weather boosted numbers and we ended up with a lot of people. Really.
Really really a lot. When the ride started, we were able to make an
accurate count. The official counters got 692 and 695 as their figures,
so we left with very nearly 700. The ride steadily grew, accumulating
various riders along the route. Leaflets were given out and lots of
people had signs on their bikes and bodys. People had flags, decorations,
foliage and body-paint. The whole feeling was magnificent - and people
we passed seemed to grasp our pro-bike, pro-body, pro-fun, anti-oil,
oldest participant was 84 - Marguerite "Gran" Elsley of
York. She participated in last year's ride when it was too cold for
her to take any clothes off, but this year she had the opportunity
to ride as clothes-free as she wished. Here's something she said "I'm
now a fit and healthy 84 year old, and I love being free from the
restrictions of clothes. I also revel in living a car-free life. By
remaining very active, I benefit from the pleasure that always follows
police helpfully blocked off traffic and made our progress much faster
than it would otherwise have been. The cycle-mounted police were very
pleasant to ride with, and they didn't interfere with the pace and
quality of the ride at all.
we arrived back from the ride, the numbers were impossible to count
as people streamed around the Wellington Arch and walked there bikes
out onto the lawn. There were 574 riders who passed through the Arch.
We always gain a significant portion of riders during the ride itself,
and this year was no exception. As an accurate count wasn't possible,
I've ventured a guess assuming that this year's gains were comparable
to those of previous years. On this basis, I can say... we are confident
that we returned with at least 800, but it seems likely that we had
up to 900 riders upon our return. The police bid us farewell, and
for the next hour, people enjoyed a clothing optional space at Wellington
Arch. By then people started to disperse fairly quickly, though some
people stayed undressed until 8pm.
did a remarkable thing today, and everyone seemed to realise this
from the very start of the ride. It was a pleasure to ride with all
year, we made history by being the largest nude protest event in British
history. We had 250 riders at the end of the ride.
year, we easily exceeded our predicted turnout of 350 riders. We made
history by having many more riders -between 800 and 900 at the ride
finish. The largest ride that ever happened before this was an unbelievably
huge ride of 400 riders in Zaragoza, Spain!
a side note about numbers. Although numbers can indicate the level
of support within an area, it's important not to focus too much on
the numbers. There are different advantages to rides of every size.
Any ride that has more than 120 riders will easily attract riders
because it feels big, relaxed and individuals don't stand out unless
they want to. The smaller rides are wonderful too - with rides up
to 35, you can actually meet all the riders if you want to. There
are two main ways to judge the success of a ride -
1. Did all riders enjoy the ride?
2. Did they feel the ride did what it intended?
I'd say that the London ride was a success in these terms.
you enjoyed the ride, please consider getting involved with the ride
planning collective in London. Although the ride has a significant
number of female participants, the collective could do with some more
females. Even though meetings are 8-12 participants, there hasn't
ever been more than 2 women at a meeting. Please help to change this.
It would be great to see gender balance or even a period of imbalance
to more women than men.
you don't live in London, perhaps you can follow the examples set
by York, Manchester and Brighton - create a local planning collective
and create a ride nearer to you. It looks like there is growing interest
in both Cardiff and Swansea at the moment, and it's been too long
since the Edinburgh ride of 2004. See you next year!
London Ride Planning Collective