This year’s Byron Bay leg of the World Naked Bike Ride seemed jinxed from the start.
First of all, last year’s co-ordinator had retired and for a while no one could be found to replace him.
Responding to an article in Echonetdaily, two young Mullumbimby women, Naomi and Natalie, put up their hands, and veteran body artist Zen offered his brushes and paints.
The two women wanted to see a more gender balanced ride, and posed for some beautiful pictures by Jeff Dawson but, alas, the Echo got the date wrong.
Sunday (the correct date) dawned grey and as we were driving into Byron around 11 the skies opened up like they hadn’t done for months.
It had all the hallmarks of a washout when we walked onto the station and found eight artists and two people, still dressed standing by their bicycles looking somewhat forlorn.
But by 12.30pm the rain had stopped sky had cleared and the sun was blazing.
Out came the paints, off came the clothes and soon people and their bikes were streaming onto the platform.
In memory of the tragic cycle accident on Byron’s roads just weeks ago, I had a Give Way sign painted to my back.
Soon after 2pm some 50-odd illustrated bodies took to the streets with (nothing but) bells on.
In the event I needn’t have worried, all of the traffic willingly stopped to gawk.
The best bits: the sheer numbers; the diversity of ages and genders; the enthusiastic response to the cyclists by the Byron crowd (some of whom didn’t exactly embrace the concept of making cycling safer in driving past holding their cameras out of the window to get a shot); and the poor lone police woman stuck in a car as we cycled past her doing her very best to avert her eyes.
Everyone was loudly wondering afterwards why the ride isn’t a weekly, or even daily, event – which considering how close it came to not happening at all, was very refreshing.
Here’s to a bigger and better WNB next year.
This video by Claire Mason and Nicky McLaughlin fleshes out the reasons behind the rally. More photos follow.
Photos Jeff Dawson