Marking the 100th anniversary of women being able to vote, The Brighton Naked Bike Ride is celebrating the importance that cycling played in women’s liberation.
Brighton Naked Bike Ride will return to the city’s streets on Sun 10 Jun. With free participation, more than 1,000 women and men are expected to gather in this annual ‘protestival’ event against oil dependency and a call for more bike-friendly streets. Starting at 1.30pm at The Level Park, Union Road, participants will cycle through the city centre and along the seafront. Baring as much they dare, the ride will then conclude at the naturist beach on Madeira Drive.
With this year marking the 100th anniversary of women’s liberation, the Brighton Naked Bike Ride will be making an emphasis on the role that cycling played in the movement. First appearing in the earlier half of the 19th century before developing into something resembling the modern form by the 1880s, the bicycle was considered one of the first symbols of feminism. Though originally it was viewed as unseemly for women, and as more of a mode of transport for middle-class working men, the fairer sex later saw it as a way to open up a whole new world of independence and develop physical fitness. In 1895, writer Louise Jeye said:
‘There is a new dawn … of emancipation, and it is brought about by the cycle. Free to wheel, free to spin out in the glorious country, unhampered by chaperones … the young girl of today can feel the real independence of herself and, while she is building up her better constitution, she is developing her better mind.‘
And this year, Brighton Naked Bike Ride not only want to highlight what an important role cycling has on the environment but also the importance it has had on history.
Brighton joined the World Naked Bike Rides around the world – celebrating cycling and the human body – in 2006, and has been a staple summer event ever since. The event is part of national Bike Week and full nudity is permitted, but participants are encouraged to take part wearing whatever makes them feel comfortable.
Sara Nixon, who is part of the organising team, said: ‘There’s a strong link between cycling and women’s empowerment throughout history, and we’re excited to dedicate the ride to this theme this year.’
A post-ride party is being planned at the Volks Club, near the ride’s end on Madeira Drive, with more information to be release over the next coming week. To find out more, go here.