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….
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Was at the very front right behind the lead police car…which slowed things down compared to years past where only the motorcycle cops were heading off and corking…couldn’t race like a few years ago…girl got lightyly left hooked by lead police car when returning to start…and another guy almost got right hooked by ending police car by the 7/11 on hawthorne…it was 12 on the dot by the time police sweep cars were rounding up the stragglers at 7/11…could have rode thrice!…when people finish they should go back to one of the midpoints and see the amazingness…people really deck out their bikes or do acrobatic poses at speed, especially downhill hawthorne
A pity that we still didn’t make it past the 2010 numbers. Silly rain, decreasing WNBR size. Still, it was a wonderful time! Plenty of side-fives, body paint, costumes, and other fun.
People who stayed away with a few droplets of rain when it’s 80°F outside need to have their heads checked. Holy crap, here’s to the warmest WNBR I’ve done in 5 years running. Amazing!
That 13,000 figure never added up if you looked at the gate counts as reported vs the amount of space.
Those numbers from 2010 were produced by the reporter Marcus Griffith who’s work has since been called into question across a variety of stories and situations that he has been involved in. Jonathan has pledged not to work with him again due to problems with reporting he did for BikePortland (never published) about the City’s recent North Williams project.
The 13,000 participants figure that was widely reported in 2010 has unfortunately persisted as the high water mark. But it just aint true.
In my opinion this year’s was probably the largest yet, and I’m curious to know how many. But I just don’t know.
9,000 – 10,000 was the estimate we got that year from the Portland Police Bureau and other city agencies. I suspect that was a more accurate estimate for 2010.
Uploading my photos from the ride…
I have done done this the past three years and I can say that this was the the best one! Same route as last year, but thankful for not as many drunk cyclists as compared to last year.
The drizzle started falling around SE Stark and 34th, but with how humid it was it felt kind of nice.
Thank you for the Shift volunteers and the PPB for the work on making this great again.
We have an independent count done by pros this year so we’ll see. I personally thought the crowd was massive. And everyone took such good care of the space. You all are conscious in all the right places & outrageous in all the right ways!
When will the count be released?! Can’t wait!
I saw a woman on a tandem pick some random dude up downtown, that was pretty great. Also, trains are inconvenient.
Wow! This ride was phenomenal! This was my first time going and now I’m trying to talk all my friends into going with me next year. Does anyone know how long the full route is?
My boyfriend’s cycle computer clocked it in a little over seven miles. I could have easily done the whole route again, I was having so much fun!
didn’t even get CLOSE to the rally point, things were so crowded, so I didn’t get to donate. will have to donate online. this was amazingly good fun.
random “I don’t gets”:
WTF is up with the high fivers? that makes no sense to me
What is up with the observers dropping trou, but leaving their underwear on? Do they only 1/2 support our protest?
Always a good ride!
Your second WTF, is HILARIOUS! When the daytime NR invaded the street fest/race on Mississippi a couple of years ago, my then 6 year, said he wanted to join in. I naively told him we would do the WNBR together, at night because I was too shy to do it during the day. What an idiot I was to not think it through, because obviously children would ever be allowed. He was pissed at me for a week! I still have not dared to go. Just droppin your drawers and standing there on the sidelines in your skivies ? That’s weak, and weird.
I did see a kid there on a tag-a-long. If your kid is okay with naked adults, why not bring them?
I may have been misinformed, but someone told me that it was not allowed. Anyone know the deal?
I personally witnessed two children with their parents on the ride. One was inside the meetup area, and the other was on the ride.
At some previous WNBR parties, there have been alcohol-serving areas or due to alcohol serving the venue was 21-and-over admittance.
It was a super-duper awesome time! Waiting for the train to pass was fine. We had some bumpin’ tunes to dance to from somebody’s mobile sound system. We also got to chat with the motorcycle police cop who was corking the intersection at MLK. Asked how his night was going. He said great – he had seen both his two kids passing by in the ride, woo!
My only gripe was why the ride was routed down SE 34th again. Every year it goes that way, and every year it is way under capacity for 10,000 riders.
