The York World Naked Bike Ride is a protest against oil dependency and car culture. It is equally a celebration of the bike and the human body.
The York WNBR is part of Bike Week
Date: JUNE 2014 (exact date tbc).
Time: Departing 6 pm (tbc)
Location: Assembly/departure point: usually 50 metres south of Millennium Bridge on the Fulford (east) side of the river, from about 4.30 pm onwards. As always, everyone is encouraged to go "as bare as they dare" and please don't forget to affix/paint signs on your bike and/or body to indicate the reason why you are riding.
Route and schedule
Advantages of the York route: The York route is mostly flat. It runs on both streets and traffic-free paths. There are cycle-hire facilities a short cycle distance from the start. The route passes various landmarks of York including the Minster, historic Bars (city gates), and the iconic Clifford's Tower. It goes down medieval cobbled streets, traverses bridges both ancient and new, and glides along the banks of the scenic River Ouse, usually to the accompaniment of some great music. Because of the surfaces we discourage runners and skaters as it is difficult for them to keep up, so bikes, trikes, tandems, hand-cycles and experienced unicyclists only please!
Our route in June 2013: The 2013 Ride took us through the University for the first time, but the city centre part of the route was familiar from previous years. The total route distance was 6.2 miles (10km) of easy cycling. You can view a map of the route here and you can read a first-hand account of the ride below.
Advice for Riders
The updated 2013 version is available as a download.
This is common-sense practical advice about preparing for and being safe on the ride. Lot of useful tips, suggestions and links to further information. Written by cyclists for cyclists. You can download your copy here.
Publicity: Flyers and Posters
For 2013 we had some a attractive A5-size flyer with a full colour photo of the 2013 ride. The flyer is still available for download below:
Additionally we had an updated, less risqué version of last year's flyer which could be printed in colour on white paper or black and white on coloured paper. Designed as an A6 flyer, it could also be printed as an A4 or A5 poster.
Be patient: the files can take a while to download!
Please try and place any publicity materials in a prominent position in your local community centre, college, bike shop etc and circulate amongst your cycling friends and fellow activists. Laminated versions can even be displayed at key locations outside, e.g. attached to lamp-posts along cycle paths. With a little ingenuity flyers can also be attached to bikes. When organising leaflet distribution we are often on the look-out for a place where we can leave flyers for people to collect (with a person or business in York perhaps). If you know of a business that might be up for this, please write to york [at] worldnakedbikeride [dot] org.
If you would like to donate some art-work for future York WNBR events, please get in touch.
Bikes can be hired from the following places:
Giant (formerly known as Bob Trotters), 13-15 Lord Mayors Walk, York, YO31 7HB, T: 01904 622868
City centre cycle hire store just outside the city walls, a short stroll from York Minster. Adult bike half-day hire for £13. Tandems also available.
Get Cycling is a company based at 22 Hospital Fields Road, YO10 4DZ, between Fulford Road and Millennium Bridge. Phone 01904 636812. They offer a bike helmet and lock, and to guarantee a bike, pre booking is essential. They are open till late on the day of the ride. The best thing is they are VERY close to the start of the ride. They have offered YORK WNBR13 riders the chance to hire a bike for the ride for just £7.50! To hire a bike, you'll need photo ID and £50 deposit, which you'll get back when you return the bike. They have a wide variety of bikes, trikes and tandems. Book early to secure your preference. They are also offering a bike service before the ride, if you've a bike which is in need of some TLC. The price will depend on what needs doing, but they're not expensive.
Meetings and events
Ride planning takes place online at the WNBR York Yahoo! group, and at York planning meetings.
Planning meetings for 2013 will be advertised here and on Facebook. Please check this space regularly. In 2011 and 2012 we frequently used the Seahorse Hotel, Fawcett Street (near York Barbican Centre) and may well do so again.
FILM & DISCUSSION EVENINGS.
