Body acceptance and naked bike riding

In what I will with temerity describe as my art nude self portrait photography I have complete control over how I allow myself to be photographed. Some images are very much about body acceptance while in others I am able to turn myself into something that can appear quite different. Indeed in the latter case and in isolation many might wonder what possible body issues I could have.

The most significant statement of body acceptance that I make is through my participation in naked bike rides in my home town of Brighton. To be out there as a skinny, non-muscly and under-endowed male is a display of self confidence that I would not have been capable of when I was in my prime.

With all the cameras and this being my home town, there is some nervousness and to compound this it’s usually cool, 14C – 18C, with a breeze coming off the sea which in June is still cold. My variable manhood is always at its most modest in such circumstances and in many ways this is good for a scan of the thousands of images that finish up on the internet suggests that most participants, particularly the many young people taking part in the Brighton ride, have little physical reason to lack confidence in appearing naked.

It would be great if more men like me took part. But while we are under-represented it makes being out there ‘flying the flag’ more important. One object of riding for me is that the people in the crowds on those streets can see that they can more positive about their own bodies. Occasionally there is an unkind comment overheard but only once or twice on any ride – almost everyone is supportive.

Because of the nature of this blog I have dwelt on the most personal reasons for my participation. But importantly, I do the naked bike ride for other reasons too. In fact the only time you are ever likely to see me on a bike in Brighton is in the naked bike ride. I’m a very poor cyclist and would cycle in Brighton if more cycle lanes were in place. Less traffic, less SUVs, more public transport would ultimately mean a better future for the delicate planet on which we live. These are the more substantial reasons for riding and they can unite everyone participating.

At the start of the Brighton World Naked Bike Ride 2016
See – I can load a film camera! Photo by funkdooby on flickr. (2016)
2016 was cold on that seafront! Photo by bbana on flickr.

 

Riding a bike is rarely flattering! Photo by faye kinnit on flickr. (2016)
Striking a pose for fotografm (on flickr) – before the start of my first Brighton WNBR in 2013

 

At the start of the 2015 ride, still not warm enough to be fully naked – for me anyway! Photo by faye kinnit on flickr.
In the North Laine, 2013. The logo should have read….
Drive an SUV? “sigh…” but I had a change of mind at the last moment that reduced the impact.
Photo by funktionhouse on flickr which could be entitled “He’s just washing my back!” for I had been asked to remove the WNBR paint. This was the Hastings WNBR in 2015.
With my police escort in 2013 – photo by bare witness on flickr