Since I’m one of the people responsible for that (Carl Larson and I created the route 2 years ago, and the current route is basically that route), I field that one: It’s difficult to put the route together. The bridges are maintained by the county, and some roads are state highways. The ride is incredibly disruptive of other traffic, and ties it up for 30 minutes or more. So it becomes a balancing act with the city as to what we tie up when creating the route. 39th/Caesar Chavez was one road the city wanted us to avoid blocking for long stretches, since we were already impacting a big chunk of MLK. We also tried our best to avoid any of the freeway on/off ramps, which is why the ride typically takes Burnside and Hawthorne when crossing the river rather than the Morrison Bridge. (there are other reasons for taking those two bridges as well) 34th takes the ride through Belmont, and avoids most of the hill climb up to 39th. (hill climbs are undesired because they slow the ride down)
So basically, the ride parameters have to take in the start/end location, provide enough “interesting” points to ride past (with bars and spectators), not block too much traffic, not block too many intersections at once that require police management (because they have limited resources), not loop back on itself (my screw-up 3 years ago when route planning), and yet be long enough for people to enjoy the ride while also not being too long that folks get too tired. And avoid hills, or any other feature that slows the ride down. Unfortunately, 34th slows the ride down. There is no “perfect” route, and we do the best we can.
Kudos to this year’s route planner(s) and organizers, who did an awesome job!
Is there any chance in the future the ride could get split onto 2 streets instead of being packed onto 1 narrow street? Perhaps having signs that split the flow in the middle of the road and then meet up on the other side? Maybe 33rd/34th or something
It’s possible, but it would likely create a bottleneck wherever traffic merged back in together. If we did that on Belmont, it would bottleneck in an area with bars and crowds.
Okay, the story about the cop seeing his kids has totally made my day!
First time and it was amazing. So much fun! Had a blast and was in awe looking back to see just how long the ride went on for. Loved it.
Side note: nothing makes you feel more naked than clothed people taking your picture as you’re standing in the staging area/street. I saw one guy calling out what must have been a known creeper and recording him on his smartphone being, well, a creeper. Comes with the territory I suppose! Once we got rolling it was smooth the whole way! Photographs as your moving are much different than photographs while you’re standing still. It’s a bit less weird when you’re on a “spontaneous” route.
Once again, 8,000 people desperate for attention. It’s too bad this kind of turnout can’t be channeled into volunteer work or impacting real change rather than “see how daring I am, I’m naked in public.” I’m very comfortable with my body and always found this event to have nothing to do with body acceptance, but rather a way for a bunch of hipsters to get attention because apparently they can’t do it with their clothes on.
Not many people do volunteer work between 10:00 and midnight on Saturdays. Myself and, I’m sure, plenty of the other riders are responsible working people who also volunteer in their free time.
Plus, it’s fun. So don’t spoil it.
Why can’t people just ride naked at night with thousands of others? Do they really have to “make a statement”? what if they’re just there to have fun? My one and only year I did it, it was just to have fun, ride my bike (mostly) naked with thousands of other people.
I’m a forty year old man with not a single tatoo, ironic t-shirt, or dirty trucker hat. You OWE IT TO YOUR TESTICLES to ride this ride, rolling down Hawthorne at 25 mph, standing on your pedals feeling the breeze on your nuts.
For you to say this shows you haven’t tried it. Not sure how you define a hipster, but it’s hard to tell who is and isn’t when they don’t have clothes on anyway. I suppose if they have on those huge glasses…
Fun is valuable. The naked ride is a lot of fun and relatively harmless. It also encourages folks to get on their bikes (even if just for the one night) and does, indeed, encourage a lot of body-positivity–I don’t know how often I’ve heard people on the ride say how beautiful everyone is.
Yes, Judas, the money COULD have been saved for the poor….
Get over yourself, and get off your high horse.
Hmm. Like the several times a year I volunteer at the Oregon Food Bank? Pretty absurd of you to imply that the WNBR takes volunteers away from other causes.
@ Native… poopoo on youyou. No one invited you, so there.
Amen! Wannabe rebels taking their clothes off when told, safety in numbers. Somehow “being comfortable with your body” has been elevated to the loftiest of pursuits…but nobody bothers to ask what all this accomplishes besides other than cheap thrills. And there’s nothing wrong with cheap thrills– but I ask that folks don’t load this event with such significance. It’s naked people who by-and-large feel like showing off; somehow I’m expected to be proud of them? I’d sooner call it the Parade of Self-Absorption.
