SCORES of cyclists stripped off and took to the streets of Portsmouth at the annual naked bike ride.
The cyclists rode in a loop from the beach huts opposite Coffee Cup in Southsea, along the seafront and to The Hard, where they stopped for a break to hand out leaflets.
They then rode through the city back to the beach.
There were about 80 participants. Almost all of them were men and most came from other parts of the country.
Ride marshall was Simon Terry, 45, from Folkestone in Kent.
He said the Portsmouth World Naked Bike Ride aimed to foster a stronger and safer cycling culture.
‘Nudity emphasises the vulnerability of cyclists on the road,’ he said.
‘If we wore clothes motorists wouldn’t spot us. If we go nude, they do. We want to encourage more people to cycle, use their cars less and stop taking unnecessary journeys.
‘Cycling is much more healthy than driving cars everywhere.’
The Esplanade was lined with bemused onlookers as the cyclists rode by.
You get a few people who complain about it, but a lot of people applaud.Graham Inman
Many had decorated their bikes with anti-oil slogans, and one had a line of maritime signal flags strung from a mast spelling out ‘nude not lewd’.
Participant, Graham Inman, 66, from Gloucestershire, said: ‘Cities are becoming more cyclist-aware and a lot of that can be attributed to bike rides like this.
‘You get a few people who complain about it, but a lot of people applaud.’
Public reaction to the spectacle was mixed.
Charlie Langon, 54, from London, who is holidaying in Southsea, said: ‘I don’t think there’s much call for it. There’s a beach up there where they can do their own thing.
‘They should be more sensitive to families who might not approve.’
A woman who asked not to be named said: ‘I’m not opposed to it. I’m a cyclist and a pedestrian and a motorist and if they want to do it, that’s okay.’
The ride sparked a fierce debate last week after Portsmouth City Council deputy leader Councillor Luke Stubbs demanded police restrict the event, calling it an excuse for ‘public exhibitionism’.