Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Friday, 18 July 2014

"You say black, I say white..."

Here we go again:
An MP has slammed this weekend’s controversial naked bike ride through Clacton as “offensive exhibitionism”.
Yes, it's Clacton's naked bike ride again. According to the subsequent online edition of the Gazette, opinion on last year's one was divided to say the least:
Clacton's first naked bike ride was such a success it could pave the way for the UK’s first naked fun run.
Outraged councillors are calling for a clampdown on naked events, which they said could harm tourism in Tendring.
So, good or bad? And why do it at all? Some supporters describe the ride - last year's was a not insignificant 17km - as an “environmental protest against car culture and a celebration of the bicycle and the body”, placing it firmly in the counter-culture camp, while others attach a more safety-conscious message, claiming it highlights the vulnerability of the cyclist on the road.

Even so, Carswell does have a point, at least about the exhibitionism; it's likely that the event will primarily attract those already accustomed to appearing naked in public. Few people, after all, would want their first tentative dabble in naturism to take place in the middle of Clacton with the local press photographer on hand.

On the other hand, if people want to take their clothes off and aren't breaking the law, are they really doing any harm? It is, apparently, entirely legal to participate in a mass bike ride while totally harry-starkers, though I wouldn't advise stripping off and hopping onto the nearest Boris Bike in a built-up area to test the rules.

This means that those in opposition - which, according to the press, include the council and the police (who, since they will still accompany the riders, have presumably been ordered to keep their eyes averted) - have no way to prevent the ride going ahead. They have, however, decided to do what they can.

The ride has therefore been re-routed so that the cyclists do not go through the town centre and, in an unusual variation of pre-event publicity:
The council has published the route so people can avoid the bizarre spectacle.


  1. I always thought that if naked in public, one had to walk to John O'Groats.

  2. During Brighton's Gay Pride weekend next month, an entire busy shopping street will be blocked off to pedestrians and vehicles, although local residents will get free passes. Anyone else will have to pay for one. To finance rebates to the business rates? Fat chance.

  3. JH It would certainly be a good idea not to hang around anywhere for long - and stay away from beaches:

    Police in County Down have warned skinny dippers that they could be placed on the sex offenders register.


    IH To charge for access to a shopping street suggests some seriously distorted thinking in the higher echelons of local government.

    Was there, I wonder, any opportunity for local businesses to object?