“Its the event for which the phrase ‘keep it above the waist’ was invented,” said Spouse. I nodded grimly. We were on the way to cover the annual London Naked Bike Ride. My blog is a family affair, but the Naked Bike Ride is fairly firmly adult. But nevertheless, it is one of the thousand things. I therefore firmly resolved this blog post, clean, smut free, and as the good Lord intended.
On the way to town I googled the route to establish the best viewing point. “The cyclists assemble at Hyde Park Corner from 3pm and depart for their two hour cycle at 3:30,” I said.
Spouse checked his watch. We were nearly at Picadilly Circus. “3:36,” he said. “If they’ve got here already from Hyde Park Corner, they’ve got chafing issues.” By then, we had reached Picadilly Circus’s ticket hall: an art deco masterpiece of cool marble and alabaster. “Which exit should we use?” I asked.
“Eros,” said spouse firmly, and we climbed the stairs to see the Angel of Sweet Charity.
We weren’t the only ones to have had this idea. On every side were keen photographers toting serious cameras. “Damn it,” I muttered, eying their equipment enviously. “I’ve left my zoom lens at home.”
“Oh don’t worry,” said Spouse. “It’s a warm day, you won’t need it.” I furrowed, but before I had time to ask what he meant, a little old American lady asked another photographer whether she was in the right place for the naked bike ride.
“Oh yes,” he said adjusting his lens in anticipation. “They’re just a bit late, that’s all. They have to pause and regroup themselves fairly often. They have to maintain a critical mass of riders, you see. It’s all too easy for a big pack to spread out on a bicycle.”
The tourist nodded, reassured. There was a distant honk of horns. “Oh aye. Bottoms up!” said Spouse.
“Are they here?” I asked, squinting up Piccadilly.
“Oh yes,” he said pointing. “By the massive flag.” So it was. Quicker than you could say boo to a goose, on came some body confident young men, one sporting a crown. They posed for the cameras and then bellowed at the crowd to get out of the way “for your own safety.”
As the sound system boomed out ‘I’ve got a feeling’, the full onslaught of naked cyclists hit Piccadilly Circus.
Perhaps in a tribute to Her Majesty’s Jubilee, there were a heck of a lot of union flags, and a higher than normal percentage of crown jewels on display.
I only saw one recumbent, mind you.
Not all the tourists had come here specially.
One somewhat excitable young lady asked if this whole thing was a gay thing. No, it isn’t just a gay thing, although the number of resplendent pink flags suggested the gay massive were fully represented.
I may not be one of them, but there are a hell of a lot of people willing to bare their all in support of cycling. Most of them men, many of the bearded fraternity, far too many having borrowed Boris bikes.
But it wasn’t all male members of the cycling club: there were ladies too.
Some covered their maidenly modesty with paint, many more went for at least some lingerie, although goodness knows not all of it was up to the task being asked of it.
The Naked Bike Ride is many things. It may not always be about the body beautiful, but it is about diversity, eccentricity and sheer blooming body confidence. Yes, I saw sights which are more normally constrained to either the bedroom or the doctor’s surgery, but from the most rubenesque to the most wizened, I quietly envied their joie de vivre.
Full details of the World Naked Bike Ride are available here. http://www.worldnakedbikeride.org/uk/