Naked cyclists get back in the saddle for biggest ride yet

26/05/12  SB''The annual naked bike ride begins its journey through Southsea from the Rose Garden on the sea front.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (121848-10)
26/05/12 SB''The annual naked bike ride begins its journey through Southsea from the Rose Garden on the sea front.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (121848-10)
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ONLOOKERS clapped and waved as 77 naked cyclists took part in a ride through the streets of Portsmouth.

Organisers have hailed the second Naked Bike Ride in the city a success after three times the number of riders took part this year.

Dozens of people turned out to support the ride, which started at the Rose Gardens in Southsea on Saturday.

Most bystanders seemed supportive of the unusual sight, but there were some protests on the day.

Organiser Ian Henden, from Fareham, said: ‘It was very well received.

‘We had roughly three times as many people as last year which I am very pleased about, especially since we had a fair number of ladies this year.

‘We would like to say thank you to the people of Portsmouth for the lovely reception they have given us.’

Sadie Layton, 40, of Hunter Road in Southsea, was the only woman to take part in the bike ride last year.

This year she went down to the seafront to show her support.

She said: ‘There seemed to be lots more people taking part this year which is great.

‘I’m not doing it this year because I have my 16-week-old daughter with me, but I think it’s great because it draws people’s attention to how vulnerable cyclists are on the road.’

The cyclists’ route took them along the seafront to the city centre and back.

Lezley Hannibal, 53, of Salisbury Road in Southsea, was on the seafront when the cyclists rode past.

She said: ‘I don’t think there is anything wrong with it.

‘Who wouldn’t take all their clothes off and cycle down the seafront if they could get away with it? It doesn’t hurt anyone.’

But former Portsmouth councillor Malcolm Hey took a stand against the ride by carrying a placard.

He said: ‘It’s a disgraceful, shameful event and I’m disgusted it has taken place.

‘Perhaps next year we will have to take legal action and get more people to say this is not what they want.

‘Police take action against a flasher but they won’t take action against cyclists who are showing everything in public. It’s a totally unacceptable situation.’

The event was held to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists on the road and to protest against the use of fossil fuels.