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London Naked Bike Ride 2011 – Re-wrapped

12 Jan 2017

This is part two of my look back at the first three London Naked Bike Rides in which I took part. Having made my debut in 2009, I elected to miss the 2010 ride in favour of watching World Cup football on TV – such were my misplaced priorities in those days. On 11 June 2011 around 4pm, however, I was leaving Hyde Park with a thousand other cyclists… bare except for my camouflage hat and the scarf wrapped around my face.

Ready to leave Hyde Park – many still in underwear to thwart photographers

Underway, with me re-wrapped in my scarf – still not ready to go public

Tigers in the sunshine on Piccadilly

With Earl Haig on Whitehall – like the 2009 photo, but sunnier

Entering Parliament Street

Having broken free of the ubiquitous voyeurs with cameras, we made steady progress along Piccadilly – one of my favourite parts of the ride – then via Trafalgar Square and Parliament Street to Westminster Bridge where tourists merrily photographed us. We then looped south of the river to Waterloo Bridge. This being a less crowded crossing, many of us got off our bikes there to have our own souvenir photos taken.

South of the river, on Westminster Bridge Road

Exotic tandem riders on Concert Hall Approach

Have your photo taken on Waterloo Bridge..?

Don’t mind if I do!

And, of course, the ever-present lady with the red bob

Back on the north side of the river, we rounded Aldwych to continue along The Strand and further down Fleet Street to St Paul’s. It was exciting as we had not gone this far in 2009. A little beyond the cathedral’s south side we looped up and back to start our return via Cheapside. We’d enjoyed pleasant broken sunshine thus far, but now cloud cover began to thicken slightly, although conditions remained cool and comfortable.

North of the river, in Fleet Street, taking photos of…

…St Paul’s Cathedral!

Starting one of my bike ride traditions – the shop window selfie

By Christchurch Greyfriars Church Garden on Cheapside

Our return journey towards Hyde Park continued along Holborn, High Holborn, around Lincoln’s Inn Fields – where we paused for a loo break – then through Covent Garden, to Trafalgar Square, beneath Admiralty Arch and down The Mall. I love the jaunt along The Mall; it joins Piccadilly and the two bridges as being my favourite parts of the ride. Past Buckingham Palace and up Constitution Hill, we finished under Wellington Arch.

Outside Rosewood London, on High Holborn

On the west side of Lincoln’s Inn Fields

Romance on Wellington Street

Swinging around Trafalgar Square towards Admiralty Arch

4-Wheeled Freaks on The Mall

The end is nigh – Wellington Arch

It had been superb fun; even better than the ride two-years before. As always on these chaotic occasions, it was impossible to get a sense of overall progress whilst we were out on the road, but it emerged afterwards that the ride had become fragmented. Most riders reached Wellington Arch by 6pm, with rain arriving 30 minutes later, but by then my hired bike was back with London Bicycle Tour Company. Job done. Happy.

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