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
- 1 Next ride
- 2 STOP PRESS
- 3 Route and schedule
- 4 Advice for Riders 2016
- 5 Press and Publicity
- 6 Bike hire
- 7 Meetings and events
- 8 Accounts of Previous Rides
- 9 Planning collective
- 10 Media coverage
- 11 Photos
- 12 Videos
- 13 Photography policy
- 14 Links
- 15 Categories
Date: Sunday 25 June 2017.
Location: Assembly/departure point: usually 50 metres south of Millennium Bridge on the Fulford (east) side of the river. 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.
Last year we had a 'mystery theatrical happening' at St Helen's Square. (see account of ride, below) We may do something similar in 2017. Watch this space.
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!
This is the ride schedule for 2016:
3.00 - 5.00 pm Gathering of riders at Millennium Bridge. Time to have some refreshments, decorate your bike, paint your slogans. Bodypainting gazebo will be available, we are aiming to get professional face/body painters to help out.
5.00 pm Departure from Millennium Bridge
5.20 pm - 5.50 pm (approx) Cyclists Art Installation in St Helen's Square (more info closer to the event, no preparation needed)
6.40 pm approx. - Return to Millennium Bridge
Advice for Riders 2016
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. It's updated every year to reflect changing needs. The 2016 version of the Advice is now available and can be consulted here.
Press and Publicity
This year's Press Release is now available and downloadable via the link below:
This year's combined York and Scarborough flyer can be downloaded by clicking on the link below. The flyer is A5 size and prints two to a page of A4, single-sided.
Be patient: 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 Bikes (formerly known as Bob Trotters), 13-15 Lord Mayors Walk, York, YO31 7HB, Tel: 01904 622868
City centre cycle hire store just outside the city walls, a short stroll from York Minster. Ring to enquire if they still do bike hire.
Cycle Heaven - just outside the Railway Station, York, YO24 1AY. Tel: 01904 622701/630378.
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 should be open on the day of the ride.
Meetings and events
Planning meetings will be advertised here and on Facebook. Please check this space regularly. From 2011 we have often used the Seahorse Hotel, Fawcett Street (near York Barbican Centre) for our meetings.
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
As usual we started at Millennium Bridge on the east of the River Ouse, at 5.30pm. We crossed the bridge and cycled along the bank northwards as far as Memorial Gardens, where we turned left to Leeman Road, and then left again over Skeldergae Bridge and left down St Leonard's Place and then alongGillygate, Lord Mayor's Walk and right back into town along Goodramgate to Duncombe Place where we had a stop, enabling coiled red ribbons to be given out for the 'Theatrical Happening' just a couple of minutes further on in St Helen's Square. We had agreed with Police to not arrive in the Square until 5.30, to ensure no clashes with the military vehicles which were taking down the war machine erected in Parliament St. However, just before we were due to leave Duncombe Place, a pedestrian fell in the street, we think unconnected with our presence, and our First Aider Stephen leapt to the rescue. We eventually were permitted to pass by and we assembled in St Helen's Square for the experimental event, based on the Stop Killing Cyclists 'die ins' to highlight cyclist deaths. John Cossham had researched the cyclists who had died on UK roads as a result of a collision with a motor vehicle in the 12 months preceding June 2016. Some names were read out with some detail of their lives and death. Selected riders had agreed to lie down when particular names were read out, and the die-in started. After the most recent casualties were detailed, the other names were solemnly listed and a number of riders placed their bikes on the ground and released their red ribbon, signifying blood, and a silence was observed. This had been impossible to practice and choreograph, however it was a powerful statement.
The remainder of the ride progressed almost without incident, barring a short cut over the pavement at the junction of Parliament St and Coppergate, an oversight by the ride leader. The route took us to our usual photo stop at the Eye of York, around the Fishergate Gyratory, over Ouse Bridge and through Bishopthorpe Road shops, up Scarcroft Road, cutting through Scarcroft Hill to Albermarle Road which led us to the Racecourse for a short obligatory stop near Ruby's Crossroads. From here it was only a short ride to the bridge.
