WNBR London 2010
This is the sixth time that I have ridden in the World Naked Bike Ride in London and it is still a fantastic experience. Each year I wonder if it will be the last time that I do it but it is one of those events that just cries out to be done again and again. Many of the same faces are to be seen along with new ones too and this year is no different.
We arrive in Hyde Park near to the statue of Achilles which has become the starting and assembly point since the event grew so fast and so far. At one time we would all gather at Wellington Arch on Hyde Park Corner but since our numbers grew, from 250 in the first year that I took part, to around 1200 in the past couple of years we have needed more room with the grounds around the arch being too small for the greater numbers.
Gradually people start to arrive. The early birds will have been here some time to have a picnic and catch up with old friends whilst many will arrive nearer to the time the ride starts. One increasingly annoying aspect of this event is the rising numbers of amateur ‘photographers’ who quite clearly have never seen a naked woman before – or so it seems from the actions of some. It would be safe to say that there is probably at least one camera clicking for every member of the ride, both men and women. Nevertheless, naked people taking pictures of other naked people seems to be much more readily accepted. Quid pro quo. That’s how I got the picture shown here. It’s fair to say though, that she posed happily for the phalanx of cameras pointed in her direction.
Missing this year are the police who would normally escort us through the city to close junctions and crossroads in advance in order to let us pass safely. On rides like this it is important to keep the traffic from infiltrating the mass of cyclists. Instead we had to rely upon the volunteer stewards to marshal the cyclists but, try as they might, they don’t have that authority that the police bring and so at times there was a bit of traffic caught up amongst the bikes.
As is normally the case, the WNBR London is well received by most of those who watch it pass. The overwhelming reaction to us is the initial surprise followed by a broad grin. Then they reach for the camera or phone. Then they ring a friend to say, “Oh my God! You’ll never guess…”
This year’s route differed slightly from the earlier ones due to construction work for the Crossrail project at Tottenham Court Road and so our usual, circular, route which would take us through Covent Garden and Oxford Street changed this year. So, our way was linear instead but still took in the sights of London with Picadilly, Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, Westminster, Waterloo, Fleet Street, The Royal Courts of Justice, St Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge, Tower Bridge and a finish at the Tower of London.
The end of the ride was a little disappointing. In previous years we have finished at Wellington Arch but this year’s different route forgot to end at a nice grassy park where we could unwind and mix with others. Instead we were directed down a back street which came to a dead end. No doubt it was all part of a plot to get us to dress and disperse instead of enjoying the afternoon sun as nature intended. Oh well, here’s looking forward to WNBR London 2011.