You could hear Bristol’s World Naked Bike Ride before you could see it. Honking of horns, tinkling of bells and cries of, “Come join us!” to curious bystanders as the ride snaked its way around the city on Saturday.
The start of the World Naked Bike Ride, currently winding around the centre of Bristol: pic.twitter.com/yaWjQ7GdUE
— Bristol24/7 (@bristol247) June 4, 2016
Starting from the Full Moon pub on Stokes Croft, it had a slightly different route than first planned to avoid cycling into the middle of the two other demonstrations on the other side of town.
Unlike those two protests which turned violent on Hotwell Road, this was a glorious celebration of the joy of cycling – just completely in the buff by most of the couple of hundred participants.
The joy could be seen not just while on the bikes, but while off them too as witnessed in an impromptu party in Castle Park where the cyclists were serenaded by a drumming group playing loudly and with much gusto in the bandstand.
Elsewhere on the route, buses were stopped by stewards in order to allow the ride to pass safely through the city centre, passing wedding parties, stag and hen dos, shoppers, and bemused tourists – all with huge smiles on their faces after their brief encounter with the wave of coloured flesh.
The ride was a celebration of bikes and bodies, highlighting the vulnerability of cyclists on crowded roads and a demonstration against car culture and oil-dependency.
Unlike their approach to the day’s other protests, police were largely absent.
Responding to a few critics on Twitter, Avon & Somerset Police wrote: “As a constabulary, we have a positive obligation to facilitate peaceful protest and we are engaging with the organisers of the #WNBR around their plans for the event and enjoy excellent communication with and co-operation from them.
“Protest, by its very nature, will divide opinion but our role remains one of balancing the rights of all within a peaceful framework.”
Read more: 10 things to do in Bristol this weekend