Well, that’s the second year in a row we couldn’t ride on the usual date, but had a lot of fun spreading the word through our #NotTheWorldNakedBikeRide activities. We set a theme of doing something to improve your local environment. The highlights of the week were, again, the photo competition and the two Zoom-Ins.
At the time we should have been riding we held another Zoom-In, packed with content that reflected WNBR London’s campaign themes.
To host the Zoom-In, we brought back last year’s brilliant team of Dave, Sophie and Natasha. In the opening session, we heard from several other WNBR rides and from supporters.
The State of Cycling in London
We then moved onto a discussion about the state of cycling in London. We posed the question “now, after 17 years of WNBR London, how much has changed and what more is there to do. Our guest speakers were cycling campaigners Paul Gasson and Ruth Mayorcas, along with cycling author and journalist Charlie Allenby.
The other main discussion during the Zoom-In was about body positivity. It was chaired by academic psychologist Dr Keon West. Charlotte, from the lifeocharlotte blog, was speaking about her campaigning to promote positive attitudes to people with stomas. We wrote previously about her ride with WNBR London. She was joined on the panel by two prominent figures in body positivity – Rosy Pendlebaby and Ruby Rare, who are also co-founders of the Body Love Sketch Club.
Live Body Painting
During the World Naked Bike Ride London 2021 Zoom-In, we ran live body painting with artists Peter and Raid painting WNBR volunteers Phoebe and Ken. Cy was also there to handle everything else while the others got mucky with paint.
This video captures the visits to the studio. It includes Sophie’s interviews with Ken and Phoebe. Ken talked about his interests in cycling provision for disabled cyclists and WNBR London’s accessible ride option. Phoebe talked about her experiences and getting more younger adults involved in the WNBR campaign.
At the end of the session, Peter presented the finished painting and described the themes behind the designs.
In the evening we again ran a Zoom afterparty. Just like last year we planned and prepared absolutely nothing. It was a great, random mixture of videos, photos, anecdotes, music, dancing, etc.
Let’s hope we can ride later in the year and have a real afterparty to celebrate!
The #NotTheWorldNakedBikeRide Photo Competition winner was chosen by this year’s judge, Ken. Some excellent old photos didn’t meet the criteria, and we also didn’t consider ones submitted by the organisers.
The winner was Gav’s Gif of indoor static bike riding, which is a popular #NotTheWorldNakedBikeRide activity. It’s the perpetual motion that caught the eye. Gav wins a WNBR London Goody Bag with goodies!
In the popular vote, it was very close. Nat’s sunbathing on scaffolding just beat Lucy on her bike.
Charlotte was in her 20s when she found out that it was emergency surgery or death. Ulcerative colitis nearly took her life and meant she needed to have a stoma, something she had never seen or heard of.
So I’ve done this thing…and in the worlds of one of mums favourite sayings;
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” ~ Neale Donald Walsch
This has sort of become quite a big thing for me, pushing myself to do things I wouldn’t normally do, or things that scare me a bit, or just new things.
Saturday the 8th of June, 2019, the first time I took part in the World Naked Bike Ride in London. I can’t really even believe it myself that I did it. My sister told me about it on new years eve, and how she was going to do it, and I remember thinking “right, I can do this too, I don’t know how, but I will and I have 5 months to prepare myself!” Throughout these months I’ve thought about it a bit, and spoken about it a bit but then forgotten again. Then suddenly it was time, it was two weeks away and I couldn’t back out now, no matter how nervous or scared I was. As you know (well those of you who have read my other posts) I find it so nerv wrecking getting undressed for the first time, whether it be in front of a new partner, or on a new beach that I haven’t been to before. Oddly enough tho, if I am going to get undressed for a doctor, or just to show someone my scars and how things work, then I am not nervous in the slightest, I can stand there talking and showing all sorts, but in any other situation I’m a total mess inside! Usually if I’m on a new beach I use my sunglasses as protection, once they are on its like there is no-one else on the beach and I can walk out into the sea and then I’m good… well after a good 10 mins of pep while trying to hide as flat as I can haha. So, yeah, maybe you can see why I would be nervous about this too… even more so because I decided to do it without the security of my trusted sunglasses. This time I was just going to jump all in!
Unfortunately my sister was too ill with a fever and a bad cold, and wasn’t about to join me, which didn’t help the nervs in the slightest, however I decided I wasn’t going to let that stop me! Luckily I already knew one person who we were going to be doing the ride with, but I also got to meet lots of new and absolutely lovely people!
