I have no idea how many people showed up to Peninsula Park for the World Naked Bike Ride tonight, but I don’t think people stayed away like organizers had hoped.
The crowd was absolutely massive, and the vibes and spirit folks showed up with were even bigger. It was a perfect summer night to take off all your clothes and ride with a few thousand people.
I didn’t shoot as many photos as usual. Instead, I tried something new and recorded audio interviews with a bunch of people. It was really fun and I had some great conversations with participants, onlookers, and even a bunch of folks who just happened to be at the park celebrating a 21-year-old’s birthday party and were very upset when thousands of naked people descended on their picnic. I’ll share it all as a podcast soon.
One other thing I will mention is that there were a lot of upset drivers out there tonight. This year has been off the charts in terms of people driving through massive group rides. I heard of several people being hit and I personally saw 3-4 drivers gun it through the group. Sigh. That type of thing used to be super rare.
But a handful of angry people are absolutely meaningless to the hundreds of supportive people who came out to cheer on the group, and the thousands of people who rode tonight with smiles on their faces and lots of warm, fuzzy feelings in their hearts.
This was Portland at its finest!
One of the highlights was when the group took over the Blumenauer Bridge, which doesn’t officially open to the public until Sunday morning (today!).
If you are on the ride still, let us know how it’s going! And we’d love to hear your overall impressions of the ride.
Here’s the rest of our gallery:
I wish I could have made it to this. Seeing the pictures and reading about it fills me with joy. Thank you for sharing!
A ride masterfully crafted for white people. Wow for a place the pushes diversity so hard, this ride ain’t it.
Remember that time we created a massive traffic jam to “fight climate change”?
Cars create a massive traffic jam every damn day. They literally are the traffic jam. Co2 emissions are the literal reason our earth is warming. Cars kills thousands a year, but we are the problem cause they can’t speed down the streets for a few minutes a year as we point it out to them?
the ride was diverse.
Perhaps Jonathan only pointed his camera at white (and white-presenting) people?
I’m looking at the pictures, and it looks like maybe 1% riders are obviously of color. Even if it is actually five times that (doubtful, of course), I wonder why that is. I no longer live in Portland, but I’m pretty sure a lot more than 5% of cyclists are POC. I would be interested to know why they did not show up for this ride; don’t like being naked in public? Don’t feel comfortable with all the White people? Afraid of getting busted? Just curious what people think.
Thank you for adding valuable input.
We all inherited our challenges. Making our streets safer for everyone is helping. How would you like to help?
How is the fault of WNBR if POC don’t show up to the ride?
The ad campaigns are diverse. There are bikes available around town at low rental costs. And Portland is as inclusive as a city can be.
You can not drag POC out of their homes, strip them, and put them on bicycles and force them to ride. The invitation was extended, POC said, “no thank you.”
This. One cannot force others to participate in a given activity if those others chose not to. Ugh.
Just because there aren’t a couple thousand POC participants, you cannot dismiss/ignore the several hundred(? certainly more than dozens, yes?) who do.
The very practice of focusing on diversity, is itself RACIST! Ironic isn’t it? As long as people aren’t anti-diversity, then fine. Did you ever think that this sort of event simply doesn’t appeal to people from non-white ethnicities (since that’s the only type of “diversity” you can observe in a PICTURE)? Should we say, “There aren’t enough black people in these photos, let’s go round some up and force them to post nude so we can say we’re diverse!” What the fuck kind of logic is that!? Use your damn brain! Ethnicity aside, this was a VERY diverse crowd, as all are, since it invites people from all religions, political views, economic status, intellectual capability, etc. Skin color is but the SHALLOWEST of all “diversity” we ought preoccupy ourselves with.
Since you launched the new version of the website, one of the features of photo galleries is either broken or removed: We used to be able to navigate forwards and back through the photos using the arrow keys, but no longer.
I know! We’re working to restore that. Bugs me too and have let out web guy know. Sorry about that.
Am I the only one who questions posting nude pictures of these people. I know there’s no expectation of privacy in public it just feels weird.
No you’re not Aaron. I question it too. I’ve been doing this a long time and my practice is to always take a photo down if someone in the photo requests that I do. I have done that a few times over the years. In general, feelings about this are very mixed… But overall I feel the entire purpose of the ride is to raise awareness and make a statement, and photos posted here are a great way to do that. Thanks for your feedback.
Excellent set of photos in the most challenging setting possible. Thanks for sharing these with us so quickly. I really wanted to be there, but was not willing to suffer this heatwave. Looks like a great turnout, as usual. It is a shame this is not done more often. Maybe next year.
Nudity? Who cares. There are many real issues with WNBR that the community needs to address.
The justifications for this event have always been incredibly suspect. In fact, I doubt many participants are aware it’s a “protest” at all. The riders I know just wanted to be part of a big event.
The environmental angle is dubious; just look at all the idling vehicles that can’t complete their trips because of blockages.
It also disrupts public transportation, which should be unacceptable to any transit advocate.
The anger it inspires in drivers isn’t helpful either. Anyone cyclist who shares our roads with cars every day knows that we don’t need any more negative sentiment out there. There’s always been a childish, selfish feel to this ride– some cyclists clearly think it’s some form of revenge to deny a driver the right to operate their vehicle, and they’re looking for a fight.
It’s disappointing that the WNBR has grown in size but refuses to address these glaring issues (as well as the diversity issues that someone else pointed out). The event could have evolved into something inspiring and powerful, but remains stuck in adolescence.
Sometimes it’s OK to have fun and not be so damn serious.
I mean cars hate us anyways just for existing. We are their natural inconvenience. Some idealized good behavior in hopes of gaining their favor will not make them less wanting to run us down. That there has been less cyclists on the road meanwhile aggression and dangerous deadly behavior by drivers has only increased, shows that we are only more vulnerable if we try to conciliate them.