“a lifestyle in harmony with nature, expressed through social nudity, and characterised by self-respect of people with different opinions and of the environment.”
This a definition of “Naturism” I am not sure how many peeps on WNBR consider themselves nudist’s per say, and even though I am one to only watch from the sidelines I find your comment on self absorption to be harsh and truly misdirected.
As a young boy,I grew up watching the first televised war. later I thought the the world could get no worse during the Reagan era, and Nuclear War was imminent. Those days have passed.
We now live in a world where we attack other cultures with DRONES, we live in a world which is in constant opposition to ANY true state of natural being, spiritual, or material.
You more than likely lack the ability to hunt a squirrel and feed yourself tonight, if Burgerville was to close without warning.
Please do everyone a favor and don’t piss all over a silly expression of joy, (with your self absorbed opinion), that IMO is not hurting you or anyone else.
So many people without helmets. A wise man once said that the tree of life is self-pruning.
So, you wear a helmet in the shower, then? Not saying that it isn’t wise to wear a helmet while riding, but I do question insulting a bunch of people who statistically are more likely to die in a shower slip & fall than during this ride. People do “stupid” things all the time. (and one person’s foolishness is another’s wisdom)
So I guess you’re a shill for the Thudguard…..
…and a drunk man once said…
“The wisdom to quit is all we have left.”
― Charles Bukowski,
First time since 2008 and it was so much fun! What a MASSIVE crowd. We were nowhere near the front, and while we were waiting for the train in SE Industrial, a friend called to tell me they were still back at 33rd and Stark and that they weren’t even in the back. Thank you to everyone who made this happen!
It’s probably best that you avoid this sort of thing, then. I’d hate to think of you having too much fun and not impacting enough real change… I, on the other hand, think this is a perfectly reasonable and enjoyable way to spend an early summer evening. This was my sixth ride, and here’s to many, many more!
I couldn’t find any good volunteer opportunities at 10 pm last night, so, hey, why not go out and have a ton of fun while getting some exercise, fresh air and hanging with friends. I did spend over 8 hours volunteering last week in additional to working fun time – it’s amazing what we can do if we choose.
I volunteer weekly and have for most of my life, I do not understand why anyone would think that a community driven event is not as important as volunteering. Building and fostering healthy city events is key in making people feel and do better. We are more likely to to see people get involved in the community when we get them active in it, boo to you and your negativity. Instead of writing negative post, i can use your line and say why don’t you go volunteer instead of wasting your time, geez Louise, it’s just a bike ride.
Looks like a great crowd. There was a Solstice ride in Seattle (Fremont) yesterday, too. Always so many open-minded friendly people.
Please cite the source of your assertation that cyclists are more likely to die in the shower than on their bikes.
According to this chart your chances of dying due to a fall are 1 in 20,666, chances of dying on your bike? 1 in 372,035. They get their data from the national Safety Council.
That was odds in a year, fyi. Lifetime odds of dying in a fall 1 in 269 and via bike 1 in 4,838.
Those rates aren’t equitable because many more people shower many more times in their lives than number of times people bike.
I bike more frequently than I shower. My friends are very accepting.
I’m doin’ one handed bunny hops in the shower on a 16inch BMX right now, with no helmet , cryin’ out of Catholic guilt because I am too ashamed of myself to join the FREESPIRITED and LOVELY WNBR PEEPS! No more! Curmudgeons and demons BE DAMNED! I’m doin’ it next year!
I shower once a day, and bike twice a day. I think most people who bike do the same. So, whose statistics are questionable now!
I never made such an assertion. I said they were more likely to die from a slip and fall than from riding *THIS RIDE* without a helmet. The assertion is fairly easy to prove, since the number of fatalities in Portland’s WNBR (all years) is zero. But as pointed out, there are sources showing that slip & fall accidents are more hazardous than cycling. (helmet or not) Many sources of death are more common than cycling without a helmet, as are many sources of injury (see Jonathan’s recent story on trauma room visits).