The world naked bike ride is an organisation with multiple objectives, such as a protest against car culture, obtaining rights for cyclists, demonstrating the vulnerability of cyclists, demonstrating the global dependency of oil as well as body positivity, or whatever you as an individual would like. Of course as soon as I head about it I knew what I would be doing. Biking is important for me, and after having lived in Sweden for 5 years, and biking everywhere, but most of all feeling safe biking everywhere, as they are much more keen on keeping cyclists safer and off the car roads on bike paths instead, I feel that the UK really needs to up their game because I really don’t feel all that mega safe biking here (but I still do it when I can). This bike ride however was so much more to me. It was a chance to challenge myself, but also to raise awareness. To raise awareness for ostomies, and most of all, that young people get them too. As some of you know, I knew nothing about ostomies before I got mine, I hadn’t seen one, or heard of one before, and decided when I got mine that I was going to do what I could to try to spread awareness and make sure more people knew about it, whether they were getting one themselves or not. So Stevie the stoma got a cute little face, my sister helped write slogans on me… with permanent marker, which luckily wasn’t as permanent as I first feared, and decorated a load of bags that I no longer can use, which I then decorated my bike with. If I was gonna be doing this I was gonna be going all in, and I did!
As you’ll see in the pictures (I hope you can see) I wrote on my body; – Keep Calm it’s only a stoma
– Life takes guts – No colon still rollin’ – IBD Warrior – Love yourself – Self love – Body positivity
And the bags I decorated for my bike read; – End the stigma
– Ostomies save lives – We are all beautiful – End the taboo
And of course there were plenty of little love hearts around too! Hey, don’t they say ‘go big or go home’ or something like that, and that was my plan! I was not going to go home!
I was so nervous all morning, my stomach was like a whirlwind of all sorts, and I just tried to keep telling myself ‘it will be fine’, although at that moment in time I wasn’t sure if it would be haha! When we got to Regents park, where we were gonna start the ride, we got there just in time, and basically just had time to strip off before setting off. I think I’m quite happy we were cutting it fine time wise, because it left me with little time to think of what I was actually doing. Everyone else there was already naked, and about to set off, so with some fast action my clothes came off, got shoved into my bag and next thing I knew I was biking naked (I kept my knickers on) in a crowd, surrounded by thousands of other naked people, and all my fears were gone. I also think my fear transferred from ‘holy shit I’m naked’ to ‘oh good god, I’m on a bike with handbreaks, how on earth does this work!? I don’t want to crash’ (yeah, I’ve grown up with foot break bikes, where you peddle back to break, so handbreaks scare me quite a bit). It’s crazy how liberating it can be, just being outside in public, naked, with a load of other naked people haha. Some people were in all their underwear, some in a tshirt, some in trousers, others with plenty of body art, masks and costumes, others just as they were. And best of all, everyone was so happy! As we were biking round London, we were, of course, clogging up the traffic on the roads (yeah, stop driving everywhere people *winkwink* haha) and people were gathering along the paths cheering us on, waving and clapping, taking pictures, laughing and just looked like they were enjoying it as much as we were, who were taking part. I think we biked around London for about 2 hours, but time just flew by, and it felt like nothing. Of course we weren’t going very fast, but I felt like I could have carried on all day. I didn’t need my sunglasses, I didn’t need my clothes. I was just me! I am so proud of myself for doing this, for myself but also for other people. I had several people come up to me and thanking me for showing my bag, and raising awareness, showing them something they hadn’t seen before. I also had people wanting to take pictures of me and them to send to their friends who also had ostomies to try and get them to take part next year, or to just show them that there was someone else with their bag out doing this. I felt like a celebrity, and I felt proud of my body. I also met a man, who had surgery scars on his belly, who was so sweet and just said “neither of us should really be here should we, I have my scars out proud too”. I was really moved by him, and of course we got a picture together too, he was so sweet. The best thing about the bike ride is that it didn’t feel pervy or wrong or horrible at all, everyone was there for the same or similar reasons and it was no big deal that we were all naked together, we were just all there together and it was an amazing feeling! I have been living off this buzz every since, and I cannot wait until next year when I can do it again! It is one of the most empowering things I have done in ages and I would really recommend it to everyone because it truly was an amazing feeling that I can’t even try to begin to put into words!
