Militant riders are naked, and so what ? Their nudity evokes fragility, not crudity. Actually their parade is full of poetry and humor.
Every year in June several hundred riders gather near the EU institutions in Brussels. Most of them are naked although it is not a prerequisite to participate in the rally. Some of them are disabled and need to move in a wheelchair.
Cyclonudista: an activist and artistic commitment
In 2018, some had their body painted in an artistic way, paying a tribute to Magritte. After all, it is not so exceptional in the European capital of surrealism. In 2018, a naked male biker with a green mustache and a green scarf was leading the parade. His nickname is Jerome Jolisbois. He is an environmental activist, creator and organizer of the annual Cyclonudista parade in Brussels. In 2019, he still rides his bike naked but his mustache is yellow, in a reference to the upcoming cyclist race Le Tour de France, starting this year from Brussels.
Raising awareness on cyclists vulnerability in the city
The Cyclonudista parade aims at raising awareness on cyclists vulnerability in the city and at calling upon public authorities to take necessary measures so that bikers enjoy the right to bike in the city in safety.
An increasing number of citizens in Brussels is concerned about environmental issues and advocates the use of alternative and non-polluting means of transport. However, it requires enhanced road safety. Indeed, according to official statistics, every year in Brussels a few riders are killed and a little less than 1000 are injured in a road accident.
“As bare as you dare“, a movement born in Canada in the early 2000s
Belgium is not the only place where such an initiative takes place. The movement was launched by the World Naked Bike Ride in 2004 by the activist and Canadian author Conrad Schmidt. World Naked Bike Ride is an international clothing-optional bike ride. It aims at delivering environmental messages by awakening of conscience. Its slogan is “as bare as you dare“. The Canadian activist had already used bareness as an awareness raising tool in 2003 in Vancouver in a protest against the US military intervention in Iraq.
Outcry and Sympathy: contrasting reactions in Brussels old town
The parade led by Jerome Jolisbois rides peacefully in procession around the Schumann round-about before reaching the old town of Brussels, catching the amused and curious eye of passers-by. Militant riders are naked, and so what ? Their nudity evokes fragility, not crudity. Actually their parade is full of poetry and humor.
Solange Paradis, Brussels, June 2018 and June 2019