The point isn’t the exact numbers, the point is that there are other causes of death and injury which are roughly as common as cycling without a helmet, yet we do not impugn those people’s intelligence, depth of character, or level of consideration for their loved ones.
I always wear a helmet when biking, but didn’t at last night’s WNBR. It seemed silly to me, frankly. Isn’t the taking off of clothes meant to symbolize (at least in part) our vulnerability? Well, I figure that act of unhelmeting could be interpreted in an analogous fashion. Or you could interpret it differently. But it doesn’t really matter, because I didn’t do it because I hoped for approval from the helmet nannies.
Sounds good to me. I don’t wear a helmet on WNBR either. Sometimes you have to live life without making every action and decision be about safety and caution. Life’s eventually going to kill you anyway no matter what you do.
OMG! This ride was amazingly fun and I will always remember the freedom and exhilaration I felt biking through downtown topless (almost bottomless) at 11:00 pm surrounded by other bikers, being cheered on by the bystanders with no cars or traffic lights to worry about. Wow! I’ve worked downtown for 30 years and it has never felt quite like it did last night. I also liked that the attitude was very much dress, or don’t dress, as you please. Can’t wait to do it again next year! Thank you to all that made this happen.
Thanks for the organizers who failed to deal with the trail of garbage left behind and people running up to our house asking to use our bathroom. This event needs to be better organized with Honey Buckets and people doing trash detail afterwards. We have a trail of beer & energy drink cans up and down our street, beads and cigarette butts on our sidewalks, and bike parts in our yard.
Other than that, I have no issues with it.
A couple quick videos from 16 June 2012:
I joined the WNBR half-way in. Make sure you count my .5 participation!
I didn’t “impugn” anyone. I just made an observation. All showering statistics aside, I’m guessing that there is a valid reason that every organized ride I participate in requires the use of helmets. Perhaps the organizers of this event place a lower priority on the continued brain function of the participants.
It’s mostly due to liability concerns. Promoters that secure insurance for their events can usually only do so if there is a helmet requirement.
I wasn’t directing the “impugn” remark at you in particular, though as a co-organizer for 3 years, you kind of just did by implying that I(we) don’t care about people.
Part of this is in response to your remark, part to others – I’m lumping it all in here because I think it’s important to say but I don’t have the time to respond to everything individually in the correct location.
WNBR is not an “organized” ride in the traditional sense. The ride would happen with no organization. It would still draw a couple thousand people. But without an organized start location and route, it would be like the early years where the ride went wherever it wanted, except with thousands instead of hundreds of people. The start location and route are there to help direct the ride. Ditto for the police involvement. The city recognized that the ride would happen anyway, and put energy into managing the disruption rather than trying to prevent the ride. The ride is uninsurable, un-permit-able, (due to liability concerns) and for at least 8 years grew at 100% – 300% per year.
While I was involved 2008-2010 as an organizer, we had 12-15 organizers and dozens of volunteers contributing hundreds of man-hours for free, just to manage one little start/end location. By keeping the start/end “dance party” as a separate event, it became insurable and able to be funded by local nonprofits to provide porta-potties, rental of the location, and a few really basic services. Every year, a group of rockstars, some new, some from prior years, work their asses off to deal with twice as many people as the year before, or more. The last year with an indoor venue, we had to deal with an alcohol control plan, noise control, fire marshall regulations, street closure permits, and people trying to cross railroad tracks between the cars of a stopped train. With their bikes.
Speaking personally, *I* can’t MAKE anyone wear a helmet. I can help ensure the route crosses tracks perpendicular, I can try to get signs or chalk markings to warn it. There’s no money charged for the ride itself – and other than having a route and people up front to help direct it, the organizers have no involvement with the actual ride. With any large public uncontrolled event (Occupy, other political protests, etc) there will be people behaving badly. Cars will try to push through the ride. People will leave trash. People will pee on lawns – even if there are porta potties. People will not respect other people and will catcall and potentially grope others. None of those behaviors are right, or acceptable, and we shouldn’t blindly accept them – we should work to prevent them. Despite all our efforts, though, they *will* happen. If I could personally prevent all those things from happening, I would – and those I’ve had the honor of working with in previous WNBRs have spent hundreds of hours discussing those issues with each other, with the city, and with others to find solutions.
