Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 14th, 2009 at 7:56 am
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(Photo © J. Maus)
Last night’s World Naked Bike Ride was another legendary event. Bodies, bikes, and blinking lights took over the city.
I have heard two reliable estimates so far. A friend said one of the security guys at the party, who has worked many large marches and protests, said the crowd was about 3-4,000 strong. Also, the Fire Marshall at the party told a friend of mine the crowd was about 5,000!
Before the ride, I climbed on top of a school bus near the start and there were naked people as far as I could see in three directions. It was immense.
One major difference this year was the cooperation of the Portland Police Bureau. The ride has typically been more sporadic and random, but after the huge turnout last year — when things bordered on mayhem as bikes and cars mixed downtown — organizers decided to coordinate with the police prior to the event.
The result was police-assisted intersection control! This made intersections way more calm than in past years. Major thanks goes out to the fine officers that helped with the ride. (View the slideshow below the jump.)
Another thing I noticed this year was a lot more bottlenecks and stopping. This was all fine and good, but at times the spectators lining the streets were so riled up and excited that I think it made for some uncomfortable moments for some folks. There was also a lot more ass-slapping from bystanders than I recall…which, depending on how you feel about that, can either be cool or not-so-cool (My but was slapped by a total stranger. It was a bit strange, but I just kept riding.)
UPDATE: According to commenter DT, here is why there was such a major slowdown on Burnside:
“As the ride came down Burnside to go over the bridge, the cops stopped the flow of bike traffic to let cars on 2nd Ave cross over Burnside. I was at the front of the pack that was stopped, watching the rest of the group disappear across the bridge. We weren’t there more than 5 minutes before bikes came across Burnside on 2nd Ave, having completed their loop across the river. Basically those at the front of the group that had been stopped by the cops decided that we should forgo the eastside loop and just turn left onto 2nd Ave, re-merging with the rest of the group.”
How did it go for you? We would love to hear your experiences. It was such a massive ride that I’m sure I only saw a tiny slice of the action. Browse my World Naked Bike Ride photo gallery and/or view the slideshow below:
Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.