Riding on the WNBR: A report by Pookes

Such a jumble of emotions and feelings! Such a day! The only thing that spoiled it was that the weather wasn’t fantastically sunny or hot. Although, when I think about it, maybe it would have made the ride a little uncomfortable to have to cycle in temperatures in the mid-20s. Certainly, when out of the shade, it was lovely. In shade, it could feel chilly at times.

I’ll backtrack a bit.

We’ve written regularly about the WNBR on SLN. Ella and I even talked about trying to organise a SL equivalent. We’ve spoken about how we’d like to do it…some day. So earlier this year my husband and I decided that we would do it, this year. I’m not writing this as a participant in Brighton’s WNBR, and smiling to myself as I type, trying to capture the memories of the day and give you an insight into the event.

We’re not residents of Brighton, or indeed Sussex, so we don’t know the town well. We set off very early on Sunday morning, bikes strapped to the back of our car, entering the unknown. I’ve tried to find out information on the ride from the internet, just to get a sense of how others found it. To be honest, I found that while there were thousands of photos of how it looked, there wasn’t much insight into how it felt.

I’m an experienced naturist. I’ll take my clothes off at the drop of a hat under the right circumstances. But this wasn’t quite a naturist experience. It felt rather odd. In a way, I initially felt a little ‘exposed’.

In naturist circles, men will drop their shorts quite readily, while women, even experienced naturist women, will sometimes resort to a pareo to throw around themselves even on a trip to and from the beach. A pareo isn’t practical on a bike, and so I’d dressed in a tank top, cardigan and gym shorts & trainers. I decided I didn’t need undies. My reasoning for choice of clothing was that they were light, and all easily fitted into the bag I was using for the day. They also had the potential to allow me to go ‘as bare as I dared’ on the ride, because I did experience a sense of trepidation as we got closer to Brighton, and closer to race start time. Mr Pookes was, by contrast, entirely relaxed about it. A pair of sports shorts was all he wore while we drove down to Brighton. He was confident of doing the ride fully nude.

I found my uncertainty a little strange. After 25 years of being naturist, and stripping off at any time without any thought whatsoever, I felt almost as if I was back to the first time I went nude in public, the pounding heart, the sweaty palms, the feeling of uncertainty about what I was about to so. Why did I feel like this? Because, as I say, it wasn’t strictly a naturist event.

Although I didn’t mention it to Mr. Pookes, there was a point where I felt I might back out of it and just park myself, clothed, while he did the ride alone.

We found the start point, unhitched the bikes from the carrier and walked, dressed, to the park where the Brighton ride begins, ‘The Level’.



It still felt strange to me. What was disconcerting was the number of men milling around who were dressed, had no thought of getting undressed, didn’t have bikes, but had cameras. Off putting, frankly.

I’m certain there are times when I’ve unwittingly been the subject of someone’s camera while in naturist surroundings, usually not even intended to be there but maybe captured in the background as someone takes a photo of a partner. I’ve no problem with this. I’m not being ‘perved’ at. Maybe I am, subsequently, but simply unaware of it. At least there’s a sense of being accidentally caught in someone else’s holiday snap, and not the main focus of attention. In this case, however, I did have some sense of being ‘perved’, of being undressed by dozens of pairs of eyes. Creeps with cameras, getting their jollies -thus far- by simply imagining the female participants nude. No, I’m not there for your amusement. I finally broached the subject to Mr. Pookes. ‘F*** them’, he responded, ‘just a bunch of sad old lonely w*****s with small d***s’. That escalated quickly! 🙂


Found on Flickr. A girl in the London 2015 ride suffers the unwanted attentions of a man with a camera, and appears to be trying to conceal herself as she rides by. Having witnessed a sense of being ‘perved up’ by ‘dirty old men’, I have some sense of how she feels.


But yes, he was right! There was a rather sordid sense of being objectified by the grimy, down-at-heel and slightly tragic male photographers snapping away, grinning like Cheshire cats. Perhaps this is why males on these rides outnumber the females. No, there’s no ‘perhaps’ about it: it’s the presence of a hundred cameras that puts women off.

Clearly, it’s public space and you can’t legislate to say ‘no cameras allowed’. But maybe the men should consider that they wouldn’t just walk up to a woman in a bikini on a beach and begin snapping away at her without her permission. I have to say that, while researching the ride, I spent quite a bit of time on Flickr, which is awash with WNBR photographs, and was amused by the idea that some photographers had copyrighted their photographs. Oh really? You’ve got the subject’s permission, have you? A model release form? Thought not.