There are a host of issues involved with this ride revolving around safety, transportation, disruption, lawbreaking, etc – some on the part of ride participants, some on the part of spectators, some with those not even involved but are just trying to drive home. And some are inherent in any giant event with 8,000 – 10,000 people. There’s lots of room for improvement. There’s a lot probably that can still be done, and if you have strong feelings about safety, security, accommodating transit, preventing creeps & gropers, etc – then I encourage you to get involved with this ride on the organizing side and help make it better/safer/more secure and a better neighbor to others. When it comes down to brass tacks, the ride isn’t going away anytime soon, and neither are the problems. You can accept it, complain about it, or actively work to help change it – your choice.
I do not necessarily speak for the other organizers, past and present, nor for the outstanding organizations which have facilitated this event. My deepest respect goes out to those who continue to take an impossible-to-manage event and make it merely “barely manageable”. Thanks so much for your continued effort.
Can the helmet nannies give it a rest; maybe just for this one wonderful fun ride? Or visit somewhere in the world with real actual cycling culture and note the almost total absence of helmets. (but you know better I know) Hey Cyclist/Motorist/Scold person – the #1 source of head injuries in the US is motor vehicle accidents. 80,000/year – yep. So as a self-proclaimed motorist too, unless you also wear a helmet when you drive (you do right?) then please STFU. Thank you. And thanks to all who made last night fun and scold free.
this was the first year I didn’t see kids riding in many years. I am sure they were there: I just didn’t see them. there are no rules about ages that I have ever seen: I recommend staying close by to avoid train/corking issues, and make sure the kiddo has lights (so that the other adults can “see them” on the road, but otherwise, no big deal 🙂
“this was the first year I didn’t see kids riding in many years. I am sure they were there: I just didn’t see them.”
I thought I’d seen more in years’ past too. Our 7 yr old daughter rode along and had a grand time. We saw a handful of children in cargo bikes and tag alongs, but none on their own bikes.
First timer – loved the ride! Comments on slowdowns: I was among the thousands who waited long after the ride began to get a chance to hit the street, then had a chain malfunction that stopped me for a little longer. Once I really got going, I found I might have been able to walk the route quicker. We had MANY points that brought us to a stop or near stop before we even made it to Burnside. Soon the Police cars on the tail were closing in while pushing the stragglers – we were really bunching up. Finally, at 39th was the chance to open up. Coming in on Hawthorne the rain started and with the warm temperature it was wonderful.
Part of the slowdowns can be attributed to the high-five observers who pushed the stream into a narrow passage. wish there was an answer. But I could never figure out the reasons for most of the stops.
Great party at the waterfront. Couldn’t fallow the party afterwards. Hoped all that did enjoyed it. Wahoo!
Does anyone know the status of the person injured on Hawthorne at about 14th near the end of the ride? Ambulance came but we stayed far enough back that we couldn’t tell what happened. Hope they are ok as well as the couple of riders that went down at Sandy and got back on their bikes, but I’m sure have some nasty scrapes and bruises today.
That was probably a downhill skater swooping to the left to get a high-five and side-swiping a woman (who I observed earlier was probably drunk) and they both went down. Happened right in front of me. I stopped but they were already being attended to before I could even get off my bike. I continued on from there. Seems to be the area three years running where someone goes down. People get a little over jubilant and careless with the speed of the downhill on Hawthorne I guess.
A friend of mine saw it all. My friend called 911 and stayed until the ambulance arrived. She said the victim lay unmoving in the street with blood coming from her head, her nose and her mouth. The victim was not wearing a helmet.
That’s not the one I saw then. Both cyclist and skateboarder sat up and were conversing in the accident I saw.
My son didn’t do the whole ride and was heading home when he crashed on SE Oak and 20th. He doesn’t remember what happened. Someone called 911 and he was taken to OHSU. He is still in the trauma ICU but should be out of there in the morning. His bike is nowhere to be found. We don’t know if the person who called 911 has it and just hasn’t tried to find him. Or if some lame jerk stole it while he was on the ground. This morning my husband talked to some of the people who came out when the ambulance arrived and they did not see his bike when it left. The police didn’t respond so they don’t have it.
