Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bicycling News: Yesterday Hundreds; Today Thousands


YESTERDAY - Nude Cycling Demonstrations:
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Hundreds of “ciclonudistas” (nude cyclers) took to the streets of various Spanish cities yesterday for the 4th annual “bicicletada nudista” (nudist bicycle gathering). This year the events were held to promote bicycle usage and demand more bike lanes. Organizers claim that naked cycling demonstrates the vulnerability of human bodies on bicycles. As one cyclist put it, via speakers attached to his bike, "We are defenseless against automobile traffic!"
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In Barcelona about 150 cyclists rode around the center of the city to protest against the insecurity they feel and in honor of a bicyclist who was run over this past Tuesday. The 54 year old cyclist, who is a member of the local bicyclists organization Friends of Biking, was hit by a truck that had reportedly crossed over into the bicycle lane. The victim remains in the intensive care unit of a local hospital.
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The demonstration started at the site of the accident at the intersection of Consell de Cent and Bruc streets, and then went on to to a stop in front of the city's Bicing office at Portal del Angel and finally to Plaza Jaume, where City Hall and the Provincial Government Headquarters are both located. Organizers read a manifesto at the end of the ride calling for, among other things, a moratorium on the creation of new bicycle lanes and the development of a program to educate drivers. At every stop cyclists were surrounded by photo snapping tourists.
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Meanwhile, in Madrid 200 or so nude protesters cycled down the Paseo del Prado from Cibeles Plaza up to Retiro City Park.
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Nudist advocate groups in Barcelona had called for the cancellation of the event on the grounds that it was "a provocation in a city in which it [nudity] is a right." In Madrid somewhat the opposite seems to have occurred, with nudists using the event there to stand up for their rights. That city's nude cycling contingency crossed paths with a group of 20 or so nude marchers, who walked to Spain's Congress of Representatives, where they hand delivered a letter in defense of the “right to go nude in public spaces." (While public nudity is not illegal in Spain, it is not protected by law either.)
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TODAY - Barcelona's Bike and Skateboard Festival:
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Today some 15,000 people participated in the ninth Barcelona Bike and Skateboard Festival. Cyclers and skateboarders rode from the city center to Plaza de España. There, at the base of Montjuïc, the city sponsored festival included demonstrations by well known cyclists and skateboarders, workshops, and various "freewheeling" activities. As in previous editions of the festival, the non-profit organization, Active Africa, had a collection point for donations of equipment and spare parts for bicycles.
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Oh, by the way, I didn't spot any nude cyclers or skateboarders at today's festival.
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Hasta la proxima amig@s,
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Carloz

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