Edinburgh’s naked bike ride to return to city centre this summer

Monday May 15th 2023


The 2022 ride. Image: Iain Jack/Edinburgh World Naked bike Ride.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Donald Turvill

A naked bike ride event is set to return to Edinburgh this summer after the council gave the go-ahead.

The “clothing optional” cycle through the city centre in July will look to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists in traffic and protest against “car culture”.

Councillors approved the event, which was listed amongst the parades and processions planned for this summer, at a meeting this week.

Edinburgh’s ride, which will depart from the Meadows and is expecting at least 30 participants, is one of 70 taking place across the world on Saturday July 8th.

The Edinburgh World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) has been held in some form on-and-off since 2004 but 2019 saw the first “fully naked” cycle, according to a website run by organisers.

They say nudity is not mandatory for those taking part and have assured it is legal, however add that if police ask attendees to cover up for any reason they have to do so.

“Riders have worn shorts, bras, swimwear, body paint, wigs, sunglasses etc,” the site says. “Most wear footwear. We can be naked if we want to. But it’s up to you.”

WNBR says the annual event is “the best way of defending our dignity and exposing the unique dangers faced by cyclists and pedestrians as well as the negative consequences we all face due to dependence on oil, and other forms of non-renewable energy”.

One of the organisers of the Edinburgh ride, Iain Jack, appeared before the council’s licensing sub-committee today. The meeting heard there were no objections and councillors gave the go ahead.

Last year saw a “mostly enthusiastic reception from the public,” according to organisers. “Strong winds in the meadows made it cool at the start, and we had to abandon the idea of windbreaks as they kept blowing away!”

They have assured those interested in joining in that checks with the police confirmed that “simply being naked is not illegal”.

However they added: “Don’t do anything to harass, alarm or distress people, and nothing you wouldn’t do clothed.

“Anything other than going about your normal, legal, business (like protesting whilst riding your bike) could be seen as harassing, alarming, or distressing people, and that could be illegal.”

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