Thessaloniki's (not quite) naked bike ride 2009
Billed as a protest against excessive car use, cyclists, wheel chair users and even skateboarders with their dogs rode through the centre Greece's second city, Thessaloniki drawing amused glances and cheers from local residents. Although called the naked bike ride, most of those taking part choose a more demur approach, using body paint and swim wear to avoid antagonising the local authorities who last year used riot police units in an attempt to stop the parade.
The event, which was designed to raise awareness of the environmental and social effects of excessive car use in urban areas was a mix of serious activism and party aesthetics. The impact of cars is particularly acute in Greece' major cities leading to some of he highest levels of air pollution in Europe.
Since the first Naked Bike Ride in 2004 the event has grown to include 50 cities worldwide with tens of thousands of people taking part every year.
Last year's event proved more eventful when riot police units clashed with participants following the arrest by officers in plain clothes of a British cyclist who they claimed had been fully naked. The local public prosecutor had announced that nudity would not be tolerated and backed up his warning by setting up police blockades just outside Thessaloniki's city limits. Despite tense scenes the cyclists were eventually allowed to continue their ride.