Next Saturday, London sees its very own WNBR: World Naked Bike Ride. And I’m taking part.
Well, it’s been on my bucket list for some time, but I’ve either been out of the country for work or holidays when it’s taken place for the last few years. Next weekend, I’m actually in London.
And so are the naked cyclists.
So back up a little – what’s this all about?
WNBNR is all about bringing attention to the vulnerability of cyclists in our cities, about our unhealthy dependence on cars and more broadly on oil. So participants protest by wearing body paint that represents any of these messages, while also getting as “bare as they dare”.
While it’s on my bucket list, it’s also I feel quite strongly about. The number of deaths of cyclists on London’s roads is a disgrace for such a developed city. Cycling infrastructure is nothing like other European cities (although improving, slowly) and the tendency for some drivers of very large vehicles to ignore cyclists’ space is shocking.
And before you say anything, I know not all cyclists are angels. Neither are London’s pedestrians or drivers. But increasing awareness of cyclists’ presence and safety needs, while also emphasising a message of sustainability is okay with me.
Rides take place all over the world and the UK alone has about half a dozen. They taker place when the weather should be warmer (obviously) and are professionally marshalled and have the cooperation of the local police.
There are several starting points from around the city, and all groups converge for one joined-up ride around central London. I’m heading for the Tower Hill starting point, as it’s closest to Canary Wharf.
So, next Saturday, it’ll be me on my little Brompton, waving to the (potentially) bemused citizen of London, while hopefully the sun shines down on everyone.
I’ll just have to remember to tidy things up a little on Friday…