Have a political cause? Rule number one in getting what you want, of course, is to attract a bit of attention. Which is what the organizers of Saturday's fourth annual World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) seem to have little trouble doing.
On Saturday, free-wheeling cyclists stripped down and took to the streets of London, Madrid, Vancouver, Washington D.C. and Mexico City among others to do birthday-suit battle against global car culture. The cheeky protest was meant to draw attention to biker-unfriendly urban congestion and to the over-reliance on fossil fuels that is damaging to the environment.
"It is time more motorists stripped off their armour plating and moved around more gently on this earth," London cycle protester Duncan Blinkhorn, 45, told the AP. "Bikes and naked bodies harm nobody. Car fumes and accidents kill tens of thousands every year in the UK alone and are driving us all to climate chaos."
People of all shapes and states of undress seemed to have taken organizers' advice, posted on the WNBR Web site, which encouraged participants to be creative with their birthday suits. The site suggested body paint, masks and bike decorations that engage the public and express the anti-auto event message. The AP reported that buck-naked bikers in Mexico City were spotted wearing nothing but lucha libre Mexican wrestling masks.
In London, traffic came to a virtual standstill as the naked bunch biked by, with observers gawking and taking pictures with their cell phones. The authorities let the demonstration go ahead, as it had been registered beforehand with police. But the nude bike ride was quickly halted in Paris, with the police ordering the 400-strong group to put their clothes back on -- though not before attracting a bit of attention to their cause.