Support BikePortland

An estimated 5,000 take part in Portland’s Naked Bike Ride

Posted by on June 14th, 2009 at 7:56 am

The masses assemble in Northwest Portland prior to the World Naked Bike Ride. There were bikes and flesh as far as the eye could see in every direction when I took this photo (from the roof of a school bus).
– View slideshow below –
More images
(Photo © J. Maus)

World Naked Bike Ride - Portland-21

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.

World Naked Bike Ride - Portland-17 World Naked Bike Ride - Portland-9 World Naked Bike Ride - Portland-10 World Naked Bike Ride - Portland-38

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.)

Story continues below

advertisement

World Naked Bike Ride - Portland-45

Unlike previous years, police and
organizers coordinated before the ride.

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.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

131
Leave a Reply

avatar
131 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
86 Comment authors
al mjamesjjJames Jennings LMTTom D Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
John Lascurettes
Guest

I am completely beat but it was another fantastic ride. It ended out being a little shorter than last year’s (to the best of my recollection). I was happy to see the cops corking most of the intersections for us. Our group made a point to shout out and wave our appreciation to them.

It got a little nuts when we started doubling back over Burnside. I was completely astounded when looping back we intersected with the back (or middle?) of the pack that hadn’t even made it to the Burnside bridge yet (and we had been over the bridge, down 7th, back over Hawthorne and up 2nd when we intersected with them).

That certainly seems like there were more people this year than last. 🙂

blanca
Guest
blanca

my bike is broken and have a final exam this morning, two reasons I didn’t participate. I do however live on 22nd and Burnside on the west side. I watched for about 25 minutes and estimated 3500 ppl in that time… of course people had been going by for 10 minutes or more before I went out on the balcony. I can’t wait for next year! (to participate, vouyerisim is not my thing)

Huggybear
Guest
Huggybear

This was my first naked ride. What a great way to celebrate my 62nd birthday.

Shana
Guest
Shana

Loved it! although I lost my camera (Canon SD 400 Green Case) 🙁 if a nice person has found it please call: 503 752 5792. Shana

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

It was my first NBR but definitely not my last. I had so much fun. See you next year!

Borgbike
Guest

The scale of this thing is beyond words. Some many people! Such an awesome collective expression of joy and fun.

On the whole I was really impressed with how cool and respectful people were to each other. With the exception of a few people drinking non-bagged/gloved beers I didn’t see much that “the Man” could come up with to justify shutting the ride down.

My only worry was the drunk non-bicyclists who poured out of all of Portland’s bars to watch the spectacle. These crowds of people where sometimes so large that they bottled necked the ride. It was an interesting way to get a perspective on the number of people in bars in Portland on a Saturday night, actually. Is alcohol Portland economic engine?

The folks who organize and volunteer for this event get huge props. You’ve made a huge contribution to the city and to biking. Thanks for your sacrifice so I could have fun!

Jared
Guest

This was my first naked ride and overall it was a ton of fun. The ride was great up until the point where it no longer was a “ride”. Once we hit Burnside there were so many people in the street taking photos/videos of all the cyclists that they slowed down traffic to a crawl. We were walking our bikes as we looped around Burnside – my female friends felt like they were simply on display for the downtown crowd. Although it was somewhat expected, that was really disappointing and we all decided that we’ll only do another ride if it avoids Burnside.

However, the remainder of the ride was fantastic. The atmosphere at the starting point was so positive that it actually convinced me to go fully nude, ha! On top of that, there were tons of supportive people on the side of the road not taking pictures but naked with the rest of us, cheering us on.

I love this town.

Anonymous 2
Guest
Anonymous 2

I live on NW Wilson barely half a mile from the start.
I stood on the corner with my neighbors (who had all stripped down to nakedness) and cheered. We stood there for 35-40:00 and saw the whole crowd go by. It was fantastic! Massive numbers! Excellent spirit!

Anonymous 2
Guest
Anonymous 2

As a minor aside, it would be nice if some event volunteers returned as there is some rubbish and some recyclables on the ground around the start area and for the first 400 meters or so. If it’s still there this afternoon, I’ll go and pick it up.