Charlotte and Stevie (the stoma)
Oh, I also have to share this… there was a professional photographer on the spot too, who took pictures of me, and everyone else, but I never caught his name or anything so I sort of thought, ‘ah what a shame, I guess I won’t be seeing those pictures’ and then the other day, I was looking on facebook and in one of the crohns and colitis groups I was in, someone posted this;
The Naked bike ride in London. My friend is a photographer down there and snapped a lady (naked) with a stoma and had ‘Keep calm it’s only a stoma’ penned on her body. Is that lady in this group? If so well done very brave of you. Ps can you pass on your details as he has some photos you may be interested in.
I got so excited! That was me he was talking about! So I got in touch, and got some of the photos, but wow, that feeling was just amazing as well!
So many fantastic feelings to come out from this experience, like I said, I don’t even know how to start explaining how it feels… the closest I can get is sort of… free, bubbling, joy, strength and power… I think, although I’m not sure that really does it justice either… hmm.. hey, I know, come with next year and you can experience it yourself!
In the previous post we read how 83-year-old Gran’s first World Naked Bike Ride was our London ride in 2005. But it was cold and she reluctantly had to keep her raincoat on.
The next year she was keen to try again – and this time the weather was good. It was a glorious day and she cycled the whole route naked, aged 84. Her son-in-law, Paul Burkimsher, was again called upon to accompany her.
And Gran Rides Again in York and London
That was by no means the end of Gran’s World Naked Bike Rides.
When Tony Minou from Leeds announced a meeting to organise the very first WNBR York ride, Gran was the only person to turn up to that meeting (apart from Tony). They got on really well.
In 2009 she was back on the bike and featured in the York Press.
Sadly Gran had to give up cycling by the age of 90 in 2012, but that didn’t keep her away. She rode in London 2013 in a rickshaw.
Gran was back in the York Press with a photo from 2014, this time being driven by son-in-law, Paul.
Gran’s story goes to the heart of what the World Naked Bike Ride is about. Cycling and WNBR should be for everyone. And we should all care passionately about its mission to make the planet great again by promoting a sustainable environment and healthy lifestyles.
Have you ever travelled with a naked bicycle on a train? Have you ever travelled with a naked bicycle on a plane? First thing to notice is that naked bikes are not allowed. Not on EasyJet anyway. Their website helpfully explains that you must remove the pedals, turn the handlebars 90 degrees, deflate the tyres and put it all in a big box. Big boxes supplied on demand (at least at Geneva airport). Having checked in 2 hours before departure, I was ready. The airport guys thoughtfully loaned me spanners (efficient, these Swiss), lots of sticky tape and even a felt marker for labelling the box. Somewhere over the English Channel I remembered about letting the tyres down. Oops. I hoped they hadn’t (or wouldn’t, even now) burst. All I could actually do was wonder what would happen at Liverpool. No problem, round came my bike, in its box, on the luggage conveyor.
Why was I doing all this I asked myself? It’s the mother-in-law you see. She wanted to participate in the World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) and as she’s 83, I felt duty bound to come along and look after her. Gran (as we call her) is very sprightly. A real “Miss Hubbard”. Rides her bike every day, but usually through the streets of York, not quite the same as through busy central London. Not usually in the nude either. She’s always been a naturist at heart, but only a “practising” naturist since she was widowed some 10 years ago. Gran has an aversion to cars, but loves London. Reminds her of her nursing days as a young twenty-something in the war. Bandaging up injured (but not diseased) red-blooded soldiers I think. So the WNBR was too much for her to resist. Cycling – round London – in Eve’s attire.
I’d read all about WNBR on the web. Admired Richard Collins’ pluck from a distance, but was looking forward to meeting him in the flesh, so to speak. Jesse, the WNBR UK coordinator would be there and various other dedicated people who were just names to me, but who had collectively put in an awful lot of hard work, advertising, negotiating with the Police etc. The weather forecast had varied all week, from “cloudy and 24” to “sunny and 18 with a breeze”. I was not sure which I preferred. Wind isn’t generally good news for naturists. At least the weather people were consistent that it wasn’t going to rain. And so it was that I travelled to London with Gran. We emerged at King’s Cross and while waiting to cross over the busy main road outside, a cyclist who looked the spitting image of Richard Collins (as according to his photo on the web) drew up on his bicycle. I called out his name and sure enough, he came over. It was Richard. A lovely welcome to a huge city in a strange country.
