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Home Canterbury News Article
Crowds in the city centre copped an eyeful when the World Naked Bike Ride arrived in Kent for the first time.
Dozens of bold bikers took off their gear to expose the naked truth about the vulnerability of cyclists on our roads.
The campaign, which organises similar events throughout the country, also aims to raise awareness of our dependency on oil.
The participants met at the Victoria Memorial Recreation Ground, in Rheims Way, before setting off on their six-mile journey - which passed landmarks including the cathedral and the Westgate Towers.
They were encouraged to go as bare as they dared, with some choosing to partially cover-up with body paint and costumes, but most opting for full-frontal nudity.
As they prepared to set off, a small crowd of curious spectators gathered.
Among them was 46-year-old Perry Winfield, who stumbled upon the scene by accident when venturing into the city to shop with his family.
He said: "I think as part of a nationwide protest, it's fine. Although, I'm not entirely sure what statement they're trying to make.
"It's certainly getting attention. But it all seems quite light-hearted and good-natured, so why not?"
One onlooker, who was not taking part in the ride, made the most of the opportunity to strip in public - and ogle the female riders - without raising any eyebrows.
Known only as 65-year-old Clifford, from Faversham, he said: "I'm not riding, but I'm enjoying being here with nothing on. I like the freedom and exhilaration of being naked. And I like to look at the girls."
Organiser Simon Terry said Canterbury was chosen as the venue for the latest leg of the bike ride due to its high traffic levels.
"I like the freedom and exhilaration of being naked. And I like to look at the girls..." Clifford, from Faversham
He said: "There's so much traffic here that we wanted to target. We want to highlight that there are too many cars on the road, leaving cyclists feeling vulnerable. Our nakedness draws attention."
Mr Terry, who has previously taken part in naked bike rides in London and Brighton, said onlookers rarely reacted negatively to the form of protest.
He added: "Very rarely are people offended. 98% of people cheer us on and whistle as we pass. There's usually a carnival atmosphere. It's a good laugh.
"Children don't mind either - they get exposed to so much nowadays. The occasional person might be prudish, but they still continue to stare at us."
Joining him on the ride was electrician Tony Webber, 45, of Alexander Drive in Faversham.
He said: "I went to the one in London last week and it was a really good atmosphere. It gets the message across about the vulnerability of cyclists in a fun and attention-grabbing way."
Gardener Robert D’Arcy, 46, from Wrotham, said: "I'm a naturist. I love the freedom and non-compliance of being naked, and it's good to draw attention to our dependency on fuel.
"I've taken part in a few of these rides now, and the reaction is usually very good. Some people are perplexed, but the majority see it as light-hearted and good fun."
It is hoped the Canterbury World Naked Bike Ride will become an annual event.
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