A
Guest
A

This was my first naked bike ride and I had a blast! It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever participated in here in Portland.
I was near the start of the pack, so we actually went over the burnside bridge, and turned right near the Doug Fir, coming down 7th I think and taking Hawthorn back over, before coming down 3rd ave back into the heart of downtown.
I didn’t see any problems… one SUV was trying to push through but a biker stopped in front of it to keep them from hurting anyone. Props must be given to the Portland Police for helping to make this a very safe event!
About the only annoying thing was the groups of onlookers in the street, which did create a few bad bottlenecks.

Corey
Guest
Corey

First time for me as well. AMAZING amount of people! I agree that burnside turned into a parking lot. Part of that was because we got stopped at 2nd for a long time, which really confused me because a huge amount of bikers had already crossed the bridge and when we started going again, we went left down 2nd. ?! Anyway, we had an fantastic time and will do it again. The only downside was that the space for the afterparty was too small to accomodate even half the people trying to get in. That’s what I heard at least when I tried to get in line. Also, SPONSORS, you should be better prepared to serve out the beer in record quantities. LOTS of people want to give you money in exchange for beer, but FEW want to wait in line for 40 minutes. There’s a lot of profit to be made at this thing.

MikeyLife
Guest
MikeyLife

The ride was fantastic, but I have the same complaint as the rest of us, which was the spectators pushing into the streets at the bars close to the river. I kept asking them to take a few steps back, but they all seemed to just want to get closer to all of us. I was getting extremely frustrated with that. Maybe next year, we avoid that area – I know it’s part protest, but I really wanted it to be a Naked Bike Ride, not a Naked Bike Walk. Either that or get cops/volunteers to get the crowd back onto the sidewalk so that their polo shirts, short skirts and gawking do not muck up the experience.

Brad Reber
Guest
Brad Reber

Anonymous 2, there will be a volunteer clean up crew there this afternoon but if you feel like stopping by and lending a hand you won’t be turned away.

dsaxena
Guest
dsaxena

Was fun but it was more of the World Naked Bike Walk than Ride. 🙂 I hear that some folks made it across the Burnside Bridge before the cops blocked it off. I’d love to see this done flash mob style with different groups starting in different parts of the city instead of trying to squeeze that many people into a single route. 🙂

kate
Guest
kate

I did not ride this year as last year I got too spooked by the grabby hands and in-your-face photographers as we half-walked, half-biked down packed burnside (in my book, that is not okay). The cops at the intersections is a fantastic improvement! The bike parking at the party looks majorly increased – that’s awesome. Hopefully next year either more assistance from police or a slight route change might help the apparent issue with crowds. I wish to be back next year- long live the Portland naked bikers!

tom
Guest

Reports from naked rides all over the place keep coming in…

http://www.bikejuju.com/?p=59

Anonymous 2
Guest
Anonymous 2

Sure. I’ll stroll over. For the size of the event it’s not much. Thanks.

MG
Guest
MG

It was my first ride, and I loved it, but I had mixed feelings about all the bystanders downtown. Obviously they were going to be there, and that’s cool, but it was annoying that they spilled into the street enough to impede traffic.

Other than that, though, it was brilliant. I loved the naked joggers and folks who dropped trou on the side of the road for support. I’m super grateful that the police helped out. The atmosphere was fantastic and communal, such that I — a normally fairly reserved kinda girl — felt completely happy and unashamed riding through town in my underpants.

I hope they guy we ran into who got himself all scraped up and then lost his glasses on Burnside feels all right this morning. Cheers to anyone who took a few battle scars in the spirit of naked cyling.

Dianna
Guest
Dianna

There was a rider down in a pretty serious way when I went down Burnside (fire trucks, paramedics holding his head, etc). Does anyone know if he’s OK?

Kristin
Guest
Kristin

After finding myself stuck at the Hawthorne & 39th intersection (in my car) as a hoard of naked bikers flew by a couple of years ago (at 1am I had to rub my eyes a couple of times to make sure they weren’t playing tricks on me), I was psyched to find out about this year’s ride just in time to join it…no preparation required!

My fiance and I thought we would join the ride along the way for our commute back to SE, but after watching hundreds of bikers make their way to the party (and starting line) in NW, we decided to follow “suit” to the scene…Holy naked bikers Batman!!

