From what I can gather, there’s a SL Naked Bike Ride group, and they just may be organising a SL Naked Bike Ride. Information on the RL version can be found here, with an official UK site here, a different wiki web entry here, the San Francisco related website here and the Montpelier version here. That’s just a selection. There’s loads of web sites dedicated to the World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR).
The German word for naked ride is ‘nacktradeln’, and there’s a website here.
The object of the WNBR is two-fold. 1) to highlight the danger cars present to cyclists and 2) to demonstrate against man’s over-dependency on oil. Fine, you ask, but where does the nudity come in? My take on it is that by going nude, the cyclists suddenly become ‘visible’ in a way they aren’t, even in hi-vis clothing, and it highlights the dangers they face on a daily basis. And it’s about time we looked at alternative energy sources (pedal power, for one) where it’s viable. By highlight the dangers of (1), we also maybe create a situation whereby (2) becomes more attractive if the roads are safer.
Here in the UK we have a charity dedicated to creating cycling lanes and off-road routes called Sustrans (i.e SUStainable TRANSport). Perhaps there’s an equivalent in your country? Check and find out.
I’m a cyclist. Thankfully I live in a small village where traffic’s not so much of a danger to me, and fellow cyclists, as it is in large towns and cities, but still, I fully support the aims of the WNBR and Sustrans to make a better world for cyclists, and cut down pollution as a by-product of their crusade to get more cyclists ON and more cars OFF the roads.
Fine, I hear you say, but what’s this got to do with naturism? Or naturism in SL?
In 1974 the International Naturist Federation defined naturism a lifestyle in harmony with nature, expressed through social nudity, and characterised by self-respect of people with different opinions and of the environment.
That’s a pretty good synopsis of what we’re all about. It isn’t just casting off our clothes for no specific reason. It’s healthy to expose our skin to the sun (if we don’t overdo it), the breeze and even gentle rain. We live well. Naturism often involves a lot of excercise, one way or another. In its original form, naturism embraced a lot of physical exercise, communal gymnastics and that sort of thing within the environs of what were then called ‘nudist camps’. While that has diminished, I think you’ll find a lot of naturists doing a lot of walking, swimming and cycling. Not because they’re fitness freaks, but because the lifestyle sort of lends itself to it. If you visit a resort like La Jenny in France, there’s walks and cycle paths through the whole area, so people do (if arriving by car) tend to strap their bikes to the back and bring them along.
We’ll spend time outside eating…well, sort of healthily! BBQ’s form a big part of naturist culture, but you’ll tend to see these accompanied by fresh bread, salads and such like, so that we, as a community, live a more healthy lifestyle, if only for the duration of our holiday.
I know that where I holiday regularly fish plays a major part of the diet, often cooked in olive oil, and again these are on the menu at most restaurants and enriching our omega oils, or whatever it is they’re rich in. Apologies, I should have done more dietary research prior to writing this piece!
Oh, nacktradeln! Yes, we’ll get there presently, lol.
We have our naturist sims, of course, but a German correspondent to this blog asked recently if I thought it was a good idea for us to break out, as naturists, into the wider SL world. I replied that I didn’t, in the main, think it a good idea. We have no desire to offend other SL users, to begin with. But, argued the other person, some sims are often empty, and would lend themselves to naked cycling or another regarded naturist activity in Germany, naked hiking.
So I’ve been considering this, for several weeks now, as a potential SL Naturist piece. I remain unsure. My German friend argues that he will explore certain SL sims dedicated to wilderness and, if no one is around, he’ll often explore them nude, just as he does in RL, in the German Alps. His argument is that he will keep a clothed ‘outfit’ ready to click on if anyone else teleports into the sim as he has no wish to offend either, just as he’ll hike, in RL, with a pair of shorts close at hand to cover himself up.
I’m still not sure. Some sims (Summer Dreams is one) have paths that already lend themselves to a bit of nude hiking. But I sent my friend off with the instruction to come back with photos of his naked hiking, or cycling, and explain it all a bit more.
Here’s his report…
‘Hi, I’m Christoph and I’m involved in FKK (freikoerperkultur) in the real world and also in Second Life. FKK means free body culture. In other words, naturism. You will see many, many FKK signs on beaches around Europe, even beyond Germany, where the word originates. The English version of wikipedia’s FKK entry is here.
I do visit some SL FKK venues. I like Wild Coast and Eden Naturopolis. But I do not limit myself to these places for my naturist activities. I also will visit places where clothes should really be worn and I like to do what I do in the real world and hike or cycle naked. In German, the words are Nacktwandern and Nacktradeln.
Because she does not wish there to be many naturists descending on a sim not intended to be naturist, she has asked me not to add links to the sims I speak of, but instead explain this little SL hobby of mine and show some photos. I am happy to agree to this and do this.
Do I wish to offend? Of course not. But there are many, many beautiful sims in Second Life which are designed for geography. Mountains, woods, deserts, lakes. Each can be used for naturism. Also, there are many walking trails or cycling or motorcycling trails too, and so I will also use these. It is me enjoying the wonders of Second Life building while also enjoying the freedom of SL naturism!
I do try to find sims where no one is around. If this is not possible I will take myself to a corner of the sim where others are not, and maybe walk a little naked. If someone is going to be close by to me I keep my finger near the button where I can ‘dress’ quickly. You know, change my outfit to a clothed avatar?
Sometimes, an avatar appears from nowhere. Men ignore this mostly. Women also. But on occasion a woman says to me ‘you are naked’ and I make excuses. ‘I do not wish to offend, I am sorry’, or maybe I blame the viewer and I show clothes on my own screen! We know it happens!
Maybe you like this idea. Maybe you do not. I only wish you to think that it is sometimes an alternative to visiting the same Second Life naturist locations and seeing new things, admiring new terraforming or landscapes’.
Ella adds: I neither condone nor condemn this ‘free naturism’. A couple of years ago I did source locations, and landmarked them, for ‘free naturist’ activity. We know that in RL people often appear beyond the perimeters of established naturist locations. Most of us, at one time, have probably skinny dipped where there was no official permission for nude recreation. My best advice is that if you do decide to adopt Christoph’s ‘free naturism’, his nacktwandern, then do understand that you may be doing so in PG sims, in places where even a cartoon, pixellated nude figure, might cause offence. Observe discretion and common sense. In RL the coppers could, theoretically, turn up and arrest you for such activity. In SL some avatars could express their displeasure with you in no uncertain terms.