Oil used to produce the food we eat

Oil is also used to produce the very food we eat, even if we don’t eat the oil directly. Think about what fuels the tractors to plough the ground and manage the ground during the year: manuring, seeding, weeding, harvesting. Then consider where we get the energy required to drive the process, to grind the corn, wheat, rape and other crops; the fuel to chop the trees to produce the packaging of the processed food.

std-_mg_4286-bcConsider how the raw foodstuffs, and then the finished products, are transported from factory to shop, and in turn to our homes, having been paid for with a plastic card, before being eaten with perhaps metal cutlery on ceramic tableware. The metal knife, fork and spoon, will have been produced at a factory by a machine which required oil to function, probably the ceramic plates too. The semi- and liquid effluent is almost certainly sluiced down oil-based piping to a further processing plant.

Finally the solid rubbish is thrown into probably oil-based plastic containers or waste bins and transported to the dump by oil-driven machines, to be crushed by giant earth moving vehicles, powered by…, yep, you guessed it, yet more oil.

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.


The World Naked Bike Ride book by Richard Foley

Available from Amazon and all good book distributors via ISBN: 978-0-9572432-0-0

The World Naked Bike Ride is a global protest against oil dependency and urban pollution, promoting greater cycling safety on our roads, and encouraging body freedom for everyone.

Extract: There is surely a sensible and sustainable balance to be found between use and abuse. We need to take a decision about the kind of world in which we want to
live, and about the kind of world we want our children, and their children, to
inherit. These are the choices we have to make and the question is, really,
who makes them? As Rachel Carson pointed out, when writing about the poisoning
of the natural world by the chemical industries: “Who has decided? … the
decision is that of the authoritarian temporarily entrusted with power; he has
made it during a moment of inattention by millions to whom beauty and the
ordered world of nature still have a meaning that is deep and imperative.”

This book visually describes the environmental awareness event, the history of how it started, the people who take part, and the motivations behind this very public demonstration.

Foreword by Conrad Schmidt.
Including 250 NSFW images (inc. a selection of sfw images).


What if someone at work finds out?

A new set of issues are of course raised by being naked in a public space and having people take photographs of you.

std-2011_0611wnbr0078-bcFirst of all, it’s not always possible to know the precise reasons behind every camera, the intentions of the photographer; secondly, you have to ignore the possibility of someone finding the images exciting, because running your life on the basis of what other people think or find titillating is a very sad state of affairs to be in; and thirdly, horror of horrors, what if someone from work finds out?

Really, most of us don’t live in the repressive and hypocritical Victorian or Biblical eras any more, thank goodness, and people are generally much more mature in their knowledge of nudity these days. I recall a recent employer of mine discussing a project, where there was need of some confrontational joviality to lighten the mood, and knowing my penchant for naked activities, suggesting we do a naked Maori Haka for the other half of the team. Clearly the idea of being naked at work is not as outrageous as some would have us believe.

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

The music I listen to dares me to live

In the modern world, it’s not necessary any more for people to close their windows on nudity, indeed being naked to attract attention to a cause would be a bit pointless if everyone did.

std-20120610-img_2976_zf-0005-14698-1-003-bcFortunately that’s not the case in these more modern times and in fact members of the public who see the WNBR, as it passes them in the high street, are almost unanimously very supportive.

Of course, there are always one or two diehard, puritanical souls who express dismay and disgust with down-turned mouths, sour fish-faces and distasteful thoughts in only their minds, but the vast majority of people applaud and clap, and wave enthusiastically.

As Troy Marusek, who bicycled 800 miles from Chicago to St. Louis to join two separate WNBRs from his home town of Lexington, KY, relates: “A lot of the music I listen to dares me to live, and not to waste my life.”

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

The WNBR message of enjoyment and fun!

One of the clearest messages one gets from looking at images of people participating in the ride is that they are all enjoying themselves immensely, as are the public too, of course, and this is clear to see from the photographs presented in this book. Certainly some of the more amusing images are where the public and the riders interact in some way.

