SCORES of naked cyclists set off for a journey through the streets of Southampton to campaign against the world’s dependency on oil.

More than 100 cheeky protesters gathered in Highfield in their birthday suits and some sparkling body paint for the fourth annual Naked Bike Ride.

Two female riders were covered head to toe in the St George’s flag while other sported lion outfits and some anti-oil mottos.

Residents came out from their homes and motorists slowed to watch the procession which took in Highfield, Portswood, the city centre and Ocean Village before heading back to where it started on Southampton Common Sue Meredith, 41, a painter and decorator from St Denys, who always cycles to work, was taking part for the third time.

She said: “Its liberating, very, very liberating. I’m here because as cyclists we’re very vulnerable on the road and with the amount of carbon emissions we are releasing we can’t allow it to be socially acceptable anymore.

“I’ve been running my business for ten years and you don’t need a van, you don’t need a car on the road.”

Event organiser Rob Jordan said: “It’s become a bit of a Southampton institution I think and everyone seems to enjoy it and not only the riders, the people we pass in town get a smile and a laugh from it.”

Other rides are taking place across the country this weekend in cities including London, Brighton, Bristol and Cardiff.

■ See Monday’s Daily Echo for more coverage of the Naked Bike Ride.