It is a black Surley single speed. Red chain, purple rims, blue tires, 58 cm. It has a Team Beer sticker, an Everything Will Be Okay sticker along with others. Please keep an eye out for it. It is only 8 months old and his most cherished possesion since he doesn’t drive. Thanks so much.
Huh. I saw some crazy homeless lady dressed up… Really weird, but she was pushing a shopping cart with what looked like a red bicycle on top. Very odd, wonder if it was the same bike? My wife says it was a deep red trek. Near sandy and stark.
One of the coolest things I saw on this year’s ride: a naked family. 🙂 Naked mom had pulled the bakfiet over for a little late night naked nursing of her naked baby. Naked dad was close by in attendance and offering support. Beautiful.
That would be us. Thnk you – your comment made my day.
Last year, the ride was on our daughter’s expected due date. Jonathan even captured an incredible photo of us: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bikeportland/5848094464/lightbox/
Huh … it posted while I was still writing? feel free to delete.
That would be us. Thank you – your comment made my day.
Last year, the ride was on our expected due date. However, our daughter wasn’t born for several days. Jonathan even captured an incredible photo of all of us: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bikeportland/5848094464/lightbox/
This was her first major bike ride outside the belly.
My observations, from the perspective of a 6x participant:
I did the ride with my sound system, and loved sharing music with people, including those who said they made sure to ride near my bike for the whole route.
That light sprinkle of rain was the most refreshing feeling of the night.
The weirdness of running into friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc naked wears off quickly. After a couple of seconds, nobody cares what anyone is wearing. You can’t really understand this until you experience it for yourself.
99% of the spectators I have no problem with. The ones I don’t get at all are the people who drive right up to the start point early and stare through the fence all evening. The naked people are not the weirdos here.
The afterparty Pants Off Dance Off is as much fun as the ride itself. So nice that it stayed warm enough all night that almost everyone kept their clothes off all night.
Portland should be ridiculously proud of this event. There’s something great about our civic character that caused our version of this worldwide happening to grow into the biggest WNBR by far.
I was one of the spectators looking through the fence. Participating in the WNBR is on my bucket list, but my health will not allow it right now. Treatment for prostate cancer has lowered my energy level pretty seriously. Right now I am riding my bike very little.
I went to the gathering area to watch and get a sense of the vibe, to decide if I really wanted to take part in it. It seemed like a good time was had by all, and next year I will be there riding my bike if my health allows it. When I ride next year, if there are spectators who are only willing to experience the ride vicariously, no big deal. I won’t think of them as perverts.
Too bad that there were a lot of people setting a bad example for the rest of the riders. Trashing beer bottles, red bull cans and other items in the middle of burnside. Breaking from the group and riding the opposite way against traffic. Standing blocking traffic, on purpose, on the opposing sides of the road. Others that were lagging behind back in normal traffic blew between cars, red lights and just about every other law breaking rule. In the entire time Portland has had this, I have never seen the community act this way. Some of the riders have ruined it for the rest. They should be ashamed. The PPB acknowledged that there were MANY MANY complaints about the behavior (not the premise, traffic or nakedness) … of the riders. I am telling you, it’s going to be ruined for all if the cyclist community doesn’t get rid of the entitled bicyclists that think they can do whatever.
I join you in condemning that sort of behavior, but how do you propose we “get rid of” the problem folks? This is a large public event and is bound to attract some bad apples (and some good apples who act badly when they’re drunk). I suppose there could be more patrols along the route, or as somebody suggested on the Shift list, encourage riders to do more “community policing” to discourage bad behavior.
How about Naked Portland Clean and Safe employee’s with nothing on but their reflective vest, paper spear, and trash bag!
And maybe they could use the spear to open up the spectator choke points. 😉
Yeah, and cars never speed, or use the car pool lane with only one person, never seen any one throw trash out of a moving vehicle, or not use a turn signal.
And cars drive them selves, and no one ever jay walks. Right?
Why do drivers (and others) so quickly point out that laws are breakable?
On a bike or where-ever.
Awesome event, highlight of the year so far!
