I had a unique day recently. A VERY unique day. What made it so unique is that the morning's activities could not have been more different from the afternoons. The morning of June 11th was rich and steeped with a regal British tradition, it was the Trooping Of Colour, the Queen’s "Official" 80th Birthday Celebration. She celebrates two birthdays cause she is the Queen of England, and she can. Her real birthday is on April 21st. They push the celebration later in the calendar with hopes of getting better weather and less chance of rain. The Queen of course will not be rained upon, it is her that does the reigning.
Tens of thousands lined The Mall, which is the main boulevard leading up to Buckingham Palace. I personally felt like “Where’s Waldo” stuffed into the middle of the masses. I had heard a couple speaking how they had gotten there at 5:00 in the morning so they could have a good view. Luckily my short experience as a cocktail waitress once again came in handy as I did manage to manoeuvre a decent position along the parade route (right beside the couple who had been there since 5:00AM). Me, I arrived just before "showtime" with my venti latte still hot. It was rich with royal pageantry, the Royal Horse Guards Parade, all decked out in their full regalia, decorated soldiers, full bands on horseback, an impressive fly-by display by the Royal Air Force, gilded carriages carrying British Monarchs and Monarchs-to-be. Even young Princess Charlotte made her first public debut on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
This event was televised around the world. Of course my favourite televised moment is when the Queen told Prince William to stand up while he was crouching down and talking to his little boy. If you haven't seen this video you have to watch. I attached a link. Man oh man what a tough family to be born into. Harder I would think is marrying into that lot. Stay strong Kate. It was pomp, grandeur and royal pageantry as England does best.
Meanwhile….. a few hours later…one park away…. I am in a sea of thousands of naked cyclists.
It was The World Naked Bike Ride. Thousands of cyclists strip down and ride through the streets of London naked. Although there are many awareness campaigns attached to this ride the main one seemed to be bringing awareness to cyclists and biking safety on the roads. Some bodies were painted with the words "can you see me now?"... and see them you could. I felt like I had walked into a alternative universe. Like a Garden of Eden revival but with a real absence of Eve. It was more like Adam and Adam...and Adam...etc.
Right about now you should be thinking, were there not any naked women? The answer was, not that I saw. There were a few topless and some in bikinis but did not see any women "au naturel". Not that they were not allowed to participate or even encouraged to go as "bare as they dare" but I ask you this, how many women do you know who would voluntarily want to get naked, have strangers judge their bodies as they ride through the streets of London so people like me can take pictures of them and post them on the internet? Not this girl. Does that sound like something most women would want to do? It is the guys, they love being naked. With all sorts of shapes, sizes, ages and races they were all totally and fully comfortable strutting around like peacocks letting it all hang-out. Of course as a North American woman I was not really use to the "hanging-out" look of the European "pea-cock". More accustomed to the trimmed up North American bird. So very quickly, two guys are sharing a hospital room. "What are you in for? I'm getting a circumcision.""Damn! I had that done when I was born and I couldn't walk for a year!" Haha. My only circumcision joke.
I think the rest of this blog is much better told in photos than in words, although I am having a hard time (no pun intended) finding PG photos of two thousand naked men on bikes. My girl Chelsea Handler got her photo taken down by Twitter and Instagram for posting a topless photo of herself imitating a famous photo of Vladimir Putin riding a horse without his shirt. They deemed it "indecent"! My pics are a tad more (or sometimes less) overt than Chelsea Handler's boobs. It did make for some great late night television fodder on her show. Miss that show. Love that my link (if you clicked on her name) is in The Business Insider UK, a very corporate publication that covers important business news. Guess they were covering the political Putin angle rather than Chelsea's hooters.
This ride is now in over 40 countries and growing. Just don’t think most of them run on the same day as their ruling monarch's birthday party.
So God save the Queen, God save those thousands of naked cyclists for making us look, and the City of London for hosting these side-by-side events. For I cannot think of anywhere else in the world that these two events, so different in every conceivable way could happen on the same day, a few blocks apart.
And for those wondering, it rained cats and dogs on the bikers. They clearly do not have the connections of The Royal Family.
P.S. You didn't think with thousands of naked men there weren't at least half of them that looked like this guy? I just knew that if I led with him you likely would have stopped reading.