Today, after Kate and I had exhausted ourselves with I Knit’s fab Knit-in-Public-Day Treasure Hunt, we stumbled upon hundreds of naked people riding bikes. Apparently today was also the World Naked Bike Ride which is a protest against oil dependency and car culture. All that was missing was the Queen song.
According to websites and fliers the nakedness serves not only to celebrate “the power and individuality of the human body” but also to raise awareness about cyclists vulnerability in traffic. I have friends who cycle everywhere and they are quite brave. Sometimes even crossing the street in London can be dangerous– drivers often don’t give pedestrians the right of way even when they should legally, and the situation is much worse for cyclists. London runs on anger and aggression and this often shows in the way people drive here.
Watching all the flesh speed past, I was lost in reverie. For a moment I pictured an Amsterdam in London, teeming with bikes! It was a beautiful thought.
Of all the things London can be, it is never really a joyful place, and yet today these protesters seemed gleeful, flirty and free. I wondered, cynically, if they were really Londoners at all.