(from a Seattle Transplant)
The WNBR is not on my radar, I just happened to be on Hawthorne for other reasons and found myself witnessing one of the most joyful events I’ve ever seen. I tried to be grumpy about the inconvenience of blocked off streets stalling my journey home, but I couldn’t – you could feel their smiles, it was too powerful!
Unnoticed is that this was the 10th annual Portland naked bike ride. The tradition was started at BikeSummer 2002 as a ride hosted by Jane and Russell Buker-Adams, from Vancouver BC. There were about 70 folks riding, from what I’ve heard.
The “World Naked Bike Ride” tradition was started the next year by Conrad Schmidt, friends of Jane and Russell’s, also from Vancouver. He was on the ride in Portland in 2002. Somehow the WNBRs around the world are daytime rides, while Portland kept its tradition of a night time ride. (Which likely boosts attendance).
Regardless of whether or not Portland’s 2002 ride was the “prototype” for Conrad’s WNBR concept, Portland’s naked ride predates the WNBR tradition, and is 10 years old this year.
Congrats to Portland for 10 years of naked bike fun, and thanks to Jane, Russell and Conrad for dreaming up this fabulous way to allow ordinary Americans the opportunity to celebrate freedom from clothes, and have a great way to get people riding bikes.
Thanks for the wonderful history! Just one note – if it started in 2002, and it happened every year, this year would be the 11th ride, not the 10th. It would, however, be the 10th anniversary.
Although Vancouver BC is currently the WNBR ‘HQ’, the ride actually originated in Zaragoza, Spain.
It was an amazing ride with every walk of life and age. I truly believe this is one of Port;and’s most community driven events. And to whomever said the stuff about this event taking away volunteers, they probably do not even volunteer anywhere. I ride as many Pedalpalooza rides as I can and still volunteer weekly. This event is about awareness and just plain simple fun, which is underrated.
To answer your question in a rational manner, I wear a helmet in a car when I am racing. For my daily commute I find my seat belt to be sufficient. However I assure you that, if I were to get in my car at 10:00 PM and find myself naked, I still would wear my seat belt. I hope Jonathan doesn’t take offense at your implication that Portland doesn’t have “real actual cycling culture”. Heck, by your statements alone you seem to be implying that 8000+ naked cyclists riding through Portland are just a bunch of phonies. Shame on you for such arrogance. 😉
CyclistMotorist – your juvenile attempt to turn this around fools no one.
First, your seat belt is NOT sufficient to prevent injury – the 80,000 head injuries from motor vehicle accident I refer to are not from car racing. If you do not wear a helmet when driving your car then you have no ground to self righteously pontificate on helmet use by cyclists.
And as wonderful as Portland is by US standards for cycling, it comes nowhere close to world standards… and any Portland cyclist who’s been to Amsterdam or Copenhagen will be the first to tell tell you. The only person pretending to be offended is you, and the attempt to make me the arrogant one is comical. We are getting better here, but those like you who do their best to make cycling appear dangerous and extreme are part of the problem not the solution.
This isn’t a popularity contest, but clearly the lack of support for your comments here vs. the recommends for mine show who is offensive or out of touch. I didn’t want your tantrum to degrade the positive comment and vibe in these comments on this ride – that was the only purpose of my note. So again, give it a rest; spare us your misguided moralizing even if under pseudo-scientific verbiage.
I came down from Seattle to show my support among other things for the WNBR. I was amazed by the sheer numbers of people that were there. I rode in Seattle’s WNBR last year and I thought that was fun but wow. The entire lot plus the surrounding streets were filled to bursting with naked frolicking people. It was such a nice night and so many along the route cheering and just having a great time. I’m sorry I didn’t make the Sunny ride. I really hope just as many could turn out for the Seattle ride on 7 July. Hope to see you all there as well. And yes, I always wear a helmet no matter how much I’m not wearing. 😉
I used to try to claim this as a portland cultural asset, but am beginning to have my doubts. The riders certainly impress themselves, I’ll say that. This seems much more appropriate to some place like L.A. or Las Vegas, where everything is blown out of proportion anyway. Drunk people ogling and groping drunk people in public who happen to be riding bikes, so what. It’s yesterday’s news now that a “critical mass” has been achieved.