I’m glad we didn’t miss out – I was astonished at how many naked peeps and BIKES were scattered about, ready to ride….like Jonathan said, bikes and bums in every directions. The starting line with the send off from the drummers was a hoot and we just happened to find ourselves in a pack near the front with a guy rockin’ the boom box off the back of his bike…the tunage was a good touch.

From the front of the pack, everything rolled smooth, even briskly…the crowds along Burnside were just starting to gather. Very few stops. Slapping high fives with the crowd was a riot, but I was hoping we’d see more people inspired to strip down and join along side us for a midnight naked run. All was exhilarating, but the best part – hands down – was having the Portland City Police involved. So much fun to ride through the intersections they blocked with flashing lights…watching their faces trying to exude calmness and control in their uniforms while trying not to break out in laughter as some of the characters rode by. Pretty ridiculously fun. Thanks Portland.

steve pappert
Guest
steve pappert

I saw officer Picket scold a butt slapper

Marc
Guest
Marc

We should have gone up Hawthorne. That would have avoided us wrapping back onto ourselves. Great night nonetheless!

Barney
Guest
Barney

For me, the ride started with such amazing energy but ended really poorly. I loved hooting and hollering at/with bystanders and sharing collective cheer when the ride was moving. I did not enjoy walking my bike past the morons outside the downtown bars. For me, the ride is all about having fun and demystifying nudity. That got compromised when so many dudes along Burnside were taking cell phone pictures of topless women to text to their buddies. Equally unwelcome were the comments from the sidelines about peoples’ bodies.

We were near the back and never made it to the east side. From #1’s explanation, sounds like the huge slowdown along Burnside was from the front of the ride reintegrating into the middle of the ride. The back of the ride never crossed the bridge, just turned north on 2nd. Next year, I hope the route selection can avoid such a slowdown, since I think the downtown bar scene would have been much less nasty if we were actually riding instead of walking.

Kiki
Guest
Kiki

For awhile there it felt like Providence Bridge Pedal of 07… except worse, ’cause we were naked. Nobody wants to walk their bike around while naked.

I noticed the first commenter got to go over the Burnside and Hawthorne bridges? Apparently the route changed midway through, since most of us got turned north before the Burnside bridge. I wish we hadn’t gone through Old Town; as a female I definitely felt like I was on display for the meat market. A little uncomfortable.

This was the first year that the spectators felt like a problem. Argh, why were they in the street?! I guess that’s the benefit of having the roads open to cars; pedestrians respect them and get out of the way! That being said, I did totally appreciate the cooperation of the Portland police. It was great to know that intersections weren’t going to be a problem.

Overall a great ride! Can’t wait for next year.

Jacob
Guest
Jacob

@Jared: Agreed. It was tons of fun but my friends and I were somewhere near the middle and once we got down to W. Burnside and Park the “ride” ended. At that point, it turned into the World Naked Bike Walk, complete with annoying drunk gents gawking over women. We participated in that slow walk for at least thirty minutes until we finally looped around on second, heading up Cooch and saw the massive trail of blinking tail lights stretching on for blocks before us. That was when we bailed, and had fun finally started riding again, heading into SE to get whiffles, belgian fries and crepes (Big shout-out to the food carts for their naked love!)

@Dianna: Yeah, we saw that biker down as well and are really hoping the person is/was okay, though things did look somewhat serious. Any one know anything?

onetireflyer
Guest

what can I say? I was naked. I was riding my bike. What could be better?

A huge thank you goes out to the Portland Police Department for making this a fun and mostly safe event.

Andy in a Skirt
Guest
Andy in a Skirt

It was a great ride, absolutely massive, and I don’t want to bring everyone down but I have to share in the concern over the bottlenecks. Not only did I hear harassment, I saw some physical harassment of some of riders, especially the females. Unacceptable, and I have to say even as a guy I felt uncomfortable with the way the stand-stills were. Oogling and screaming, ok, verbal harassment and groping… NOT ok.

I very much appreciate the PPB being involved, and next year I would suggest even more *gasp* involvement from them, as I would like to see some of the sex offenders on the sidelines tazered so we can ride our bikes and feel like free, happy people.

sing it sister!
Guest
sing it sister!

Yeas, I agree with Barney: I feel like when our physical momentum dropped, the demystification, well, vanished. Its funny that if it weren’t for car traffic and lookie lous, I don’t think that our nekkid bike traffic wouldn’t have gotten congested.