We didn’t have time to join in the picnic and sunbathe in Hyde Park – though the sun was conspicuously absent anyway. We went directly to Wellington Arch where people were already disrobing ready for the ride. I have heard estimates of numbers ranging from “over 100” to “250”, but certainly there were the best part of 200 cyclists there. Some men wore shorts, some of the girls wore bikinis, some just bikini briefs, most seemed to wear nothing at all. The time had come to flip into my preferred attire. Grey sky or not, I wasn’t coming all this way to chicken out now. Multiple layers of arctic clothing came off and I tried to get them into my daysack. Gran decided that it was too cold for her to strip. She was as disappointed as anybody about that, but she’s as thin as a rake and has no protective padding whatsoever, so I believe she made the right decision. I got my sign out and attached it to the carrier on my bike. It read “God made my Designer Outfit”. This raised some grins from the crowd along the streets during the afternoon. As an active Christian, I believe that we were created and that our bodies are the pinnacle of creation. As such they should be celebrated, not hidden away with guilty feelings of shame. I did wear something though – a Jester’s hat. As much so that Gran could spot me in the crowd of naked bodies, should we ever get separated. I could spot her without trouble. She was the only 83 year old riding fully dressed!
It was hard trying to squeeze all my clothes into that small backpack. Would the zip ever fasten? Better be quick though, they’re lining up to set off!! “Come on Gran! We’d better go to the front, so that if we drop back we won’t get left behind.” Gran was still sorry about wearing clothes but was definitely going to cycle round with us, when suddenly we were off, through Wellington Arch and out onto the road. Some of the organisers were holding back the traffic and we whizzed along. Everything else just seemed like a blur, with us trying to keep up. Generally we didn’t cycle too fast, but I was very glad of the occasional stops to let everyone catch up. I thought we would be having photo sessions at each of the landmarks, but no, we just pressed on. Trying to take photos whilst you are cycling is difficult, so I have a limited selection. Really one has to participate or take photographs, but not try and do both.
Trafalgar Square was very busy. The riders ahead had carved a way through the crowd and we just cycled steadily right round. Lots of smiles, cheers and even more cameras and camera phones pointing in our direction. One middle aged lady in the crowd yelled out at the top of her voice “Why not?” and gave us a big wave. Down to the river. There was a chilly wind blowing over the bridge. We cycled around close to the London Eye then back over a different bridge. One man was cycling with his dog in the pannier on the back of his bike. Doggy decided he liked all the fun and the crowds and jumped off the bike to run ahead. Poor man trying to keep up! The dog was in its element though and I didn’t see it again until 15 minutes later when it was in the arms of another cyclist, a lady this time, peddling bravely along. Dog and man were reunited later.
Oxford Street was teeming with people. We all slowed down a little. One of the young women decided she was going to walk down Oxford Street. I don’t know what she did with her bike – I guess her boyfriend/husband looked after it. She just walked steadily and carefully down Oxford Street without a stitch on. Right there in the middle of a busy Saturday afternoon in all the throngs of people. I suspected that she’d been dreaming about this moment for a long time. Her dream was coming true. Good for her. She carried herself very well. In fact, she looked positively regal. I then realised that Gran wasn’t immediately behind me any more, so I stopped and lets scores more cyclists pass me. Then they thinned out and the last one came by. At least I deduced he was the last one because the crowds on either side of the street suddenly swarmed back into the road, gazing up Oxford Street after the riders. What was I to do? Where was Gran? I would start to feel uncomfortable if I waited around, nude, in the middle of Oxford Street on my own. Should I dress and go back to look for her? Or hope that she could make her own way back to Hyde Park (she was dressed after all)? In the end I decided I’d better catch up before the crowds in front swarmed over the road too, thereby cutting me off from my companions. I cycled madly to catch up and was relieved to catch up with Gran pedalling steadily on. I don’t know how she’d got past me.
We all stopped at the U.S. Embassy whilst Jesse handed in a letter to Bush. The embassy was guarded by armed police standing atop a concrete crash barrier. One officer was videoing us all as we went past. I bet the video gave his mates a laugh in the pub later on. One of our girls jumped up on the barrier sans bike, in fact, sans anything, and posed for him. That would have been a beautiful photo, one I missed taking. Still, I have a wonderful mental image. Her feminine beauty, nudity and purity contrasting with his masculine policeman’s expression, bullet proof padded clothes and a world-weariness, all together in a cameo that speaks volumes. By the time we got to Park Lane I suddenly realised that it was nearly over. Jesse was holding up the traffic and we had a wide empty boulevard to cycle down. I glanced at my watch. We had been going for an hour and 25 minutes. It seemed more like just half an hour.
