Portland more than lived up to its name as the Naked Bicycling Capital of the World tonight as thousands and thousands and thousands of people took off their clothes and pedaled through the city together.
The 2012 World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) went smoothly from my vantage point. I saw several crashes (none of them looked bad), and heard of a minor kerfuffle or two via Twitter, but all in all, it seemed like a night to be proud of. (UPDATE: Unfortunately I have since learned of several groping incidents and some pretty bad crashes.)
At the staging area, Love Bomb Go-Go performed live atop an old school bus to get everyone into the spirit…
Despite threatening clouds in the evening, things stayed dry throughout the ride (although I did get a bit drizzled on riding home). Once it got close to starting time, I could tell the crowd was massive. To my eyes, this crowd definitely looked bigger than last year. I’m not sure if anyone was able to attempt a count, but let’s just say there were 10,000 people.
The crowd was so big that I was rolling through downtown near Burnside and people at the start (SE Water and Salmon) were just rolling off.
I saw so many beautiful and happy people. My face is still sore from smiling. I love how this ride attracts such a wide swath. I met one woman who I know from bike advocacy work. She said she just happened to be out biking and saw everyone riding by. “Everyone was just so nice and welcoming,” she said, “so I just decided to join in.”
The spectators were definitely out in force. I think it’s becoming sort of a big attraction to plan on watching the WNBR. I saw people holding pre-made signs and sitting in camp chairs. Who knows, maybe next year people will start camping out and/or duct-taping off their spots at the best viewing locations!
At the end of the ride, spontaneous naked dance parties broke out. On the waterfront by the Vera Katz statue, people danced and partied late into the night while the downtown Portland skyline loomed in the distance.
Thanks to the Portland Police Bureau and all the tireless volunteers from Shift who make this thing happen. Please consider a donation to keep this event going strong. You can donate online at PDXWNBR.org.
Check out some of my favorite photos below and see them all in the gallery…
More photos in the gallery.
How’d it go for you? Share your experience in the comments….