Leading the pack on the World Naked Bike Ride

By 25 March, 2010 30

Naked cyclists on Federation Mall, Canberra

Some days things don’t work out quite the way you planned. Yesterday’s World Naked Bike Ride was a bit like that for me.

As other media appear to be trying to pretend that a hundred naked didn’t actually ride around Lake Burley Griffin yesterday I’ll try and explain the whole experience.

Snowball Alice has written at length about the official aims and objectives. I was there for two reasons:

– because my friends were doing it and if things turned ugly I wanted to be there to do what I could.
– and also because a pretty girl had asked me if I was going to do it and I’d been drunk enough to say yes.

(Note: If you’ve got photos we can use send them into john@the-riotact.com, thanks to Silas from CityNews for the cover shot, more in the slideshow below which may offend the easily offended but was all OK for public display according to the police.)

UPDATED: Video of proceedings now available below thanks to Limp Jimmy

Getting there

As the day dawned I was just planning on riding my freak-chopper Rodrigo. But Bloody Mary (Bloody Mary is a man) had been slaving away getting a battery powered amp and speakers running on Master Gravity (a side by side tandem tallbike). When his co-pilot dropped out I stepped into the breach and discovered I was now two metres in the air on the loudest machine in the postcode.

Keeping a low profile was out of the question.

With some cursing, swearing, huffing and puffing we manhandled the beast to the boat hire shed in Acton.

Oh my… so very many naked people, in body paint… and a community picnic of the elderly right next door.

Greatness thrust upon us

The organisers took a look at our loud, large conveyance and requested… that we lead the ride… (*Gulp*).

We were needed at police briefings. A dude from TripleJ wanted to do an interview… now I’m a spokesperson?

I stripped down to my underpants (I had checked they were clean and stain free at the start of the day and liberally applied sunblock).

Becoming increasingly anxious Bloody Mary and I availed ourselves of the contents of his hip flask (I have know idea where he stored that thing on the ride now that I think about it)

Here we go!

And then it was time to go. We muscled MGE (the “E” is for Esquire) onto the bikepath, climbed into the saddles, ignored the swearing of the sports cyclist trying to zoom through the picnic area at the speed of sound, and set off in a blare of disco beats.

It’s possible a straight man has looked gayer in human history. But it’s unlikely.

The accompanying police zoomed around on their bikes, onlookers waved, cars tooted their horns.

I looked behind me and… Jesus on a bike! Naked people stretching away as far as the eye could see… following me…

The police closed the footpath of Commonwealth Avenue bridge and we were a full blown circus by then.

The Greatest Show On Earth

Naked people on unicycles, rollerderby girls in a coat of paint and a smile zipping through the mass, unicyclists with a dab of paint over their nipples, larger older men on recumbent bikes, Rat Patrollers on freakbikes, a cargo bike carrying the girl who’s bike had broken down on the morning, a bass player on a penny farthing showing off his nipple piercings, … a cavalcade of the bizarre.

The ride wended its way up to Parliament House, freaking out the morning of the protective services officers, it was agreed we could take a breather in the protest zone.

Naked people posed for photos on the foundation stone of Canberra, water was provided.

And then we were off again. An easy downhill cruise to the lake shore. Only we got slightly lost from the planned route.

Amidst consultation with the police and the organisers we found a way.

Naked Bike Ride meets car show

With a hundred odd naked people behind me daubed with slogans like “one less car” I found myself leading the circus through…. an enormous motor show.

Large, squat men and women stared in slack jawed amazement and muttered about how they were receiving insufficient respect.

Circling past Questacon Bloody Mary and I made a command decision. We were shooting the Commonwealth Place keyhole.

The Wedding

Turning onto the path at the top of the grade I noticed a woman in a white dress at the bottom of the tunnel… And a photographer…

“Wedding!” I shouted.

Behind me the cry was taken up “It’s a wedding”.

Speakers doofing the tandem tallbike ran down the slope followed by a hundred naked people.

The photographer moved fast and got the bride and groom into position for what might well be the coolest wedding photo anyone’s ever had.

Things ground to a halt while more photos were taken with crazy naked people and the bridal party.

Rounding the final turn

Over Kings Avenue, oh hey there’s Walky having a picnic! “Hiya Walky how’re you going? What me? No I do this stuff all time”

A stop at the Carillion for water (and a brief swim for some), and then back through Commonwealth Park to where we started.

People put their clothes back on, looked at each other and said “I can’t quite believe I just did that.”

