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Naked Bike Ride: Know before you go -UPDATED

Posted by on June 17th, 2010 at 10:30 am

World Naked Bike Ride - Portland-16
Last year.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Just a few days left until Portland’s annual skin-only cycling soiree, the World Naked Bike Ride. Last year, an estimated 5,000 took part (more than doubling the 2008 total), making it the largest naked bike parade in North America (if not the world?).

If recent growth trends continue (see graph below), organizers say they could get well over 10,000 riders this year. Sound like fun?! If you plan to roll out on Saturday night, here are some things to keep in mind.

But first, here’s a look at the ride’s skyrocketing growth ;-) :

The meeting spot is at the vacant (ODOT-owned) lot at SE Water and Taylor (map), just north of the Hawthorne Bridge. Also, it’s BYOB this year and make sure to keep your beveraging inside the lot (you will likely be cited if you drink on the street).

Also, for the first time ever, the ride starts at 10:00pm, not midnight as per usual tradition.

Someday Lounge after-party flyer.

The other big difference this year is that there’s no Dance Party before and after the ride. It’s a huge and costly (remember the stress after last year?) undertaking to find an affordable space for thousands of naked people, so organizers eschewed one big party and instead have set up several after-parties.

Official after-party locations are at Someday Lounge (125 NW 5th), Backspace (115 NW 5th), and the food carts at SE 12th and Hawthorne.

If this is your first time, read this very helpful entry on the Shift wiki site. Also take a look at Shift’s World Naked Bike Ride page for an FAQ and other details about this year’s ride. To get a feel for what it’s like and read lots of comments from others who have done it, see my reports from 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005.

And for good measure, here’s the slideshow from last year’s ride (NSFW depending on where you work):

From personal experience, I can say there’s simply no other ride quite like the Naked Ride. Whether you go all the way nude or keep a few things on, whether you do it for politics or fun or both, it’s something you won’t ever forget.

Hope to see a huge crowd Saturday night!

More tips to keep in mind from the folks at Shift (followed by updated list of after parties):

– meet starting at 9 in the empty lot on the 1100 block of SE water street
– bag check will be available (dropoff ONLY before ride, pickup ONLY after ride)
– BYOB, alcohol allowed ONLY inside of the fenced lot!
– don’t block water street or taylor street to car traffic before/after the ride, please!
– ride will start at 10 with a musical sendoff
– route is 12 miles
– ride will return to start point
– meeting site and bag check will close at 1AM – head to an afterparty!

More after parties have been confirmed:

– *Dutch will lead a ride to a mystery outdoor destination to party all night. Nudity allowed, all ages, BYOB. departs from ride start/end point after ride.
Whiffies Fried Pies at 12th and Hawthorne welcomes riders to party (and chow) down at their cart utopia. ALL AGES
Ante Up: free dance party featuring DJ Dotor Adam, DJ Ronin Roc and DJ Nature at Someday Lounge (125 NW 5th). 21+ FREE BEFORE 11/$3 thereafter
Ante Down: free down tempo afterparty featuring DJ Skinny Miracles at Backspace, 115 NW 5th Ave. ALL AGES
Beauty Bar: 80’s/90’s dance party featuring DJF and DJ Rhienna 111 Southwest Ash Street, 21+ FREE
Matador – naked friendly and drink specials! can hold ~100. 21+ FREE
East End – expecting us, can hold a couple hundred. 21+ FREE FOR WNBR (there’s a cover/show otherwise)

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  • Dip Lo Mat June 17, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Fellow cyclists, please be diplomatic and set the pace for peace.

    If a cyclist is getting into a face off with an aggressive car/cop/pedestrian then try to mellow the situation and get the cyclist to move on. Do we want to be right or happy?

    Everyone should share a bit of corking intersections with a smile. If there is the rare car trying to force through, listen when they yell and try to say sorry, this will be over in a minute. Don’t yell back, or return anger, it only makes them want to nudge forward more.

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  • the "other" steph June 17, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Love the graph! How about the “other” graph, the one Brad created showing the breakdown of cyclist types (Strong & Fearless, Interested but Concerned, Naked and Happy)?

    Thanks to our 60+ volunteers who are all set to help y’all get “bare as you dare” tomorrow!

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  • Esther June 17, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I also suggest not violating public drinking rules by being discreet with your beverages. One of those 16 oz insulated thermoses keeps your drink nice and cold (or hot). You can get them at IKEA for $6…or New Seasons, or wherever.

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  • K'Tesh June 17, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Here’s my pics from 2009:

    and 2008:

    We’ll be riding in public. Cameras are all around, so if you’re worried about being caught on film, I recommend a mask, or face paint.

