Byron Bay’s 10th annual World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR), this coming Sunday, March 11, will be the biggest event of its kind in Australia if it exceeds the 270 participants who rode in the event last year.
While the Melbourne ride is several kilometres longer, even it attracts fewer participants, according to Byron’s WNBR organiser Debra Lee Conomy.
Debra says she has already fielded interest from international media, including the UK, where London hosts one of the world’s biggest naked bike rides each year in June.
And despite the recent, ramped-up police presence fining skinny dippers on Byron beaches, organisers have been assured police will not be intervening in this year’s parade.
‘Superintendent Wayne Starling said there had been no complaints associated with previous rides and he has okayed the coming event,’ Debra told Echonetdaily.
She added that Byron Mayor Simon Richardson said he ‘welcomed the event as it’s become an identifiable Byron Bay tourist attraction’.
Organisers are keen to encourage individual participants to choose creative body paint images and slogans.
People are requested not to bring along large-scale banners and promotional posters for their own groups and agendas.
Debra said last year’s event was ‘overrun by a particular Queensland naturist group that has no involvement or association with WNBR but was using the event to promote itself – and took credit for organising the event’.
‘Michael James, a Melbourne WNBR organiser who last year participated in all three Northern Rivers rides, has also stated the focus needed to remain on the aims of WNBR, which are the need to reduce fossil fuel consumption and increase awareness of cyclists on the roads,’ she added.
Attendance at the Byron event has been ramping for several years. In 2016, 170 people cycled despite heavy rain.
And last year saw numbers up again to 270, with the Byron Bay group getting 175,000 reaches on its Facebook page.
Lismore and Nimbin
And while it’s not a competition to see who will attract the most numbers, organisers of both Lismore and Nimbin’s rides want to remind readers that they are also on the same weekend.
Nimbin is also celebrating its 10th anniversary ride on Saturday morning (March 10), while Lismore cyclists will take to the streets on Sunday morning (March 11).
If you have time to do more than one ride, consider including Lismore, which is still the new nude kid on the block.
Lismore’s first World Naked Bike Ride, which took place in 2015, was a small but passionate ride organised by the local queer bike club known as the BringBringRing.
In 2017, over 30 cyclists in varying degrees of undress were seen taking a tour around the town.
In preparation for Lismore’s third World Naked Bike Ride, organiser Tommy Brogden says, cycling is a ‘healthy and sustainable way to get around’.
‘As well as raising road safety awareness, this ride is a celebration of bicycle transport, body power, our beautiful town and this amazing local community,’ Tommy said.
‘You don’t have to be naked to join in – we all use a “bare as you dare” approach an you don’t even have to be in the ride to support it, just turn up on the day and cheer from the side.
‘We welcome people of all ages, body shapes, genders and walks of life to join us on the ride, which we are committed to making as safe and friendly as possible for all participants,’ Tommy said.
When and where:
Byron Bay: Meet at Butler Street Reserve, corner Butler & Somerset streets, Sunday March 11 at 1.30pm, before proceeding to Byron Bay railway platform in time for 3pm ride.
Lismore: Meet at Duck Pond Café, 75 Union Street, South Lismore, Sunday March 11 at 10am.
Nimbin: Meet at Nimbin Bush Theatre, 2 Blue Knob Road, Nimbin, Saturday March 10 at 10am.
Clothing is optional for all rides but please bring a helmet and ID, plus a happy smile.