So far, things aren’t great. Fortunately, things are about to take a turn for the better.

As newbies to the experience, we didn’t realise there was a fenced off area for riders, and once inside that, a different atmosphere prevailed. A markedly different atmosphere. People were getting naked quite readily. Mr. Pookes was now naked, and I felt quite relaxed about going topless inside the fenced off part.

Many of the riders, I suspect, are from the Brighton area, and maybe a number who’ve travelled down from London. They’re all, relatively speaking, local, and have been able to plan their journey times with greater accuracy than we did, being some of the first to begin assembling. Numbers are beginning to grow. Mr. Pookes is deep in conversation with his new friends, two gay men who are busy applying body paint to one another and offering it to us. ‘I’ll paint you’, one says, ‘You’ve got lovely boobs. A perfect canvas’.

I find myself laughing uproariously at this. After all of the unwanted attention from sad looking perves, I find this rather charming, disarming and not remotely sexually charged. My new gay friend, Simon, (already added on Facebook, and later in the day given the url to SLN which he appears fascinated by) is busy loading a brush that he wants to apply to my topless self next. Just as soon as he’s finished off touching up his boyfriend. Ooh, get your minds out of the gutter. Touching up the paint he has applied to his boyfriend.

Do I let him? Do I politely turn down his offer? Who knows! 😉

There’s power in numbers. As more riders arrive, and more disrobe, the presence of pervy photographers, relatively speaking, seems smaller although you know they’re out there, waiting, poised.

My friend texts. She had ridden the London event on Saturday, and texted me a very excited text on Saturday night, describing how awesome it was. ‘There were even passer by cyclists who didn’t know the event was on stopping, stripping off and joining in! Males and females!!!!’ This sense of community was maybe one of the few things that sustained me on the drive down. This next text simply wishes me ‘Good Luck! Be awesome! You’ll love it!’.

There’s a growing sense of camaraderie amongst the riders now, and I’ve fallen into conversation with two young women in their early 20s. Neither have ever gone topless in public before, never mind nude. They’re nervous. ‘It’s bare as you dare’, I tell them, ‘you can ride in your undies’.

‘Don’t have any on! We dressed light!’

I nod at them, understanding their thinking, exactly the same as my thought processes have been. Their eyes dart nervously around at all and sundry.

I can tell from their body language that each is hoping the other says ‘I can’t do this…let’s go home’, but neither wants to be the first to say it out loud.

They had my sympathy. I recalled my own first venture into naturism, and it wasn’t quite as daunting -the focus of a hundred cameras and phones- as these girls’ possible imminent debut.

Simon has finished painting an elephant’s ears around his boyfriend’s genitals, the penis serving as the elephant’s trunk. My newly acquired female friends are fascinated by the paint job, which Simon’s boyfriend Jeff is no showing off proudly. ‘You next darling!’, Simon says, pointing at me. Mr Pookes laughs and I grin back at him. My tank top comes off and I’m topless in the riders’ enclosure. ‘Ooh, I knew they’d be lovely’, Simon says, casting an artistic eye over my boobs and deciding what to paint on them. Disappointingly, he gets called away and so it’s a rather less artistic Mr. Pookes who is left with the paints. I glance down. I think I could have been more imaginative with paint wearing a blindfold. ‘Shorts off’, he barks, and I’m now confident enough to remove my shorts and let him do his work, however poor his skills with a paintbrush may be.

With me going topless, and then nude, my two young female friends finally decide to cast off their own T-shirts and they, too, stand topless and awkward within the riders’ area, giggling awkwardly, trying to cover their breasts and then finally deciding to take some selfies of the moment.

‘How do you feel?’, I ask neither of them in particular.

‘Exposed’, laughs one. ‘Free and….empowered!’, grins the other. They hug each other in an act of solidarity and delight at their collective bravery before daubing one another with paint and giggling constantly. I’m sorry to say that I lost them in the crowd sometime after and so didn’t get to know at the time whether they went fully nude. However, having seen video footage of the start, I’m happy to say that both appear to have fully stripped off at some point.

‘Finished’, grins Mr. Pookes, in a manner that suggested he’d just applied the final touches to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. ‘That’, I say ‘is awful. Let me reciprocate with an equally awful paint job.’

