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The World Naked Bike Ride arrived in Canterbury yesterday afternoon as cyclists got naked to raise awareness of bikers' vulnerability

By Bess Browning

It was time for biking in the buff on Saturday afternoon as nudist cyclists took to the streets of Canterbury to bare all.

Meeting at the Canterbury Castle, they stripped down to little more than a pair of sunglasses and sandals before setting off into the sunny city centre.

But there is more to the naked bike ride than just getting your kit off as members are part of a campaign to raise awareness about the vulnerability of cyclists on our roads.

They are also hoping to raise awareness about the use of fossil fuels and our reliance on oil.

The World Naked Bike Ride is coming back to Canterbury

Mike Clark, 65, and his wife Wendy, 64, who also go on nudist holidays, travelled from Bedford for the event.

They have taken part in both the Brighton and London nudist bike rides in the past.

Mike and Wendy Clarke.

Mike said: “We think the reaction will be pretty positive today. Often people cheer and whistle as we go by which is great.

“I think people that are negative don’t understand why we are doing it.

“We are trying to show the vulnerability of cyclists and by being naked, we are showing that vulnerability even more.”

The second annual naked bike ride.

Another nudist cyclist who only wanted to be named as Mark from Sussex often visits nudist parts of Croatia and France and explained why he was taking part in the bike ride.

The 48-year-old said: “I’m doing it because nudism is a big part of my lifestyle.

“It is freedom of expression, freedom of ideology and about basic human rights.

“It’s not fair that if I was to leave this park, I would be dealt with by police. We live in a very tolerating society where we learn to live with a lot but yet people won’t let us be nude and we have to be segregated.

“Being naked makes me feel free, it makes me feel good.

“Clothes are mandatory every other day of the year and in every other place so it’s great that we have the bike ride and other events, but it would be good if we were allowed all year round.”

The bike ride is the second one in Canterbury and comes just a week after police imposed strict rules after reports of “inappropriate behaviour” at last year’s event.

Police warned that anyone who was just there to leer at the riders must stay away and to cover themselves up if they became “aroused”.

Tom from London in last year's ride.

The well-known Diablo Delenfer of Whitstable, known as the “devil man” was hard to miss at the bike ride with his head to foot tattoos.

He explained that most of the cyclists want to disassociate themselves from anyone that was acting inappropriately last year.

He said: “There were just a few incidents with undesirable individuals and we are trying to really clamp down on that.

“Their actions were not what our bike rides are about and we really don’t want to be associated with that sort of behaviour.

“But all in all I’m really looking forward to it. It’s almost like a carnival. Lots of clapping and cheering – it’s great.

Sixx Sixx Sixx and Diablo from Whitstable.

As the bikers met at Canterbury Castle, big groups of spectators hovered in the grounds to gaze at the unusual sight.

Two of them were couple Ben and Abbey from Canterbury, both in their 20s, who said they were there because they were simply “intrigued.”

Abbey said: “I think the reaction will be really positive from people in the town. It’s meant with absolutely no malice so why would people be negative?

“They are not doing anyone any harm.

“We came along because we were intrigued and to be honest, there’s not much else to be doing this Saturday afternoon!”

The au naturel crew definitely turned a few heads as they sped through Rheims Way, through the bus station and past the cathedral and people took to social media to voice their views.

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