Watch video below
(Photos © J. Maus)
A massive crowd — which some estimate at well over 2,000 riders — took part in the Naked Ride through downtown Portland on Saturday night (technically Sunday morning).
As we made our way from the Northwest Industrial Area to downtown (via Burnside), the immensity of the crowd became evident.
At one point, like a vast school of fish, we engulfed a TriMet bus. The number of riders was so great that the driver gave up any hope of forward progress, shut off the engine, and as I passed, he was standing in his opened door, smiling and chatting on his cell phone as reveling naked riders passed by urging him to join in.
As we rode onto NW 23rd, I was toward to rear of the pack. Wanting to get to the front, I cut over to 21st at about Raleigh. I pedaled as hard as I could from Raleigh to Burnside — about 15 blocks — and there were already riders coming down Burnside when I got there.
At one point, near the front of the mass, I pulled over to shoot some video and stood in the same spot for nearly 10 minutes while a continuous parade of bikers rolled by (and that was on a downhill!).
I haven’t heard any official counts, but the general consensus seems to put the tally at somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000. Last year, Portland had 800 riders and tied with London for the largest crowd in the world (no word yet on London’s tally this year).
Inexplicably awesome scenes abound: High fives from tourists as we passed, women in cars sticking their heads out and flashing us as we rolled by, club-goers posing for pictures with naked bikers, a naked jogger who ran with us, many exclamations from riders of, “I’m naked!”, and many exclamations from bystanders of, “I love Portland!”.
The night was full of celebration and bike love, but with such massive numbers, we also created a bit of havoc in downtown Portland. I heard several reports of unfortunate interactions between riders and people in cars.
not survive the run-in.
(Photo: Jim “K’Tesh” Parsons)
Portlander Meghan Sinnott was on the ride for the first time. She was helping get riders through an intersection (Burnside and Broadway) by holding up cross-traffic, when a large white truck decided to not wait any longer. Sinnott wrote on the Shift email list that the truck, “started to run me over.”
The response from passing riders was swift. Jasun Wurster said the driver of the truck was being “way too aggressive” so he sacrificed his own bike (see photo at right) while trying to get Sinnott out of the way.
But even with those few snafus (the Portland Police trying to stop the ride too), the raucous ride was a spectacle beyond belief. The whooping yells of excitement, the ringing of hundreds and hundreds of bells, the flickering bike lights, and the overwhelmingly positive response from most bystanders. It’s a ride this city will never forget.
Below is a little video I put together:
Were you on the ride? What did you see? Share your experiences below…