It was a tale of two cities on Sunday: just hours after a Lismore police officer put a halt to that town’s World Naked Bike ride, two Byron Bay coppers stopped traffic to allow 200-odd riders onto the road.
Jeff Dawson’s photos of the Byron Bay World Naked Bike Ride
Nimbin was the first of the three Northern Rivers rides to run over the weekend, with its Saturday cycle attracting about 60 entrants and scores of onlookers.
Organiser Mij said there was ‘cheering and adoration’ for the cyclists. We got our message across about sharing the road with lots of flags and signs’.
‘People come from all over Australia – a guy flew down from Rockhampton, hired a car, bought a bike & did all three rides,’ he said.
He added that, ‘we’ve never involved the police in Nimbin and in 11 years we’ve never seen the police’.
That was not the case in Lismore, however, where Sunday morning’s ride, with a contingent of about 30, was stopped by a lone police officer.
Lismore organiser Tommy Mu said the group were told ‘to cover our genitals and women to cover their breasts’.
‘He threatened us with offensive behaviour fines if we didn’t comply.’
‘After I explained that we didn’t have our clothes with us, we eventually were permitted to ride back to our starting place without any charges.
Tommy said he felt, ‘disappointed and poorly treated by Lismore police because this whole idea of discretion seems to be driven by personal bias’.
In Byron Bay, where organisers have always had a good relationship with police, the cops stepped in to do traffic duty in bumper-to-bumper Jonson Street on Sunday afternoon.
Organiser Debra Lee Conomy said 229 people crossed the railway line from Butler Street Reserve, where they painted up.
‘Police were fantastic – it was great to see them actively involved after hearing about Lismore.
‘A lot of riders were very distraught and looking forward to doing all three rides.
‘It was fantastic weather and great to see the riders and spectators have truly accepted the event as part of Byron culture,’ she said.