DOZENS of naked cyclists headed through the streets of Exeter yesterday in a bid to raise awareness of the benefits of cycling.
The event, which is the fifth of its kind in the city saw cyclists, young and old, bare all and travel from Trew's Weir floodplain and around the city.
The organiser of the event, who goes by the name of 'Nearly Al Exeter', said: "We want to raise awareness about road safety for cyclists, the overuse of fossil fuel and body awareness. Under all our clothes we're all naked and everybody is different.
"The reason we're naked is to draw attention, if we were clothed and doing a ride for road safety we'd be ignored. Bringing the nudity bit in raises awareness, raises publicity and gets our message across."
Before the cycle, a moments silence was held, dedicated to cyclists involved in road accidents.
Another man taking part, Mike, said a few words about naturism before the event got underway.
"One of the strands of the protest is body freedom, which means the right to be naked and the right to practice naturism.
"Naturism is a lifestyle choice really. We are a persecuted minority, let's not forget that. Even though it's not specifically illegal to be naked in public, there are still a lot of prejudices around it and it is a taboo.
"There's no evidence that naturism harms anybody at all. Quite a contrary, there's a lot of evidence showing that it's good for you, it's certainly good fun, it's great when you can socialise naked with other people, it promotes openness, friendliness, I thoroughly recommend it, especially when it's warm."
Devon & Cornwall Police were also overseeing the event which is classed as a protest.
Acting Inspector Ben Asprin said: "We're here to facilitate the peaceful protest. We understand that it does have an impact on the community.
"We've shortened the bike ride, we've reduced the stops that were made last year to make it a lot quicker, the route is away from many family gatherings and we will monitor it along the way to make sure all the participants comply.
"We understand it may cause offence to our local community. Nudity per se is not an offence under the sexual offences act but we are present and we are monitoring the situation and should any offences be committed we will be on hand to take action."