Last Sunday saw the heady temperatures from the week tail off and I was even contemplating wearing a jumper at times. Not the kind of temperatures you want if you feel like letting it all hang out and as Oxford saw its first naked bike ride you have to congratulate those that participated.
A group of 20 people, some completely and some sort of nude, walked and cycled through town on the World Naked Bike Ride, officially coined the “clothes optional ride”. Part of a larger organised demonstration advocating bicycle-friendly communities the group of brave pioneers will go down in history with no prior account of the event happening in Oxford despite the ride’s prominence in many other major towns and countries for many years. London again saw roughly 1,000 cyclists in the buff over the weekend.
The nude Oxford cyclists paraded through town with signs demanding a curb on car culture or body paint stating “low emission zone”. There was even a dog participant but he wisely kept his fur on.
You won’t be shocked to hear I didn’t take part. Firstly, I was unavailable but mainly I must admit I am not brave enough to bare all.
I get the point, being naked raises more awareness than a mere demo group cycle ride. The nudists could also get the benefits of the extra vitamin D exposure. Hurrah.
Streakers always get the attention at sports games so using that advantage it would seem natural to make the association with nudity and political protest to gain extra coverage on a bike ride.
Although the rider numbers were conservative, with small beginnings you have to forgive the organisation of the group which didn’t broadcast the event too widely.
Some posters were seen in and around Oxford and there was a Facebook page to find out last minute plans. The group eventually convened in Oxpens meadow at 2pm and after some body painting the ride then began at 3pm and paraded through town.
Those outraged at the idea of common nudity and displays of exhibitionism may be disheartened to see the success of the ride but with no known arrests in Oxford the precedent is set to bare as you dare for ongoing years. The police were notified of the ride as is customary for organised demos. It’s a peaceful way to get your point across. After all the police can be sure those participating stark-naked aren’t carrying weapons of any sort.
If you are disappointed you missed this opportunity to get your kit off I am sure this will become a regular yearly demo, some aptly naming it a critical ass as opposed to a critical mass. It has coincided with bike week but was unfortunately not listed on the bike week rides for Oxford. There are plenty of rides left to join this week and you can keep your clothes on for the remainder.
More information can be found at oxfordbikeweek.co.uk
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