Every year since 2002, Portland has a 2-week summer fest of bicycling: Pedalpalooza. It’s put on largely by the lovely people at Shift and features more crazy random bike rides than you could ever handle in a two-week period. Just today, for example, I could have chosen to circumnavigate Ross Island by bike (9am), done bike-centered community service at Community Exchange Bike School or Rocky Butte (10am and 12pm, respectively), gone on a Star Wars vs. Star Trek ride (2pm), or a Vancouver velo wine tour or Roman patio pedal (both at 4pm)–to name only a few. (check out the Shift website for the full calendar).
But the crowning ride of today was the World Naked Bike Ride, an event that draws thousands of people every year. Who doesn’t want to strip off their clothes and ride through the streets of Portland? Unfortunately, it tends to be cold here at night, and the last few years I’ve wimped out for that reason. But this year I was determined: rain or shine, I would ride naked with the other fellow WNBRists.
Sadly, this morning, it looked like it would indeed be a rainy, cold ride. An incessant drizzle set in and made the world grey and dreary–but miraculously, around about 7 or 8, it cleared…and actually turned nice! Yes! And thus it was that I found myself down by the eastside waterfront, surrounded by a whole shit-ton of naked bikists.
(for more pictures, check out BikePortland’s 2011 post)
I have to admit I swiped that picture from BikePortland since I didn’t bring my camera (my intent was to enjoy, not to document:). But just imagine all these naked fools riding through the streets of downtown. That’s basically how it went. The police here, amazingly cooperative, closed down all the streets to motor traffic while we biked through–and since we went, again, through downtown and the hoppin bar-ful streets of the eastside, the route was lined with people honking, hollering, taking pictures, offering high fives (or beer), or stripping down themselves to join the fun.
Purportedly, the World Naked Bike Ride started as a duel protest against fossil fuels and a way to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists–though honestly, I think most people here just see it as a chance to get naked and ride around. Which is fine with me:)
Check out more fun info and pictures at BikePortland!