Opportunities for nude cycling abound all over the US. Festivals, parades, and gatherings have recognized naked cycling as a substantial expression gaining more participants with each race. Some ride for the thrill, while others employ their nudity as a protest against carbon emitted by motor vehicles. Whatever your motivation for undressing and pedaling beside your fellow biker, events nationwide support your boldness.
Portland celebrates its cycling community by hosting a three week biking extravaganza during June (8–29) called Pedalpalooza. This festival of clicking gears and spinning spokes consists of numerous events such as biking while dressed up as the Smiths, bike maintenance instruction and of course, riding nude. Each year, multiple parties of naked riders swarm Portland’s streets and sidewalks at different times during the event. 2012 involved the Sunny Naked Ride, the Fig Leif Naked 10K Off-Road Bike Ride, and World Naked Bike Race. Also, since citizens create these activities, you may consider organizing your own clothing optional ride and add it to the Pedalpalooza calendar.
World Naked Bike Ride
The largest and most publicized naked cycling event, the World Naked Bike Ride, occurs in multiple cities and countries. From Los Angeles to New York City, cyclists shed their clothing in order to protest oil dependency, cultivate body-positive values and inspire community involvement. The dates of the World Naked Bike Ride vary, but they usually happen during the spring and earlier summer months. Despite laws regularly banning such exposure, city police usually ignore the demonstration unless overtly obscene gestures are used.
Critical Mass is an event where cyclists ride through participating cities to raise awareness about biker rights and further establish the bicycle as a legitimate vehicle. The idea originated in San Francisco during 1992 and spread across the country, occurring monthly in places such as Portland, Seattle and New York. Although it’s not specifically “naked” oriented, many cyclists take the opportunity to go bare. San Francisco is especially notable for these daring individuals who risk chills and sunburns in the most intimate of areas to represent the vulnerability bikers face on roads filled with motorists. If drivers don’t notice cyclists outfitted with reflectors, maybe they will when they are undressed.
The Solstice Cyclists
On the third Saturday of June in Seattle, people covered only with paint mount their bicycles and pedal through the city’s streets. These folks are celebrating the summer solstice by showing all for the sunshine and cheering crowds.
The ride begins in the Fremont neighborhood (also known as “The Center of the Universe”) right before the official Solstice Parade. Originally intended as a joke by streakers in 1992, the nude biking stuck, gradually gaining participants and national coverage over the years. Typically, cyclists partake in a painting party prior to the event where they can meet, apply a decorative coating and stoke the group’s confidence. Once the paint has dried, they ride to the parade’s site where floats, balloons, and baton throwers follow behind them.