Clearly exposed fallacy

And these images clearly expose, if you’ll pardon the pun, the fallacy that nudity might be either shocking or dangerous, in any form, whether to adults or to children, in public, to young or old, or in any context. std-turin_world_naked_bike_pride_014-bcWe have a clothed bystander helping a naked rider pack her clothes in her saddle-bag, right in the middle of the high street while next to a double-decker bus full on onlookers; a man next to a proud and naked lady of 84 years standing by the marble column of the Wellington Arch in Hyde Park, London; a naked man posing alongside a group of perfectly happy and fully clothed teenage girls; a young naked student couple keeping each other company, sitting on the grass, while they protest against oil abuse; The naked cameraman interviewing the two clothed policewomen. An elderly clothed couple looking on serenely while surrounded by, and talking to, naked and topless WNBR participants. The naked woman cycling happily beside the clothed woman along the protest route together; the fully uniformed police officers cycling happily and peacefully within the group of naked riders. These are gorgeous little vignettes of tolerance and co-operation within a mass protest.

These images all show the way in which the WNBR enhances itself as an environmental protest, bringing the participants and the public together in a very special clothed and naked chiaroscuro. Many images from the WNBR are truly excellent and belong in the photo-documentary slot of any comprehensive photographic library purporting to be representative of modern times, and we present a frustratingly space-determined selection of these images, from the many hundreds submitted, for your curiosity here. The entertainment value is greatly enhanced when the locations also cry out for recognition. For instance, the London route wends it’s naked way through such famous landmarks as Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, The Mall, Whitehall, Westminster, Waterloo, Fleet Street, The Royal Courts of Justice, Wellington Arch, St Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London; all with the happy accompaniment of cheering crowds.

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

Never mind Shakespeare…

It is clear that our lives are defined by the space between the two camps of; firstly, our thoughts on our own actions; and secondly, by our fear of what other people might think.

std-100_8307-bcNever mind Shakespeare

the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius pointed this out some two thousand years ago: “All is as thinking makes it so.”

Simply taking part in an environmental protest movement makes one an object of curiosity for many people, and while the majority of the public will be cheering the riders on, the media are busy interviewing the participants, regardless as to whether they are naked or clothed.


Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

Why a war for oil?

Why a war for oil? Oil is used to power personal transport in the form of automobiles, it powers agricultural tractors and quarrying machinery, also road-building equipment, electric power generators, chain saws for logging. Oil is used for making hair shampoo, bathing and shower soaps, facial creams and beauty products. Oil is used to make cleaning, scouring, polishing and lubricating fluids for all kinds of purposes for our households and at our places of work in industry and factory settings.

Oil for plastic

Oil is used for producing the plastic materials which surround us in our cars, it’s used to make disposable containers for telephones, computers, pet food, pet toys, children’s toys, kitchen food, and of course plastic shopping bags. std-img_0011-bcWhich is not to say that all oil products are bad per se, just that there is a difference between the ones which can be reused and the ones which are to be discarded after a one time use.

There is a also a major difference between burning petroleum, irretrievably releasing very high levels of stored chemical energy, when compared to making useful and products which can be used repeatedly for a long period of time. Even so, pollution from discarded long-lasting products will always remain a problematic issue. Oil is used in almost every engineering-, military-, chemical-, and industrial- process to produce, as well as to protect, ‘our interests’ at home and abroad. Oil is used to oil the process of empire-building, or protectionism, or even just plain war, at every level, including oiling the barrels of the guns and fueling the Humvees and attack helicopter gunships.

The ‘war for oil’ is a particularly cynical form of circular dependency. In the 1960s, US President Eisenhower warned of the “military-industrial complex” he had come to believe was running his country at that time. And I wonder, if he were around today and thinking of the issues and oil wars in and around Iraq and the middle-east, whether he would feel there had been progress, and if so, in what direction?

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

Education is everything

Education, is everything, sharing knowledge enables the people to resist control and more effectively utilize their lives for their own benefit, instead of merely as either paid or unpaid slaves.

A question often asked throughout history by the ruling classes: what would the peasantry do when not gainfully employed. std-dsc_2051-bcIt was the custom in the 1800s to employ children between the ages of five and ten for up to thirteen hours per day in the textile mills of northern counties in England, a source of great wealth for the upper echelon of the British Empire at the time.

