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Canterbury leg of World Naked Bike Ride cancelled for 2018

Organisers say problem is availability of insurance and dent decision linked to local opposition

A planned World Naked Bike Ride in Canterbury next month has been cancelled, partly because organisers of the event were unable to obtain public liability insurance cover for it.

The event, part of a series of rides around the world that act as a protest against car culture and oil dependency as well as highlighting the fragility of the human body, had been due to take place on 26 May.

Organiser Barry Freeman, quoted in The Independent, said that it had proved impossible to obtain insurance cover in time and a potential back-up date of 29 June was impractical since it clashed with roadworks related to a bus lane being installed in the city which would have led to more motor traffic on the route of the ride.

Freeman said: “I therefore decided, for the safety of would-be participants, not to hold a naked bike ride in Canterbury.

“After I’d made my decision, Kent County Council then called off the planned Sturry Road bus lane works, ironically stating there was too much traffic and it would cause chaos,” he continued,

“Yet Canterbury remains one of the worst cities to cycle safely within or across, despite some good outer city routes for cyclists.

“Pollution levels are unacceptably high and to even consider another multi-storey car park shows how little thinking exists within the city council’s traffic management department,” he added.

He denied that the decision not to hold what would have been the sixth edition of the ride in the cathedral city this year was linked to local opposition to it, with local Conservative councillor Neil Baker questioning the cycling credentials of some of the participants.

Writing on the Facebook page of the East Kent Civil Society, he said: “If they were actually regular cyclists making a protest about air pollution issues, they may have a point.

“But given the state of some of them, there is no way they are regular cyclists. You can spot a regular cyclist by their calves due to lactic acid build-up. There may be some who join in, but it stinks of exhibitionism to me.”

In response, Freeman said: “The reason why we ride naked or almost naked is to underline that cyclists are vulnerable, flesh and blood.

“Motorists tend to notice naked cyclists more than those wearing hi-vis clothing. So the message remains, ‘See cyclists when they’re not naked’.”

The Canterbury edition of the World Naked Bike Ride made national headlines in 2015 when a man was asked by organisers to leave the ride due to what one participant referred to, somewhat euphemistically, as his “overexcited” state.

> Man thrown off Canterbury World Naked Bike Ride – for getting “overexcited”

Last month, we reported dates for planed World Naked Bike Rides due to be held in various cities across the UK in the coming months.

> World Naked Bike Ride returns to London - and other British cities - this summer

Organisers of the London ride point out that "nudity is not illegal in England, as was established in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, but using nudity to intentionally cause harassment, alarm or distress may be illegal.

“Don't act offensively and you are unlikely to be arrested."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Bikeylikey | 5 years ago

'Last month, we reported dates for planed World Naked Bike Rides...' Oo that sounds painful. Where do you have to plane bits from? Not the calves apparently. The 'overexcited' parts maybe?

scouser_andy | 5 years ago
1 like

Can't they sit down with the council and flesh the issues out?

davel | 5 years ago

"You can spot a regular cyclist by their calves due to lactic acid build-up"

What a fucking numpty.

Dnnnnnn replied to davel | 5 years ago
1 like
davel wrote:

"You can spot a regular cyclist by their calves due to lactic acid build-up"

It's one of the weirdest quotes I've read in a long time.

Perhaps could post a gallery of cyclist-v-non-cyclist calves, pointing out the specific lactic acid effects. I'm curious.

Deeferdonk | 5 years ago

Councillor  Baker " the state of some of them"

Excuse my French but......

F#ck you councillor baker, f#ck you and your cockwomble party.


ConcordeCX | 5 years ago

Naked bike riders in leg over situation. 

I thought they had that leg covered.

I'd like to know why Councillor Baker thinks only regular cyclists should ride bikes in protest at something. I bet he's not even a regular baker. Regular bakers get up early and have flour in their hair and enjoy the sight of wobbly dough-like substances.

David9694 | 5 years ago


I ride quite a bit, but I’m wondering whether I’d pass Cllr Baker’s “regular cyclist” test.  Do we know any more about these comments?

I don’t think I’d have the balls to take part in something like this, though.

StraelGuy | 5 years ago

Yeah, wouldn't want to turn up not realising it had been cancelled and making a right tit of oneself.

hawkinspeter | 5 years ago

Sounds like a right cock-up.

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