Back at the Arch we were triumphant but tired. And cold. Even I got dressed quickly, something I am not prone to do. Then the sun came out, but I had been cool enough not to instantly want to fling my clothes off again. Tony stayed nude for a while, but I noticed his teeth chattering. There was one couple being interviewed and filmed by some camera crew or other and they managed to look warm. Kat, who we’d been talking to earlier, found Gran and gave her a big hug. Kat was a really genuine, friendly girl with a beautiful smile and kind eyes. The sort of girl that all men who haven’t already got a mother-in-law would hope to meet. Richard went off to buy some beer and we drifted over to Hyde Park to drink it. Gran preferred a cup of tea in the café and the others soon realised the benefit of the heated indoors (this was England in June!!). We had a chat there, about 5 of us, before finally going our separate ways. Will we go again next year? We will have to see if Gran is still up to it at 84, but if she is, then I doubt we’ll be able to stop her. And given even a tiny bit of sunshine, I’m sure she’ll do it “properly” next time.
WNBR London ran a programme of #NotTheWorldNakedBikeRide activities on Saturday 13th June 2020 in place of the postponed 17th annual ride. We wanted to keep attention on our campaign themes – and have a jolly good time doing it!
For the #NotTheWorldNakedBikeRide Photo Competition, people were asked to share pictures of what they were doing in place of riding with WNBR. You can see all the accepted entries in the #NotTheWorldNakedBikeRide Photo Gallery.
The winners received a WNBR London Goody Bag with seat cover, mug and badge.
Judge Richard declared four winners. These were based on the judges’ personal opinions and not influenced by the public vote.
Lucy illustrated how she particpated in our naked bike ride without leaving home. She had support from her mum and sister who voted for her. Due to a temporay glitch the system did not confirm the votes, so her sister kept clicking – over 200 times.
The judges said “Lucy is approximating to the bike ride, and the lighting is good.” The public seems to agree – the photo has had hundreds of likes on Twitter.
Howard is a keen WNBR supporter from Wales – illustrating how the virtual WNBR London activities had no geographic boundaries. His entry shows how our supporters chose a wide range of alternative activities. The judges’ verdict was “it’s the composition and every day nature of the activity that appeals”.
Esther Bunting and Steve Ritter
Esther and Steve did a two-person, isolation World Naked Bike Ride, starting alongside the A13 and exploring the marshy land alongside the Thames.
When the World Naked Bike Ride in London (WNBR London), was called off because of lockdown and social distancing advice, the organisers felt that the campaign needed to take on a new form. A programme of #NotTheWorldNakedBikeRide activities was developed and supporters took up the challenge.
The 2020 WNBR London ride had been planned for Saturday 13th June, so the alternative activities were planned for the same day. The focal point of the day was the Zoom-In, timed to run at the same time riders had originally been expecting to be out on the streets of London. 331 people signed up to attend the online gathering, which featured discussion and debate from eminent special guests as well as the opportunity for supporters to show what they had been doing in place of the ride.
Later in the day a Zoom-In afterparty celebrated the ride’s achievements over the years. Organisers from other rides around the world joined WNBR UK people to reminisce, chat about the campaign, and enjoy good company. Several people told tales of the origin of the ride back in 2004. Visitors from USA, South Africa and Mexico talked about their rides, including Portland Oregon where the ride has around 10,000 cyclists.
During the day, supporters had been asked to do something safe, relevant and whacky instead of the mass ride. WNBR London regularly has over 1,000 riders, and a further concern was the large crowds of spectators that usually line the streets. Many participants shared photos or videos on the WNBR London website (https://WNBRLondon.UK) and on social media with the hashtags #NotTheWorldNakedBikeRide or #notwnbr.
The main Zoom-In featured some excellent guest speakers in discussion with the WNBR panellists, as well as contributions from supporters, live bodypainting and a look at some favourite WNBR videos.
From British Naturism (BN), Mark Walsh (Events Manager) and Pam Fraser (Youth Ambassador) talked about the growth in popularity and activities of BN. They discussed the legality of nakedness including BN’s campaigning, which was instrumental in shaping the 2003 laws that establish it is not a crime to be naked.
