It’s safe to say Portland’s never seen a World Naked Bike Ride quite like this.
The ride started in the South Park Blocks, surrounded by Portland’s civic institutions, and it totally transformed the atmosphere before the ride, both for eager riders and curious onlookers. Unlike in past years, when the ride’s begun on the Central Eastside industrial district, the energy was arriving from all directions. Happy people in various states of undress swarmed through the trees of the park blocks and swamped the surrounding streets.
The fact that onlookers knew just where the ride began seemed to slow things down. The first couple of turns for riders became bottlenecks when mostly-well-meaning pedestrians left the curbs to offer high fives.
On the other hand, a different start point wouldn’t have offered neon pink towers for naked young riders to dance happily inside, to the cheers of the watching crowd. And once the crowd crossed the Burnside Bridge, it was smooth sailing all the way to the afterparties.
It’s not clear yet just how many riders showed up. “The count (no good numbers yet) is directly tied to the slow start,” ride co-organizer Carl Larson wrote. “There’s a reason Bridge Pedal doesn’t start all at once…”
Jonathan and I are processing photographer Alex Milan Tracy‘s shots of the night and we’ll have another post up soon.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.