Thanks to a group of devoted volunteers working on a shoestring budget so that 10,000 people can enjoy a naked bike ride through the streets (not to mention all the people who enjoy it without even being there or participating), the Portland edition of the 2011 World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is all set for June 18th.
Behold the poster (might be NSFW, depending on where you work)…
Last year the ride saw immense crowds the likes of which hadn’t been seen at any naked ride anywhere in the world. Ever. It’s hard to even estimate just how many people will show up this time around. 15,000? 20,000 (that’s Bridge Pedal territory)? Suffice it to say, it’s a major undertaking to put it all together.
But, like Pedalpalooza (the 17 day extravaganza of over 200 rides and events) itself, the Naked Bike Ride comes out relatively smoothly every year. This is thanks to local volunteers with Shift (and with the backing of non-profit group Umbrella).
While Shift provides the energy, creativity and spirit for (naked) bike fun to thrive in Portland, they get a major assist from the Portland Police Bureau. And this year, they’ve even signed up a title sponsor and several smaller sponsors to help offset event costs.
Who’s the title sponsor? The Southeast Portland based law firm Berkshire Ginsberg LLC. They’ve even come up with a fun tagline, “When you’re naked, we’ve got you covered.”
Why would a respected law firm be so closely associated with naked bike riding? I asked attorney Mark Ginsberg…
“As you know, riders are vulnerable and naked rides point that out. Our firm helps as many cyclist as we can and we also have a sense of humor, so it was a very good fit. The event is a fun, positive event, that welcomes all type of cyclists, and we welcome the opportunity to be supportive of creative, cycling community events.”
It takes more than financial support and volunteers to make sure thousands of happy and naked people make their way safely through a large city without major incidents. That’s where the police come in.
Thanks to years of relationship building with the Portland Police Bureau, I’m happy to report that there is a true sense of partnership and cooperation that exists between them and Naked Bike Ride organizers.
I received this notice from PPB Traffic Division Lieutenant Eric Schober this morning:
“The Portland Police Bureau, specifically the Traffic Division will be on scene to assist in facilitating this event. Our goal is for all participants to arrive and leave the event safely and lawfully. Once the ride begins, the Police Bureau will be facilitating the route controlling vehicular traffic at the major intersections along the route.”
WNBR volunteer Meghan Sinnott said their favorite response from participants is along the lines of,
“At first I thought the police were there to arrest us for being naked. Turns out that’s legal in Oregon! They were just there to make sure that people weren’t drinking and that we got through intersections safely!”
Sinnott also shared some other fun tidbits about this year’s ride:
- The theme is Carnival (as in Brazil, not clowns),
- The gorgeous poster was based on a painting by Alexandra Becker Black and the layout was done by Gabriel Amadeus Tiller. Plans are to print a version without sponsor logos to sell and raise money for ride.
- At the ride, there will be an artist air-brushing bodies for tips.
- Portland’s “Femaly-friendly sex toy boutique” SheBop is also sponsoring the event.
Volunteer organizer Carl Larson reminds us that they still volunteers. If you’d like to help, fill out a form online and someone will get in touch with you. If you’d like more info about donating to the event, check out pdxwnbr.org.
The ride gathers at 9:00 pm and rolls out at 10:00 pm on Saturday June 18th at SE Water and Salmon Streets. Remember, it’s only “bare as you dare” so don’t let the fully naked idea keep you away (although I’ll warn you you might end up that way).
See you out there!