United Kingdom FAQ

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Home > List of rides > UK > United Kingdom frequently asked questions (FAQ)

You'll find many of the common questions about the World Naked Bike Ride answered at the main FAQ page. This page addresses some of the common questions about UK rides. If you've got a question that isn't answered here, contact us at uk [at] worldnakedbikeride.org.

Contents

Dress code and body acceptance

Do I have to get fully nude?

See the worldwide FAQs

Do you have body paint information? How much does it cost to cover someone with body paint?

Yes, there is plenty of info at the general World Naked Bike Ride site here. For a good example of how a message written in paint looks, click here. There is further info about creative ideas from the London ride here.

The best promotion of the ride's messages is to have them painted on your body. The more people decorate themselves with short and snappy words the better. Consider making a stencil such as this one, bring along some face paint (e.g. Snazaroo), a little sponge, some water and drafting tape, then use the time at the Assembly to help each other to slogan up.

That stencil example is two pages of A4, easily printed and cut from waterproof card (or, better, oiled stencil paper from art supplies shops) using a modelling knife. Then attach a stencil to a body with drafting tape and dab the moistened face paint through the stencil with the sponge. It cn be done very quickly.

Many more stencil designs are in the PDF file here, again with two A4 pages per slogan.

If you want to paint your entire body, one paint tube will suffice, and it costs approximately £5-9 per tube. Therefore it's £5-9 to cover a body with one colour of paint (e.g. entire body painted blue). We will have some body paint at the London ride so you can write messages or designs on your body (but you should buy some paint if you want something with lots of paint or detail).

What if I am not thin / not young? What if I have scars on my body? What if my body shape just isn't normal?

See the worldwide FAQ

Will I be arrested for nudity?

If you are riding in London, Brighton, Manchester, Southampton, or York, there is almost no risk of arrest. Police are fully aware of our bike protests, the routes and the nudity it involves. The London ride had police approval every year since 2005 and police even provide traffic control. For more info, see the 2005 e-mail exchange we had with the police.

For other rides, note that nudity isn't illegal in the UK, but using nudity to intentionally cause harassment, alarm or distress may be illegal. Don't act offensively and you are unlikely to be arrested. These pages have a more complete explanation of the legal position.

Police may try to force the point and claim that you are offending people. You can ask them to substantiate this before deciding whether to comply. You can't be arrested for nudity unless a) police require that you put clothes back on and b) you refuse.

If you don't wish to be arrested but want to remain mostly bare, just bring along a thong/ g-string/ briefs/ shorts/ toga or anything that you can slip on in order to cover up if police decide to challenge us.

Will people/ the press photograph me?

They might. In London, since 2005 there has been a photography policy which bars close-ups and photos taken when people aren't on their bikes. It is not perfect but improvements in protection are made each year.

For other UK rides, here's some advice. If it makes you uncomfortable, let the photographers know that they don't have permission to photograph you. Also, let other riders know this so they can tell photographers not to photograph you. Another approach, which we recommend, is to keep your clothes on during the start of the ride and take them off after you have left the assembly point. Both of these approaches will cut down on photographs taken at the start, but there is a good chance that riders will be photographed during the ride.

Do however remember that we are on a public campaign and that we are making a personal sacrifice for a cause. There will always be the antisocial, obtrusive few, but try not to let them alienate you from the genuine photographers who are interested in our messages. Genuine photography will enhance the campaign. If nobody took any photographs, most of the campaign messages would be lost.

What will the gender ratio be?

It is hard to know the gender ratio in advance. The 2005 and 2006 London rides were fairly balanced but there seemed to be slightly more men than women. The 2006 Brighton ride had a slightly larger number of women than men.

While many rides have been gender balanced, it is rare that females outnumbered males on any ride. Males have outnumbered females on some rides. Of course we would like it if every mass naked ride had a good gender balance, but we can't promise this.

Obviously, cycling and opposing oil dependency are not gender specific activities. Public nudity has a very different meaning for each of us personally.

I've never gone on a naked bike ride. Do you have any extra info to make me feel better informed, and more ready?

We have a page that has further information just for new riders here.

Comfort and safety

Advice for Riders

See our printable guide media:UK_Advice_for_Riders.pdf .

Can I hurt myself by cycling in the nude?

See the worldwide FAQs

What does it feel like to ride nude?

See the worldwide FAQs

But, won't it hurt or damage my delicate parts?

See the worldwide FAQs

What about the hygiene issue? My delicate parts will touch the seat! And my bum will touch the seat too!

See the worldwide FAQs

Should I wear shoes?

