Cyclists gearing up to grin and bare it

BODY paint, plasters and tassels will be among the colourful items used to conceal the modesty of a group of daring cyclists.

Around 30 bikers are expected to take part in Edinburgh's World Naked Bike Ride next month, which will see them cycling - in the buff - through the Capital's streets and parks.

But the Edinburgh participants won't be able to strip off completely for the cycle following run-ins in previous years with Lothian and Borders Police, including in 2004 when officers threatened to arrest anyone who stripped off for "outraging public decency".

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Giselle Wajdner, 24, a care worker and barmaid, has organised the city event, which she described as a "fun and peaceful protest against car culture". Those who dare to bare will assemble at Middle Meadow Walk on June 11 from 3pm to decorate "their bits" with body paint, before setting off at around 4pm.

The route will take in Holyrood Park, London Road, Leith Street, North and South Bridge and Chambers Street, before returning to the Meadows around an hour later.

Ms Wajdner, who lives in Leith and works at the Jekyll & Hyde pub, said: "It's supposed to be a peaceful, environmental protest. We are not out to offend people - the whole idea of being naked is to highlight how vulnerable cyclists are on the road. It's a way of drawing attention to yourself without making excessive noise."

The event organiser also pointed out that the nudity was "completely non-sexual".

"We don't want to break the law and get anyone into trouble," she said.

"We won't actually be officially what the law describes as naked, it will be the bare minimum of cover up to comply with the law and we'll be using tassels, nude-coloured pants and body paint. People can bring tutus, feathers - anything to jazz up their bike or themselves. The cyclists often paint messages on themselves so they're getting the message across and not just riding naked for the hell of it."

Mass naked bike rides take place in around 70 cities in 20 countries across the world every year. At previous events, messages have included "one less car", "back off driver" and "we are also traffic".

The aim of the event is to promote cycling and highlight how vulnerable cyclists are on the road, to protest against "oil-dependant transport" and raise awareness of environmental issues. The clothing options are simple - "bare as you dare".

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Many men and women turn out in their underwear, with some males opting for G-strings or boxers while many women don bikinis or a bra and pants.

Around 30 cyclists took part in last year's naked cycle in the Capital and Ms Wajdner is hoping for a similar turnout this year. Ms Wajdner, who will take part in the Edinburgh cycle for a second time, added: "The priority is to get better road conditions for cyclists, and make motorists more aware of the cyclists.

"Edinburgh is perfect for cycling and it's a really good city to get the message across too. It's quite a lovely experience for the riders because people are at ease with each other in a situation that would otherwise be quite awkward."

A council spokeswoman said: "We have had an initial note of interest from the organiser of the Naked Bike Ride and we are waiting for the proper documentation to make the necessary arrangements."