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:
Naked Bike Ride – Portland, OR from Jonathan Maus on Vimeo.
Were you on the ride? What did you see? Share your experiences below…
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Did anyone get the truck\’s plate? What a jerk! He owes a bike, two apologies, and the people a bit o\’ jail time for vehicular assault.
Epic is not strong enough.
The closest ride I can compare it to was the Bike Summer Critical Mass in Aug 2002. And this one was bigger.
Unbelievable and then some.
I love Portland!
Sweet. Congrats to the Naked Ride organizers and naked bikers. Quite a day for Portland cycling! Looked like about 7,000 people at the Mississippi Ave Cirque du Cycling for the Parade and Crit. I saw this bug in the Cirque du Cycling parade earlier in the day. Wonder if some other folks attended both?
My catchphrase for the night was, \”Bikes are sexy!\”
I\’ve never heard of a World Naked Car Drive event.
Jonathan – Thanks for your Herculean efforts in covering this and many other events all weekend. You must have about a dozen clones – no matter where I was all weekend, you were there taking pictures and covering the stories.
I would like to give a big thanks to Gabe and the rest of the organizers and sponsors this year.
Please feel free to post here any thing that your really liked or that could have been done better at the party or on the ride. As your input is what keeps this event getting better each year.
Though I loved that bike… I love my friends way more. If anyone saw the incident on W Burnside and Broadway with the white truck please type up what you remember and send it to me so that I can provide it to the Police (jasunwurster[at]gmail[dot]com).
Again, Kick Ass job for all that organizedvolunteered and most of all attended this event!
I saw a group of about 150 doing a naked ride on Saturday afternoon by Citibikes on SE 20th and Ankeny. What was that all about?
There was a similar run in with a car when we were heading up MLK. A driver almost hit a bicyclist when trying to force themselves onto the road but was quickly cut off by several of us. They were then berated by not only a growing mass of bikers, but most of all by the people on the sidewalk watching us go by. Thanks for the pedestrian support Portland!
I did hear that someone was shooting video of the white truck incident… How might we track down that video?
It was awesome. I posted my some of my highlights here.
Boggles the mind how much bigger it gets every year. Soon we\’ll have to hold the dance party at Memorial Coliseum. Way to go Portland! 🙂
Wow. Just wow. I wish I was a little more sober so I could remember more of it, but it was still amazing. This year I helped convince some of my friends to join, once they understood that if you are surrounded by naked people, it\’s more comfortable to be naked yourself. Favorite part was the great dance party. Most thrilling part was riding naked over the Hawthorne Bridge grating. Slightly lame part was all the people who drove to the dance party and got their bikes out of their SUVs.
Hope this year there\’ll be a second ride like last year, for those who didn\’t get enough.
It was a tremendously positive event.
Spectators yelling \”You are all beautiful\”, stuck cars giving us the thumbs up, a river of red blinkies rolling down Burnside.
Many thanks to the organizers.
I do have a friend with the truck\’s plate number – I think he\’s getting it to the right people, but post and let me know if you need his contact info!
That ride was the most….no words can say how much ef\’n fun I had.
The organization of the party was great and the bag check was genius. I look forward to the next one
Watched for any type of local news coverage on the local networks on Sunday night. Nothing. Zip. Nada. The closest was Fox showing a 30 second spot on the Boulder, CO 100-person WNBR.
My buddy Jim & me barely made it in time coming over from da\’couve but the crowd was so huge it took ahile just to get going. I wore my boxers till we got to the top of that fist little winding climb but took them off after getting caught up in the nude mood. We just could not stop laughing and grinning like idiots!!!! It was our first naked ride and we kept asking each other why we hadn\’t done this before. I got flogged several times by a gal in black undies and loved it!!! We were even flashed by some gals in cars!!! Definately an even that is on our calender for years to come.
Going up Grand, seeing all four lanes totally full of naked bikey goodness, from Hawthorne to Burnside (and beyond) was spectacular.
And it was a blast seeing all the people out there cheering us on. We made their nights, and they gave us a boost :). I liked riding along, high-fiving lines of hands: whappity-whappity-whap.
My throat hurt the next day from all the ya-hooing.
Coming back up Burnside I passed an older man with a big beard standing on the sidewalk. He was gazing down Burnside in awe at the sea of happy nakedness coming his way and I heard him very calmly remarking to himself, \”Marvelous\”
My friend was near the back of the pack, and she said she passed by someone who she could hear counting, and said that he was around 2600.
Unbelievable! Great event! Short lines for the porta-john, great bag check, short beer lines, loads of naked people. What a ride!
My favorite part was the grubby old guy on Burnside giving thumbs up and yelling with his pants around his ankles. I think I saw two groups of cyclists going home from the bars that just happened to see us and join in.
Definately need more beer next time (it ran out before everyone got back to the party).
I love this city!!
That was truly an amazing spectacle. It blew even our most optimistic predictions out of the water! Way to rock it PORTLAND!
If anyone has any suggestions on how to improve for next year, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I love feedback!
