Cambridge

Organiser of Cambridge Naked Bike ride bares all about ‘addictive’ nude cycling

Dozens of cyclists will whip off their clothes to ride through the city centre on Saturday as part of the World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) movement.

WNBR events are free to join and held across the country to highlight cycle safety in built up areas and the problem of road pollution.

The organiser of the Cambridge ride this year is Joe Fallowell, 33, a freelance translator from Biggleswade.

He told the News he was motivated to get involved in the event because of the environmental message it supports.

'A serious point'

Joe Fallowell

He said: "The protest is for anyone who is concerned about the environment, societys dependency on oil and car culture as well as anyone who has an interest in cycling issues.

"It is a lighthearted and fun way of making a serious point. The number of cars on the road is increasing, while the public transport situation is getting worse, leading to increased air pollution at a time when we should be doing everything we can to reduce our impact on the environment.

"The other main thrust of the protest is to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists on the road – we want to remind drivers to keep an eye out for cyclists and to give them the necessary space to avoid any accidents. "

Spectators get an eye full at last year's Naked Bike Ride

'A fabulous new experience'

Importantly, it's also addictive good fun, says Joe.

He said: "The majority of people who have ever ridden come back time and again for more – once is never enough. If you arrive on your own, chances are you will leave having made at least two new friends and gained a fabulous new experience that you will never forget."

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This year the movement has introduced its own flag, designed by a member of the collective that organises the Cambridge ride. As lead rider, Joe will fly to flag to guide riders on the eight-mile circular route which starts and finishes at Midsummer Common.

The flag has a green background to represent the environmental heart of the protest, with the image of a bike in white to commemorate all cyclists killed on the UKs roads.

The flag for the 2018 Cambridge World Naked Bike Ride

For many onlookers however the event has become infamous for exploring the taboo that is public nudity.

Joe says: "The issue of being naked in public is one that has occasionally been used to criticise the movement. However, we believe that it serves to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists when compared to several tonnes of metal.

"It also serves to normalise non-sexual nudity and to help people be more accepting of one another, both issues that are important to me.

"The response that riders across the country get is overwhelmingly positive, with the majority of onlookers enjoying the spectacle. Plus it gives them an unusual story to tell people."

Gender imbalance

Although Joe says cycling naked is a healthy way to draw attention to these issues, many are yet to be convinced, particularly women.

"One issue that we are keen to look at is the gender imbalance," he said.

"Riders tend to be male and we want to encourage more women to take part, which requires creating an environment in which they feel safe to participate, something the stewards will work hard to deliver."

Joe stresses that nudity is optional – you can choose to take part naked, just wearing shorts, or even a swimming costume. There will also be route marshals along the course.

Participants in last year's ride

Joe said: "Nudity is not compulsory by any means; one of the rides slogans is 'as bare as you dare', so people can feel free to go naked, or in swimwear, or covered in body paint.

"As organisers we do everything we can to make the experience as enjoyable and safe as possible for everyone, and issues will be dealt with rapidly."

'I have seen a couple of people with grazed skin'

But without a second skin of clothing, riding in the buff is not without its hazards.

Cheeky (Image: Keith Jones)

Joe explains: "Fortunately, Ive never witnessed any big falls on any of the rides that Ive done, although I have seen a couple of people with grazed skin.

"I dont believe that anyone on the Cambridge ride has come off their bike on previous rides, but we do have first aiders on hand if necessary."

Interest in the bike ride is growing steadily and this year around 200 participants are expected to take part.

See the route of the 2018 Naked Bike Ride route here View fullscreen

The route crosses the city centre passing notable landmarks including The Round Church, The Fitzwilliam Museum and Cambridge University Botanic Garden travelling out to Brooks Road and up Coldham's Lane before returning to Midsummer Common.

You can join them, as bare as you dare, at 2pm on Saturday, June 16, from Midsummer Common.

For more information, see here.

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