Dr Victoria Bateman from Cambridge University and Dr Keon West from Goldsmiths were joined by naked video maker Lucy Muse in a segment that delved deeply into issues such as the social benefits of nudity, body confidence, feminism, women’s rights over their own bodies, male attitudes to women, diverse cultural responses to the human body, and, of course, the merits of the World Naked Bike Ride.
In the final segment, several activists from the original WNBR campaign in 2004 discussed the origins of the ride, with its themes of ecology and wellbeing, manifested in campaigns against oil dependency and car culture, alongside the promotion of safe cycling, healthy lifestyles and good behaviours.
Participants were delighted with the day’s activities and concluded – “we should do this more often”. Organiser, Cy Wol, said “a great learning point from lockdown is that we could achieve so much more, using far fewer natural resource, reducing pollution, cutting risks, and including a broader community if we work online instead of meeting face-to-face. WNBR London’s planning meetings will stay online – it’s the new normal”.
WNBR London confirmed that no decision has yet been made about rescheduling the ride for later in 2020. The situation is reviewed at every meeting, based upon current evidence and advice. The key issue is whether a ride would be wise – not whether it would be permitted. The planned date for 2021 is Saturday 12th June.
10:00 to 17:30: Exercise and surprise– safe cycling and other forms of activity people can do instead of being on the ride, either at home or safely in isolation outside. Participants are encouraged to Zoom-In or share photos – go on, surprise!
16:00 and 17:00: WNBR London Watchathons – during the Zoom-In, supporters will be encouraged to watch and discuss excellent films of WNBR London
19:00 to 21:00: #NotTheWorldNakedBikeRide Afterparty – an online afterparty session just for fun! (you need to pre-register for the Zoom-Ins)
All activities will be clothing optional and we’d love to see some body painting, fancy dress, bike decorations and flags – just like the real thing.
So, what are you going to be doing for #NotTheWorldNakedBikeRide on 13th June 2020?
Make sure it’s safe and follow social distancing advice. If you are on your own in public, don’t take the risk of being naked. Although it’s legal you might encounter problems.
Please send in your photos and/or join us on the Zoom-In!
Some guidance about #NotTheWorldNakedBikeRide activities:
Activities are clothing optional, as bare as you dare. We will not tolerate bad behaviour – you will be blocked for life! That means no overtly sexual or obscene language, behaviour or imagery. Although we will try to prevent photography, just like the real ride, you can bet someone will be watching and maybe trying to get a photo – so don’t do anything you might regret later.
So sorry to say it, but here is the news you were probably expecting to hear.
The World Naked Bike Ride in London will not take place on 13th June. Participants and spectators should not go to the start locations.
WNBR London has considered current circumstances and concluded we must take a cautious approach for the safety of our participants and the general public. We assume it will still be unwise to encourage public gatherings in June.
We have seen no reliable evidence to indicate when it will be safe to take the ride onto the streets so we have not proposed a new date for the ride. It is possible that there will be no ride in 2020. We will review the situation at each of our monthly meetings and have the ability to mount a ride at short notice if circumstances change. We will let you know if there is any news. Our next update should be around 14th May.
The ride has been increasingly popular over the past 16 years, with its fun, attention-grabbing campaign for safer cycling along with healthier environment, lifestyles and behaviours. This year was planned to be the biggest ride ever, with 8 start groups covering over 53 miles (85Km) of London’s congested and polluted streets, crossing 14 Thames bridges on the way, and merging into a spectacular 1,000+ rider peloton.
But this June we will be focused on safety for all, and grieving for the suffering of many of our participants, supporters and the public at large. We particularly applaud the many of our supporters who are active in the response to this global crisis.
It’s Not the World Naked Bike Ride
We will not be riding on 13th June – but that doesn’t mean we cannot mark the date. This year we will be campaigning safely with activities that are “Not the World Naked Bike Ride”. Watch out for announcements about how supporters can join us not on the ride.
Cycling during the lockdown
We echo the views of experts and other cycling campaigns that cycling is a valuable activity during times of lockdown and social isolation. As a means of transport for essential workers it is far safer than using public transport. In terms of accident prevention, it is a much smaller factor than the driving of motor vehicles. Practised with due consideration for social distancing it is an excellent, healthy form of exercise.
