Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Naked cyclists say no to cars

Thousands of uninhibited men and women went the extra mile to make their environmental point on Saturday, riding naked on bicycles through cities as diverse as London, Paris, Madrid, Montreal and Mexico.

Under the slogan "As Bare As You Dare," protesters felt the wind in their hair -- and everywhere else -- as they pedalled along demonstrating the risks they face on the roads and the impact that cars have on the environment.

Authorities generally turned a blind eye to one of the world's more outlandish environmental protests, apart from in Paris where five of the unabashed riders were arrested for so-called "sexual exhibition."

Most of the 400 people, including 160 on bikes, gathered for the Paris event decided that discretion was the better part of valour and fearing arrest redonned clothes and dispersed. Many had turned their bodies into human placards, writing slogans or humorous messages across their stomachs or on their backs. "Warning: fragile!", one said, "Warning: flesh!" another.

In London, 700 cyclists in various states of undress were reported to have gambolled through central London in another leg of the World Naked Bike Ride, while similar events happened in Manchester, Southampton and York.

The nude cyclists -- and others with strategically-placed body paint, sticky tape or bum bags -- began their ride at Hyde Park and finished in Wellington Arch, a route of about six miles (10 kilometres).

"We are seeing an increasing number of stories of melting ice caps and Antarctica crumbling away and no government is doing anything serious about this," said Martin Ireland, one of the riders.

"They are paying lip service to the problem so people have been taking to their bikes, unclothed, to express their feelings about it."

In Madrid, not known to be a biker's paradise, about 300 cyclists took part in a good-humoured parade through the heart of the city.

"It's about respecting cyclists, we are all equal in front of traffic," a 40 something Spaniard called Abel told reporters, before joining his comrades in a chant denouncing cars for polluting the city. In Montreal's central Parc Laurier hundreds turned out to witness the spectacle as a few dozen cyclists, unhampered by clothers, set off down the streets of the Quebecois city, yelling "Police, get naked!"

Some 100 riders rode through the tourist areas of Mexico City in protest against the car-clogged streets and the pollution that chokes their city.

Their goal was "to show motorists that as cyclists, we are as fragile as the human body, and also to celebrate the rebirth that the bicycle is experiencing these days," said Areli Carreon, a bikers' group representative.

More than 200 cyclists, men and women of all ages who were partially or completely nude, rode through Brighton on the English south coast. A number of riders used bodypaint and sticky tape to preserve their modesty.

"This is a fun if outrageous way to make the serious point that we should not have to tolerate roads, cities and a planet dominated by the brutishness of cars that routinely foul the air we all breathe, destroy lives and impoverish the environment," said organiser Duncan Blinkhorn, 45.

"We are celebrating our vulnerability as cyclists and human beings but also showing our strength of feeling and strength of numbers.

"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.

"It is time more motorists stripped off their armour plating and moved around more gently on this earth."

Source:- ZeeNews