The World Naked Bike Ride - “All over the ride people are stripping off and getting on their bikes” (The story of the ground-breaking 2005 London ride, narrated by Jon Snow)
Indecent Exposure to Cars - “I see painted naked people on bicycles” (Directed by Conrad Schmidt, Ragtag productions 2007). A light-hearted slightly corny take on the origins of the WNBR movement.
York World Naked Bike 2008 - see Souvenir DVD below.
No film evenings are currently planned, but if you'd like to host a screening of any of the above films, please get in touch with Tony at: york [at] worldnakedbikeride [dot] org.
York Critical Mass
Used to meet on the first Friday of every month, 5.30 pm at the west end of the Minster, but there haven't been any rides recently.
Accounts of Previous Rides
Turning headsAs we gathered near the Millennium Bridge in the warm late afternoon sunshine for the Eighth York Naked Bike Ride, it gradually became evident that it would be a big one – perhaps the biggest yet. There was a good age and gender balance, and much preparative work had been done on body painting to very good effect. The weather was so favourable that hardly any of the stewards wanted to wear hi-viz yellow jackets. As we set off, on time, down the river path towards the university, my chain came off, so I ended up near the back of the long throng of cyclists. That enabled me to witness the immediate aftermath of a minor nose-to-tail collision between two cars travelling in the opposite direction along the Heslington Lane, as the irate woman in the front car got out to accost the poor, distracted woman sitting in the driver’s seat of the rear one.
As we cycled up the University Road, we could have been forgiven for thinking it was a Far Eastern University, since the route was lined with hundreds of Oriental students with their cameras and camera-phones. It was surely not chance that they were all there, so the publicity machine must have worked for them, so why weren’t there any on the actual ride? It’s obviously not natural, normal and commonplace for people to cycle naked in the Far East. There were even more Oriental students in town, as we were greeted with the usual cheering reception, though Parliament Street itself was comparatively deserted. Having been the front rider for the past three years, I had been used to being the one who presented the surprise element to unsuspecting members of the public, and could glean their reaction. At the rear, it became evident that many people had already got quite blasé by the time we passed, leading me to wonder whether naked cyclists really would pose such a head-turning threat if they were commonplace. I’ve never had any evidence that we have ever actually caused offence.
Stopping at the Eye of York for group photos under Clifford’s Tower with a brand new banner proclaiming, “Notice us when we’re NOT naked”, enabled a head count at the resumption which showed that, at somewhere in the region of 110 riders, it was indeed the biggest yet. As far as I’m concerned the banner could have read, “Don’t notice that we are naked” – that would represent the biggest social triumph.
Despite chilly weather, 79 riders were counted on the Clifford's Tower section of the ride, and it was by all accounts a very successful event. The big difference this year, making it a lot safer and quicker, was that the Police told us to wait at lights if they were at red, and then come through when they turned green, and to all stay as one group, continuing through the junction as one 'long vehicle', despite the rear of that juggernaut coming through after the lights had gone red again. This caused far less disruption than on previous years when our instructions were to obey the lights, and then part of the group having to wait for the others to catch up. Thus, we got around the 6.5 mile circuit in one hour 5 minutes.
We crossed the bridge onto the West side of the Ouse and headed South to the snicket up towards Terrys. One novice rider fell off here, into nettles (poor chap!) and he left the ride at this point. The rest of us gathered at Ruby's Crossroads, and remembered those cyclists who have been killed whilst out riding, including Ruby Milnes, Neil Ashley from Bristol, killed in Wokingham in about 2006, Police Sgt Kev Green killed whilst cycling on the York ring road in about 2002, and prominent cycle campaigner Mark Brummel from Southampton killed in the New Forest on 28 May.
