride had delivered on our expectations. We got naked and we cycled through the streets of London and we had fun.

But thinking about it now, what I didn't quite anticipate is that participating in the World Naked Bike Ride has radicalised me from an environmental perspective. It infuriates me that cities revolve around cars not people. Cycling around town is awesome - whether you want to do that naked or with your clothes on. The lack of political will to actually put people first, to build communities, to enable us to immerse ourselves in the world around us - it's crazy!

Will I be doing the World Naked Bike Ride again? Yes. I now kind of feel like it's my civic duty. Let's get naked. Let's fuck shit up. The alternative is to shout angry obscenities into the void, like a disappointed middle-aged football fan.

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