Whatever you do, do not get your kit off too soon. Normally, the organisers of Saturday’s World Naked Bike Ride in London (just one of 70 similarly flamboyant jaunts that will take place globally this year) are all for the indiscriminate shedding of clothes. But they have their relationship with the police to consider, and on this point they are adamant: no one should get naked before the official start of the ride.
Actually, even once things get going (and anyone who wants to get their bits out can do just that), full nudity is optional – the dress code is ‘as bare as you dare’. But despite the relaxed attitude to suitable bike-riding attire, this most compelling of spectator sports has a serious agenda: it’s a protest against oil dependency and the way the cult of the car dominates contemporary life. It’s also an unfettered celebration of individuality of the human body.
Many of the 1,000 plus people expected to turn out will opt to bike in the buff. And if you too long to throw caution and clothes to the wind, but feel a bit bashful, you can always take something along that’s easy to put on when the procession gets held up by traffic, as it inevitably will.
This year there are five start points for the ride: three north of the river (Marble Arch, Regent’s Park, and King’s Cross), which will merge around Piccadilly Circus and Haymarket, and two in south London (Clapham Junction and West Norwood), which will merge at Vauxhall Bridge. North and south contingents will join forces at Belvedere Road, near the London Eye, before crossing Waterloo Bridge and completing the rest of the route together. Wellington Arch on the island at the centre of the roundabout at Marble Arch is the finish point. Anyone who finds themselves reluctant to return to the world of the fully-clad can do the whole thing again in Brighton on Sunday. For more information see www.worldnakedbikeride.org/uk.