Every year, in hundreds of cities around the world, people come together ride bikes naked in a celebration cycling and the human body. The rides hope to demonstrates the vulnerability of cyclists on the road and is a protest against car culture. This year the Manchester Naked Bike Ride is on June the 11th and I’ve been challenged to join them.
I’ll admit to you honestly, I spent some considerable time trying to figure a way out of this one. The website informed me that I could be as bare as I dare, and the word “joining” in the challenge was nicely vague but the more I thought about it, the more I realised I would not be able to get weasel my way out of it.
The day arrived and as Naked hour approached I was getting more and more worried. I quickly dismissed the idea of “Dutch Courage” as I could only but envisage drunkenly falling off my bike whilst naked in the centre of the city and after a full day at work I arrived at St. James’ Park stone cold sober. There I sat, on my bike, on the outskirts of the party. Thinking. I could see a few people in the park already, but they were still fully clothed. If I go over and talk to them, I’m comitted. I have to do this, I’m British after all, I far too polite to let people down once I’ve actually met them. As time passed more and more people arrived and suddenly something rather strange happend; All the fear and worry completely vanished. The park was teaming with people of all body shapes and sizes all getting ready to have a bit of fun around the centre of the city. I could do this. Why was I worried?
I went to join the rest of the group and soon there was about 50 of us ready for the off. I quickly dis-robed and as we got used to the general embarrassment of being naked with lots of other people Cycle-master Sean informed us that as we had a unicyclist and a skater with us (I kid you not) we had to take it slowly.
We were off!Fifty Five of us left the park and headed into the centre of town. The ride took about an hour and whilst on it, I didn’t see one bad reaction to us cycling around. Quite the opposite. We had cheers, rounds of applause, literally millions of photographs and everybody was glad to see us. This must be how the Queen feels.Assuming the Queen cycles naked round a major city on her days off.
Strangely as we weren’t embarrassed by our state of undress, it seemed that passers-by had to be. The riders themselves had a great time, waving and smiling at the shocked and giggling inhabitants of the city. It seems that there’s only a certain amount of embarrassment in the world and if you refuse to be embarrassed the British will happily take up the mantle and be embarrassed for you. It’s a valuable service we offer as Brits and therefore I would in all honesty recommend it to anybody who likes a laugh and fancies doing something interesting to try it out. If you do, I’ll certainly join you.
Cycling behind the buffest elderly man in the world!