The Naked Truth: A Review of Brighton's Naked Bike Ride

Brighton is a pretty eccentric place. So many different walks of life wander through the streets every day, and literally everyone is accepted for who they are. In the past, people would have done a double take if someone with dreadlocks wearing a fluorescent pink vest top, Harem pants and hiking boots walked past them in the street; now? It’s just the norm, and no one bats an eyelid.

Which is why Brighton annually holds a Naked Bike Ride, a protest for the vulnerability of bikers and the impact that fossil fuels have on the environment. The Naked Bike Ride is held in various locations each year, including London and Portsmouth, however, I think that out of everywhere in the UK Brighton would have to be the best place for it.

This year’s theme was about the liberation of women, since it’s been 100 years since women have had the right to vote. And how does one celebrate such an occasion? Well, one covers one’s boobs in glitter, strips of all clothing, hops on a bike and cycles along Brighton and Hove’s seafront on a Sunday afternoon.

I mean, in the past, a woman couldn’t even show her ankles. Now, we have women wearing nothing but a bicycle helmet, cycling along a breezy seafront with everything out in full display. We’ve come a long way, people.

Around 700 people took part in the event – the bare majority being men – and afterwards they headed to the naturist part of Brighton beach for a little picnic, then an after party at Volks. The whole event is really quite wild, but all for a good cause.

The cyclists proudly rode through the city wearing nothing but glitter, body paint brandishing phrases like ‘be safe, be seen, ride naked’, and smiles all around.

I saw a video of one bloke who didn’t even ride a bike, he just ran alongside completely starkers. Was he even part of the bike ride, or was it just an excuse for him to get his kit off and literally run free? Either way, he’s a hero.

Personally, I couldn’t do it myself. Bike saddles are painful enough when you have clothes on, let alone when you’re wearing nothing at all. With the public watching as well, I’d feel like an animal in the zoo. Also, when your foot slips and gets thwacked by a pedal, you don’t have any shoes to stop the pain that follows, which can only be compared to hitting your ankle on a scooter. In fact, the whole experience of riding a bike naked sounds painful.

Whether you approve or not, you’ve got to admit it takes some guts to take part in this annual event. Hats (and all other clothing) off to all that took part.