The group dispersed.

Bloody Mary put Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” into the speakers, and Master Gravity departed across the overpass, bearing us with it.

Post-Script

Huge credit needs to go to the police for their efficiency in keeping everyone safe and their professionalism in the face of a strange and possibly slightly trying group.

The ride certainly upset quite a lot of people, particularly at the car show.

On the other hand it made quite a lot of people very happy, not least the riders.

Not everyone got naked, some kept their clothes on entirely.

When next year’s rolls around I highly recommend it as an experience.

While there were some people who were, shall we say, beautiful in their own special way, there were a hell of a lot of very attractive young men and women. And I failed to get the phone numbers of any of the young women.

[Slideshow photos so far by: Silas from CityNews (more coverage of this in the upcoming edition), Damien Haas (who was at the motor show when we appeared), and Bryan Kilgallin]

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30 Responses to Leading the pack on the World Naked Bike Ride
#1
Gungahlin Al3:55 pm, 22 Mar 10

Total crack (no pun intended) up read JB.

Can just picture the wedding shots…

#2
pptvb5:14 pm, 22 Mar 10

Well done…. a good read.

#3
Aleximus6:29 pm, 22 Mar 10

I reckon this must be one of the most entertaining RiotAct stories of all time…..

Hey Ed! Could we have a “Hall of Fame” so that this story becomes the first entry?

#4
Beau Locks8:34 am, 23 Mar 10

Magnificent!

#5
prhhcd9:40 am, 23 Mar 10

love it!

#6
realityskin11:40 am, 23 Mar 10

There were an awful lot of clothes for a “NAKED Bike Ride”

#7
DavoDavo1:34 pm, 23 Mar 10

What a blast!
Hilarious – would love to see the wedding pictures. Thanks for posting – made my day. :-)

#8
damien haas2:38 pm, 23 Mar 10

It was certainly a lighter moment of the car show when the nude cyclists appeared. Most people were amused, one or two were not. I did hear one cry of ‘what about the children!’ and the guys with the radio control cars (very serious) turned momentarily to see what the fuss was, then went back to racing. I thought the bodypaint was particularly amusing.

On a more serious note, the road at both ends had been closed to traffic for the duration of the car show, and it was probably not wise to direct the herd of cyclists through the car show crowds along the footpaths that people were using. Do the math – 1200 plus cars, plus visitors using footpaths… definitely potential for collision.

But no one lost an eye, so it was merely an amusing moment in a fun filled day. The AFP policeman (on bicycle, but clothed) did stop when several of the cyclists paused and lolled on the grass for a few seconds. He didnt interfere,just hung back and waited for them to cease grass lolling and resume nude cycling.

I will post more photos of the actual cars on my blog http://onfourwheels.blogspot.com but unlikely to post more ‘nude’ photos.

#9
johnboy6:09 pm, 23 Mar 10

Bare as you dare RS.

#10
bd8410:05 pm, 23 Mar 10

lol the wedding photo part is a classic. There are kids in the background of pic 4 who don’t look too horrified and scarred for life, it’s more of a “that’s weird” look. It’s good that the police were accepting of the ride and provided a bicycle escort.

#11
MWF10:48 pm, 23 Mar 10

You naked bike riders are so very fabulous and brave and naked.

Oh and with bikes too! How, hip and groovy. W00T and stuff.

#12
Hells_Bells748:23 am, 24 Mar 10

Quite possibly your funni(b)est work.

Kicking myself I didn’t go. Will next year!

Could not get the hugest smile off my face reading that, really infectious..

Thanx Johnboy.

#13
Thumper8:36 am, 24 Mar 10

Got to admit, this is a pretty funny event….

#14
Postalgeek9:05 am, 24 Mar 10

Now do it in July and blind motorists with your highbeams.

#15
Skidbladnir10:00 am, 24 Mar 10

realityskin said :

There were an awful lot of clothes for a “NAKED Bike Ride”

The Nudity Act 1976 only lets someone expose ‘their person’ (ie: penis or ladybits) in a prescribed area, and I think the only one of those we have is Kambah Pool.

Everywhere outside prescribed areas are covered by the ACT Crimes Act 1900, Section 393, which says its a crime if it ‘offends decency’, would require an arrest & court appearance to find out how ‘decent’ you were.
So its as naked a bike ride as you’re going to get without breaking the law.

#16
KB19712:04 pm, 24 Mar 10

Postalgeek said :

Now do it in July and blind motorists with your highbeams.

