Return to the World Naked Bike Ride
On Saturday I went to the London World Naked Bike Ride. My second ride. Overall the experience was much as I felt last year; really fun, completely surreal, rather funny seeing some people's reactions, and also quite reassuring to see a mostly very positive response to a lot of naked people random appearing in the middle of a city.
I remembered late the night before, my conclusion last year, that the message of the protest (environment/cyclist awareness) was a bit lost in the whole festival atmosphere; so I shoved some paper and pipe-cleaners in my bag and made some very basic signs on the train on my way there! Hopefully I’ll remember to prepare something a little more elaborate next time…
The new thing this year was that were five different start points; with the different groups merging over the course of the ride so we all finished together (which happened impressively smoothly, much less pausing than last year). I believe this was in an effort to break up the mass of photographers that crowded round the start point last year. It certainly worked! I went to the Regent’s Park start; in fact I was the first one there. An Italian (I think) lady, with a really cool bike, turned up a little while later, and we soon found ourselves declared the meeting point for everyone else - Which was a little concerning until someone more in-charge turned up; lest we’d led a load of people to wrong corner of the park! Anywho, it was really nice there! So much more relaxed than last year, all just chilling out in the park. There were a few photographers milling about, but nothing like the swarms of last time. The ones that were there were generally very polite and friendly.
Conversely the end point of the ride was exactly as bonkers as last year. Massive crowds, that forced the ride into single file to get to the end point. I was riding with a couple of girls, and it was, interesting, to see the treatment they got right at the end. They drew quite an audience of keen photographers. That’s not to say the men don’t get a decent swarming, but it’s a whole other level for the women there. It’s a shame people act like that in a crowd; there was ample opportunity to take photos of anyone they wanted for the miles of the route, and no one would care. Indeed it’s good, it helps publicise the protest. But when they all pester you like that at the end, it’s just annoying.
Anywho, aside from the publicity for the ride, the other good side of all those photographers is, if you've got a good enough eye, you can easily amass a decent photographic record of you day’s exploits. I find playing Where’s Wally on Flickr quite addictive!
Last year I went with one friend. This time there were four of us (who knew each other among the hundreds of others there). Wonder if I can double that again next time…