Portsmouth "naked ride" set to go ahead despite petition

Event part of World Naked Bike Ride and is a first for the city

The Portsmouth leg of the World Naked Bike Ride is set to go ahead this Friday, despite a petition calling for its cancellation.

Sarah Carter, who gathered around 1,000 signatures, handed over the petition to Portsmouth City Council and the police. The council believed it to be a police matter, while a spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary told the BBC that because the cyclists have no intention of causing distress or alarm, they won’t be intervening.

Ms Carter’s said some residents view it as “indecent” and “offensive.”

“We’ve had a lot of mums signing, as well as members of the Christian and Muslim communities and surprisingly lots of university students,” she told the Portsmouth News. “All we’re asking is for them to put their clothes on and not upset or distress residents.”

But the organiser of the Portsmouth ride, Ian Hendon, told the BBC: "I see no reason why anybody should object and the petition that has been raised depends on exactly how the original questions were phrased. The people in Portsmouth have been stirred up, we feel by a small core, of which Sarah Carter is one.

"There is a very common phrase in the cycling world known as the SMIDSY - sorry mate I didn't see you - it usually happens when a car or lorry driver has knocked a cyclist off their bike, but they'll certainly see us on Friday.”

The naked rides are part of UK Bike Week and the Portsmouth event is one of 70 cities to take host the event around the world. They are designed as a protest against oil dependency and a celebration of cycling as eco-friendly transport. Portsmouth is a new addition to the UK for 2011, but more established events in Manchester and York have already taken place this year without incident. More rides are scheduled for the next few weeks, including Cardiff (11 June), Brighton (12 June) and Bristol (19 June).

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