What experiences are still on your “things to do” list? Ever wanted to cycle naked? Ever wanted to cycle naked around London? Ever wanted to cycle naked around London with lots of other naked people in front of thousands of tourists? Well on Saturday 10th June you have that chance as the ‘World Naked Bike Ride’ rolls into town!
I first heard about the naked bike ride when I arrived at King’s Cross station with the intention of meeting my travel blogger friend Sarah near Oxford Street. A tall chap outside the station entrance asked if I was here for the “naked bike ride”. Intrigued I said “yes” and proceeded to cycle up King’s Boulevard to Granary Square to see what was going on.
What was going on was hordes of cyclists congregating and one-by-one getting naked! Some reluctantly at first but others with gusto, revealing body paint, slogans and generally a lot of bare flesh. Certain faces and “bits” starred out in the photos below to protect peoples’ modesty.
Not wanting to look too interested in partaking I hung back, while not wanting to look too interested either, i.e. a pervert. However an organiser was keen to shepherd people into position so before I knew it I was stripped down down to my black Calvin Klein boxers (I stripped myself down and wasn’t aided in this process) and I was part of the gathered procession.
Unbeknown to me at the time my friend was just 50m ahead and had actually planned to take part. I only found he was there too later that week. So there I was, on my 1980s childhood BMX cycling along with lots and lots of naked people!
I’d arrived at King’s Cross alone so didn’t feel overly conspicuous but groups of mixed sex friends seemed slightly awkward, especially the groups you knew were doing his for the first time together.
Not everyone was naked I might add. Some were in their underwear, some were topless, and of course many were completely starkers. Bizarrely those who wore full underwear or bikinis looked more out of place and noticeable than everybody else. A case of naked safety in numbers I guess!
What lead to many cheers enroute was normal, clothed cyclists going about their business simply stopping, stripping and joining in with the ride! One student I met at Russell Square was early for a lunch appointment, asked me what was going on, and then promptly got me to hold her bike while she de-robed and then took part for half an hour or so. I wonder if she ever did tell her friends what she’d just been doing when she arrived at the restaurant?
I cycled all the way to County Hall by the London Eye before finally whipping off my boxers and … and nobody battered an eyelid! Although it wasn’t the warmest of days might I add! 😉 But it really was the case that being naked felt pretty normal within the gathered masses … and that’s the reason all these people were there in the first place … as well as supporting the ride’s cause against our dependency on oil of course.
Only when riding near Piccadilly did I feel a bit exposed and that was when a bus pulled out separating me from the pack and I became the “lead” lone cyclist as I reached a big group of tourists with no one else to share their initial gazing eyes. But as you’re cycling along at a certain pace any gawping group of bystanders are soon passed by.
- Take a backpack to put your clothes in
- Maybe wear sunglasses to hide behind
- Hope for a warm day!
- Be weary of hiring ‘Boris Bikes’ the next day as many naked people were hiring them!
- Ultimately just go for it!
What’s the worse that could happen? … other than possibly meeting a work colleague or a friend casually walking along the pavement enroute.