Naked cyclists on a tandem who caused a stir as they passed through the North East have spoken of the positive reception they got and the good causes they are supporting.

The duo were spotted numerous times as they cycled through Teesside and County Durham earlier this week. 

Financial consultant Neil Cox, 33, wore nothing more than his helmet, while his passenger and friend, pianist Hannah-Elizabeth Teoh, 30, feeling the nip in the air, was fully clothed.

The Northern Echo spoke to the pair as they took a pit stop in Pitlochry in Scotland on Thursday (July 28).

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They are part of a team of Free Wilders cycling from John O Groats to Lands End in aid of the environmental charity Rewild Britain and the mental health charity Mind.

The Northern Echo: Neil Cox and friend Hannah-Elizabeth Teoh who cycled through the North East Pictures: FREE WILDERSNeil Cox and friend Hannah-Elizabeth Teoh who cycled through the North East Pictures: FREE WILDERS

Mr Cox said: “We believe that rewilding is possibly the most important thing for us to do right now to prepare ourselves for the challenges of climate change.

“I'm cycling south to north with Hannah and Colin and Sadie, who are the other half of the team, have travelled in the opposite direction. We crossed somewhere in the middle.”

He added: “Hannah's been naked for a lot of the journey as well, but I think it started getting a bit cold for her.

“I would say Colin and I are naturists. Hannah is naked a lot at home and maybe wouldn't use the label.

The Northern Echo: Neil Cox Picture: FREE WILDERSNeil Cox Picture: FREE WILDERS

“We are comfortable with our bodies and it's a way of drawing attention to the charities as well as a way to promote a conversation around naturism. It's all been quite enjoyable."

He said the concern about chafing issues with long-distance cycling did not affect them.

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“It could be because we are undressed and there's no clothing to trap moisture,” he said.

"We were lucky to be sponsored by Owen Barry’s Tanyard who made us special sheepskin saddle covers.”The Northern Echo: Neil Cox and friend Hannah-Elizabeth Teoh Picture: FREE WILDERSNeil Cox and friend Hannah-Elizabeth Teoh Picture: FREE WILDERS

Mr Cox said more than 95 per cent of people either had no (adverse) reaction or were very positive.

He said: “We've had lots of people stopping and asking about us and making donations on the spot.

“And cafes, bars and shops have been fine with us coming in.

“The public have generally been supportive throughout the journey. There has been the odd person that's taken a very aggressive stance, which we knew would happen."

Mr Cox said they had been stopped three times by the police, but were allowed to carry on their way.

The Northern Echo: Neil Cox and friend Hannah-Elizabeth Teoh in Coxhoe Picture: Macauley UnderwoodNeil Cox and friend Hannah-Elizabeth Teoh in Coxhoe Picture: Macauley Underwood

“Nudity whether in public or in private is completely lawful in the UK. The police have been generally following their policy.”

Nudity, whether in public or private, only becomes potentially illegal if your actions are sexual or someone was caused genuine alarm (and it could be proved that alarm was reasonable).

He said: "The basis of rewilding is that nature can look after itself. With a helping hand we can establish vital ecosystem processes like predation, grazing, regeneration and decomposition.

The Northern Echo: Hannah-Elizabeth Teoh Picture: FREE WILDERSHannah-Elizabeth Teoh Picture: FREE WILDERS

"This means large-scale restoration of ecosystems to the point where nature is allowed to take care of itself. 

On Wednesday, a Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “We can confirm we received a call about a man and woman cycling through Amble and that the man was not wearing any clothes.

“The cyclists were spoken to and it was established the pair were taking part in a charity bike ride.”

Earlier this week people on the roads of Teesside got a bit of an eyeful when Mr Cox was spotted making his way through the streets of Stockton.

He was videoed casually pedaling into the Low Worsall area before being spotted in Yarm 15 minutes later.

After a long bike ride, they were sighted around the Stillington and Bishopton areas of Stockton and later that day a father was surprised at seeing the couple cycling through Coxhoe, near Durham.

Macauley Underwood was with his five-year-old son Leighton, who exclaimed: “Dad I can see his bum bum.”

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