Naked bike ride in Portsmouth axed after organiser steps down

A NAKED cyclist has told of his disappointment at not being able to find anyone to follow in his cycle tracks and lead an annual nude bike ride in the city.

Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 3:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 4:35 pm
The World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is an annual demonstration that draws attention to oil and gas dependency and the safety of cyclists on the road. Rides take place in over forty locations in the UK and around the world. This photo shows riders taking part in Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, in 2018. Organiser Ian Henden is on the far right of the image. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
The World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is an annual demonstration that draws attention to oil and gas dependency and the safety of cyclists on the road. Rides take place in over forty locations in the UK and around the world. This photo shows riders taking part in Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, in 2018. Organiser Ian Henden is on the far right of the image. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

World Naked Bike Ride stalwart Ian Henden, 73, has been looking for a successor for years – but this year slammed the brakes on and refused to take on the key role again.

It means the June fixture will not happen, although if someone were to come forward in the next couple of days the event could be saved.

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The World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is an annual demonstration that draws attention to oil and gas dependency and the safety of cyclists on the road. Rides take place in over forty locations in the UK and around the world. This photo shows riders taking part in Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, in 2018. Organiser Ian Henden is on the far right of the image. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

Cycling campaigner Mr Henden, from Fareham, said: ‘I’m disappointed because Portsmouth only last week was reported as outside of London the most dangerous city in the country to ride a bike. If any city needed a demonstration it’s Portsmouth.

‘The words I would use are: rampant apathy.

‘If people want it to take place someone else has got to stand up. This year I’m not doing it.’

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Campaigners bare all on their bicycles for city's naked bike ride
Cyclist Ian Henden has organised the World Naked Bike Ride in Portsmouth for nearly nine years.

The controversial ride sees dozens of men and women ride through Portsmouth – in recent years from Hilsea to Southsea – promoting cycling and environmental issues.

Mr Henden said he plans to attend rides in Southampton, Brighton and London.

But he added: ‘I’m getting a lot older and without wishing to sound morbid it seems with the passing years the probability of me being around for the actual ride diminishes.’

Anyone who is interested in taking over running the event should contact Mr Henden on the Portsmouth World Naked Bike Ride Facebook page.