In recent years WNBR London has had multiple start points with routes that allow our environmental campaign to deliver its messages on 53 miles (85 Km) of London’s congested and polluted streets, crossing 14 Thames bridges on the way. We regularly have over 1,000 riders so it would be hard to fit you all in one place. This also means you can choose a convenient location. But, wherever you start, all groups converge to form one peloton that can be around 4Km long when stretched out! This post talks about how to choose your start point.
Croydon is a new start this year. It will be the longest of the routes at 20⅓ miles (32½ Km). Riders will need to keep up a good speed before joining the other groups in Central London. The venue is in a gated, private property so will be convenient for bodypainting and some pre-ride socialising.
Kew Bridge slips to second longest at 17¾ miles (28½ Km). It tends to attract a small group of enthusiastic cyclists. The ride crosses the meandering Thames five times before joining in with the Clapham Junction start. Altogether you should get to cross the Thames eight times! The ride starts from the southbound roadside at the north end of the bridge. This means there is nowhere to socialise or do body painting – and no point in arriving early. It is a relatively small group of riders.
Clapham Junction is very convenient for the train connections, after all, it is the biggest junction and has the most trains passing through – over 2,000 on weekdays. Our start point is alongside the station (Platform 1 side) in a fairly small public square, so there is no time for socialising or body painting. The overall route is 9 miles (14½ Km).
Deptfordat 10⅓ miles (16⅔ Km) is another fairly long ride. It will meet other groups at Tower Hill and continue as part of a merged group. The start is at Matchstick Piehouse, a theatre, café and bar. It is a private location which means you can arrive early from noon to socialise, do bodypainting, eat pies and drink.
Victoria Park is another new route for 2020. It is around 11½ miles long (18½ Km). The group is led by one of our disabled cyclists and will take a comfortable route to merge with the Deptford and Tower Hill groups before becoming part of the overall peloton.
The other rides are relatively easy rides into the centre.
Tower Hill is arguably the most scenic ride, starting alongside the Tower of London, crossing four bridges, riding alongside the river, passing through Trafalgar Square and Westminster. It’s handy for London Bridge, Waterloo, Charing Cross, Fenchurch St and Liverpool St stations. We use a reasonably large public park, so it is possible to arrive early, picnic, socialise and do body painting. Because it is a public space there will be onlookers and photographers. The ride from here is about 7¾ miles (12½ Km).
Hyde Park is the best known starting point and always attracts large crowds (including photographers), so those riders need to enjoy being in a crowd! Each year we have to agree details with the Royal Parks (and the Parks’ Police), but we expect to be able to gather early enough for socialising and bodypainting. Being a large group of riders, it tends to move slowly. It is a short route at just over 7½ miles (12¼ Km).
Regents Park is an easy ride down through the centre of town, and particularly good if you are bringing your bike in via Euston or Kings Cross stations. The Royal Parks do not give us permission to start from the Park, so we start roadside instead. There has not been a problem with people visiting the park before the start, but do not get naked, do bodypainting or look like you are lining up for the start! This is the shortest route at just under 7½ miles (12 Km).
We can no longer offer the start at West Norwood as the property owner has moved – and now offers the route from Croydon instead. We have also given up trying to reinstate the former start at Kings Cross as the regeneration of the site has made it unsuitable.
All the routes merge for the core part of the route, from Westminster Bridge onwards, to form the 1,000+ rider peloton (which always moves at a safe, comfortable pace and gets stuck a bit). The main route ends near Hyde Park Corner.
If you are worried about how far you can cycle, bear in mind that you can choose to finish any time you want to. You don’t have to do the full course to show your support for the campaign.
Start points and routes may be subject to change due to unforeseen traffic conditions on the day so riders should check the exact locations and details on the WNBR London website, FaceBook pages or Twitter feed.
WNBR London was invited onto Heart Breakfast today by Amanda Holden as a surprise for Jamie Theakston, who’s about to ride 650 miles for #MakeSomeNoise charity. It was a great way to promote our campaign as well as supporting a great charity bike ride. Amanda’s best Instagram post reached over 250,000 views in the first 24 hours – take a look at the end of this blog post to see it.
Natasha and Simon bravely fielded the questions in the studio, accompanied by a fully decked out WNBR London bike. Cy and our bodypainters, @feelgoodpainted and @ashasart_soul, made it all happen behind the scenes.
Don’t knock it till you try it! Naked bike riders Natasha and Simon tell @JamieTheakston and @AmandaHolden how riding naked has given them incredible body confidence and helped them live life to the full! ❤️👏