If you are missing anything, here is the list of items missing an owner:
∞ empties in the street
1 purple pillowcase
2 cable locks
1 red/black mullet hat with horns
1 pair thinsulate gloves
1 pair striped tights (these look really good on me, I call first dibs)
1 dark blue tshirt
1 gray girls cardigan thingy
1 communist \”rock\” shirt
1 gray girls short-sleeved zip up jacket
1 black girls tank top
1 pair fleece gloves
1 bloomsday run tshirt
1 wool fingerless glove
1 fullfingered novara bike glove
1 bike light
1 pair transparent framed sunglasses
5 sets of keys
6 cans of various food items
1 black sock
1 orange nalgene
1 kmart bike with the price tag still on it
This is the first year I decided not to try a count. A friend estimated over 3k.
I corked at SE Morison and Grand for a few min, we were pretty spread thin at the end. All but one motorists were happy and clapping even though they had been waiting a while. The one guy was pissed. When I shrugged at pointed at all the people, he flipped me off. Then I spun around to show him I had written \”Fuck Bikes\” on my back. Then he was smiling and clapping heartily.
So is this a world record then? Where is Guinness when you need them?
More thanks to the Merc, and PDOT, and New Belgium, and Infinity6, Viso and Shift for sponsoring it. Naked bikers look better with refreshing beverages.
I think the best answer to it will be to have more frequent naked rides… I heard murmurs about one in August. Even if there are only a few hundred it still is the most fun you ever have on a bike.
one of my fav moments was when we were making our way back up burnside….and just before we turned back onto nw 23rd, there was a pedestrian off to the right who had dropped his pants and kept yelling \”FREEEEEEEEEDOMMMMMM!!!\” over and over again.
that and the other guy on NW 21st toward the beginning of the ride who stood in the middle of the road, high-fiving everyone and yelling, \”KEEP OUR CITY WEIRD!!!\”
Did anybody else see the couple in the tux and wedding gown?
A wedding night they\’ll never forget.
some women complained about being aggressively targeted by skeevy men looking for nekkid photos, which stirred up a huge discussion on the damn portlanders lj community:
I talked with Meghan this morning at the Car Free event. She does not have the license plate number. Please feel free to email me to get her address.
I was there at 4th & Burnside and I saw the incident. I recall a white SUV driven by a hispanic man. Am I the only one who recalls an SUV as opposed to a truck?
We were chanting the license plate number for a bit but of course it escapes me. Next year I\’ll duct tape a sharpie to my person just in case.
I also heard the guy saying \”You are all beautiful!\”
I also saw the wedding party and yelled \”congratulations!\” at them.
I saw a guy outside a bar with his pants down and an enormous, um, salute for the riders. Whoa.
I was yelling at the observers, \”Don\’t you wish you were us?\”
This was my second year, and I think I\’m going to do this every year for as long as I can ride a bike. And then I\’ll do it in a wheelchair.
It was indeed a white truck. I got my friend in touch with Meghan – he has a video of the whole thing, including a close up of the guy\’s plate.
I have to say, as much as that incident sucked (and I hope we\’re able to nail the guy), it\’s pretty amazing that almost everyone else was positive!
Okay, this just might go down as The Most Fun Ever Had on a Bike (which says a lot, because I have fun on my bike every day). The sheer magnitude of the happy, light-hearted crowd blew my mind. I attended in 2006, and I’d estimate that this year’s turnout was at least 4x greater. Thank you to the organizers and sponsors; the beer was cheap, parking was plentiful, music at the after-party was good, the night as a whole was amazing. The level of diversity in this year’s crowd was great. Contrary to what some might expect, the crowd included people from all sectors of Portland’s bike community. There were mini bikers, tall bikes, messengers, racing jocks (revealed by spandex tan lines), commuters on cruisers, and yes, happy hula-hooping hippies. It was awe-inspiring.
Highlights: seeing friends and strangers in interesting “attire.” Couples seemed particularly creative. One certain Team BEER representative and his mate boasted some stylish his-and-her skivvies that read “Meat/I Heart Meat”. Then there was the fishnet-clad friend who leant a pair of transparent pink undies to her male fiancée. Also, there was Capt. Wheeley (or was it a local bike builder in disguise?) in his golden cape and Evil Kenievel-style helmet, popping wheelies on the sidewalks and medians, whose sidekick in opted for arm warmers and little else.
Another joyous spectacle of the night was when a dance-off circle formed at the after-party, and a very limber woman busted out a textbook example of “The Worm” better than any “Breakin’ 2” star. That concrete dance floor must have been chilly on the bod, but perhaps it was the warm spirit of the dancing crowd that made her smile big after the feat!
We had a great time at the ride as always. My few nits being that we found ourselves at the very front for a while and there seemed to be a total lack of ride leadership. We actually stopped for a minute downtown before somebody took off (the opposite way). That and my girlfriend was actually grabbed by a pedestrian. All in all we did have a blast, and did get one of our friends to try it. I don\’t think he stopped smiling the whole time! Thanks to those who did the organizing. BIG ups 😉
naked cycling gives cycling in general a bad rap. boo to naked cycling.
