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Cyclists strip gear as they turn the other cheek to cars


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Cyclists strip gear as they turn the other cheek to cars

Madrid

June 12, 2006

Source: The Age Newspaper

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Chain reaction: naked cyclists take to Madrid's streets to make a point.

Photo: Reuters

THOUSANDS of nude cyclists pedalled around some of the world's cities at the weekend to protest against car-clogged streets and demand greater respect.

With slogans such as "one car less" and "bio methanol" painted on their backs, the naked cyclists staged Spain's third annual Ciclonudista, or "Nudecycle" in Madrid, Barcelona and Pamplona.

The protest was part of worldwide naked bike events on Saturday across Europe, North America and South America. Mexico City and Ottawa also staged big turnouts.

"We feel naked when up against traffic because people don't see the bicycle as just another means of transport," said Madrid cyclist Ramon Linaza.

Towing cardboard cars with gaping jaws, protesters said the rapid rise of car ownership in Spain was turning city streets into ever more hostile and dangerous cycling territory.

Organisers said the bicycle was a healthy and efficient form of transport largely ignored by drivers and city planners.

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Naked bike riders brought smiles to Britain on Saturday as World Naked Bike Ride day was marked in cities across Britain to celebrate sustainable transport and the human body.

The London event attracted about 1000 people. Organiser Nick Sayers said: "It brought smiles to Londoners' faces, which you don't often see."

In Brighton, 200 cyclists covered up for fear of being arrested by watchful police. Several got round the no-nudity rule by dressing creatively. Some men wore a sock — but not on their feet.

Mr Sayers said he was planning to make a Freedom of Information request to Sussex Police to find out why they ordered a cover-up.

"It was a celebration of cycling and the human body and a demonstration of the vulnerability of cyclists," he said.

He said the Government should take note of the environmental benefits of cycling because it was a form of transport that was human-powered.

Sussex police said no arrests had been made in Brighton for public nudity.

Several hundred cyclists turned out in Manchester, and about 70 in York.

PA, REUTERS

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