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‘Dominatrix’ whipped cyclists at World Naked Bike Ride in New Orleans

Some participants were left with welts on their buttocks after being struck with riding crop

A person dressed in what was described as a dominatrix outfit reportedly whipped cyclists taking part in the World Naked Bike Ride in New Orleans as they passed through the city’s historic French Quarter on 12 June. According to Nola.com, a number of participants in the ride were left with welts on their buttocks.

Nelle Phillips, who was one of the people hit with what was reported to be a riding crop, filed a complaint with police, and also tried to post an account of what had happened to the ride’s private Facebook page; initially rejected, her post was accepted after several days.

The first-time participant told Nola.com that both she and the friend she was riding with, dressed in Adam and Eve costumes made from flesh coloured fabric plus fake fig leaves, were struck on the buttocks, and they discovered through pictures shared by mobile phone and from replies on Facebook that others had been similarly whipped.

The incident happened as they got back on their bikes as they left a bar where they had stopped for a quick drink, with a person wearing an outfit made of red leather straps stuffed with dollar bills calling her and her friend “laggers” – the main ride had already passed – and then striking them with a riding crop.

Her post was acknowledged on the ride’s Facebook page by Sebren Strother, organiser of the ride, who said that riders should contact police if they thought it appropriate, and that on future editions, such incidents should be reported immediately to the ride’s security staff, or to police who accompany the event.

Shane Steinkamp, who heads the security staff for the ride, said he had seen pictures of welts that had been inflicted on them, and said, “we’re trying to show our vulnerability, and we have people become aggressive toward us, for whatever reason.”

As for Phillips, she has not been put off taking part again in the future. “If not for that incident, I did really have a good time,” she said. “I can’t say there’s ever been a time when I had conversations with random naked people I didn’t know.”

We’ve reported on the New Orleans leg of the World Naked Bike Ride before – two years ago, organisers persuaded a would-be participant to leave behind the handgun and rifle he had planned on bringing on the ride.

> Naked Gun – Man turns up for World Naked Bike Ride in New Orleans with rifle and handgun

First held in Seattle in 2003, the World Naked Bike Ride is now held in more than 120 cities around the world.

Its objectives are to:

Protest against the global dependency on oil

Curb car culture

Obtain real rights for cyclists

Demonstrate the vulnerability of cyclists on city streets   

Celebrate body freedom.

After a virtual event was held last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the London ride is pencilled in to return on 14 August, subject to restrictions being lifted, and organisers have said that they will make a final decision on it by 14 July.

> London leg of World Naked Bike Ride planned for August – subject to coronavirus restrictions being eased

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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