Organiser hits back at critics of Portsmouth’s naked ride

IN THE SADDLE Last year's naked bike ride. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (121848-2)
IN THE SADDLE Last year's naked bike ride. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (121848-2)
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CYCLISTS joining Saturday’s Naked Bike Ride hope to attract even more attention when they pedal through popular streets.

Pedallers will go through popular areas such as Elm Grove and Albert Road in Southsea.

Organiser Ian Hendon, 67, said there was a demand for the annual event to cover busier streets this time around.

‘Albert Road is a fairly cosmopolitan area and as part of our feedback the people there said they felt a bit left out last year,’ he said.

The event, which is in its third year, raises awareness of environmental issues and the safety of cyclists.

So far 55 people have signed up. Mr Hendon said: ‘It’s not illegal – it’s totally legal.

‘The law in England says that simple nudity in public is not illegal providing there is no intention to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

‘We took leaflets down to the D-Day Museum about two weeks ago and the staff quite happily said they would put them up on the side.

‘Who would notice you if you were dressed? Nudity has been a form of political statement since the days of Lady Godiva.’

Councillor Luke Stubbs, who represents Eastney and Craneswater ward, said he had issues with the ride.

‘If I was to walk out of my flat and walk down the road naked, I would be arrested for it, and quite rightly. How is cycling down the seafront naked in anyway dealing with issues about global warming?’

The route goes along Sea Front to Clarence Pier, through Old Portsmouth to Commercial Road, back through Queen Street, The Hard, Museum Road and through Kings Road, Elm Grove, Albert Road and down Festing Road to Canoe Lake before weaving its way back to the start.

Cyclists need to meet at the grass area between Marine Court, Southsea, and Esplanade by 1pm for a 2pm start.