    I wear no pants…

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  • Kt June 17, 2010 at 11:18 am

    How ’bout when corking, if there’s a car that needs to get through, you work to make that happen instead of make them wait and get madder?

    Or, and hey, here’s a radical idea, FOLLOW THE LAWS OF THE ROAD.

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  • resopmok June 17, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Forecast right now says 50% chance of rain with temp around 60, maybe high 50s. Too bad it can’t be postponed until.. summer?

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  • JE June 17, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Something else you should know: you are not helping.

    Making a spectacle of yourselves and offending the general public does nothing to advance cycling.

    Of those who will attend, how many are Portland residents? How many regularly cycle in Portland? Not many I’ll bet. They’re just here for a show. But we who do live and ride here will have to answer the questions from co workers, friends and neighbors, attempting to rebuild the respectability you are about to wreck.

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  • Anonymous June 17, 2010 at 11:36 am

    “not violating public drinking rules by being discreet with your beverages”

    Discreet on not it is still a violation of public drinking.

    How about let’s not violate the public drinking laws at all.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 17, 2010 at 11:41 am


    thanks for sharing your opinion… but you should realize that not every single thing done by every single person who rides a bike is done to “advance cycling.” Many people could care less about how what they do is perceived in the context of a greater bike movement.

    and i say more power to them.

    biking is bigger than just advocacy and the bike movement… it’s just a thing people do and it’s fun and everyone who doesn’t do it can think what they want about those that do.


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  • Marcus Griffith June 17, 2010 at 11:45 am

    What are the parade “laws of the road”? If the police will be doing crowd/traffic control, won’t they pretty much have intersection corking covered?

    I am doing something different this year: I am volunteering at the event. I figured I have participated every year so I am due to contribute this year (volunteering for the stay behind security crew). The sheer volume of personal time and resources poured into this event is mind numbing. The behind the scenes staff for the event have earned enough kudos over the year to win the Alice Toe-clips award ten times over.

    Anyways, people have a blast on the ride.

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  • BURR June 17, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I’m pretty sure the ride is legal and will have a permit and the police will be corking, but from past experience there just aren’t enough cops to be at every intersection along the route.

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  • A.K. June 17, 2010 at 12:20 pm


    “How ’bout when corking, if there’s a car that needs to get through, you work to make that happen instead of make them wait and get madder?”

    Would you say the same thing about a parade? Just let the cars through? Or how about when a drawbridge is up, stopping hundreds of cars for 5-10 minutes so a single boat can pass.

    There are plenty of times when you have to stop and wait for a few minutes due to something out of your control… heck, it happens twice every day when CARS CLOG UP THE FREEWAYS!

    Settle down, wait a few minutes, and everything will be fine. Driving a car doesn’t get you a “hassle free life” pass.

    I did the ride last year and won’t be participating this year, but I will say it was one of the most FUN cycling events I have ever participated in, and have a ton of great memories from the experience.

    Too bad it’s not at midnight this year, I feel that is a more appropriate time for such shenanigans.

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  • matt picio June 17, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Kt (#5) – In this case, following the rules of the road would paralyze traffic along the entire route for much longer than traveling as a group. The objective is to minimize the disruption.

    JE (#7) – The World Naked Bike Ride is a protest against oil dependency and the fragility of cyclists in the face of motor vehicles, as well as a celebration of the human body and human spirit. It’s not intended to “advance cycling”. Why should everything be done to advance cycling? And who defines what “advancing” means. I think the fact that this year’s ride will approach Bridge Pedal numbers speaks for itself.

    Marcus, BURR (#11, #12) – A permit application was filed, and the ride is cooperating with the Portland Police Bureau to help ensure a safe event. The PPB will likely focus on the downtown core, MLK/Grand, and other troublesome intersections, but they can’t cover everything – we’re expecting 7,000 to 12,000 riders and the ride will likely stretch 20-30 blocks.

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  • D.R. Miller June 17, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    There *was* a 2004 ride, I recall it had maybe 80-ish people? Which would fit in with the doubling every year trend, however exponential growth never continues forever. I’ll be down there, but 10,000 would surprise me.

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  • trail user June 17, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    It gets big enough and the whole city will join in. It doesn’t because there’s not enough advertising. Everybody’s a little bit nudist.

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  • rev June 17, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    wait, the trailblazers are doing the afterparty at Somedaylounge?

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  • Gregg Woodlawn June 17, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    If you are in the front of the ride- please set the pace slowly.

    If you are in the middle of the ride and are big and strong- please encourage the 6 guys groping women who are riding by to stop. (While they are standing in the street near the curb- fully clothed- without bikes)

    If you are riding in the back and have mechanic skills- please have an extra tube and pump in your panier for folks that need ya.