It was mind-blowingly awesome to participate in this. Happily, I didn\’t see anything but goodwill from spectators (though one drunk guy grabbed at my handlebars, which was stupid and dangerous, but not malicious). As for cops – I\’m not really one to speak up and defend them much, but I was actually very impressed with the helping hands they gave us. Maybe there were a few others out there who were less helpful, but I didn\’t seem them. I did, however, see many officers in front of cars to block traffic and keep us safe. One officer even let us turn left onto a major road when we had a red light and he had a green. So after the organizers and sponsors, I\’d like to thank the officers.
As for the white truck: boooooo!
when was the last time you rode a bike or a naked biker for that matter? what did you do saturday night? boo to you.
26: people with sticks up their bums give people with bums a bad name.
live a little
whoops, meant #33
The World Naked Bike Ride was unbelievable. The sheer number of people was overwhelming. I was towards the front, and my favorite parts were (all the awesomely naked cyclists) the cyclists who ran into the ride, quickly disrobed and joined in, the supportive bystanders, the body paint, costumes, and knowing we were all there loving bikes.
I wish the ride had been more around downtown, and I wish the front had slowed waaaay down. I heard a rider crash on the Hawthorne grating but couldn\’t see you- I hope you\’re okay.
I was so honored to be a part of this years event. The dance party after the ride was off the hook.
For the most part, I feel that there was far less \”creepiness\” than in previous years. There were a couple guys I ran into that definitely seemed out of place, and were blatantly ogling. For the most part, this behavior can be corrected simply by lots of people approaching these fellas, being friendly, letting them know what the event is about, and expressing that there is no sexual tone toward our nudity here and that sort of thing is undesired. Basically, make it known that they are being watched, but are welcome if they are respectful.
We all have to take care of each other.
I didnt attend,but congratulations. it sounds like y\’all did yourselfs proud!
I always understood the naked ride to be something akin to: \”hey, i have to endure indecent exposure to your poisonous choices, ie– your car. So you gotta endure a little exposure from ME.\”
WNBR is fun, and being part of a large community is empowering. BUT.. the howcome message seems to have been lost in the noise level. remember WNBRs take home message is Your car is more indecent than my ass!
#17 John, I had as similar experience, only I was looking for coverage on the local TV news station web sites. \”Nada\” pretty much sums it up. Apparently 1000+ happy naked people on bikes taking over the city doesn\’t make it on their radar.
Does this mean we can\’t trust local TV news to report the really interesting stuff? (Disillusionment!)
However, there is on those sites enough of the usual cavalcade of other people\’s misery – \”Body recovered near Sauvie Island,\” \”Farm workers injured in roll over accident,\” \”Two men arrested following a commercial truck accident,\” \”Multiple stabbings,\” \”Drunk driver hits highway worker on flatbed\” – to remind me why I avoid watching local TV news in the first place.
I can only conclude that lack of local coverage means we did something right, especially considering how much of that bad news is car-related.
Now, if that white truck had run over its intended victim, we might have seen some coverage… So yeah, no news really is good news!
I had so much fun, I\’m thinking about dong a naked commute… Anybody want to Join me on Hwy 217?
wow, so do we get the bragging rights of the biggest wnbr in the world now?
#42: I like your Freudian slip typo there…you might have meant \”doing\” but \”dong\” is an appropriate typo in this case! Love it!
Can anyone elaborate on Jonathan\’s reported SNAFU: (the Portland Police trying to stop the ride too)
this was my first naked bike ride and i have to say it was the best most fun i have ever had in my life.
#35: \”when was the last time you rode a …naked biker?\”. Great quote – love it!!
I see lots of things giving cyclists a bad name, but naked bikers aren\’t one of them. Looks like you guys had a blast! I heard the news teaser and kept watching but was shocked to see the local station cover Boulder! And they pitched it as a \”protest against high gas prices\”… WTF??
Awesome awesome awesome awesome fun! I enjoyed myself immensely! Awesome!
Word up to the person leading the ride though – you were riding WAY too fast, and the ride spread out way too much trying to keep up with you. Some of my coworkers who are not superfast fulltime bicyclists had a hard time keeping pace.
erin g. (#31) said: \”The level of diversity in this year’s crowd was great.\”
Really. By chance did anyone see any brown people?
Did you fall on my bike? Did any one see a boy with a hat on and bleached blond hair with shorter brown on the sides, on a tall gray or black bike fall on my bike, as the naked ride was first starting to head up the hill? If you know who this person is, or if this is you, please help me pay for my back TIRE that I had to replace. Yeah. $140. When I first tried to move my bike after the landing, it wouldn\’t budge. It took 4 of us to fix it so that it was jenky enough to ride for the rest of the time. Which, rest assured was RAD.
It would be very nice and NOBLE of you to help pay or, better yet, foot the bill. It would not have been so bad if you had asked if I or my bike were ok instead of taking off (considering my hand was in between the frames when you fell). Hit and run for real! Ouch. I know you probably dont want to represent that dude. Right??
If you know who this is or have any ideas please help me get to the bottom of this. Thank you all*