ONE thing is certain: the sight of possibly hundreds of cyclists pedalling through Portsmouth wearing little but a smile is likely to cause considerable surprise for many.
On one level, it will be a bit of a shock for some to be confronted by the sight of naked riders forming a cavalcade on the streets.
And at the same time, there will we are sure be more than a few who are amazed that such bare-faced (and bare-everything-else) behaviour is not against the law.
But, as police who will marshal the protest point out, appearing naked in public is not in itself an offence. Nudity is only illegal if there is an intention to cause alarm or distress.
And so on that basis, those who prefer to stay wrapped up in public need to be prepared to tolerate the minority who are quite happy to shed their inhibitions to make a point.
For although the World Naked Bike Ride – making its debut in Portsmouth on June 10 but already a tried and tested event elsewhere – is a light-hearted celebration, its purpose is serious.
The riders will highlight the planet’s dependency on a finite oil resource,
That is reason enough for all of us to be concerned.
As for the sight of people baring all in public well, although we recognise that many people might feel affronted by the thought let alone the sight, we’d also say that the organisers have announced a clearly-defined route for the day.
Essentially, anyone who does not want to witness people cycling in the nude has the option of staying away from the designated area on that particular day or, if taken by surprise, at least turning the other way until the cavalcade has passed by.
We don’t go so far as to suggest that we should all regularly dispense of clothing in order to make a point, but the unusual nature of this event means that the message behind it should get through – and that is a good thing.
We have one more hope for June 10, and that is that the sun shines brightly on Portsmouth that day, for the benefit of all citizens of course, but particularly those who bare all on their bikes.