After a minute's silence and contemplation, we continued back into town, mouning The Mount, breezing along Blossom Street, sliding down past the station, and crawling over Lendal Bridge towards the Minster. Due to the large numbers of crowds on Petergate (were they all waiting for us, I wonder?) the police decided to take us along Deangate and Goodramgate, to rejoin our planned route down Colliergate, Fossgate and Walmgate. However, somehow, the front person missed the right turn onto George St, and continued towards Walmgate Bar. I hoped we'd go right at Hope St, but no, we went through the Bar and right towards the Barbican Centre, where we rejoined our intended route, onto the Fishergate gyratory and back into town, via Clifford's Tower/Eye of York. From here it was up Clifford Street, over Ouse Bridge, bumping over the uphill cobbles of Micklegate and then down Priory Street, following the walls round to Baile Hill, where we wriggled round to Terry Avenue and back to the bridge.
Before the ride, we sold raffle tickets to win prizes donated by local bike shops. We are grateful to Fulford Cycles, Cycle Heaven, Cycle Street and Get Cycling for the prizes, which raised (along with sales of flags and bamboos) close to £100 to help pay for inevitable WNBR costs. We are also happy that Cycle Heaven at the station, Get Cycling and Giant on Lord Mayors Walk all offered afternoon bike hire for just a fiver. I know that Get Cycling was surprised by the numbers of enquiries!
The 4 June ride went the opposite way around our usual circuit and started and ended in the middle (it that makes sense!) at the gleaming Millennium Bridge. The weather was a little warmer than last year, but a few more degrees would have helped keep the chill off when we were stationary at some of those really slow-phased traffic lights. Although there was a lower turn-out than last year, the good humour, colourful body-paint and decorated bikes of many of our riders more than made up for it.
We cycled a pleasant route over Millennium Bridge and along Terry Avenue into town. It took several goes to get through the junction of Skeldergate and Bridge Street before we took on the late Saturday-afternoon crowds in Coney Street. We triumphantly passed by the Minster and veered southwards down Petergate and onto Pavement and Coppergate. Once again we called in at Cliffords Tower and did the obligatory circular round the eye of York, before retracing our tyre tracks back towards Ousebridge. We bumped merrily up the steep cobbles of Micklegate.
Another long wait at the Bar (city gate), then we regrouped on Blossom Street and descended to the Knavesmire. We had a brief stop at Ruby’s Crossroads to remember both Ruby and all other cyclists killed on UK roads in recent years, before finally rejoining the riverside path and returning to the Bridge whence we came.
The late afternoon of June 19th was the occasion for the chilliest of our naked bike rides. Nevertheless about 100 riders bared their shivering bodies in a great show of support for an oil-free green future. We processed through the ancient city streets of Petergate, Parliament Street and Coppergate. We rode round the circle below Cliffords Tower and crossed to St George's Field to join the riverside path. Once over the still-shiny Millennium Bridge we called in at the Racecourse where two minutes silence were observed in memory of a young cyclist who was killed there in 2008. The return leg took us via the Mount and a busy Blossom Street and thence under Micklegate Bar and back into the City once more. Our own experienced stewards did their very best to manage ride safety, with scarcely any help from the police. By the time we got to Museum Gardens we were quite glad to get our clothes on once more!
"Bike Pride" was truly in evidence in York on June 12th. We had 100 riders counted on Parliament Street, and the feeling on the ride was great! The new extension offered an interesting peek at Clifton for the out of town folk, and a relaxing start to the ride. The folks in York were typically surprised, bemused, delighted, shocked, nonchalant, and impressed. And once again we took some of the key attractions of the historic city, Lendal Bridge, the Minster, Clifford's Tower, plus the more recent Millennium Cycle Bridge.
The York Press was present as was a crew from Yorkshire TV's Calendar programme. Apparently, before we finished the ride, the people of Yorkshire knew all about it via their evening televisions.
After an excellent pro-cycling send-off speech - and blast on the air horn - from Green city councillor Dave Taylor, we all set off via Marygate, emerging onto Bootham where we became the main outbound traffic. We had lots of elaborately decorated bikes and beautifully painted and decorated bodies riding them! The police were happy to assist us at junctions and were in a good mood about the whole thing.
