“Do a cycling event and try asking friends and connections for donations, and the response is probably only going to go so far. Do that same cycling event pretty much naked and, trust me, you’re going to raise a lot more for charity!”
-Patrick Cox, CEO + Founder Team Near Naked
About 14 years ago Patrick Cox “got a testicular cancer scare”. Before receiving the all-clear, which eventually happened, he promised himself that regardless of the prognosis, he was going to do something. He was going to contribute to making a difference.
“The earlier you detect cancer, the more your survival rate increases. I wanted to get more people talking, more people aware, and more people getting check ups. So I decided to start a charity,” said Patrick.
Inspired to register for this year’s Tour of Cambridgeshire? Do it! Visit here
It took him a year to crystalise what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it, and he found part inspiration from an unlikely source.
“There was a Naked rambler in Scotland who cause a stir, naturally, undertaking a massive walkfrom Lands End to John O Groats in the nuddy. The problem was all along the way the poor guy kept having to return to the city to face fines received during his journey. That's how you grab attention! he inspired Near Naked Kit!” explained Patrick.
“It’s no longer enough to want to raise funds. These days you have to stand out and do something really different. It’s all about grabbing attention. Bike riding in a Near Naked kit that essentially makes you look like you’re cycling starkers is certainly going to do that!” he said.
When it comes to Charity Cycling Challenges People can either run their own private challenge raising funds on their own for Team Near Naked, or they can join the bunch on a specific fund-raising event such as the team entry in Tour of Cambridgeshire (more below).
The Near Naked kit is entirely how it sounds - attire designed to look like you’re wearing nothing.
“There’s even a bum crack!” joked Patrick. “Add your own helmet, shoes, socks and gloves and you seriously look like you are wearing nothing. You literally stop traffic!”
Near Naked - turning the lights off the embarrassment of cancer
Your private parts aren’t something most of us will happily wax lyrical about. Moreover, cancers connected to certain parts of the body carry a stigma - or a degree of red-face - that Patrick wants to stamp out.
Dublin born and bred, Patrick is no stranger to having a laugh, and he felt taking a light-hearted approach might be one of the most effective ways to deal head-on with such embarrassments. He wasn’t wrong.
“Team Near Naked literally and metaphorically strips the embarrassment away from body parts and therefore the cancers affecting them. By bringing this out in the open and making it ok to talk about it, we hope more people will be more inclined to go and see someone about any concerns they may have,” he explained.
“Over time we’ve evolved beyond that. When we ride as a Team Near Naked group, often the cyclists involved are cancer survivors. They can talk freely in our peloton, it’s a safe place. Lads can let go of any stigma and just get stuff off their chest and that’s incredibly cathartic and therapeutic. So these days we’re equally focussed on encouraging general wellbeing,” said Patrick.
There’s plenty of people out there charity cycling in the nude
“We’ve over 100 kits in three different skin tones out doing their bit for Team Near Naked. The whole idea is they each have to genuinely challenge themselves in order to ‘deserve’ the kit and raise funds. If you’re a cyclist who averages 200-miles a week and you come to me saying you want to do a 100-mile charity challenge, I’ll likely go back to you and suggest you push yourself harder,” said Patrick.
“Equally, if you’ve never cycled before and you want to undertake a 100-mile event, then you can look forward to getting your kit so we can help you make that happen. It’s all relative,” he explained.
Most Team Near Naked members raise on average £1,000 and plenty remain repeat nude offenders, returning their bare bums time and time again to the saddle, all in the name of this good cause.
So Smooth, it’s like riding in the nude
Before you think Team Near Naked have to endure physical challenges in itchy, hot, badly designed kit, think again.
“This kit is fantastic! It’s made by British brand Le Col and it’s actually astonishing how good it feels. We’ve a cancer survivor on our team who’s raced in something like 100 marathons. He ran in this kit and recorded his fastest time ever. I’m not arguing when he puts that split down to Near Naked kit!” said Patrick.
“I qualified for the World Championships at last year’s Tour of Cambridgeshire - that’s not going to happen if you’re hamstrung by uncomfortable kit every spin of the journey. I was on a Specialized Roubaix SL 3 last year. This year I’ve indulged in my midlife crisis and invested in a Sworks Tarmac. It will look a treat matched with the birthday suit.”
Expect flesh at this year’s Tour of Cambridgeshire
Indeed, last year’s Tour of Cambridgeshire saw Near Naked place third in the team Time Trial category.
“It was an amazing event. Amazing. Truly - it’s the only event of its kind in the UK where you are 100% going to feel like a pro, no matter what your level. Roads are closed, crowds line the route screaming support, you feel like a rockstar,” said Patrick.
“And it is one very well-run outfit. The team behind it does an incredibly efficient job. I’d encourage you to register if you’ve not done anything like it before. Hey - if you want to raise funds then you can contact us about getting hold of Near Naked kit!”
Want to know more about Team Near Naked?
Team Near Naked is a charity dedicated to fighting male cancers by raising awareness and reducing the embarrassment of cancer.
Team Near Naked organises specific group event fundraises throughout the year, so if you’re interested in tackling the Isle of Man or the alps of Italy, contact the team.