Not to mention the shrinkage :(

#17
deye3:32 pm, 24 Mar 10

I love the “Deliberate Outrage” comment on page 17 of Canberra City News in relation to the ride.

#18
johnboy4:59 pm, 24 Mar 10

Thanks Deye: Page 17: http://www.citynews.com.au/edition/march-25-31.html

Personally, in my opinion, I think this shows Greg O’Regan has some disturbing deep seated issues.

#19
johnboy5:18 pm, 24 Mar 10

Greg also doesn’t like homosexuals much:

http://www.ad2000.com.au/articles/2006/aug2006p16_2322.html

#20
Skidbladnir5:29 pm, 24 Mar 10
#21
taninaus6:21 pm, 24 Mar 10

Mr O must have hit multiple news outlets as it was also in CT Tuesday. So how long did he watch for before deciding he was offended?

#22
Danman9:58 am, 25 Mar 10

That Greg O’Regan sounds a lot like my father in law….Hi Royston :)

#23
phage11:11 am, 25 Mar 10

Great read JB! I witnessed the Melbourne ride whilst sipping a soychailatte at my local caff when the peloton zoomed by, all painted up and pants-free… ah pants-free. I am quite tempted to get my bott out for next years event.

Greg O’Regan is my mates dad. He’s actually a lovely man, he’s just long retired, a staunch catholic and computer literate. Old people will crap on about anything and everything if given the chance, as is their right. But I suspect Greg’s kids stopped listening a long time ago, hence his desire for a wider audience.

#24
johnboy2:39 pm, 25 Mar 10

Publicly accusing people of being pedophiles just because they’re doing something legal of which he disapproves goes a bit beyond grumpy old man.

#25
sloppery3:02 pm, 25 Mar 10

johnboy said :

Greg also doesn’t like homosexuals much:

http://www.ad2000.com.au/articles/2006/aug2006p16_2322.html

My, aren’t we going out of our way with this! Lucky you’re not a moderator here!

#26
Dazzlar3:11 pm, 25 Mar 10

Hmmm interesting where his mind went there! Perhaps it is just a reflection of *his* bent mind!

#27
Skidbladnir9:27 am, 26 Mar 10

1) Neither Australia, NSW, nor the ACT have ever had a Sexual Offences Act.
2) The UK does. While it does cover paedophiles and indecent exposure, is less strict that our own Act in that it requires both an intention of the accused to expose, and an intention that the exposure once seen causes distress or alarm.
Ours just makes it a crime to offend by not wearing clothes.

I guess the 80-year old Greg O’Regan just forgot which country he was talking about, and failed to do prior research when sending almost identical letters to both Catholic Weekly, and CityNews when .
However I suspect he has the template ready to fire off to anyone with a letter column whenever he hears of events with ladies showing more than the proper amount of ankle.

#28
phage1:04 pm, 26 Mar 10

You will probably find that Greg’s curmudgeonly views reflect closely those of the roman catholic church, which are in themselves increasingly irrelevant to Australian society at large – bar an unfortunate outcome at the next federal election (please jeebus, nooooooo!)

Like I said in my earlier post, many old people are prone to waffling and are easily outraged by the perceived vulgarities of this day-an-age. Sure we can argue that they are wrong, but I think the nicer thing to do is politely ignore them.

Greg’s outrage is borne of a religion which is (in my opinion) inherently homophobic and misogynistic , but I don’t see the point in validating the outrage of an 80 year old white man by entering into a debate over his ye olde views.

#29
Postalgeek8:41 am, 29 Mar 10

phage said :

You will probably find that Greg’s curmudgeonly views reflect closely those of the roman catholic church, which are in themselves increasingly irrelevant to Australian society at large – bar an unfortunate outcome at the next federal election (please jeebus, nooooooo!)

Like I said in my earlier post, many old people are prone to waffling and are easily outraged by the perceived vulgarities of this day-an-age. Sure we can argue that they are wrong, but I think the nicer thing to do is politely ignore them.

Greg’s outrage is borne of a religion which is (in my opinion) inherently homophobic and misogynistic , but I don’t see the point in validating the outrage of an 80 year old white man by entering into a debate over his ye olde views.

A valid position, phage, and most of Greg’s comment can be relegated to that category, but anyone who makes knowingly false and cavalier public accusations of sexually grooming children and paedophilia should be hammered.

#30
cantiger3:32 pm, 31 Mar 10

I must be missing something but there doesn’t seem much dared, bared or in fact to complain about.

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