Last Sunday saw Edinburgh’s first World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) since 2011. After some careful route planning and council negotiations the ride was even officially sanctioned and became one of the many WNBRs up and down the country (and all across the world) that took place in June 2014.
WNBR is an event with close ties to Critical Mass, especially given its focus on the positive promotion of cycling. This being the case, it was only natural that some of our regular riders got involved!
Meeting at the Meadows, the first order of the day was to get naked, and get painted!
WNBR – an opportunity to see a different side to your friends!
Although most of the event was well-orchestrated, some things just came together on their own. For example, one kind gentleman leant us a privacy screen, and this lovely lady turned up to lend us her brushes and help out with the painting.
We never would have got everyone painted in time without her help
The vibes were good, and some pretty creative slogans and designs were beginning to appear.
“Do you see me now?” – This girl was almost hit by a taxi a few days prior to the ride and was keen to remind motorists to look out for her. She also wanted people to know that pancakes are a delicious alternative to petrol!
A pair of delightful French touring cyclists joined our group, the gentleman reminding us to “Burn fat, not oil!”
“One Less Car” – (although not technically grammatically correct) this classic American phrase reminds us that every bike on the road is a small victory, and that cycling is a viable alternative to motorised transport (and all its associated evils).
“Nude not Crude” – definitely a phrase than encapsulates the WNBR spirit
Given the public nudity, it goes without saying that the spectators were out in force!
It was only 14 degrees on the day, so people must have realised that this was nudity with a purpose!
With our bodies painted, it was time for a rousing welcome and clear safety briefing from our chief steward.
I’m not sure if it was an intentional Scottish joke to misspell the word ‘steward’ – regardless, it was hilarious!
With everyone informed about traffic-light protocol, we lined up along Middle Meadow Walk, fired up the sound-system, and hit the streets in style!
Look at that Frenchman smile!
We were having so much fun, we even felt a little bit sorry for all the people trapped in their cars.
What a riot coming round the corner!
“Now do you see?” – Yes sir, I see EVERYTHING!
After the meadows, we headed towards Holyrood Park. Descending down Queen’s Drive towards parliament was undoubtedly the chilliest bit of the ride. A few of the guys were probably quite grateful for the Scottish laws prohibiting their full nudity!
What a buzz! Because we rode on a Sunday the road was closed to cars, so we could weave as we pleased. Imagine if British cities had car-free days every week, maybe then more people might see the benefits of cycling…
One chappie discovered new levels of ecstasy on the ride. His enthusiasm was as infectious as his monkey-pouch was ridiculous!
After a quick pootle past the Scottish parliament…
…we turned to ascend Edinburgh’s Royal Mile – undoubtedly the most densely populated section of the ride, and also the most exhilarating (not least because of the length of the climb!).
Our resident sound-engineer pumping out the tunes and bearing the flag for the ride. Just beneath his beardy chin you can see a man with what Rastafarians refer to as a ‘screw face’ (click picture to zoom)
Quite a sight for the tourists to behold! Needless to say, a lot of photographs were taken (which was great for spreading the message)
Look at these happy people! This was right before we barged straight through the middle of a street performer’s show (sorry dude!)
Iconic landmarks, environmentally consciousness citizens, and unadulterated joy – Edinburgh WNBR has it all!
A quick blast through the Grassmarket to the sound of surprisingly supportive car horns (kind of ironic given the nature of our protest, but what the hell)
And back down the Quartermile to finish up where we started.
Once we’d returned to the meadows we were all pretty high from the thrill of the ride and the positivity that we’d all experienced and spread throughout the city.
The sunflowers were out…
And people were posing…
Alright laddies, line up!
And something that we will all treasure… the whole group shot
Even our police escort joined in for the group photo. They said they’d had a great time and were impressed by our organisation – this bodes well for future rides! We thank them for their support and for basically letting us get on with our event.
All in all, it was a cheeky…
…but successful and well-organised event. Many were left wondering why this only happens once a year, and there were even some calls to have another one next month!
The people involved can’t wait for the next WNBR, and we highly recommend it to all our friends at Critical Mass.