Picture: From the 2007 London Naked Bike Ride
As Europe recovers from the excitement of last weekend – the affirmation of our very own European environmental guru, Yann Arthus-Bertrand and the release of the nature documentary of all nature documentaries on the one hand, on the other the disappointing results of the EU elections announcing the dawn of a difficult new era ahead for all social economy enthusiasts – this weekend’s global naked pedal fest comes as a breath of fresh air to remind us that LIFE CAN BE FUN!!
Take off your clothes, jump on a bike (or roller blades) and ride. The idea is as simple as it is cost effective and although the event hasn’t received the media coverage it deserves (in my experience naked people are rarely taken seriously when they are in public and never unless they are babes) just knowing that it is going on gives me hope. Really, it does.
Pedalling makes a statement about oil, traffic and health. Pedalling en masse makes a statement about the urgency of all of the above. Pedalling naked makes a statement about going back to nature, about accepting your body for what it is and about the dangers of riding a bike in the city (for those who don’t quite get it, the key word here is vulnerability). Pedalling naked en masse down the streets of some of the world’s largest capitals is bound to make both a statement and for a wickedly good time. Watch this video if you don’t believe me!
Being naked is pretty much the most natural thing that could happen to us, and we do it all the time at home. Yet in most western cultures we seem to abhor the idea of getting our kit off in public, especially if we lack The Body that only comes from strict dieting and lots of workouts in the gym (and that – alas! – few of us actually posess).
In a speech at Ted, Yann Arthus-Betrand said that our problem is that we don’t believe what we know. Indeed, many of the world’s environmental problems are incredibly well documented – we know for a fact that deforestation is both unethical and dangerous, that hundreds of species are on the brink of extinction and that the glaciers of the world are melting and yet there go the world’s forests, animals and ice tree by tree, creature by creature, drop by drop.
He is right, of course. But although I am no psychologist I have a theory that the brain switch that makes us forget what naturally feels good and convinces us to cover up and hide our bodies away from view in shame is the same switch that allows us to turn a blind eye to the world around us. Our problem is not so much that we don’t believe what we know as that we don’t have the courage to do things differently.
Riding a bike naked is a different kind of ride but it requires exactly the same amount of effort as when you’ve got your clothes on. In fact, its probably a heck of a lot more fun! The same goes for living a lifestyle that works with the planet instead of against it. So what are we waiting for?
To organize your own naked pedal fest or to gawk at the amusing pictures: www.worldnakedbikeride.org