A NAKED activist with a penchant for biking in the buff surprised beach-goers when he brought his hobby to the promenade.
Richard Collins, 53, known as ‘The Cambridge Nude Cyclist’, took advantage of the warm weather on Wednesday, riding au naturel from a friend’s house in Moordown to Bournemouth Pier, and along the prom to Sandbanks – where he dressed to wait for the ferry. It was there that the police caught up with him.
It is not his first run-in with the law. He was arrested for cycling naked in London four years ago – but the case was dropped.
A committed naturist for three decades he has spent years promoting the cause, appearing on TV on BBC Breakfast.
The electrical engineer said he doesn’t set out to offend or shock – he just chooses to “live life naked when it’s warm enough”.
“Cycling is a great way to get a bit of exercise in itself – but especially without any clothes on,” he added. “You feel the breeze on your skin, and the sun on your skin – it feels wonderful.”
Richard began cycling naked in the countryside around his Cambridge-shire home in 2002 – putt-ing shorts on when he passed through the city.
“One day I decided to see what happened if I didn’t. Everyone cheered – and the rest is history as they say.”
He said the usual reaction was surprise or amusement – including on the Bournemouth prom.
“I looked at a few people, including some old ladies, and it definitely brought a smile to their faces –a pleasant smile, and there were a few whoops and cheers, he said.”
But while nakedness in public is not an offence in itself, Richard’s outing on Wednesday saw him arrested by police after a complaint from a member of the public.
He was charged under Section Five of the Public Order act 1986 for “disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment alarm or distress thereby.”
He will appear before Bournemouth Magistrates Court on July 21.