THANK YOU to all of the organizers, volunteers, and general (wo)man power providers for making WNBR 2009 most excellent! <3!

b
Guest
b

First WNBR ride here and it was crazy fun 🙂 Despite the occasional bar wankers on the sidelines, the other 99.999% were a great crowd.

There were two or three naked-skateboarder-guys just tearing it up on a couple of the routes. Big ups to the naked skateboarders 🙂

John Lascurettes
Guest

A woman riding in our group said her butt got slapped 5 times along Couch. I witnessed one of them. Not cool.

One of my favorite parts of last year and this year’s ride coming down down the hill on Burnside and seeing naked butts and blinky lights as far as the eyes could see. But if we’re going to to get all bunched up like that where the sloppy drunks are at last call, it would be a good idea to adjust the route a bit.

The bunching up also meant we were intermixed with the cars along 12th Street on the second crossover and bikes were taking to the sidewalk and weaving with the cars. That sort of negated the nice police escorts we had earlier in the ride.

Still. I know of no altercations like there were last year with the SUV. That’s something to celebrate.

Now me, I got my butt slapped by an unknown woman at the starting line. She slapped so hard I know it left a mark. But she was naked too. So I give her a pass.

Emily
Guest
Emily

I really agree with everyone who’s saying that the bottlenecking and having to walk took a good deal of the enjoyment out of the end of it for me. For a while there it just turned into a gauntlet of guys taking pictures of and making comments about my breasts. Sure, a snarky comment back at them takes some of the sting out of it, but it still made some sections of the ride (more like a walk at those points) pretty uncomfortable.

I was towards the front and got to cross the river, and thought that was my favorite part, since there was actually room for us to ride. Overall though, this was an incredible time for my first NBR. As someone new to Portland (and to biking), I think I’ve found somewhere special.

George
Guest
George

The ride was awesome! The butt slapping was not cool. The after party really turned into a bit of a buzzkill with all the awkward lines, it-is-but-it-isn’t-mandatory bag checking and a couple really awful bands, but I understand it’s hard to throw a party for a few thousand people.

I had no idea the ride went over the bridge! We never made it over, and we weren’t at the back of the ride either. This thing was HUGE.

Ken Wetherell
Guest

Just about as much fun as one can have without clothes! Amazing! I’m still smiling.

revphil
Guest

for those who want less physical attention from spectators i hear the daytime ride was awesome.

lots of props to the volunteers who made it happen, megan, sysfail, and Ninkasi! and the venue hosts!

13 kegs of beer consumed without any notable issue!

solid gold
Guest
solid gold

good times! well done, organizers. the police escort was excellent. they were actually serving and protecting! sweet! however, next year, maybe we should have some brave peoples to encourage the crowd to not bottleneck the street/touch people. maybe next year the ride should have Team Crowd Control? i’m sure the logistics could be worked out in the next year.

City of Roses
Guest
City of Roses

Thank you to organizers, Freaky Uppity Cycling Kids, and the Portland Police Department.

Naked is rad.
Bicycles are awesome.
Portland forever.

toast
Guest
toast

Had a blast again this year.. Bummed that the ride was shorter (didn’t cross to east side) this year and yes, the spectator bottlenecks were very unwelcome.

I know the route goes down burnside precisely to pass the largest number of people, but perhaps it’s time to switch to a less populated route. There were places where the crowd of onlookers choked us down to 1-2 bikes wide. Naked bike riding is fun, naked bike walking is not.

I’m glad I was able to give someone a ride in the bakfiets, man my legs are tired this morning 🙂

Kirk
Guest
Kirk

It was my first Namked Bike Ride. I’ll be first in line next year. It was, without a doubt, the best time I have ever had.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

This was my third ride and by far the best! Rolling down Burnside and slapping 5’s with the crowd was a really awesome feeling. I did make it over the Burnside and Hawthorne bridges and was really surprised when the ride doubled back to Burnside. Maybe next year the ride should go deeper into the east side to accommodate for all the riders? Maybe water guns filled with hot sauce would deter some gropers?
A big thanks to PPD for their help, they did an awesome job!!!

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

It was fun to ride with so many of my friends (naked or otherwise), and I was surprised how many people recognized me (by name).

