Romford World Naked Bike Ride: How protest sits at the heart of the nude cycle

EDITORS NOTE NUDITY Cyclists on Whitehall, central London, take part in the World Naked Bike Ride Lo

Cyclists on Whitehall, central London, take part in the World Naked Bike Ride London in 2021 - Credit: PA

Romford’s first World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is less about a nude jolly and more about protest, says one of its organisers. 

The ride, which is an offshoot of the main WNBR, will see a collection of bare cyclists ride through Romford centre for the first time on Saturday (August 6). 

As with the wider WNBR, which took place in June, the Romford edition is intended as a multi-pronged protest. 

Eccentric, 39 - who is in the process of legally changing their name from Ken Neville - spoke to the Recorder as one of the Romford ride’s organisers. 

They said its core aims are to call for improving ride safety for cyclists, move away from fuel and oil reliance, curb car culture and promote body confidence, its most recent addition. 

Eccentric is one of the organisers of the naked bike ride through Romford

Eccentric is one of the organisers of the naked bike ride through Romford - Credit: Eccentric

Both organisers, Eccentric and Harvey Allen, have previous involvement in the wider London rides, with Eccentric taking on roles including as lead for the Victoria Park start. 

Discussing why a decision was made to do the ride naked, Eccentric said there is a literal exposure that comes with being nude which helps generate a reaction from those passing by. 

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Essentially, “being naked helps to promote the vulnerability of being on the road”, Eccentric said. 

While claiming drivers do not take enough notice of cyclists, Eccentric said: “When you cycle on the roads naked, they (drivers) definitely do!” 

As the first Romford World Naked Bike Ride, Eccentric is keeping a level head as to how many people they anticipate will take part. 

Hoping for 50 to 80, “if not more”, they are optimistic that good weather and no planned strikes may be in the event's favour. 

“Most of the regional rides this year have, because of train strikes, had quite a low turnout so we are hoping we get quite a good turnout.” 

Another unknown that comes with the first time the event has been hosted in Romford is the reception the riders are likely to receive. 

Eccentric said they are keen to ensure the message behind it is however understood as much as possible prior to Saturday. 

“We don’t know until it happens, but we are hoping that with the help of the media, the word is getting out there that it’s a protest with serious causes.” 

Perhaps above all, Eccentric is keen to just get cycling. 

“A new ride is always a very exciting thing. It’s always quite exciting when there’s a new one to try.” 

Romford's WNBR will start at Bedfords Park around midday before looping through Romford centre, with an estimated end time of 4pm.