The labour reformer, Robert Owen, was asked, during a parliamentary inquiry in 1816, why he did not continue to employ such young children in his mills, and why instead he chose to educate them: “Would not there be a danger of their acquiring, by that time, vicious habits, for want of regular occupation?” His reply: “My own experiences leads me to say, that I found quite the reverse, that their habits have been good in proportion to the extent of their instruction.”, was quite unpopular at the time and led to him having to buy out his partners so he could run his business along more liberal lines. He stood in stark contrast against the prevailing group-think of his times. A pioneer.

All of us tend to take for granted the current freedoms, education, future prospects, lifestyle choices, which we (it is hoped) enjoy, but each freedom has been hard-won, and is always in danger of being lost by inaction. The WNBR stands for our rights to push boundaries, to cast aside social convention, to protest in the manner of our own choosing, to declare ourselves both unique and individual, and surely in control of our own destinies.

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

Cycling will lead to immorality

The bicycle, besides being one of the most environmentally friendly and healthy forms of personal transport, may also lay claim to having done much for the civil rights of women. In the late 1800s, when cycling became fashionable for middle-class European women of the period, it caused an outrage.

Even when women were able to wear a pair of trousers they were dubbed “a cycling dress consisting of a jacket and trousers, the latter being covered with a skirt for the sake of modesty, and to protect the wearer from verbal (and sometimes physical) attacks.” std-wnbr_178-bcIn 1860 a Mrs Linton feared that cycling for ladies would “lead to immorality as girls roamed the countryside in search of adventures.” It was not only women such as Mrs Linton that these adventurous women needed to fear; the establishment was also heartily against the idea of trousers being worn by ladies, as even the medical journal The Lancet declared: “[we] consider this article of dress unnecessary, and in many ways detrimental to health and morals.”

And “that monstrosity of fashion, the divided skirt, is an outrage not to be countenanced.” It might be entertaining to consider what these people would have made of the WNBR. One can only imagine apoplectic fits with bulging eyes, red cheeks and much gesticulation. “It was thought that the combination of straddling the saddle with the pedaling motion would lead to arousal in the female, leading to the habit of masturbation.” Some authorities suggested the logical conclusion would be to render men irrelevant; a grave matter indeed. Although perhaps this was merely a portent of a strange mixture of ideas combining militant feminism and short-sighted genetic experimental ideas in the 21st century.

A hundred years ago Alice Hawkins, a suffragette, cycled around Leicester, in the UK, promoting the womens rights movement, causing outrage by being one of the first ladies to wear pantaloons in the city. It’s worth considering, for a moment, the kind of response an event like the WNBR might have received at that time.

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.


The comradeship which comes from taking part in an event like the WNBR, fighting for a common cause, also seems to bring out the best in people. Many will also be helping with the presumably onerous task of putting body paint on each other, for instance.John O’Connell describes how one WNBR participant was at the train station, on his way home to Birmingham, in the UK, after the ride, only to find he’d somehow lost his train ticket, while he was offering to sell his bike cheaply to pay for the ticket, his fellow riders have a whip-round to buy his ticket for him.

std-_mg_2377-bcDuring the London 2005 ride, Bernard Boase rescued a large black poodle from amongst the legs of the passers-by in Garrick Street, when it had jumped from it’s owners handlebar basket. Venus, another rider, offered to return it to the owner, who she had noticed, nearby.

People also use the WNBR as an entertaining way to raise funds for a particular charity. Tristan White used his participation, while cycling naked and wearing a mask of Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London well known for introducing a bicycle rentals scheme to the City of London, to raise UKP 600 for the S.O.P.H.I.E charity, (the Sophie Lancaster Foundation), and then in a suitable spirit of empathy, his employers, Legal & General, doubled his contribution to UKP 1200.

Still others assist an aged relative to join in, like Paul Burkimsher helping his 84 year old mother-in-law to come along and fully take part in the WNBR, sometimes even using the bicycle as a bit of a walking frame; she joined in 3 rides, London in 2005 + 2006 and York in 2009. As she said of the second ride: “We went past the US Embassy. I remember all the people laughing and cheering.

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.