Amateurish body paint applied, it’s now time to start. My hear is pounding and I find myself talking incessantly to Mr. Pookes as we exit the riders area and run the gauntlet of photographers. It’s almost as if I’m thinking ‘if I don’t shut up, no one will see me’. More realistically, if I keep talking and focusing on Mr. Pookes, I won’t be focused on the pervy photographers.

I relaxed when we got out of the park and onto the roads. Less crowds, people going about their business not even paying attention to us, and a sense of those who now were taking photographs were taking them less as a sense of voyeurism and more one of ‘capturing an event’. My feeling was that, had it been a clothed bicycle ride to raise awareness of something, they’d still have taken photographs simply because it was now just another event.

The ride stopped for a bit of an impromptu disco at a lawned area near the seafront, sorry but I don’t know its name, and I’m almost certain that numbers had swollen enormously. It now seemed, to me, that many casual cyclists had come along for the disco and were now getting into various states of undress. There now seemed to be many more females, many of whom weren’t fully nude, but certainly topless.

I was now fully relaxed into the event, but was feeling the chill from a bit of a breeze. Despite this, I was determined to see the ride through fully nude, and not resort to putting on my cardigan, no matter how sensible an option that might have been 🙂

Yes, we made it to the naturist beach where the Brighton WNBR officially ends. Lots of naked people, of course, but it just didn’t feel warm enough to clamber over the pebbles and actually go into the sea. We watched people playing around, a mass of happy humanity that nudity had brought together, if only for a little while. With the ride now officially over, so was the police’s acceptance of nudity, so it was with some regret that we put our clothes on and cycled back to the car. I felt fabulous, carried along by a wave of euphoria at having undertaken my first WNBR. Once through our front door it was straight onto SLN to capture my feelings and the memories the day has provided.

Next year? You can bet on it!





A return to replicating RL in SL (Hommage a Harry)



I saw this photo on a naturist blog and thought it very much reflected a sense of SL. If one visits, for example, the various Eden Naturopolis harbours or Blue Lagoon Marina (also part of the Eden Naturist Estate), you will get a sense of the scene photographed being very similar to what you’ll find in SL.

Harry used to do an occasional ‘SL replicates RL’ kind of post, and it’s not something we’ve repeated since he took leave of absence of Second Life. Incidentally, he continues to recover, but it’s a slow process and as far as I’m aware we cannot expect his return any time soon.

I asked Hugh, therefore, if he would do the honours of trying to replicate the scene above in an SL setting, and his photos can be seen below.

diana katja3_001b_Fotor

katja and diana_001b_Fotor

katja and diana2_001b_Fotor


WNBR Brighton 2015

It was the London 2015 WNBR ride yesterday, and today it’s Brighton’s turn.

Brighton, officially Brighton & Hove, is an arty, cosmopolitan city on England’s south coast, and a very gay-friendly place. I think, of all the UK’s WNBR rides, Brighton is possibly the best. Why? In my estimation, it’s because it ends on the city’s naturist beach and if the weather’s good, there’s generally a communal get together and dip on the beach. Perhaps this is a clue to how to proceed with some of the rides…tie them into naturism.

Just a reminder that Mr. & Mrs Pookes are riding in the Brighton one today, as Pookes told us in a previous post (note that the date she gave was wrong, it’s Sunday 14th June, not Saturday as she stated).

As I write, they should be an hour into the ride, an eight mile trip around Brighton’s city centre ending with a gathering at the town’s naturist beach.

I’ve been promised a report, although whether that is today or some time next week, I’m not sure.

In the meantime, here’s an HD video from last year’s Brighton ride.


A wet day for the 2013 Brighton WNBR

Today’s weather is mostly cloudy and a high of 18 degrees, so not overly warm. We’ll see how many hardy folk there were on the ride in the coming days…


Edited to add: there’s footage up on youtube already, and I’ve spotted both Mr & Mrs Pookes 😉

An SL food blog…what a fantastic idea!

Here’s an idea that I absolutely adore.

I was checking out the Free*Style blog and noticed one of their writers, Sileny, reference her separate SL food blog. The Sweet Side of Second Life blog pretty much confines itself to food related items, and I just love the idea of that, and how much fun you could have, and Sileny probably is having doing it.

This has now become my most recently bookmarked favourite ‘niche’ SL blog!

