World Naked Bike Ride gets more butts on seats

By Kiri Gillespie

The Tauranga leg of a controversial World Naked Bike Ride has been classed a success despite attracting less than 10 participants.

A total of nine people took part in the nude ride, an increase of one person on last year's inaugural event.

Ride organiser Andrew Pointon said the clothing-optional event was a success despite failing to double in numbers as he had hoped.

"The fact we can have an event like this in Tauranga is an achievement itself based on the ultra-conservative people here," he said.

Last year, the ride sparked a backlash because an eight-year-old girl wearing bikini bottoms took part with her mother.

"It was mostly blokes this time round, but I didn't look at it from a gender point of view. It's a non-registering event that anyone can enter."

The group rode from Omanu Beach to Papamoa Beach, where they cooled down with a skinny dip and celebrated with a barbecue.

"It was a very relaxing morning and afternoon."

Other World Naked Bike Rides took place around New Zealand and other countries.

Previously, the same ride attracted more than 100 people at Takaka, in the South Island. Organisers of the Golden Bay ride could not be contacted yesterday.

The international ride is designed as a protest against the "indecent exposure of car emissions".

Mr Pointon is facing charges of offensive behaviour for mowing his lawns nude and is to reappear in Tauranga District Court at the end of the month.

The charges follow an overturned offensive behaviour conviction after Mr Pointon was seen jogging nude in a public reserve.

The international bike ride has been held in 74 cities in 17 countries since it was launched in Canada in 2005.

Acting Senior Sergeant Wayne Hunter said police did not receive any complaints about the Tauranga bike ride on Saturday.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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