The annual London naked bike ride takes place for a number of reasons, one being that the riders are campaigning against our dependency on oil. In some cases - such as this year's event - the rides coincide with specific protests or campaigns. As World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) said: "In London, we intend to protest at City Hall... City Hall has failed cyclists in its transport policies and is failing us now by refusing even to engage in discussions about implementing Cycle Superhighway 11." It added: "Cycling makes up only two percent of journeys yet receives less than 0.5% of government transport spending while walking gets just six percent." The group also argues that cycling can often be faster than any other means of travel, making it an ideal way to reduce congestion and pollution when used more extensively; both problems which affect many cities across the globe today. Cyclists say they don't want cars banned altogether but simply reduced so there aren't as many clogging up roads all over London daily.
Body paint being used either just for fun or to display a message.
A total of nine naked bike rides took place across London on Saturday, with an estimated 1,000+ riders taking to their bikes, wearing either nothing or as little as they deemed possible. The riders were campaigning against the global dependency on oil and car culture. The annual ride - first hosted in London in 2004 - takes place across 200 cities worldwide and is organized by World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR), with a goal to "curb car culture." Speaking about London, the group said: "In London, our problem with motor vehicles is not just private cars. Much of the threat to cyclists, along with the oil burning, pollution, and congestion in Central London, comes from taxis, private hire vehicles, buses, coaches, vans delivery vehicles articulated lorries tipper trucks, and people traveling in company cars on business." Naked cyclists are protesting for safer riding conditions because they believe that being naked will make them more visible to drivers and therefore help prevent accidents. They also argue that it is a form of body liberation self-expression. Some people find naked cycling empowering while others find it offensive or disruptive.
A naked bicycle ride took place in Mexico City on June 11th, with participants riding through some of the busiest avenues. The event was organized by cyclists who feel that there is still a lack of awareness around safety for pedestrians and cyclists. This is the first World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) staged in two years since previous iterations were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, in London, another naked bicycle ride took place on June 12th which was organized with help of British Naturism, an organization that promotes body acceptance and encourages people to be comfortable in their own skin. The group believes that cycling naked can help raise awareness about environmental issues and encourage people to use bicycles as a mode of transportation.
Participants are encouraged to bring placards and other props that communicate the messages of the ride, which are opposed to oil dependency and celebration of the natural human body. Participants can also wear masks, wings, tails, or other props. It is recommended that participants communicate the main WNBR messages of "protest oil dependency", "curb car culture", "real rights for bikes", and "celebrate body freedom". However, participants are not limited to these messages and can also communicate opposition to oil dependency through a number of specific local issues from the region/country of their ride.
The WNBR is the protest group's response to bicycles as a means to advocate for more bike-friendly roadways. The group is known for its fun and festive approach, which includes painting its bodies with political messages or beautiful designs. While some may see the Bike Naks as simply a party, the group is serious about their cause and believes that by using bikes instead of cars, they are protesting a way of life that needs to be abandoned.
The appeal of WNBR is its simplicity, scalability, and grassroots promotion. Anyone can participate in or support the event at any level they feel comfortable with. There is an online discussion group open to anyone who supports the message of WNBR, and past events are documented on the website. Media coverage of WNBR has been positive overall, though there is room for improvement in terms of minority representation. Fundraising items include T-shirts designed by Conrad Schmidt. Schmidt is the creator of the international clothing-optional World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR). In 2003, he organized a protest in which 50 demonstrators from Artists Against War formed a peace sign with their naked bodies to protest against possible US action in Iraq. In 2003, Schmidt was a co-ordinator for the Work Less Party of British Columbia, a political party that advocates a 32-hour work week and reduced consumerism.
The World Naked Bike Ride's message began focused on both protesting oil dependency and celebrating the human body. However, in 2006 there was a shift towards simplifying the message and focusing more on cycling advocacy. The ride still includes participants from social nudity circles, but it is not solely focused on promoting social nudity anymore. Instead, the focus is now on cycling advocacy. Riders are encouraged to decorate their bodies and bikes in creative ways and to distribute flyers informing the public about the event's message. The dress code is "As Bare As You Dare", meaning that riders can wear as much or as little clothing as they feel comfortable with. The event is open to people of all ages, sizes, and colors, and is a great way to connect with fellow cyclists while having fun.
Conrad Schmidt has stated that the most active support for this change has come from within the cycling advocacy community itself. This new focus has helped to clarify the purpose of the event and better engage those who are passionate about advocating for cyclists' rights. The message of WNBR is that cycling is a more environmentally friendly way to travel than by car and that it has many other benefits as well. Cycling requires less energy than driving, helps build community, and can be a form of exercise. The event also promotes body positivity and self-awareness.