For a less-dressed cycling experience, cast off your inhibitions and your clothes and join the annual World Naked Bike Ride on June 11. While not technically part of the Victoria International Cycling Festival, it conveniently falls within it and promises to add some humour to the cycling celebrations.
The WNBR participants, in various states of undress, leave the Legislature front lawn at 3 p.m., take a tour around downtown, then head off for a pleasant au naturel ride along the water and back downtown again. The WNBR journey has been totally spontaneous in the past, but, this year, maps detailing a planned route will make sure everybody stays together and no one is left alone and exposed.
“It’s about practising sustainable transportation and showing how vulnerable we cyclists are on the roads,” says Cordelia Horsburgh, a cycling advocate involved with the event since its inception. “Most of us are not nudists. We are willing to challenge ourselves to take our clothes off to show our commitment to cycling.”
Despite the ride’s lofty visions, Horsburgh describes the experience as fun and, quite frankly, hilarious.
“From 98 per cent of people, their reactions are joyful and enthusiastic. Most people find it comedic, so it’s really great to be a part of that. There is the odd person who thinks we should be ashamed, but really not very many.”
As for any legal issues, so far no one has ever been arrested for indecent exposure on Victoria’s WNBR. In fact, the police may be on hand to facilitate safe passage through downtown.
The WNBR, started in 2004 by Vancouver filmmaker and writer Conrad Schmidt, is celebrated in over 70 cities from 20 countries. Participating cities connect via a website providing information, promotional literature, posters and support for people who want to start up a ride in their city and a place to post pictures and stories of your city’s ride.
“The World Naked Bike Ride is the most fun event of the year,” says Horsburgh. “It’s crazy and ridiculous and for a good cause. And it goes to show, you can advocate for change, but you don’t always have to do it aggressively. You can do it with a sense of humour.”
For the record, you don’t actually have to strip off to participate. The motto of the ride is “bare as you dare” and costumes, bike decorating and body painting are encouraged. M
World Naked Bike Ride
For more information visit worldnakedbikeride.org or visit Victoria World Naked Bike Ride on Facebook.