When I decided to pack up my life in Sydney and move to the UK a few weeks before, there were a few things I was expecting to do on arrival. Riding through the city naked was definitely not one of them. But that was before I knew about The World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR).
Every year, hundreds of people strip off, hop on a bike and ride through central London. The ride protests our global dependency on oil, raises awareness of the vulnerability of cyclists on our roads (hence the nude thing) and also just gives people the rare opportunity to ditch their clothes and celebrate their body.
So when I first heard about it, a few different things crossed my mind:
So with that, came the end of my life as a conservative clothed woman. I was in.
On the day of the ride, I arrived at Hyde Park late, a bit dishevelled and a little tipsy (nothing out of the ordinary). I saw two Brazilian guys doing shots of tequila and thought I’d found my people.
I asked them where the start line was. They shrugged their shoulders and turned their focus back to their drink, which, if they were feeling anything like me, is completely understandable. Then, I heard a calm voice ask “is this your first ride?” Jamie was his name, a fifth-time rider and regular cyclist in his hometown, London. To me, he was the first of my many new nude friends. Even though I had a buddy, my nerves still got the better of me. There were hundreds of people around us taking photos so I just couldn’t bring myself to strip off.
After a tentative wait, we rode into a sea of nude bodies of all shapes, sizes colours and textures. Music was pumping, horns were honking and flab was bouncing all around me. By that stage, I had so much adrenaline flowing through my body that taking my kit off was a breeze. It’s funny how nudity can make so many people so happy. Wearing nothing but the biggest smile all day, I felt such a great buzz around me. All the riders were loving it and all the onlookers were in hysterics. Even the cars that we were holding up were enjoying the spectacle.
The route was a lot longer than I had imagined, but it was a great way to see London for the first time. Piccadilly Circus, the London Eye, even Buckingham Palace. Riding past the Royal Headquarters naked was a feeling I will never forget – I wonder if Her Majesty was watching?
In a world where so much divides us, WNBR brought so many different people together in an array of positive vibes and wobbly bits. The thrill of the ride will stay with me for a long time, but it also made me remember a really important lesson; underneath our clothes, we are all the same – nude.
Nicola is a freelance copywriter who we paid to go to WNBR and write for us. If you have any ideas about an event or adventure that would make a good story, and you want to get paid for it, send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more about WNBR here: https://wnbr.london/