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World Naked Bike Ride - Portland 2013

The World Naked Bike Ride is an annual, worldwide bike ride that highlights the vulnerability of cyclists everywhere and decries society’s dependence on pollution-based transport. It’s also a lot of fun and it’s free for all! Portland has the world’s largest ride and we are looking to break the record for the world’s largest naked ride again in 2013!

We did this last year with our meetup group and it was really a lot of fun.  I know the title "Naked Bike Ride" can really be intimidating to folks uncomfortable with baring it all - and truth be told, there will be completely naked people on bikes at this event. But there will a an entire range of people dressed, less dressed, more dressed, in costume and so on.  Over all it is a charming quirky parade of folks on bikes through the streets of Portland and well frankly just fits the motto "Keep Portland Wierd"

I was a little hesitant myself when I did this last year for the first time  - but it turned out to really be fun so we are doing it again.   For those of you who don't want to bare it all - may I suggest just doing something fun - like a tutu, or a bathing suit, or lingerie (ladies), maybe a speedo for the guys.  (And you will need to wear a bike helmet).

We are going to meet at about 8:45 near 3rd and Yamhill,the exact location and my cell phone number will be emailed only to people that RSVP and sign up here. One of our POAC members Barry is leading another meetup group from a different location and if everyone shows up on time we will try to catch up with him and the other members of his group.

Essentially all the riders gather at the starting spot which this year is the South Park Blocks.  The ride is set to start at 10 pm.  We plan to meet everyone coming with the meetup group sometime around 9 pm at a spot near the south park blocks but away from the main crowd so we can find each other.  Then we will head over to the starting area.  There will a a fenced area just for the participants to gather.  Typically there will be some music and people socializing and often volunteers wander the crowd offering to do body painting on anyone that would like some paint.  We will be dressed in normal clothing until this point.  People start to take of their clothes in the fenced area just before the race begins.  (You will need a back pack to carry any clothes you take off during the ride and preferably a bike rack to strap your pack to.)

The fenced area will have porta-potties, and probably some food vendors. this will be a "safe" space fenced off with security for those who are concerned. People are asked not take photos in this space, unless they have the consent of the photographed individuals.

When the ride starts we will follow a route that has been planned and filed with the city of Portland.  Portland Police will be stationed all along the route to control traffic for us.  Yes - that's right - the Police will actually help naked people ride through the streets of Portland.  In case you are wondering this ride is meant to be a demonstration and protest which makes this a perfectly legal exercise of our first amendment rights that guarantees our freedom of speech and expression!   SO YES - IT IS LEGAL!

Because the ride is starting on the west side this year (the old location, near the Morrison Bridge east side, is under construction) we are on the South Park Blocks which is near the Art Museum.  So the Museum is offering a special -  The Portland Art Museum will open its doors at 8pm for riders. Admission for the museum is $1 per piece of clothing you are wearing. The Art Museum is having an exhibit called Cyclepedia - showing weird and innovative bikes.  So if you want to see the Museum - come early and take a stroll.  Barry is planning to see the museum and rumor has it that he will not be paying any admission price.

We will then meet at 9 pm again outside at our special location TBA for our meetup members - away from the crowds so we can find each other - and then proceed to the main event starting location together.

The following is copied and pasted from "Your First Ride" :

What to Expect

First, an important point of etiquette: Ride your bike to the starting location. Arriving by car with bikes stowed as cargo is a big faux pas. It violates the idea of oil-free sustainability that the ride is all about. If you live in the 'burbs, consider riding MAX part of the way. (The last MAX leaves Pioneer Courthouse Square at around 1:00am, and you'll probably want to have clothes on when you board, so plan ahead.) Or park at an urban friend's house and ride from there in a group.

You should bring a little food, a little non-alcoholic drink, and something to carry your clothes in. Alcohol is not allowed at or around the meetup spot! Riding drunk is never a good idea anyway, especially among 10,000 other rowdy naked cyclists (some of whom probably aren't used to riding in groups).

When you arrive at the starting point, it will be a scene of happy disarray. Scattered music, general friendliness. Most folks will be wearing clothes at first, until they get a handle on what the scene is like. You’ll gradually see more skin as people loose their shirts for bodypaint. (There is no formal bodypainting area, but its likely that somebody will show up with some to share. Whomever does bring bodypaint is likely to be swamped, so don’t wait until 9:45pm to get painted.)

Around 9:55pm the announcement is made that it’s almost time to ride. We strip down and stuff our clothes into a backpack/fannypack/pannier/saddlebag to take with us. There will also be a “tie down” area to help you secure clothes to your bike, but again remember they'll be overwhelmed in those final minutes. (By the way, backpacks and bodypaint are natural enemies – don't mix them!) Then we get on our bikes, and wait for the rest of the crowd. There will be a countdown so we can all start en masse.

