The World Naked Bike Ride is a yearly event in over 20 countries and 70 cities and this weekend saw many cities host rides, among them Toronto, Portland and L.A. The ride is more - or less - just people with a purpose on bikes - in the buff.
That purpose, organizers say, while varying in some cities, is to make a pitch for other ways of getting around cities besides cars, to raise awareness of sustainable energy issues and even for positive body image. There is a website where organizers can sign up their city's ride and get advice and other help.
Toronto, Portland and L.A.: Naked Bike Ride Days
In Toronto Saturday, 150 bikers - most buck naked but some with an item of clothes or body paint - wheeled around Exhibition Place. Toronto Star reporter Antonia Zerbisias quoted an organizer of the event, Leif Harmsen, saying he's "horrified by (Canadian Prime Minister) Stephen Harper's obscene gutting of environmental legislation." Harmsen also said "one of the most wonderful things you can do is ride around this wonderful city feeling the wonderful breeze."
L.A.'s Naked Bike Ride on Saturday saw 100 ride through Echo Park and parts of the downtown area; they released a statement on their ride: "We face automobile traffic with our naked bodies as the best way of defending our dignity and exposing the unique dangers faced by cyclists and pedestrians as well as the negative consequences we all face due to dependence on oil and other forms of non-renewable [energy]."
One of the more successful Naked Bike Rides is the one in Portland, this one is under the cloak of darkness, starting at 10 at night. In 2011 8,000 naked riders streaked through Portland's city streets and this year organizers said they expected that number to grow. Portland has had a naked ride since 2004 and, as Leif Harmsen told Digital Journal, so has the naked bike ride in Toronto.
Riding Naked for Environment
The rides are not coordinated for the same day, though often there are multiple cities with rides on the same day. In Canada, Montreal, Ottawa and Victoria had rides on June 9, while Toronto and Halifax did on the 16th. In the U.S. there have been many rides in June, with Chicago, Columbus, Miami, Berkley and Houston among the cities to hold rides this month.
Other countries that have one or more cities that host a Naked Bike Ride include Brazil, Chile, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.