Private parts cover-up
"YOU can't turn something small into a dragon" was one of many cries heard as naked cyclists, mostly men, were forced to have their genitals painted before the Byron Bay Naked Bike Ride.
Local police allowed the event to go ahead yesterday, so long as participants followed a strict set of guidelines.
Nude riders were required to wear helmets, obey all road rules, not circle roundabouts unnecessarily and paint their genitalia.
Police believed the paint would disguise private parts from onlookers.
However, the abundance of yellow, purple and blue genitals that resulted attracted more attention than usual, bike-ride participant Tony Batchelor said.
As 25 nude cyclists rode from Byron Bay train station, past Butler St Reserve and up Jonson St, people in the streets cheered.
Mr Batchelor, in his fifth naked bike ride, said he took part in the event primarily because it was fun.
"A man who can laugh at his own foolishness will be endlessly amused," he said.
Mr Batchelor also hoped the event would raise people's awareness of bike riders.
"The principles of the World Naked Bike Ride are to promote bike safety and bike awareness. The reason we do it naked is because bike riders feel naked and vulnerable among traffic. People in a car are protected by this shield and can do what they like but, in a way, we're naked," he explained.
Another naked participant, Tony Reukers hoped the event would attract attention to Byron Bay's lack of bicycle facilities.
"You see a lot of bike riders here but nowhere to store your bike. There is a place at Woolworths but it only has a few spaces. It's not enough," he said.
After a lap of Byron Bay's CBD, bike riders returned to the train station and washed each others' paint of with a fire hydrant.
Although more people took part in the ride than expected, Mr Batchelor would have liked more women to participate.
"It's nice if you have an even balance. If there's more women involved, it makes them feel more comfortable," he said.
The World Naked Bike Ride is a global phenomenon, with events taking place in Melbourne, San Fran Cisco, London and other cities.
Mr Batchelor had realistic expectations about the impact of the Byron Bay bike ride.
"I like to think we can make people relax a bit," he said.
"If we can get half-a-dozen people to lighten up and pass the word on, I'm happy."