As if you needed reminding! Its World Naked Bike Ride day – a spectacular event highlighting oil dependency and road dangers faced by cyclists – Saturday 10 June, 2006.
Over 40 cities worldwide will take part with people riding bikes naked to celebrate cycling and the human body. A surreal sight for sore eyes, the WNBR – (http://www.worldnakedbikeride.org/ ) is baring all to demonstrate the vulnerability of cyclists on the road and as a protest against oil dependency. Cyclists and skaters are encouraged to “be there, as bare as you dare”.
Probably the biggest worldwide naked protest in history, WNBR differs from other mass cycle events. According to the organizers, most bystanders experience a combined feeling of “amusement, shock and disbelief”.
WNBR grew out of Manifestation Ciclonudista (http://www.ciclonudista.net/) in Spain, which has been organizing naked protest rides against car culture since 2001. In 2004, Daniel Johnson and Conrad Schmidt – who were organizing rides in the US and Canada – joined forces to take the idea worldwide. In 2005, more than 35 cities participated in WNBR, up from 25 in 2004. 250 people rode in London last year, up from 60 in 2004.
WNBR participants are encouraged to wear “as little as they feel confident with”.
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Joining the fully nude contingent, some riders in London last year wore shorts, bras, swimwear, body paint, wigs, sunglasses etc. Most wear footwear and bring bags to carry clothes. Body painting and adornment, customized bikes and other creative expression are all strongly encouraged.
The bicycle was invented in the early 1800s. Early fashions were extremely cumbersome and dangerous for the rider. Like the open water swimmers who rejected the dangerously heavy swimwear of their day, it is possible many tried riding their cycles naked.
For the most part naked cycling has taken place at naturist/nudist communities and resorts around the world. Small community festivals, less-traveled roads, mountain trails, and other remote outdoor areas have also been favorite places for those looking for peace and fresh air away from their hectic urban lives.
As streaking became popularized in 1974, more streakers reached for their bikes for some fun variation. Several parades and fairs became targets for those wishing to crash the event and add a bit of spontaneity and thrills. The Summer Solstice Parade in Fremont District of Seattle is probably the best example. Naked riders also showed up randomly at Critical Mass events around the world.
Some focus on body painting and participate within the context of ancient cultural celebrations. Others use their body to bring attention to political issues. Some ride at night and others during the day. Some ride tricycles, unicycles, skateboards, rollerskates, or rollerblades. What is your city’s ride going to be like? (Retrieved from “http://wnbr.virishi.net/index.php/History”)
Nick Sayers, WNBR Brighton and Hove coordinator, says: “The most frequently asked question is, ‘isn’t riding naked uncomfortable.
Surprisingly, for both women and men, riding naked isn’t really less comfortable than riding clothed. When riding with clothes, you’re often rubbing against seams, so in some ways naked cycling is comfier.”
WNBR celebrates the individuality of people’s bodies. Riders of all ages, sizes, builds and appearances are therefore welcome to participate with dignity and respect. With comfort and less experienced cyclists in mind, the ride will avoid hills and maintain a leisurely pace. “Most riders find the experience exhilarating, liberating, empowering… and downright hilarious,” says Nick.
The event is free of charge. There will also be a number of pre-ride promotional events, including screenings of WNBR and naked protest documentaries.
Nick adds: “At other bike protests, bystanders and drivers are often annoyed at the sight of cyclists ‘blocking the traffic’ – despite the fact they’re actively cutting congestion and fuel consumption. What’s amazing about WNBR is seeing people smiling along the route. You feel like a celebrity! When confronted with naked protesters stopping cars in city centres, instead of angrily beeping horns, drivers stop and gawp in amazement. It’s a jaw-dropping wake up call for environmental responsibility.”
WNBR is a grassroots movement with rides worldwide, all dependent on local, voluntary planning.
Photographers and filmmakers attending WNBR are asked to abide by the photography policy, which will be posted on the website nearer the time.
There will be an area for riders to undress at the start – photographers will not be allowed in here. If participants feel respected and safe, more will take their clothes off, resulting in better photographs.
http://www.worldnakedbikeride.org/ (global site) http://www.nakedwiki.org/ (global Wiki site)
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