A number of riders had the words "Less Gas More Ass" on their backs in memory of Jonathan Brooke who sadly passed away in 2008 and to whom this ride was dedicated. He had participated in all three previous York rides. He loved the ride, and his relaxed, friendly, and enthusiastic nature was a delight to fellow riders.
We were fortunate to have the company on this ride of the UK's oldest rider: Margaret or 'Gran' who rode the entire route in good spirits at the spritely age of 87. While she found the London ride in 2005 too cold to ride in the nude, she managed the rides in London 2006 and York 2009 with the clothes she was born with.
What a great ride! I look forward to 2010!
(Report by Jesse and Tony)
There were 90 riders (89 people and one dog in a trailer), and the atmosphere was excellent. We were warmly received throughout York, and initial responses suggest that the new route variation was popular.
At the assembly point there was some hectic last minute body-painting and interviews with the media then we all relocated to the Esplanade for the official ride opening. Local campaigner Randall Ghent from the World Carfree Network opened the proceedings with a rousing send-off speech and three toots on an air-horn. The ribbon was cut and off we rode to the tune of “Bare Necessities”.
Proceeding over Lendal Bridge towards the Minster there were some fine shots to be had of naked cyclists against the sunlit backdrop of the cathedral’s west front. We rode down historic Petergate, Colliergate, across to Fossgate and up over the little cobbled bridge than spans the river Foss. Along George Street we gave a passing nod to the last resting place of highwayman Dick Turpin, then it was through Fishergate Bar and down to join the banks of the Ouse. Many had turned out to watch and applaud us as we went over Millennium Bridge and headed northwards once more to rejoin the city walls at Skeldergate. We meandered through some quiet streets and found ourselves on historic Micklegate – and more cobbles! Ousebridge was full of traffic as usual though at least half of it this time consisted of our naked selves. On Coney Street there were throngs of people cheering us on the home run. Finally a bevy of photographers - with very little help from the police – kindly blocked the traffic for us as we crossed to finish our ride in Museum Gardens.
There was lots of noise and happy faces on that day, bikes of all descriptions and some really artistic body-painting. Nearly everyone had a message either on their body or attached to their bike. One way or another we certainly demonstrated that biking it is better.
The York Planning Collective is a small group of local cyclists working together in a co-operative way to a single end. Some of us are based in York itself, some live in the surrounding towns and villages. We always need more volunteers to get involved - that could be YOU!
Here's what the Collective does:
- answers people's questions with care and consideration
- keeps track of who is doing what, and how far through things people are
- deals with problems and follow the discussions at the national level
- provides email updates to let people know what's going on
- points out where and when help is needed
- acts as a contact point for general enquiries (email and mobile phone)
- maintains contact information (and keeps it secure)
Additional responsibilities for the coordinator or one of the Collective members:
- arranges meetings, compile agendas, provide minutes
- ensures that the Collective remains non-hierarchical but organised
- moderates an email list for York ride planning
Most recent articles first
- The Press (York),22 Jun 2013: "Cyclists bare all for York's world naked bike ride" - Positive report on the ride with selected pictures.
- Yorkmix 20 Jun 2013: "The York Naked Bike Ride is all about freedom"- Article from another organiser about his motivations for doing the ride.
- The Press (York),19 Jun 2013: "Keep 'em on please" - More exciting debate following a letter from a dissenting cyclist.
- The Press (York),13 Jun 2013: "Cyclists who feel exposed"- Typical response from a local prude plus comments.
- The Press (York),10 Jun 2013: "Naked Message" - Letter to the Press from one of of the organisers.
- The Immortal Life, 15 May 2013: Stop Humanity's "Indecent Exposure" to cars - Interview with the one of the ride organisers.
