WNBR 2015

Last year, I took part in the World Naked Bike Ride in London for the fourth time, and this year I did the London ride again, and the (new) Cambridge one. With five rides, I guess I’m a regular now.

As usual, it was great fun, and I definitely recommend trying it! However, I think it could have been better in a couple of ways.

In London, as before, I started at the Hyde Park start, which is convenient for me to get to from somewhere where I can park the Land Rover with its trike carrier. The sad ghoulish photographers were out in ever greater quantities. People joke about my Land Rover looking like it’s ready for the zombie apocalypse; the Hyde Park start is getting ever more like such an event, with ugly people looking dead inside trying to get a shot of the life force from the participants. I feel I should be kinder to them (I even thought maybe I should have blanked out their faces in the photos I put on flickr, because it would be so embarrassing to be one of them) as I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few of them have no close friends and no warmth in their lives, but they do get annoying, and it’s difficult to be sympathetic when they’re so pushy and so desperate. I don’t think there’s really any way to improve this without making restrictive arrangements (such as fencing off an area which you can only enter with a bike and on condition of taking part, but that would involve the cost of hiring temporary fencing; and such restrictive arrangements would be against the spirit of the event). My way of dealing with it for myself is to regard taking part in the ride as a rather condescending act of charity towards these people.

The format of the London ride had changed a bit this year, with timed rolling merges rather than stops for groups to join together. I felt that aspect wasn’t as good as previous years; the stops were a good chance for participants to chat without the start-line voyeurs. (The photographers along the ride aren’t creepy like the ones at the start.) I know that that’s not the point of the ride, but in practice it is a naturist occasion as well as a protest ride.  Still, it was an enjoyable occasion, and I’m glad I took part and I’m sure I’ll be there again next year.

The Cambridge ride was a new one, with one start point, on Parkers’s Piece. Unfortunately, it rained for almost all the ride, but that didn’t seem to put people off (it was quite warm rain anyway), and there was a good atmosphere to it, and I think it was a good start to a new venue. Next year’s Cambridge ride should apparently be longer, which would be good (especially if it’s sunny).

I would have liked to do one of the other rides this year, but other events, including my shoulder surgery, got in the way.

I’ve put my photos from the London ride and from the Cambridge ride on flickr.

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