Tube-goers trouserless

Would you take part in one of London’s most bizarre traditions: The No Trousers Tube Ride?

Earlier this month, hundreds of people took part in a No Trousers Tube Ride across the capital which has been going on every January since 2009.

The tradition, which if you haven’t guessed sees people removing their trousers on public transport, started on a subway ride in New York in 2002 by a group called Improv Everywhere.

Despite the outlandish theme, there are some rules: no small pants, thongs or see-through apparel are allowed.

This year’s tube ride began at 3pm on Sunday 7 January, with crowds meeting in Soho’s Chinatown, before heading to the Underground to undress while trying to act as completely blasé as one can in their underwear.

TikToker Melanie Lange took part in the day after finding out about it through Time Out London.

She then located the Facebook Group with all the details of how to participate.

Facebook group admin Dave Selkirk welcomes “bucket list tickers and inquisitive introverts” to join in for “the sake of fun”.

Melanie said: “My initial motivation was purely driven by curiosity and a fascination with the tradition itself.

“I decided to join the gathering at the meeting point and ended up following the crowd to the tube. The more people joined in, the more amusing it became.

“Without much hesitation, I found myself participating and, to my surprise, took off my trousers. It was quite a spontaneous decision!”

11th Annual No Trousers Tube Ride in #London Was I slightly hesitant to remove my trousers in public? Perhaps Did I do it anyway? Absolutely! #notrouserstuberide2024 #londontube #notrousers #notrouserstuberide

♬ Cupid Shuffle – Cupid
Melanie Lange’s TikTok about the No Trousers Tube Ride Credit: Melanie Lange

Organisers taught a simple dance to participants and even brought a boombox to add a layer to the lively atmosphere.

Melanie added: “In a city where people usually pay little attention to others’ attire or appearance, this time we were the focal point of everyone’s attention.

“It was amusing to see the reactions of people.”

Overall, Melanie described the day as an absolutely fantastic, memorable and enjoyable day that will become a story that she’ll be telling with a smile.

While the event seems to be a blast to participants, many media outlets over the week have reported upon the event being “widely problematic” and can create an “issue of consent” especially since the majority of participants are male, reported Ryan Coogan at The Independent.

He highlights how the tube can be a threatening place for women and while the events antics stand to be harmless fun it can help evoke fear for many bystanders who just simply want to complete their commute.

The general reaction on social media platform X has been mixed, with many joking along and others stating that they’d “make a quick change of carriage” if faced with the storm of trouserless people. 

Melanie added: “Don’t overthink it. Embrace the spontaneity, let loose, and enjoy being part of a unique tradition.”

My  question is why do it in January, when the temperatures are freezing even when wearing trousers?

Either way, the bizarre tradition seems to be here to stay so are you likely to be taking part in it next January?

Featured image credit: Melanie Lange

Related Articles