She’s rode through Cardiff plenty of times on her bike – but this time was going to be different and also scary as hell. Laura Poole was going to do it naked.
Just before the 29-year-old set off on her journey the nerves really kicked in – and she started shaking.
“Up until about two hours before I didn’t know that I was definitely going to do it,” she laughed.
“I thought, shall I do it? So, I posted on my Instagram, which is full of self love stuff, asking whether I should do it. And not a single person said no, so I decided to go.”
But her decision to don her birthday suit in the Welsh capital in full view of others was not the result of a dare from friends – or even a daft stunt.
Laura was one of hundreds of people taking part in this year’s World Naked Bike Ride.
The ride is part of the global World Naked Bike Ride protests, which take place in cities across the world every summer, including Madrid, Toronto and Mexico City.
It aims to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists against traffic in cities, with the human body presented as a contrast to high powered vehicles -although the event has also become a way for people to express body positivity, champion environmental causes and more.
Laura Poole, author of the popular blog Love Your Damn Self
Participants are encouraged to “bare as you dare”, embracing whatever level of nudity they felt comfortable with.
Life coach Laura chose to take part to promote body positivity, which she does on her blog and Instagram.
She said: “I didn’t know that I was going to get naked– I thought that maybe I would keep my underwear on.
“To begin with, it was nerve wracking, so when I got there, we were painting ourselves but I was shaking so much that when I tried to paint my face it just went everywhere.
“We were about to set off, and I still had my underwear on, just the bottom half. And everybody in my view was naked. So I knew I had to do it.”
Laure Poole Gets her face painted ahead of the bike ride
(Image: Mark Lewis)
Laura taking part in the ride alongside another participant
World Naked Bike takes place through the streets of Cardiff on July 25, 2021
Laura attended the event alone, while many first-timers take along a friend for support.
But she said overall the experience was overwhelmingly positive.
“People were taking photos, people were waving. When we got going, I actually started to like it. Someone said after a while you’ll forget that you’re naked and I was definitely still aware that I was naked for the whole time.
“It was fun. It was exciting. We were all laughing and cheering when they saw us. Everybody was ringing their bells.
“There weren’t as many women as men and I kind of guessed that that was going to be the case. And lots of people were older than me as well so I was one of the younger ones.
“I was 29 on Monday, two days after the event, and I thought what better way to celebrate my birthday than in my birthday suit?”
“You can interpret the naked bike ride however you want. It’s about body positivity; saving the planet; watching out for bikes. The event doesn’t just mean one thing, it means many things.”
Laura Poole took place in the World Naked Bike Ride for the first time
(Image: Laura Poole)
Laura likes to do things that scare her– like skydiving
(Image: Laura Poole)
Laura, who has tried bungee jumping and even went travelling around Australia on her own, said the bike ride was by far the scariest thing she had ever done.
However, she said she enjoyed the experience and plans to return when the event comes back.
In the meantime, she hopes that her taking part will help raise awareness about self-love and empowerment as well as having the confidence to do things out of your comfort zone.
Laura said she plans to take part in next year’s event
(Image: Richard Swingler)
She said: “Sometimes we wait until we’re the perfect weight to do something. We say we can’t go on holiday or wear that bikini and- especially with the pandemic- there’s a lot of pressure.
“I want to create a community and a safe space for women, and I just want to promote body positivity and self love in general.
“Sometimes I don’t feel great about myself but I think you know what, I don’t care.
“I’m still me no matter what I look like.”
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