It’s often cold at night, but you won’t feel it for long; adrenaline is a wonderful drug.

Crowds will roar their approval. High-fives will spring forth. We may gain a few extra naked riders along the way. It's absolutely amazing.

Adrenaline can also make you want to ride fast. Resist that urge. Not everybody has a fast bike, or fast legs. And even some who do will want to savor the experience slowly. This isn't a race, folks! We want to stay together as best we can.

Historically, we buzz the bars downtown and the inner east side as far as 39th Ave/Chavez.

The Portland Police will be corking traffic for us. If you see a traffic cop extending his palm out, he is not inviting you to give him a high-five. He's trying to encourage you to ride a little closer to the center of the road, so he has room to work safely.

Eventually we return to the starting point. What happens then is… undecided. In the past, the ride coincided with the Pedalpalooza Kickoff Dance Party, but there will be no on-site afterparty this year. Most likely a lot of people will hang out naked for a while, congratulating each other and telling stories. There will likely be dancing by portable sound systems.

There will be afterparties! Maybe some official after parties will be located near the starting/ending point of the ride & unofficial parties are scattered around town. There will be flyers distributed at the starting point listing all of the afterparties.

Do not ride drunk. The police can arrest you for that too, and even if they don't its just a stupid thing to do.

Ride at your own risk and watch where you're going. Many riders won't be used to riding in a large group. If you then add onlookers jumping into the street to high-five us, and railroad tracks, and (let's face it) some drunk cyclists, this can be a dangerous ride. There are vast opportunities for doing stupid things. Be careful. Be sober.

About Nudity

“Nudity – it isn't just for sex anymore.”

If you think you're going to an orgy, then you're going to be very very disappointed.

We're using nudity as a way to draw attention to cycling, and the folly of oil dependency. We hope motorists will begin to suspect cyclists have more fun, and hence maybe they don't need their cars as much as they thought. See the web site for more socio-political propaganda.

It's also good, goofy fun.

There are rules at the starting/ending location. The organizers' mantra is “Safe, Comfortable, and Fun,” so anybody at the starting/ending location who makes other participants feel unsafe or uncomfortable will be asked to leave. The use of cameras is not allowed at the starting/ending location, with the exception of sanctioned film crews who'll be following strict rules.

The ride itself has no rules since it takes place on public streets, outside of our control. That's why it's important for riders to take care of each other.

About Your Bike

Ride the bike you have. Don't obsess over the hardware; any bike will work.

If you have multiple bikes (and aren't loaning out the extras to friends) then I'd recommend a fat-tire mountain bike or cruiser over a superskinny-tire road bike. This is because fat tires are less likely to get a flat, or slip on railroad tracks or a steel grate bridge. But really any bike will probably work just fine.

You should bring a spare tube. If your bike doesn't have quick-release skewers, then you should also bring wrenches that fit your bike's lug nuts. If convenient, you should also bring a pump and tire levers, though you could probably borrow those from another rider in an emergency.

Legally, your bike must have a white headlight in front, and a red reflector or red light in the rear. This is important! The police won't hassle thousands of riders, but if you're the only one who fails to obey this simple law then maybe they'll focus all their attention on you. Besides, it'll probably still be dark out when you ride home afterward, and you'll want to be visible then for safety's sake.

Many people decorate their bikes. There won't be any decoration supplies at the starting point, but the (scheduled for thursday June 6) usually has that sort of thing. Think of this as another reason to do more bike fun than just this naked ride.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should I strip down? The dress code is officially “As bare as you dare.” Guys typically wear shoes and maybe a helmet. For women there is no consensus – shoes and a helmet make some happy, while others add some combination of a bra, panties, and/or stockings. Strip down to whatever level will maximize your fun. We wouldn't presume to tell you what that level is.

What if I fall behind or get lost? This isn't a race, so nobody wants to leave you behind. We may stretch into smaller groups, but even if you end up in a group of 20 instead of a group of 3000, you'll feel safe. Really, you'll be okay. We take care of each other. Besides, the police are blocking traffic for us. Even if you end up alone, you won't get arrested. If you are alone, stick to well-lit streets and obey traffic laws.

What if I get a flat tire? There will be some bike mechanics along the ride. You can also expect other cyclists to help. But self-sufficiency is the only thing you can actually plan on, so I suggest that you bring a pump and a spare tube. We’ll never be more than a couple of miles from the start/end location, so first just re-inflate the tire and continue on in the hope that your leak is a slow one. If you must change your tube, change it with the expectation that the naked horde will continue cycling past you for a long, long time. Even if we try to stay in a tight group, a peloton of 10000 riders would be about three miles long.

