Cyclists not allowed to let it all hang out for naked event

TASSELS are more commonly found decorating the handlebars of children's bicycles.

But a group of daring bikers will be putting them – along with carefully positioned leaves and socks – to a more unusual use in a trip through the Meadows at the weekend.

While mass naked bike rides are set to be held across the world on Saturday, in Edinburgh the participants have been told they must preserve their modesty.

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It comes after 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".

Giselle Wajdner, a barwoman at the Jekyll & Hyde pub, has organised the event after negotiating a compromise with the city council and the police.

Ms Wajdner, 23, who lives in Inverleith, said: "We will stick to the guidelines surrounding public nudity. However we will be staying within the fringes of legality. The only naked cycle I have done before is in York, where the police are used to it and more than happy to let it go on.

"We haven't had much luck in Edinburgh with these events so far, so we are trying to break into it slowly and get people used to the idea of seeing 100 naked people riding by. We'll be wearing nipple tassels, socks, and a couple of other tiny bits and pieces – just enough to keep it just within the law."

Giselle said she had feared that few would be willing to plonk their naked derriere on a saddle and go au naturel through the Meadows and the Old Town, but was surprised at some of the groups willing to bare all for the day.

She said: "There's a range of people taking part but there are quite a few middle-aged people going on the cycle."

Saturday's naked ride, which is part of the Team Green Britain events, hopes to raise awareness of environmental issues, as well as highlighting the vulnerability of cyclists on the roads.

The group will "de-robe" on the Meadows, before cycling in the buff down Middle Meadow Walk, the Old Town, Cowgate, and Grassmarket.

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Joining Giselle is IT consultant Steve Rapaport, who was among the 500 nude cyclists who rode through central London several years ago. Mr Rapaport, 45, said: "The law in England is a lot more laissez-faire and the police let you do as you please as long as no-one complains."

A city council spokeswoman said: "We have met with the organisers and we have no objections in principle."