I rode my bicycle, completely naked, over Kings Avenue Bridge today. I wonder how many people have had that pleasure? Halfway across, the AFP, who had been casting an inhibiting shadow over us since we convened in Glebe Park, cruised past and turned into Wendourie Drive near the Carillon in an apparent attempt to intercept me. I thought it apt to put my boxers back on at that point and, approaching, decided it was equally apt to proceed directly towards the copper heading from the car in my general direction.
‘Just keep those on’ he said. I thanked him for being very reasonable, especially considering he failed to mention my absent helmet. And despite maintaining a vigilant watch on such activities as were readily accessible via car (what, no bike patrol – perhaps they were reticent to appear part of the parade?), and despite making it clear that this naked bike ride wasn’t going to have any actual nudity involved, the cops were fairly amiable and even seemed to quite enjoy themselves at times.
There was a bit of nudity nevertheless. Besides my own miniscule effort, another fellow removed the last remaining piece of his clothing, a ragged scrap of muslin, for a naked mile in front of our august lakeside institutions, and a number of the ladies appeared seemingly miraculously (out the bushes) in Glebe Park clad only in bottom undergarments (and helmets) but daubed with colourful non-toxic paint on their bosoms which is apparently where the ‘law’ draws the line at ‘nudity’.
Thus the first ever Canberra edition of the World Naked Bike Ride came and went, without quite reaching critical mass, without altering the status quo or ending our reliance of petrochemicals. Nor were many feathers ruffled. One lady, sitting on the edge of the castle in Commonwealth Park, remarked loudly that we all looked disgusting. She wasn’t much of a looker even with her saggy bits covered, and she was also in the minority. Most were at worst bemused and at best delighted.