All the walking at the turnaround point was very much a dissapointment. I mean, I was there for a “ride”, and we did less than half the distance of last year’s ride.

I did manage to cross the river(s) though, when I rode over to Vancouver with JR.

My photos of the ride can be found here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/sets/72157619641112407/

The GPS trace can be found here:
http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/8448531

April
Guest
April

Corey (#11): The beer was served by volunteers. If the beer line was too slow for you, you should volunteer next year and help it go faster.

I hopped in for a few minutes to help out, and those people were busting ass like maniacs back there.

Tony H
Guest
Tony H

I envy everyone that was there: It sounds like it was great fun. I hope to show up at a naked ride some year. I just can’t seem to stay awake much past midnight anymore!

DT
Guest
DT

For those who are confused about the ride changing routes partway through:

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.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Man, what a great time! I felt so free and alive. All the spectators on the sides of the road made it great fun too. It sounds like part of the riders got a longer trip than the back of the pack did. I was at the end of the group and we didn’t get to go across the bridge, we were directed to turn left when we made it to the Burnside bridge. Oh well, now I know for next time to get in the crowd earlier.

es
Guest
es

I won’t be buying any used bike seats on Craigslist after this event, that’s for sure.

monsueircris
Guest
monsueircris

Overheard at the WNBR:
“Man, we ARE the amber waves of grain”

Awesome ride. I continued it by riding home (North Portland) Naked too- gave a few more late-nighters something to talk about today.

Ditto all the comments about the crowding- I like the idea of different starting points. Maybe start @ different points around the city and all take the same route to make a big loop? I am sure the crowds would catch and intermingle with each other, making a sort of “ring of fire” of nakedness.

n8m
Guest
n8m

The fun barrier got pushed to all new heights last night. Thanks Portland for a glorious ride!

General Jane
Guest
General Jane

I was taken by surprise by an unexpected groundswell of positive energy that swelled up from the masses into my soul. I smiled almost the entire time, from the dance party to the ride. Everyone who participated: You are awesome and thanks so much for making my first ride amazing! And thanks to those who encouraged us on with their positivity.
I do have two complaints: One was the bottleneck and the subsequent extended stalls. As a woman it created the need for passerby’s to reach out and attempt to touch the breast of me and other women, or elicit less than complimentary comments. I considered myself a strong woman, and ready for anything. I have to admit I had to cover myself up, due to the fear of drunken, unrestrained men attempting to reach out. If they would of made contact while I was bare chested, I ready to defend myself. I just hope next year there would be a smother transition.
Second complaint, was the bag check at the dance party. Naked dancers need bags for wallet, keys, cell phones, etc. Strongly encouraged and strongly enforced yet somehow voluntary bag check, was not a good idea.Silly at best.


“If we do not keep pace with our companions, perhaps it is because we hear a different drummer. Let us step to the music we hear, however measured or far away.”

Pseudopal
Guest
Pseudopal

I was driving and stoped on the exit at Everette St. in the Pearl last night.

So this was my fun loving facebook post this morning: Late last night pulled off the freeway for much needed gas, only to be blocked entry into the city because of 1000 naked people cycling through the streets of Portland. 20-30 minutes of “nakie bums” and “full montys” 20 feet from the car. Can’t we just have vampires or werewolves roaming our streets in the dead of night like everyone else?

What I wasn’t able to post was the fact that the concept was pretty fun. There were many gawkers- you have to expect that when you put your “wares” out there for all to see. There were many angry drivers stuck on the freeway exit. Many started getting out of their cars, yelling at the drivers or parked cars ahead of them, until they got to the end of the freeway exit and saw what was going on. (Honestly, it was scary for a few minutes- angry people yelling at eachother over the stopped traffic).

I’ve been getting asked all morning if I’ve made this up. So I posted a link to this website. Perhaps next year there will be a World Naked Bike Ride in MN, CA, VT, AZ, NJ, TX, AL, NC, and so on.

Hope everyone made it home safely!

Mark C
Guest
Mark C

From the reports of bottlenecks, groping drunks, etc. it sounds like this ride has maybe become a victim of its own success in some ways. I did the ride a couple of years back when the total count was something like 700-800 riders and it was an absolute blast. I really hope this doesn’t turn into the naked Bridge Pedal. There’s an event that used to be fun that I will not do anymore.