North Portland hosts thousands for annual Naked Bike Ride

By all accounts last night’s World Naked Bike Ride was a huge success. The (rather short) route started in Cathedral Park under the St. Johns Bridge (which by the way is spotless this morning, nice job organizers and volunteers!) and stayed on the bluff along Willamette Blvd before working its way over to the end point at Woodlawn Park.

We’ve heard from several readers who said it was a great night of protest, partying and carfree fun.

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And today Willamette Blvd will once again be closed to driving for Sunday Parkways. What a weekend!

Were you there last night? How did it go for you?

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Jeff
Jeff
4 years ago

What a blast! Even though I’ve been in PDX for 6 years, this was my first WNBR. The biggest takeaway for me was how totally chill it was! Everyone was so friendly and nice, you hardly had a reason to think about being naked.

I definitely learned some things about logistics that I will prepare better for next year (bring food, decorate more, and don’t rush to get there on time), but man, what a great night!

Teddy
Teddy
4 years ago

Sure was a fun ride and I saw minimal crashes as well as minimal cars driving on the bike route. Was amusing how parts of the ride were the World Naked Bike Walk and some people deliniated from the route either by going into University of Portland or down Greeley instead of Willamette. People flashing the I-5 traffic passing under Ainsworth was probably one of the funnier occurances of the night though covering your face while doing it is just silly.

Kyle Banerjee
4 years ago
Reply to  Teddy

I’m wondering why there would be any crashes on a short low speed car free fun ride that takes the entire road?

Matthew in PDX
Matthew in PDX
4 years ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

Cannabis, alcohol, people who ride once per year, bikes that receive little or no maintenance, ignorance of the road rules/etiquette of cycling.

Kyle Banerjee
4 years ago
Reply to  Matthew in PDX

Consensus is this is a positive event that encourages cycling.

I think I’m beginning to understand why so few people think of cycling as a serious transportation option.

q
q
4 years ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

What would you recommend? Ending this event? Changing it? Have “the cycling community” make a statement about it? Or are you just making an observation? (which is totally fine).

My view is that riding bikes is an activity like talking on phones. Some people will use phones in ways some other phone users may use them, including blatantly objectionable ways such as to plan bank robberies or harass or threaten others. Phone users have no control over how others use phones, nor should they, nor should they feel guilt or responsibility about how others use them. The fact that some are using phones for uses other phone users might object to does not reflect negatively on phone users in general. If some people (phone users or not) think it does, that’s too bad for them.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago
Reply to  q

Ironically, my phone just crashed as I was ordering some cannabis to be delivered by a naked cyclist.

q
q
4 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

I’m glad you didn’t say your phone was involved in an accident.

Kyle Banerjee
4 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

We don’t like the word “accident” here. Crash is the preferred term.

q
q
4 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Hence my comment.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

But I called them on purpose.

q
q
4 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

If your phone got damaged, and is a dark one with no reflective material on it, it’s its own fault. It would still be fine, though, if you’d dropped it in Amsterdam or Holland.

billyjo
billyjo
4 years ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

But hey alot of people got a great selfie and good exposure on social media!

Matthew in PDX
Matthew in PDX
4 years ago

I was there, the amphitheater was great with the live music. There was a good crowd, too much pot smoke for my taste, but everyone was relaxed. One woman attempting to ride a brakeless bike managed to crash into my bike while I was wheeling it – it was a case of her being unable to control her bike, and me using my bike as a shield (it was way to crowded to eacape). No real damage done.

The route was short, and there were several bottlenecks where we had to dismount and walk, but overall good fun. I didn’t go to any of the after parties so can’t comment on those.

I was at the park again this morning, ostensibly to help clean up. The Park was spotlessly clean – the night crew volunteers did a very thorough job.

I rode around the Sunday Parkways route this morning – there was some detritus that may have been from WNBR riders (some pizza boxes and glitter), but overall very clean.

There were people of all ages and body sizes, so I wasn’t the thinnest, fattest, oldest, youngest, fittest, or any other superlative. PPB did a good job.

q
q
4 years ago

Sounds like biking got a lot of good exposure.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago
Reply to  q

womp womp

TonyH
TonyH
4 years ago

A great ride, as usual! It is impossible to sum up how incredibly ALIVE this ride makes you feel. What a joyful, wonderful event. Do it next year!

Pinot
Pinot
4 years ago

I wish it was about 3x as long. I miss riding through downtown and over the river.

Kyle Banerjee
4 years ago
Reply to  Pinot

Happily you can and many people do almost daily. This being Portland, I doubt there will be any trouble if you opt not to fool around with wearing clothing. Heck, I’ll ride with you on my way to and from work if you like 🙂

For those of you looking for some car free cycling, try Whitewater Road off 22 about 5 miles from Idanha. About a mile in, the road is closed so you have 8 miles in and 8 miles back with no traffic. You could even ride naked and baked if you want which somehow strikes me as more natural in a natural area than a crowded metropolitan environment.