And with so many drunken drivers, riders, and oglers-on-foot, plus night-time wet streets, a helmet might just save your ability to speak or feed yourself if you did go down on the concrete. But this is Amurica, I know, we value our “freedoms” more than our cognitive abilities.
So we can count on you dropping out of either riding it or viewing it next year?
It’s not become a “so what” event.
Yes, it’s reached a critical mass of it being on the minds of the public when it happens now. My first ride years ago, which was the last of the no-police-escort rides, had the element of surprise with the general public. Sure that’s lost now, but not much else is.
Look at those group pictures! You cannot deny that does not have some sort of serious impression on people. THAT many people came out to support cycling as a cause. Some have come out for their first ride of any kind in years (I know because I lent a bike out that night to a newbie) – so those people are maybe getting re-exposed to the jubilation of riding a bike. Others are people that do ride bikes. The sheer numbers cannot be denied as anything but impressive. The mission still keeps getting restated every year when covered by the media (that cyclists are vulnerable roadway users) even if it’s not in the mindset of everyone there.
To illustrate the joy of what was my newbie friend’s first WNBR, here is a conversation between her and her 20 year old son:
Mom: I rode in the World Naked Bike Ride last night.
Son: You rode a bike?
Mom: Yes. Naked. For 10 miles through Portland?
Son: But YOU rode a bike?
Mom: Yes! Naked! 🙂
Son: I’m way more shocked that you rode a bike then that you did it naked…
Yes. More of that please! If it gets people out for their first ride in years – more power to the Naked Bike Ride!
Amen to that. It’s really easy to say “meh” – a lot of us forget that for many of those riders, this was their first time naked in public in a setting where they aren’t judged by their appearance, and aren’t viewed as abnormal. For many it’s their first time on a bike in years or decades. It’s a very empowering event for them, and they’ll remember it for the rest of their lives. Perhaps the discussion should be less about what they’re “doing wrong” and more about finding other opportunities to empower people.
I did *not* do the ride this year. I don’t regret it – my first WNBR was very empowering, but now for me it’s kind of “been there, done that”. But why deny that experience to others? I hope they all have as amazing an experience as I did the 4 years I rode.
… but later they were wearing helmets on their genetalia right?!?!? There are 7 billion of us, lets all be more safe when naked.
Ed, your outrage and indignation is getting more amusing with every post. Read what others have written in this thread. At least 4 accidents reported, one lying motionless and bleeding from the mouth and nose. With no helmet. I sincerely hope that person is recovering quickly, but a helmet might have reduced the severity of the injury. I ride thousands of miles every year, many of them in the Portland area. The greatest danger that I face is from motorist’s misconceptions that cyclists are nothing more than a bunch of selfish, arrogant, and entitled individuals with no respect for the rules of the road and a flagrant disregard for the rest of the community. Every time I go for a ride I try to be an ambassador for the sport that I love. Unfortunately it seems as though far too many of the WNBR particpants don’t.
I think cyclist-motorist is Mitt Romney. He is scaring me with that sweeeet logical delivery of smooth moral relativism. Creepin me out! ooooooo yuk!
Now that is funny.
My husband and I participated for the first time this year! It was ..oh so crazy Portland fun! I can’t wait til next year..we plan on making it a Family Affair,inviting our grown children to join us.
Thanks to the organizers <3 <3 <3 !
IT WAS SO LIBERATING.
Also very exciting to have the streets (totally) belong to us-even though just for a couple of hours.
Poppycock to the helmet debate..It's your choice to wear or not to.
I'm glad I wore mine.
Sorry I’ll stop feeding Ed.
One of the best days of my life. What a wonderful experience;
Lots more photos:
Biggest problem is that allot of the riders are a bunch of perverts.
They use events like this to fulfill their pleasures.
They get off on girls seeing them naked.
I noticed quite a few male riders who were riding with boners.
I also noticed perverted photographers getting high resolution shots of girls with those high tech long lensed cameras, I knew they were perverts because they were taking shots of mostly girls. They pretend to act like respectful professional photographers but the real truth is that they are really just fulfilling their perverted pleasures. I talked to one of them and said I know what you are doing pervert that is when he told me to ***** off and that he would call the cops on me for hassling him for something he has the right to do.