PROTESTERS took off their clothes before hitting the road to raise awareness of cycling safety, body image, and the environment.

The World Naked Bike Ride returned to Brighton for the 14th year, gathering at Preston Park on Sunday.

Organisers said more than 1,000 riders were expected to take part this year, and were thankful for the calmer weather.

They teamed up with environment protesters from Extinction Rebellion to highlight the need for action to tackle climate change.

It follows the protest group’s “cycle swarm” in the city last month.

Nick Sayers first organised the event in Brighton in 2006 after attending a similar event in London a year earlier.

He said: “I thought this is the most Brighton thing ever, so why is it not in the city?

“It is good to join up with Extinction Rebellion which has boosted numbers, taking our message back to its roots as an environmental and political protest.

“This week I have been watching the weather forecast like a hawk, and it has turned out really nice.

“We didn’t want it to be sweltering, as riders can get sunburnt.

“For us, the issue of climate change is really significant. We need to discuss the way we dispose of waste and pump emissions into the atmosphere.

“Scientists are warning about what will happen. If we don’t change our behaviour the climate is going to change to an unstoppable degree.”

Among those taking part in the protest was founder Mike Grenville who first started the event with Mr Sayers in 2006.

He said another key message is the vulnerability of cyclists on the roads, while Celia Libera painted a slogan on her back which read: “Can you see me now?”

She said: “When I am cycling in town motorists don’t see me, but suddenly now I’m naked I am visible.

“There are huge issues around climate change and we need to reduce our carbon footprint and emissions. So coming to this protest gets that message across.”

Matty Savage and Helena Juric attended the event from Worthing, and said they were encouraged by the positive attitude towards body image at the event.

Matty said: “We have all these dangerous drivers and riders getting hit, but we don’t get hit when we are naked.”

Helena said: “I think it is quite liberating to have the positive body message.”

Bill Fairhall from Extinction Rebellion in Brighton said: “We have already run out of time for action on climate change.

“We have little time left to make the big changes we need to to save this world.

“So the naked bike ride very obviously links up with their passion for humanity and safe transport.”

Kevin Young attended the event after taking part in the ride in London on Saturday for the first time.

He regularly cycles to work as a commuter in the capital.

But he said the naked ride was more relaxed.

He said: “I haven’t seen any negative reactions, people have been clapping and cheering, it has all been very good natured.”

The cyclists left Preston Park under police escort into Ditchling Road.

They they rode past The Level and down the Old Steine, then along Brighton seafront and Hove promenade. The ride finished at the seafront.

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