Wearing just a pair of trainers and a rucksack for my valuables, I felt the sun on parts of my body that had never seen the light of day before. I'd somehow found myself nude and riding a bike through London - one of the biggest cities in the world.
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:
- No. Way.
- It’s not every day that you get the chance to ride around naked, without getting chucked in jail for it. In fact, this could be my only opportunity to do this.
- This could actually be a good way to see the city, make some new friends and get a good base tan going for my summer travels ahead of me.
- With most of my friends and family living thousands of kilometres away, the chances of me being recognised by someone I knew were very, very slim.
- I’d never gotten publicly nude before and time was running out. With my reoccurring “diet starts tomorrow” tagline, this might actually be my last chance– before gravity and my lack of dieting skills take a serious toll.
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 email@example.com
You can find out more about WNBR here: https://wnbr.london/