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  • matt picio June 17, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    G4TV’s “Attack of the Show” will be there doing a piece on the ride, so be aware that there will be a camera crew, and depending on where you are, you could end up on camera. (they’re going to blur the naughty bits)

    FYI, they are also looking for young, hip, attractive people to interview at the start location. The finished segment will likely only be 3-4 minutes long, but you might get 30 seconds of fame, who knows?

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  • matt picio June 17, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    D.R. Miller (#14) – Last year, we (the organizers of the start/end location) guessed that the exponential growth would end, and that there would be 3,000 people. It did not, and there were 5k. I think we’re getting near the top of growth, but Bridge Pedal proves that a popular enough event can draw 20,000 people on bikes, so I would not be surprised if 10,000 people show up this year.

    It’s highly weather-dependent, though. If it rains Saturday night, there might “only” be a couple thousand people on the ride.

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  • trail user June 17, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Can the ride be routed in directions away from downtown and its rowdy groping bar patrons?

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  • Jay R. June 17, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    The WNBR parent organization has tried to establish an (illegal) “Photography Policy” that the local groups have been urged to enact. I don’t know if Portland has jumped on the photo policy bandwagon, but if they have, they’re asking for confrontation from photographers.

    If you’re in public, you can be photographed… period. If you attempt to bully or manhandle a photographer, you can be ticketed and arrested for battery and/or assault.

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  • trail user June 17, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Don’t know if it works on body parts though.

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  • wallis June 17, 2010 at 8:30 pm


    Thanks for your poetic response to Je’s comment.

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  • fool June 17, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    JE # 7 – i am a car-free portland homeowner who will be riding and has ridden the past 2 years. all of the hundreds of people i know (save 1 vancouverite) who are doing the ride are portlanders who bike here regularly and usually are car-free as well.
    i am sending a lot of intentional messages and i’ll be happy to field questions from your co-workers with positive answers about community building, having fun without oil dependency, and indeed, even activism as we open eyes to “things you can do on bikes that nobody does in cars”.

    trail user # 20 – the ride is nearly entirely not in downtown this year for exactly that reason. we share your concern.

    Jay R # 21 – we only disallow/remove photographers from private property, ie, the party/gathering sites we have rented. we have no “policy” about photography on the street–obviously it is not our place to curtail peoples’ freedom outside of private spaces.

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  • matt picio June 18, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Note also that this year’s route does not cross over itself at any point, so while there may be some slow spots, the problems we had last year with the ride coming to a complete stop downtown will not happen this year.

    There is a chance of rain, if you’re coming on the ride, bring a jacket or something just in case. You may be riding naked, but you might want something to cover up with as soon as the ride is over rather than waiting to get your bags from the bag drop.

    See you all there!

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  • rhienna June 18, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    an update on the after-party list:

    -The Aftersnacky: Whiffies Fried Pies at 12th and Hawthorne welcomes riders to party (and chow) down at their cart utopia. ALL AGES
    -Ante Up: free dance party featuring DJ Dotor Adam, DJ Ronin Roc and DJ Nature at Someday Lounge (125 NW 5th). 21+ FREE BEFORE 11/$3 thereafter
    -Ante Down: free down tempo afterparty featuring DJ Skinny Miracles at Backspace, 115 NW 5th Ave. ALL AGES
    -Beauty Bar: 80’s/90’s dance party featuring DJF and DJ Rhienna 111 Southwest Ash Street, 21+ FREE
    -Matador – naked friendly and drink specials! can hold ~100. 21+ FREE
    -East End – expecting us, can hold a couple hundred. 21+ FREE FOR WNBR (there’s a cover/show otherwise)
    -The Mystery Ride: scenic bike ride to a free outdoor afterparty spot (BYO refreshments)

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  • peejay June 18, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Would be cool to do a naked after-ride ride to all of the party venues!

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  • Red Five June 19, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Are seats required?

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  • Jstone June 19, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    First of all, i want to say that i think that this event is awesome and last year i had a $hit eating grin glued on my face the entire 30+ minutes they passed by. I felt like the Dude sliding down the bowling lane on his back. However, someone above said that tht this is a “celebration of the human body and human spirit”. LOL, sorry but thats a crock… if 10,000 people do come out tonight, maybe 200 believe that load. It is done out of pure and simple exhibitionism.

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  • trail user June 20, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Thanks again to the organizers. Was at the very front at the end, and the police did a nice job of staying on top of directing the front runners on to the specific streets designated for the ride. I spend much of the time speeding past sidewalk fans shrieking my head off buzzing by. When the skin of your entire body is exposed to the passing air, very little sweat develops. A very different experience than having sweat soak into clothes to leave you uncomfortable during a ride.

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