What if I fall? Injuries are rare. We'll try to have medics riding along to patch you up, or call 911 if something really bad happens but you might want to bring your own cell phone just in case. By the way, the most common reasons for falling are hitting potholes, getting caught in the train/MAX/streetcar tracks, and collisions with other cyclists. Watch where you’re going!

Won't I get cold? Yes. You'll start off cold because at the start of the ride we stand around waiting for the stragglers to get ready, so we can all leave together. But we'll warm up once we start. After that, I promise you won't feel cold, you'll just feel a rush. Typically we get a temperature around 60 degrees with light wind.

What can I do to stay warm? Wearing shoes and a helmet help. Big socks. Arm warmers (old socks with the toes snipped off). Maybe a Superman cape. Sadly, I haven't figured out a way to use those chemical hand warmers while naked, though they sound like they'd be great.

Isn't this illegal? The city of Portland wishes it was. See The Law. Since this is a protest, it's protected by Oregon's constitution.

What if I see a cop? Say “Thank you!” They're corking the streets for us. If you see a cop holding out his palm, he is not inviting you to give him a high-five; he's just trying to encourage cyclists to leave him a little more room to work. Running into helpful policemen is not nice!

Can I participate without a bike? We've had skateboarders, rollerbladers, guys on scooters, and joggers join us before. Anything human-powered is welcome.

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  • Sherry

    Sheer awesomeness! What a great time!

    1 · June 9, 2013

    • Sherry

      No worries. We were just there for the ride anyway, so we hopped back over the bridge with a bunch of other folks instead of hanging around in the park. That was the breeziest part of the ride too. Brrr...

      June 9, 2013

    • Joanne

      No problem - the Hawthorne bridge was right there - and that's one of the two bridges that have decent bike paths (the other being the Steele Bridge much farther away.) I had packed a windbreaker in my backpack and I put that on for the rest of the night. I was still chilly but it helped. I had taken out the down lining but next year I am bringing the full jacket - so if you do this again pack a jacket to use as needed. Thanks so much for coming, despite the eventual and somewhat inevitable dispersion at the end, I enjoyed the company of this group for most of the ride - no small feat in that crowd. FYI where we ended is where the ride normally has started in years past. They used those vacant lots for the assembly location and it was a bit easier to see how it was all running in the wider open space.

      June 9, 2013

    • Joanne

      Thanks Sherry - and this also tells us roughly where the ride will go:

      June 7, 2013

    • Joanne

      The permitted ride is set to begin at 10 p.m. in the South Park Blocks and roll through downtown and the Kerns, West Buckman, Lloyd, Sullivan's Gulch and Laurelhurst neighborhoods. Portland police said extra officers will patrol the ride and help at intersections.

      June 7, 2013

  • Sherry

    Is there a bike route? I'm wondering how long the bike ride actually is.

    June 3, 2013

    • Joanne

      Bill - you were there last year - somehow hundreds of people knew where the route was - I can't tell you how - but it wasn't a big secret by the time the ride stopped. Probably the police showing up hours before and lining the route and blocking off certain streets is a big give-away.

      June 5, 2013

    • Joanne

      Also the ride tends to buzz some popular spots - like bars and taverns - so one a rider is spotted the whole place empties out to the street to watch.

      June 5, 2013

  • Bill

    Where to park this year?

    June 5, 2013

    • Joanne

      Pretty much the downtown meters stop charging at 7 pm but the free spots fill up fast. You can probably go a bit out of the downtown core and park and ride in from there - like up by PSU or the apartments on the south end of town. Be careful around the ball stadium - those meters have extended hours to discourage people from using the street to park at night for ball games. You can also use Tri-met to come in with your bike - just make sure you have access to a route that will get you home after midnight or at least back to where you parked your car.

      June 5, 2013

    • Joanne

      FYI it's also Rose Festival so a lot of street parking and parking garages are full due to this event. (Garages tend to have a lower all night price at night - so that's another option if they aren't full.)

      June 5, 2013

  • Jovian

    I have a friend who is interested in joining us.

    June 3, 2013

    • Jovian

      Thanks for the heads up Joanne - it seems my friend signed her and me up with another meet-up that is doing the naked ride, so we will be joining that group instead. Sorry for the confusion, and have a fun ride!!!

      June 4, 2013

    • Joanne

      We are doing this with another meetup - anyone can join - so maybe you are signed up with us.

      June 4, 2013

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