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World Naked Bike Ride protest in Canterbury returns

By Gerry Warren

The World Naked Bike Ride is returning to Canterbury next month when daring cyclists bare all in protest at air pollution.

The event has caused controversy in the past and was dropped last year due to planning problems.

But it will be back on the city's streets on Sunday, June 30, when more than a dozen cyclists are expected to take part.

A previous Naked Bike Ride in Canterbury (10341233)
A previous Naked Bike Ride in Canterbury (10341233)

Organiser Barry Freeman said: "We need people to get on their bikes and ride 'as bare as they dare' in a legal protest against illegal poisoning of all who live, work or visit Canterbury."

Air pollution caused by traffic congestion is a big issue in Canterbury for many people who are objecting to huge housing developments and the Canterbury West multi-storey car park.

The naked bike ride, which is part of an international demonstration, is aimed at drawing attention to the problem as well as the vulnerability of cyclists.

But it has also run into criticism from some who accuse its largely male contingent of "exhibitionism" and say children should not be subjected to the sight.

In 2015, one rider was even removed from the event after apparently being seen to be "over-excited".

A previous Naked Bike Ride in Canterbury (10341219)
A previous Naked Bike Ride in Canterbury (10341219)

But Mr Freeman defends the event, saying the nudity is perfectly legal in the context of the protest.

But he adds that riders don't need to be fully naked to take part.

"Swimwear, underwear and shorts are OK. It's all about entering into the spirit of the protest as much as riding naked.

"Whatever people feel comfortable with but some of us will be naked because that's what it's called."

For more quirky and unusual stories, click here.

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