Think about it. We don’t need to eat in SL. We don’t need to sustain our avatars’ health and well being in that way. And yet quite a bit of the grid revolves around food & drink. Bars, restaurants, top-end classy restaurants where some avatars role-play the parts of waiters, Maitre D’s and hosts. We hold or attend BBQs in SL for further social interaction, and we constantly will add in small food & drink related items to our SL homes to give them that ‘lived in’ look.

I’ve often gone on at length on these pages about the need for more ‘niche’ blogs. SLN covers the naturist lifestyle, obviously, and there are others who work in the general arena of ‘pixel porn’, publishing in-world ‘mens magazines’, which maybe replicate the Playboy format – some writing and photos of nude women. I’ve bemoaned the fact that guys don’t, in general, blog a great deal and thereby leave a vacuum in the world of SL blogging. No blogs about bikes or cars or yachts, as far as I know, areas that would be ripe for picking given the visibility of all three within SL (particularly boating/yachting maybe even more than bikes & cars). No blogs about war-gaming or role-play, something else fellas like to do in and out of SL. To me, that’s another area that would produce a vibrant, successful ‘niche lifestyle’ blog.

Imagine extending the ‘food’ element of SL blogging to include restaurant and cafe reviews. Imagine a blog that cross-fertilises between SL & RL, publishing recipes for chocolate muffins or pasta dishes while reviewing the decor and ambience of the SL cafe or restaurant in question. How cool might that be?

In my seven years in SL I’ve seen numerous changes. Flex hair, mesh clothes, mesh bodies and so on. Each step has improved the realism of the game (although I’m personally not sold on mesh yet). We’re promised that SL v2.0 -Sansar- is just around the corner. The virtual world moves forward. I do think that flipping backwards and forwards between the game and semi real life is an area of SL that hasn’t yet been fully explored and exploited by players, and I hope that more people will blog about the game, and specific areas of the game, in the future.

‘The service during the meal was excellent at X’s Virtual Diner, although I felt we waited a little too long to get the bill, as the waiter seemed too busy with other diners’.

Imagine paying for an SL meal. What I mean here is that in some of the restaurants where people do role-play waiters and waitresses, we’d normally ‘tip’ the player for excellent service, just as we tip RL musicians who feed their music into SL concerts. Imagine not tipping the waiter. Instead, we select from the menu, get that very item delivered to our table and rack up another L$15 to our final bill. At the end of the night, we’ll have ‘paid’ for the meal, with the cost effectively being our ‘tip’ to the role-player acting out the role. Cool? I think so.

Blogs that blur the lines between the real and the pixelated would, for me, be an important forward step in developing SL. We try to do this a little within the context of SLN. If you look at many of our ‘naturist wardrobe’ postings, we’ll focus on elements of clothing or accessories we recognise from RL naturism and work them into an SL context. For me, that would just as readily work with, for example, bikes. ‘I took the Phallus 1200 out for a spin, she doesn’t handle too well on corners and I didn’t beat my all-time speed record around the test track’.

I applaud Sileny’s running of an SL food blog, and it’s something I will be checking out on a regular basis. Why? For me, SL is all about an enhanced experience as the game progresses in time. Imagine gathering a few friends in SL (or simply yourself and a significant other) and tossing a raw mesh stake onto a BBQ, then changing it to medium, or well done, according to taste.

I know. I know. I’m now running away with a series of unconnected thoughts now. Consider this: if SL has been able to develop matters of sexuality to an incredible level of realism (fertility huds, etc) then why can’t we apply the same processes to the eating experience, the drinking experience, the motorbiking or sailing experience? Huds that control the cooking…sorry, but my imagination is now running away with me! 🙂

By way of illustration at the small things that can be achieved, let me point you at Howie’s home, where a tray containing port and cigars is always available. (Howie does occasionally run naturist parties at his place and anyone of his friends who comes online can pop by and ‘enjoy the hospitality’). I took these photos a long time ago at one of these parties and, sorry, I’ve forgotten the name of the guy featured (if you’re reading, I remember you asked for the blog’s URL, let me know who you are 🙂 )


By clicking on the cigar box, or port bottle, you will receive a cigar or a glass of port to wear, complete with animation (and ‘smoke’ trail).



Very simple things, but they certainly enhance the SL experience. I helped myself to some port, I have to say, but passed on the opportunity to smoke a virtual cigar 🙂

We have the technology, certainly, and all that needs doing is for people to use their imaginations to push the added realism potential forward. Sileny’s blog is another step on the path to creating a cross fertilisation between RL blogging and the SL experience.