Monday, 14 June 2010

Brighton: Bikes in the Buff and Naked Hypocrisy

Yesterday’s Naked Bike Ride saw around 1,000 participants of all shapes and sizes (and that was just the bikes) thronging the streets of the city. IMG_2935 x res It probably wasn’t the kind of demonstration that the Department for Transport had in mind when Brighton was named as one of its Cycle Demonstration Cities. Now, there’s practically an A to Z of Naked Bike rides around the world, with around 100 cities taking part. But although the event has run in Brighton for four years without incident, 2010 has seen the Conservative Leader of Brighton and Hove Council, Mary Mears, complaining to the police that the ride is indecent, “will lower the tone of the city, cause offence and damage our reputation with visitors.”  IMG_2871 c res MM Is this really the same city which proudly announced an official nudist beach, Britain’s first at a major resort, over thirty years ago? As a supporter/spectator at yesterday’s event, I saw a lot of flesh on two wheels, but not much in the way of bystander outrage, offence or damage - mostly amusement, a lot of honked horns, and a fair-few dropping jaws. The organisers say that the Naked Bike Ride is a celebration of cycling, of body power and of streets for people. It is a protest against the domination of our towns and cities by cars and the destructive effects of car culture and oil dependency which threaten our health, our communities, our local environment and global ecology. IMG_2915 c res It’s a celebration of the bicycle and of the power and individuality of the human body, as well as a demonstration (that word again!) of the vulnerability of the cyclist in traffic. With participants invited to ride “as bare as you dare,” the bike ride points towards a vision of a car-free city (in which nudity is presumably optional!). If you can’t ride a bike naked in Brighton once a year, where can you?

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1 comment:

  1. I was one of the 1000 riders and have to say that i saw nobody taking offence to us riding - infact the opposite as most was cheering and clapping us