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City preparing for bicycling in the buff

Hopefully, they’ll at least be wearing helmets.

Hopefully, they’ll at least be wearing helmets.

For the third consecutive year, about 30 cyclists are planning to take to the streets of Halifax on Saturday in a ride that hopes to fight for an energy source that’s more nude than crude.

It’s part of a greater World Naked Bike Ride movement that began in Vancouver in 2004, and will feature six rides across Canada and hundreds across the northern hemisphere, all set to take place Saturday.

It brings people together who want to paint or expose their bodies to squeeze the handlebars — and whatever else — on lack of cycling infrastructure, oil dependency and air pollution.

“It was really liberating, I found, to get out there and to sort of dispel, very quickly, any apprehensions I had. They kind of washed away pretty remarkably quick,” said Tom MacDonald, who took part a year ago and is now organizing the Halifax ride after it appeared no one would.

Though events like Critical Mass — a monthly and largely spontaneous mass bike ride through the city — and the recent HRM Bike Week raise similar awareness, the 24-year-old MacDonald believes this ride can accomplish the same thing in a “silly and fun way.”

An exact route hasn’t been finalized, but the ride will begin at The Bus Stop Theatre on Gottingen Street at 2 p.m., following a body painting party that begins at noon.

“I think a lot of people, when they do Critical Mass, would tell you that the passersby are really confused as to what’s going on, whereas I think, conversely, a naked bike ride speaks for itself,” he said.

MacDonald said while he’s seen improvement over the three years the ride has gone on, he hopes Halifax can continue investing in bicycle infrastructure by improving downtown bike parking and creating a bike lane that connects the Bedford Basin to the city’s south end.

Macdonald added bicycle-mounted police would be escorting the riders — “from behind.”