DISTRESSED veterans got more than they bargained for when they came face to face with a swarm of naked cyclists flashing through Clacton.
The World Naked Bike Ride came to the town at the weekend with a large group of cyclists stripping off and saddling up to take part in the event.
Organisers have hailed it a success and say they got a great reception from onlookers around the route.
But some people have criticised the bare-all ride – including a group of war veterans who were confronted by the bizarre sight as they left a town hall event.
The elderly veterans had taken part in the British Legion tea dance and were passed by the cyclists as they left to head home.
Angela Reynolds attended the event with her grandparents and slammed the bike ride.
She said: “As many veterans were exiting the town hall, many waiting outside for transport home, they were confronted with naked men and a woman riding bikes past the town hall.
“Many of the crowd were embarrassed and distressed by this public showing.
“These are men and woman, mostly in their nineties who fought for Queen and country and our freedom for generations to come, only to be confronted after a significant event for them and for the British Legion by such a lewd public act.
“I am told that this bike ride was for charity but none of the riders were carrying collection buckets or advertising which charity they were collecting for.
“Also the men were standing up peddling not sitting on their seats leaving absolutely everything on show.”
The World Naked Bike Ride is an annual fixture in Clacton, as well as other areas and countries.
It was set up as an environmental protest – celebrating the bicycle and the body and raising awareness of bike safety on the roads.
Robert Brown, who organises the Clacton event, has hit back at critics.
He said: “It was absolutely brilliant and we had no problems – we never do.
“We get the occasional negative comment but overall it was overwhelmingly positive.
“People cheered as we went past, and the cheer when we went across Pier Gap was deafening.
“When we get any negativity it is usually from people who think we are breaking the law, but that is not the case.
“Occasionally someone is upset by it, but that is not our intention. Usually they say they are worried about the effect it will have on their children, but a study has shown that children are not negatively affected by seeing nudity.
“We are all born naked. It is natural and we want to celebrate that, and people really respond to it.”
Planning for next year’s naked bike ride in Clacton is already underway.