Adlington man cycling naked across the country to raise funds for Mind and Rewilding Britiain

A man from Adlington is one of four naked cyclists undertaking a ride across the country to raise funds for mental health charity Mind and environmental charity Rewilding Britain.

By Aimee Seddon
Friday, 22nd July 2022, 12:30 pm

52-year-old Colin Unsworth from Adlington, is currently cycling in the buff from John O’Groats to Land’s End with Salford University Enviornmental Biology student Sadie Tann, 32.

The pair are part of a group called ‘Free Wilders’, with London musician Hannah-Elizabeth Taoh and Cheshire banker Neil Cox doing the opposite journey at the same time.

Why are they riding naked across the country?

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Lancashire man Colin Unsworth is cycling naked across the country with Sadie Tann to raise funds for Mind and Rewilding Britiain

Colin, a woodworker and wild food and mushroom foraging teacher, explained: “We chose the charities because during the pandemic, when everybody was disconnected from the usual routines and the usual people, what people discovered in order to maintain their mental health, is nature connections, local walks in woodlands and stuff like that. Coming out of the pandemic, there's a big feeling amongst people to maintain those nature connections and to realise the value of them, and there’s lots of talk of mental health, and I think the nature connections and mental health really tie in together.

“So we wanted to do a fundraising thing to get people talking about both those things, and the naturism ties into it, because there was a big rise in naturism, with everyone being on Zoom calls and not needing to get dressed for the majority of the day, so British Naturism had a big rise in in membership. There's also a few studies done into what getting over body shame issues does to your mental health, so that ties in as well.

“And obviously, doing a challenge like this naked gets a lot more notice and fundraising than it would do if we just did the challenge in cycle gear.”

Is it not illegal to be naked in public?

The four Free Wilders are Colin Unsworth, Sadie Tann, Hannah-Elizabeth Taoh and Neil Cox.

Colin said: “It's only illegal to be naked in public if you've got lewd behaviours or if you're purposely harassing someone. If somebody was to ring up the police and complain that there’s naked people running past on bikes, the police have a flowchart that they go through: if there's disturbing behaviour, there might be a mental health problem, or lewd behaviour, there might be a legality issue, and therefore an arrest. But if you’re simply what they call ‘passive public nudity’, then that's not illegal.”

Have they had any trouble with police?

When the Post spoke to Colin on Tuesday, the pair were two thirds of the way through, and had only had run-ins with police twice in Scotland, but “each time they were laughing.”

After both run-ins, they remained clothed for the rest of the day’s ride.

Colin says public and police reaction has been generally positive to their "bizarre challenge"

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What has the public reaction been?

Colin said: “Pretty brilliant. You can hear laughter from inside vehicles, people give us thumbs up, people pull up alongside us saying ‘why you naked’ and we say we're raising money for charities, then they go ‘good on you’. So it's a really overwhelmingly positive response with just a very few people who see it as something negative, and I think it's more reflective of the fact that they have failed to disassociate it with something lewd.

“The only negative incident we’ve had was captured on the live video in Scotland, and that was when a driver took such exception to what we're doing that he drove into us on purpose.

“The police were looking for them for a while but they've never been arrested. I don't know what they're going to manage to charge them with but they were talking about attempted murder.”

Have they gone through Preston or Chorley?

Although the teams will not be riding through Lancashire during their “bonkers challenge”, Colin and Sadie did a practice run in Chorley last month to see what the reactions would be like.

Colin commented that the people of Chorley “100 per cent” gave them confidence to do it- “We didn’t have any negative reactions.”

How can you donate?

To donate to Rewilding Britain and Mind, visit the Free Wilders’ JustGiving.