This reads a little like “protestors should be nice and not do anything to upset the group that is treating them poorly.” Which I disagree with. I’d also say there is power in feeling connected to a large group and feeling like you matter. Could things be better, of course. Do I care if a few cars are inconvenienced for 30 minutes.? No.
This note from Tomas P feels strongly of ‘Troll fodder’, which by definition is very immature negative attention seeking. In my limited experience; I would say a good 99% of these riders are keenly aware of this protest messages and feel quite strong in their convictions. If any were not aware before they attended, it is made quite clear to them before the ride had begun. They would have to be incredibly dense to remain ignorant throughout the ride. Even most of the Togs want to help get the message out there to as many as possible. Myself included as a Tog and a proud rider. If Tomas still does not get it, that’s very sad for him. Evolution takes time and I hold out hope. I too was no better in my late teens, until someone took the time to help open my eyes.
This note from David feels strongly of ‘smelling your own farts’, which by definition is very arrogant and pretentious. In my limited experience I would say a good 99% of these riders have no clue about the ‘goals’ of the ride. In fact, you can see folks being chided for bringing up the message of the ‘protest’ and being told they should just have fun and stop being so serious in this very thread!
I couldn’t agree more. This is a liberating event that goes far beyond climate change and emphasizes our right to express ourselves like drivers express themselves with stupid bumper stickers and exhaust fumes.
Have some fun.
The ride is supposed to be fun. Direct action needs not martyrdom.
Any big ride can have issues. This is one of the greatest rides on earth and is made possible by volunteers. Don’t fail the “Perfect is the enemy of good” test.
Does someone need Emma Goldman quoted at them? Something about dancing and revolutions…
Exactly, the best and most effective protests are the ones that inconvenience nobody and nobody notices. The best way to get a message out there is to keep it to yourself and defer to whatever is most convenient for drivers.
The event has been stoking resentment for over a decade, is it that surprising?
All I’ve seen out of the cycling community is excuses and gaslighting, a complete refusal to acknowledge reality. The WNBR impacts Portland negatively so that a privileged few can get likes and shares on social media.
Treat others as you wish to be treated, as the saying goes. Time to grow up.
This may be fun for participants, but anyone who believes it helps cycling is kidding themselves.
The general public has no idea this is a protest. When I explain to others that it is, the universal reaction in incredulity (typically with a comment to the effect of “that’s dumb”).
Randomly punishing people going to or coming from low paying jobs, deliveries, concerts, the airport, etc does nothing to help cycling — quite the opposite.
The dangerous negative responses are unfortunate, but a certain percentage of the population has mental problems, is chemically altered, etc. If you intentionally make life miserable for that many drivers, you are mathematically guaranteed to provoke quite a few of these individuals so that is an expected outcome.
Anyone who really wants to help cycling can do it best by showing everyone a better way to get around by simply riding — and skip the self indulgent performative stuff that antagonizes the people who need to hear the message the most
Last week, I was out every day and couldn’t help but notice that there were hardly any cyclists out even during rush hour on some of the best infrastructure in the city.
Kyle, if every time you explain the ride to someone they think it’s dumb than maybe the common element is your framing of 10k people gathering under their own power for joy and freedom. Do it better.
If you have to explain, you’ve already lost as few people will ever know. In any case, a protest that pushes attitudes backwards rather than forwards is counterproductive.
There’s nothing wrong with thousands of people enjoying a festival. But they shouldn’t force it on people who don’t want to be participants.
This needs to be organized properly so people who don’t want to get caught (possibly with a carload of kids staring at naked people) don’t have to.
I don’t take orders from rando motorists nor do I expect them to take orders from me. More generally, I don’t recognize self appointed authorities of any stripe. I think it’s disingenuous to try to force one’s will on someone and act surprised when there’s pushback.
If that it’s hot, cold, dark, wet, etc is a reason for people to not take bikes, that speaks to its viability as a practical mode of transport — it’s not like peoples’ need to go to work, the grocery store, etc changes so much with conditions.
In all the history of protests, they’ve always explicitly been about making the status quo (or those abiding by and supporting said status quo) uncomfortable. This seems lost on several of those doing the grumbling here.
“If you have to explain, you’ve already lost as few people will ever know.” is what Kyle said but what Kyle means is, “Why dont you protest where i wont be bothered”
but communication is not easy. I want more corkers to engage with motorists and help them, if possible.
Last week, temperatures were hovering around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
To start I am an veteran naked rider (OG Bikesummer, 2002). Ive lead naked rides from BC to Bucharest.
This was a big ride with 100s of people corking dozens of intersections.
The biggest issues I see are not with the naked part, it’s the challenge of navigating safely among thousands of others. We rarely get to practice riding in such a massive group. There’s a fair number of injuries and I’d like to see some effort to educate people in how to ride together. How to make space, how to get to the sidewalk without cutting others off.
It is still safer than being around cars and still So. Much. Fun.
I rode on Saturday night and had a great time. Sure there were some jerks in motorized vehicles who were annoyed, but that could happen anytime for any reason – I mean really, people have been arrested for not yielding to emergency vehicles, with the excuse that they were in a hurry.
This is a great ride, and most people in Portland get that it only happens once a year, on a Saturday night in summer, so just deal with it. For one night a year from 8.30 p.m. to midnight, drivers can suffer the indignity of waiting for human powered traffic to clear the roads. They get 8,756.5 hours the rest of the year to dominate road traffic. When I lived in Queens, NY and had to travel to Newark airport on March 17 one year, I did plan my route around the St Paddy’s Day festivities, it’s not that hard.
I have a feeling this year’s ride was longer than in previous years, but it was still great fun.