I like to think that I’m not prudish…
But I confess I was taken aback by this NPR story:
Not the part about covering their faces.
The “Naked Bike Ride” part.
Masses of people riding bikes, naked?
I’d never heard of this.
Time to educate myself.
I went online and sure enough, there’s a website…
With a colorful poster…
And a Philly Naked Bike Ride scheduled:
Saturday, August 28
So…why a naked bike ride?
According to the website, the Philly Naked Bike Ride – or PNBR – is about “Riding together to promote fuel-conscious consumption, positive body image, and cycling advocacy.”
I can’t argue with any of that.
You don’t have to ride naked – it’s a “Bare As You Dare” event. You don’t have to pre-register, just show up. You don’t have to pay to participate, but donations are welcome.
And you don’t have to work up a sweat – the ride is not a race:
“The ride is a slow, conversational pace. It meanders through the city of Philadelphia for a total of about 10 miles. At this rate, it typically takes 2-3 hours for the front of the group to get from the starting location to the ending location. It is NOT a race by any means!”
OK, but…the naked combined with the bicycle seat sounds like it could be…uncomfortable? Worse?
That’s addressed on the PNBR website as well:
“You should try it! Otherwise, we recommend wrapping something soft around your bike seat, such as a t-shirt, a bandana, a swatch of velvet, or anything else that will make your bum feel happy. If you are renting a bike, we strongly recommend wrapping your seat.”
That last is a particularly good suggestion.
It turns out that the Philly event is part of something much bigger:
The World Naked Bike Ride – WNBR – is “an annual, worldwide bike ride that highlights the vulnerability of cyclists everywhere and decries society’s dependence on pollution-based transport. It’s also a lot of fun and it’s free for all!”
Again, I can’t argue with any of that.
On the WNBR site I learned that:
“…the World Naked Bike Ride originated as a protest against society’s dependency on oil. Today, especially in Portland, Oregon, many people ride to promote cycling not only as a viable mode of transportation, but a form which should be celebrated!”
And when they say “World,” they mean it – it’s easy to find images of participants from Vancouver to Zaragoza, Spain to London to Cape-Town, South Africa:
And not everyone is naked. Some wear clothes, and some get pretty creative with body paint…
…Others with hats and costumes and anything else they think of:
Riders are cautioned, however, to…
“Carry your clothes with you, in case you wind up having a bike malfunction or needing to stop at a store to use the bathroom or grab some water, etc.”
So, naked bike rides.
Something I knew nothing about – I now know at least a bare minimum.
(I had to make at least one “bare” joke, didn’t I?)
The Philly Naked Bike Ride: A good cause, could be fun.
So, if you happen to be in Philadelphia on August 28, stopped for a red light, and see this…
…You can close your eyes.
Or you can just…