SCORES of protesters are set to cycle naked through the streets of Portsmouth.
Organisers of the World Naked Bike Ride are hoping the three-mile nude ride along Southsea seafront and Commercial Road on June 10 will highlight oil dependency and be a celebration of cycling.
It is the first time the event has been held in the city – and will be followed by a night-time cycle in Southampton where it has been held for the past five years.
Portsmouth City Council has been informed of the cycle ride and police will be providing officers, but not everyone is happy about being confronted by dozens of bikers in the buff.
Southsea pensioner Irene Strange – herself a cyclist – says she certainly won’t be joining in.
Mrs Strange, of Albert Grove, said: ‘I think it’s utter stupidity.
‘I’m sure they could make this protest in another way.
‘A lot of shops won’t even let in men who aren’t wearing a top.
‘I’m sure people will find this very offensive.’
Hampshire Police said the event was lawful – even if someone made a complaint.
They said public nudity was not an offence as long as the intention was not to cause alarm or distress.
Successful rides have been held worldwide.
Portsmouth City Council said it is considering the application though the organisers say they only told them out of courtesy and do not need permission for the ride.
Ian Henden, from Gudge Heath Lane, Fareham, is the man behind Portsmouth’s naked bike ride.
The 64-year-old said: ‘I was involved in the Southampton one last year and somebody said “This could never be done in Portsmouth”.
‘I thought to myself, “Why not?”.
‘Simple nudity is legal – what’s not legal is if you’re going to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
‘If it was not legal they could not show it on television or stage shows such as Hair or Oh! Calcutta!
‘I have no idea how many people are going to turn up.
‘In Southampton we get 80, 90, possibly even 100.
‘The point of the event is to protest against our dependency on oil and to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists.
‘I think the reaction from the great British public will be one of great frivolity. I’m sure it will bring a smile to people’s faces.’
Councillor Margaret Adair, who represents Southsea, agrees.
She said: ‘Some people may be offended but I’m sure most will take it in the way it is meant.’
The cycle ride begins at the Rose Gardens at Lumps Fort between Canoe Lake and Eastney, goes along the sea front to Clarence Pier, through Old Portsmouth then on to Commercial Road and back through Palmerston Road.
It starts at midday.
Cyclists do not have to be completely naked and are encouraged to be creative using body paint.
To find out more go to wiki.world nakedbikeride.org/wiki/Portsmouth.