Bare Cyclists Draw Fire
Petition calls for cover-up in bay
Hayley Gale – stuff.co.nz
February 14, 2006
TAKAKA, NEW ZEALAND -- Takaka resident Ron Swan has started a petition against next month's Golden Bay Naked Bike Ride, describing it as "immoral".
The annual "clothing optional" ride, to be held on March 12, has been organised to highlight the safety of cyclists on the region's roads.
It will be the third time the event has been held, but Mr Swan wants cyclists in this year's ride to wear more than just helmets and shoes.
He has collected 76 signatures from people objecting to the ride. He plans to present the petition to the police, to get them to stop nude cyclists taking part.
"I'm right behind the ideal of safe cycling but why the hell do they have to do it in the nude?" he said. "It's immoral."
Mr Swan is well known in the community as president of the Golden Bay Senior Citizens Association and conductor of the Takaka Citizens Band. In 2004, he won an outstanding community service award from the Tasman District Council.
He said he also protested last year's event and asked the police if arrests would be made.
"I told them that if I walked out of the police station and took my clothes off, they'd arrest me, so why wouldn't they arrest nude cyclists? It's exactly the same."
Takaka police warned last week that arrests would be made for indecent exposure. They threatened to arrest participants last year, although no arrests were made.
Cyclists will ride along Abel Tasman Drive from Port Tarakohe to the Totally Roasted Cafe at Pohara, a distance of just 3km.
Ride organiser Victoria Davis said last week that participants would get ready in a private building near Port Tarakohe to avoid any offence.
"We want to draw attention to the vulnerability of cyclists on our roads. I'm sure the police have better things to do than disrupt this bit of fun-loving street theatre," Ms Davis said.
Also strongly against the event is Golden Bay vicar the Rev Andy Thomas.
"I support safe cycling but in actual fact they are promoting nudity," he said. "If their fundamental principle is safe cycling, they are clouding the issue by riding naked."