Naked cyclists get back in the saddle for fuel protest

Naked riders in Portsmouth in June last year
Naked riders in Portsmouth in June last year
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CYCLISTS are preparing to bare all in a second Naked Bike Ride through the streets of Portsmouth.

The environmental protesters will strip off on May 26 after last year’s event was hailed a success despite fierce opposition from the Portsmouth Family Church.

Organiser Ian Henden, from Fareham, said he was not worried by a government e-petition set up by Sarah Carter from the Church, calling for Naked Bike Rides across the country to be banned.

The 65-year-old said: ‘There’s nothing smutty or dirty about it.

‘It’s a protest at the rate we are using fossil fuels, the vulnerability of cyclists on the road and a celebration of the human form. Why not do that in Portsmouth? We have them in Southampton, London, Sheffield, New York and Melbourne.’

He added: ‘I have no worries about people protesting against the bike ride whatsoever. I’ve seen someone has set up a government e-petition but only 207 people have signed it.’

A government e petition is made through direct.go and needs 100,000 signatures before it can be considered for debate in the House of Commons.

Last year there was a heavy police presence along the entire route even though there were only 28 cyclists.

This year that figure is expected to rise to about 35 participants.

Portsmouth South Chief Inspector Steve Burridge said: ‘This event took place last year and passed off without incident.

‘Police will again be in attendance at the Naked Bike Ride in Southsea this year.

‘We are currently in discussions with the event organisers to ensure public safety and will plan a proportional response to meet this need.’

Heather Todd, the city council’s assistant events manager, said: ‘The organisers of the Naked Bike Ride have submitted an event application, which we’ll look at on May 4 as part of our monthly events advisory group meeting. ‘

The ride begins at 1.30pm in front of the Rose Gardens, Southsea, and goes through Old Portsmouth, the City Centre and back.

Mr Henden said he hopes University of Portsmouth students join in on the last Saturday of the term.