Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 16th, 2009 at 1:00 pm
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(Photo © J. Maus)
Last Saturday night, 1% of Portland’s population reveled in the World Naked Bike Ride. 5,000 people enjoyed it by bike (or on roller skates, skateboards, etc…), and thousands of others did so either by seeing it live and/or by enjoying the reports and photos online.
By all measures, the event’s success was an exciting watershed moment in Portland’s cultural history.
But behind the scenes, the celebration has been muted. As a very small core of volunteers recover from the intense amount of work it took to plan and pull off the party and the ride, they also face debt from costly permits, licenses, porta-potties, bike racks, decorations, and so on.
“They worked themselves to the point of near collapse to provide us with a legendary party. For free. For the love of bikes and for the love of our community.”
— Brad Reber, friend of Naked Ride/Party organizers
Believe it or not, the entire event was put on by a few, extremely dedicated citizens who devoted themselves to providing Portland with an amazing night of free bike fun. There was no deep-pocketed non-profit or sponsor that picked up the tab.
The budget for the ride was $2,000, but organizers say, despite their best planning attempts, it ended up costing much more.
The sale of beer at the party is usually the main way to pay the bill, but this year, after a key beer sponsor did not come through as expected in the last minute, planners were left scrambling. A new beer sponsor stepped up, but organizers still ran out (11 kegs were sold) so they did not make as much in beer sales as they hoped.
Pedalpalooza rolls along, but these volunteer heroes still have bills to pay.
Brad Reber, who is friends with several of the organizers, wrote on the Shift email list that the event,
“…consumed nearly every non-work moment of their lives for several months. They worked themselves to the point of near collapse to provide us with a legendary party. For free. For the love of bikes and for the love of our community.”
Meghan Sinnott, the lead organizer of the event, left a comment on this site yesterday that everyone should read.
So here’s the deal. Let’s try and raise some money. Let’s make sure those volunteers don’t have to stress about bills when they should be enjoying an epic Pedalpalooza.
Plans for next year are already in the works. And, given the amount of publicity and excitement Saturday’s ride generated, organizers are planning for 10,000 riders and a party that can accomodate 4-5,000 people. It won’t be cheap.
Do it for the volunteers.
Do it for the naked biking that was, and the naked biking that is to come.
Do it because you had the time of your life.
Do it for Portland.
(Link goes to PayPal and donations go to Umbrella, the non-profit that facilitated the event.)
*Update: Organizers say that anyone who donates at least $500 will get a free Brooks bike saddle (so your bare bum can ride in style next year!).