- The Press (York), 6 Jun 2012: "Cyclists bare all for World Naked Bike Ride"
- BBC York & North Yorkshire, 2 Jun 2012: "Naked cyclists take to York streets"
- The Press (York) letters, 31 May 2012: "Naked date looms"
- The Press (York), 26 May 2012: "Newly wed couple to join naked cycling event"
- The Guardian The Northerner blog, 25 May 2012: "York's naked bike ride pedals into its seventh year"
- The Press (York), 21 June 2010: "Cyclists take part in the York Naked Bike Ride"
- The Press (York), 9 June 2010: "York Naked Bike Ride returns for a fifth year"
- The Press (York), 8 Jun 2008: "Naked Ambition of Green Cyclists" ride report.
- The Press (York), 6 Jun 2008: "Naked truth about responsible riding".
- The Press (York), 4 Jun 2008: "No place for naked cyclist here" letter from enraged local Councillor.
- The Press (York), 28 May 2008: "York gears up for naked cycle ride"
- Nouse (York), 20 Jun 2007: In the Buff: Bareback Riders by Sam Noble
- Indymedia (York), 9 Jun 2007: World Naked Bike Ride - York
- The Press (York), 9 Jun 2007: Naked cyclists in cheeky protest
- The Press (York), 6 Jun 2007: "York Prepares for Invasion of the Naturists."
- The Yorkshire Post, 30 May 2006: "Cyclists planning new twist on riding bareback" By Julie Hemmings
- The Press (Yorkshire), 29 May 2006: "On Yer Bike...and get your kit off!"
- Flickr search: "york naked bike ride" ranked by most recent
It's recommended that you tag photos you upload with york, worldnakedbikeride and WNBR, plus the year (eg: 2008). It may not be possible to avoid finding pictures of WNBR New York (USA), but at least it'll be easier to find WNBR York photos for a given year. Please remember, WNBR York is part of a global movement and not just a quaint local tradition! Please update your tags!
- An Extraordinary photo near York Minster at York's first WNBR (2006) by Wikipedia member Matt Crypto
- Flickr photos by Nic Thornhill
- Flickr photos by 'toniminou'
- YouTube: 'Report on the 2012 ride' - interviewer with the organiser, positive reactions from members of the public and brief chats with some of the riders.
- YouTube: 'OMG!' - two members of the public watch the ride go by near the Racecourse.
- Vimeo: 'York World Naked Bike Ride 2012 - The Start' - Footage of the ride setting off.
- YouTube: 'Reactions from the public in Museum Gardens' - plus interviews with riders, including a very distinguished lady.
- YouTube: 'Interview with a naked rider' You may need to sign in for this one.
- YouTube: 'Interview with a City Councillor and two naked riders' A previously critical local councillor came down to see what the ride was all about and was impressed by our aims.
- Souvenir DVD: 24-minute DVD of the 2008 York ride. Please write to york [at] worldnakedbikeride [dot] org for further details. The DVD costs £10 (includes postage and packing), payable by cash or cheque. Virtually all participants are included in the DVD. Video is a souvenir or memento for participants, their families and friends. It is only offered for sale on this site.
- YouTube: 'York naked bike ride 2007' by Barry – the return leg of the ride over Millennium Bridge and along Terry Avenue
The York Ride broadly follows the spirit of the London Photography and Filming Policy. For exact details of the York policy please email york [at] worldnakedbikeride [dot] org.
- WNBR UK – official site for UK rides
- WNBR York wiki – official wiki page for the York ride (this page!)
- Sheffield - where rides have been held in previous rides and may happen again.
Join the WNBR UK list if you plan to ride and want to receive important updates or share in general UK ride planning.
- WNBR UK – Yahoo! discussion group for all UK rides
- WNBR YORK – Yahoo! discussion group for planning the York ride.
- World Naked Bike Ride York 2013 Facebook group
- Bike Week - The York ride is a registered event in this annual 'celebration of cycling'!