DOZENS of cyclists dared to bare it all last Sunday (June 1) as the town celebrated the first ever Hastings World Naked Bike Ride, and according to organisers the response was so good they will definitely be returning next year.
Starting at Alexandra Park, more than 50 bold cyclists, including families with children, pedalled their way to St Leonards and the Old Town before cycling to the beach opposite the Carlisle pub in Pelham Street where they refreshed with a skinny dip in the sea.
Roger Coupe, one of the organisers, says it was the best one he has ever attended and that the support was ‘overwhelming’.
He said: “It was just fantastic and everybody really enjoyed it. People were cheering and clapping and saying ‘well done, that’s great stuff.’
“People were leaning out of the windows to see it. Some people came down especially since they heard about it in the newspaper and on the radio.
“A couple of extra riders joined it at the last minute. We got positive comments and people asking questions about why we were doing it, it was really good. We have had just such a great response from everybody. The police were really good. They were really helpful and got us through the traffic.”
Many participants in the bike ride had painted their bodies with colourful slogans, such as “Pedal not Petrol”, “Nude not Crude”, and “It’s Oil over,” in protest against oil dependency, and car culture, and to raise awareness of the dangers faced by cyclists on the roads.
One rider even went as the Green Man, painting his body green and decorating his bike with foliage.
The World Naked Bike Ride is the biggest naked protest in the world and is already popular in both Brighton and London.
More than 100 cities and many thousands of riders participate in the event worldwide, to celebrate cycling and the power and individuality of the human body.
However not everyone enjoyed the spectacle on Sunday. One angry and shocked resident, Donna Torrance, of Emmanuel Road, said: “I just think it’s really bad. It’s half-term week and people are sitting in restaurants and cafes. It’s about public decency and it shouldn’t have been allowed. I am going to be writing to the council. I think it is absolutely disgusting. It’s one thing if it was out of the way, but right through town! It would be okay if they were wearing bikinis or swimsuits but to do it naked is disgraceful.”
But the organisers say that due to the support they have received and the success of the ride they plan to make it a yearly event with Roger adding: “We are definitely going to do it next year. It is going to be a regular annual event.” For more information about the World Naked Bike Ride log onto the website www.worldnakedbikeride.org/uk. What’s your opinion? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.