See the worldwideFAQs

Is it illegal to cycle without a helmet?

No, cycle helmets are not compulsory in the UK (yet) which is probably just as well as it might discourage - or criminalise - many budding cyclists. See this page for some reasoned debate about the issue.

By all means wear one if you feel safer - or for decoration, perhaps with some flowers, ivy, or feathery "wings" attached!

How can I promote the ride?

We have a page all about this for the UK ride. Also visit the main pages of the global website for further ideas!

Riding

Do I have to ride a bike?

No, any human-powered transport is welcome. You could skate, skateboard or run (although in London you won't be allowed to participate on foot). We've had a number of skaters, rickshaws, recumbent bikes and work bikes. By all means surprise us! There have even been some penny farthings (although, as of 2009, not in London), and a unicycling Father Christmas at the York 2006 ride!

I don't own a bike. How can I participate?

If you don't own a bike, you can:

  • Borrow or hire a bike or skates (see below)
  • Bring your own skates
  • Hire a rickshaw bike taxi for the afternoon (not cheap, but plenty of fun)

Where can I hire a bike or skates?

In London:

See the London Bike Hire page. There are also the following alternative options (not verified by the WNBR):

where can i hire a rickshaw bike taxi for the event?

  • Eco ChariotsCycle taxis/pedicabs can be booked for the event and take up to 3 passingers

In Brighton:

See Brighton & Hove bike hire information

In other UK cities:

If you know of good companies for hiring bikes elsewhere, please let us know.

Gettting to the ride

I'm travelling by train. Can I take my bike with me?

Provided that the company and route allows you, just wheel it on, but don't obstruct the doors, obviously.

For full information on each train route/company policy, see this guide. On weekdays there are severe restrictions, but Saturdays are usually fine. However bike reservations are often required so check the guide and with your operating company if in doubt. Folding bikes are not subject to any restrictions, you just carry them on as luggage.

The one thing to look out for, however, is any engineering work. This usually happens at weekends and if the train company puts on replacement bus services instead of trains because work is being done on the line, they will not let you on with your bike. That goes for every train operator, so be careful.

You can find out about engineering work on the site: [www.nationalrail.co.uk/planmyjourney] which has an icon with an arrow called service alterations. They don't usually post alterations until about a week before and there may even be emergency work. The national rail enquiries line is pretty useless on this and rarely knows about engineering work affecting cyclists, unfortunately, and can give out duff information.

If you want to store your bike, some Rail Stations have storage facilities or good places to lock up your bike. There are paid storage facilities at each of most of the main rail stations of Central London except Marylebone, and the fee for storing a bike is aproximately £5.50 per 24 hours (open 7am-11pm). More details here.

To find your way through London you might find it helpful to use this cycling route information for London.

See below information about travelling to the London ride from Paddington Tube and Rail station.

Can I travel with my bike on the London tube?

You can travel by tube with a bike on most overground Tube sections (mainly outer London and the Circle Line), and anywhere if it's a folding bike that you carry like luggage. TfL (Transport for London)'s website gives the story:

  • Click here for TfL's general cycling index.
  • Click here for TfL's index page on cycling with public transport.
  • Click here for a map that shows which parts of the Underground network are friendly for non-folding bikes outside the rush hours.

It's also important to check with TfL that the part of the network you intend to use is not closed for engineering work at the crucial time.

Can I travel with my bike on the London buses?

You cannot bring even a small bike on the London buses unless it is a folding bike. Even then, some drivers will refuse (but they are supposed to allow folding bikes on).

Can I share a ride with someone?

One method of finding a shared ride is to use Freewheelers.

Can I store my bike somewhere off the street in London on Friday/Saturday night?

See the answer above about travelling with your bike by rail for details about storage at mainline rail stations.

I can't carry my bike with me. I'm travelling to the ride by bus/ train/ rideshare/ hang-glider. What should I do?

You could try any of the following:

  • Arrive early, and hire a bike
  • Borrow a bike from a friend nearby to the ride starting point
  • Borrow/ hire a folding bike. These are easy to carry (though not recommended for those travelling by hang-glider).

I'm too scared to ride in the city centre. How can I participate?

If you are too scared to ride to the start of the ride, you can:

  • Carry your skates to the ride
  • Borrow/ hire skates (see above)
  • Borrow/ hire a bike (see above) from a friend/shop near to the start of the ride and walk to the ride
  • Persuade a friend to bring your bike to the start of the ride for you
  • Borrow/ hire a folding bike (see above) so that you can easily carry the bike to the ride.
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