There were fewer riders than the previous year, but we felt the 'naked die-in', which we believe to be a World First for a WNBR, was successful, and something we might recreate in future years. There was no after-party venue available this year, something we do need to rectify for 2017.
2015Our route in 2015 started at Millennium Bridge and crossed the Ouse for a first stop at 'Ruby's Crossroads' to remember cyclists killed whilst riding. We then passed through the Racecourse, entering The Mount via Albermarle Road. We passed through Micklegate Bar, and clattered down the cobbles of Micklegate, crossed the river for the second time, and arrived at Coney Street just as the footstreets restriction finished at 5pm. At the end of Lendal, we turned towards the beautiful York Minster and cycled right next to it along Deangate. We then went along a backstreet called Aldwark, and arrive at Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate via St Saviourgate.
We then turned left out of the Eye of York, and cycled along Tower Street, Paragon Street, and through Fishergate Bar into George Street and Long Close Lane, which delivered us onto Walmgate and Navigation Road. We crossed York's newest bridge over the River Foss into Hungate, and from there into Peaseholme Green, onto the Inner Ring Road at Jewbury, St Maurice's Road, and along Lord Mayor's Walk. We headed into town yet again along Gillygate, St Leonard's Place, and crossed the Ouse for the third time at Lendal Bridge. At the West end of the bridge, we did a 180 degree left left onto Tanner's Moat, and then the home run via Wellington Row, North Street, Skeldergate, and Terry Avenue. We crossed Millennium Bridge again to finish where we started, on the East bank of the River, South of the beautiful Millennium Bridge. The full route was 7.6 miles.
Highlights of the day were the awards before and after the ride and the photo-call on the steps of York Courthouse, adjacent to Clifford's Tower. Check us out here. Awards were given out to a couple of stalwarts of the ride - Margaret, our oldest rider and one of the minor stars of the now classic London 2015 World Naked Bike Ride film, otherwise known as "Gran", and to Barry Freeman who was clocking up his 50th World Naked Bike Ride (beat that!). There was also a little prize for Tony H, aka the Green Man, who had ridden all the way up from Brighton. The photo-call with our banner "Notice Us When We're Not Naked!" once again attracted a lot of attention from York residents and tourists.
Back at Millennium Bridge we took a lot more photos, then many of us headed off to the after party in a nearby hostelry, where naked pizzas and an Open Mic session were on offer. Many thanks to John C. for all his organising.
This was our longest ride yet, just under 9 miles. 122 riders left Millennium Bridge at 5.30pm and cycled around the West, centre and South East of York. We visited the Racecourse where a poem about cyclist deaths was read out, and a minute's silence observed. The poem was written for the 'Stop Killing Cyclists' London Die-In, protesting the many cyclist deaths there in 2013 and 2014. The ride then passed through Holgate, Poppleton Road, Water End and from Clifton Bridge to St Peter's Fields where there was had a photo-stop. Form here the route led through the centre of York, Clifford's Tower, and finally through the University and Walmgate Stray back to the Bridge. Immediately afterwards, there was a 'clothing optional' social, with live music and other entertainment in a nearby private venue, which was also used before the ride as a secure body-painting venue.
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 dare to go bare in York" - Report on the ride with a few pictures.
- 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 world naked bike ride" ranked by most recent
It's recommended that you tag photos you upload with york, world naked bike ride and WNBR, plus the year (eg: 2014)
INDIVIDUAL SETS BY YEAR
- 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: 'York World Naked Bike Ride 2015' Great video with all the highlights by rider Tony Roach
- 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
Other Northern Rides
Scarborough NEW FOR 2016!
Newcastle Gateshead NEW FOR 2016!
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.
- Bike Week - The York ride is a registered event in this annual 'celebration of cycling'!