I didn’t enter the closed area since I’d come to ski Mt Jefferson and arrived too late to add another 14 miles of walking to what was already going to be a very long hike so we continued to another trailhead to access North Sister instead. There, I talked to a ranger who said Whitewater Road will be closed for a long time because of erosion and other issues from the fire last year.

However, he emphasized that you’re allowed to be on that land and that if they find you back there, they don’t worry about how you got in. So long as you don’t do anything you’re specifically prohibited from doing, you’re fine. I’d go so far as to say he seemed to encourage me and my buddy to explore.

My guess is that there are downed trees and maybe some washout conditions somewhere on the road, but probably most of it is fine.

William Wallace
4 years ago

The people organizing it really f’d the route planning up. I ended up directing traffic on Baltimore and Edison for like 45 minutes, which was fun to do in blue warpaint naked; but when drivers really started to not get that trying to get through 1000 naked people in a bottleneck would be impossible, it was kinda another story. I had to really help people out, and outside of the enjoyment factor, the ride was logistically lacking.

I’m just saying that I think it was lucky that no one got hurt on that intersection.

Matthew in PDX
Matthew in PDX
4 years ago

The route is planned/directed by the Portland Police Bureau, the WNBR organizers consult with PPB very early in the planning (like now for next year) and the PPB decide which route their resources will be enable them to use. Last year it was really nice, with the route going down Sandy Blvd across the Burnside Bridge through downtown and ending up at Tom McCAll Waterfront Park. I am sure the organizers would have loved to go down Vancouver and over the Broadway Bridge, but the PPB probably wouldn’t let them. I thought there were far fewer PPB officers than in previous rides – so I am guessing they’re short staffed.

Christopher of Portland
Christopher of Portland
4 years ago
Reply to  Matthew in PDX

It seemed like they were all hanging around the end point. I saw several parked motorcycles that would’ve been great for blocking the many ignored intersections that I would’ve expected a police presence at in earlier years. I can’t claim to understand 100% of how this all works though. Maybe there’s something I’m missing.

q
q
4 years ago
Reply to  Matthew in PDX

Nothing like a Naked Bike Ride to reveal who’s short staffed.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago
Reply to  q

That one deserves at least three womps.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago
Reply to  Matthew in PDX

I love this ride. To be naked it has to be a “protest”. But everything is carefully worked out with the police a year ahead of time, and they’re out in force supporting it. Most participants don’t even know it’s a protest, even though every bit of literature makes sure to mention it in some manner.

I totally understand why it has to be this way, and I love the artifice of it all. And the ride is a blast, especially when, like last year, the route is a bit longer.

PS I was the one in the wig!

Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy
4 years ago

Did anyone bother to make an official/unofficial count this year? Like one at the start, or when the ride got to Willamette and later as it passed Columbia park on Willamette, or as it went past Greely?

Jim
Jim
4 years ago
Reply to  Tom Hardy

Takes about three months of counting heads from the videos the organizers create.

q
q
4 years ago
Reply to  Tom Hardy

A friend of mine did try counting, but being naked he didn’t have a pencil or paper so he could only tally up to twenty. I mean twenty-one.

Robert Alan Ping
4 years ago

Cathedral Park was a beautiful starting point, under the bridge, perfect weather, river to jump in, Forest Park in the distance. The route was great along the bluff, the ride was inspiring as usual. It was just too short. Thanks for putting on this ride, organizers and volunteers! We need the bonding protest events like this and Sunday Parkways and March for Our Lives and more in this particular day and age…

Doug Towsley
3 years ago

Can anyone tell me the name of the band that performed at the park?? They were great! I took a video of them as well. But was hoping to track down who they were. When I got there, they had just launched into straycat strut, it fit the mood perfectly,, and I thought…”This is going to be a great ride!”.
As to the Police, EVERYONE should be very nice and thankful, The event has gotten so large there is a risk of losing the rights to do it, They long ago stopped counting when some events got over 10,000 and WNBR used to chart its growth,, not anymore. I am involved in some charity rides for kids and motorcycles and I can tell you its challenging to hold an event in PDX now, thanks to OTHER events taking up resources. How traffic control and corking works,, at least in the Motorcycle events is the Police ride ahead with flashing lights,, Then they cork an intersection, a volunteer follows and steps in and controls the traffic, The police officer leap frogs ahead and does again, again again etc.
So, not only THANK the volunteers and organizers but consider a nice letter to County/city government telling them how much you appreciate the event and the co-operation with the cops. Its a tough job and if you want cool events to continue,, step up! let them know!
I realize not everyone is terribly happy with the police in general, but look at the situation from the other side. In 30+ years with the charity events,, The police pulling permits and support left us in the lurch, so a little appreciation would go a long ways.