The title can be somewhat confusing to those who are unfamiliar with the event, so please allow me to offer a brief clarification. World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) isn’t meant to imply that a person rides all around the world, clothes-free, in one continuous route. It is a global event that takes place in individual cities throughout the world at different times and dates within a calendar year. It is a ride that makes a statement against our dependence on fossil fuels and the riders use their nakedness to underscore that message.
The World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) was inaugurated in June, 2004, in order to “deliver a vision of a cleaner, safer, body-positive world.” Riders plan, meet and ride together on human-powered transport (bicycles, skateboards, inline skates, etc.) in an effort to end global dependence of fossil fuels and to raise awareness of pedestrian and bicycle safety. The prescribed dress code is “bare as you dare.” Full or partial nudity is encouraged but not mandatory. The nude body represents the vulnerability of humanity.
Because of the global scope, the World Naked Bike Ride takes place all year long. Areas in the Northern Hemisphere usually ride during their Spring/Summer season and those in the Southern Hemisphere do the same during their Spring/Summer season. Each WNBR event is autonomous and organized locally, usually in the municipality (city) where the event is held. Each specific event is responsible for alerting riders to conform to local laws/ordinances regarding public nudity. The local organizing committee determines the ride route and coordinates logistics, publicity and rider registrations.
Often, riders use body paint to adorn their bodies with messages and/or artwork promoting the themes of environmental issues, fossil fuel dependency, bicycle and pedestrian safety and human rights. Participants sometimes wear creative and imaginative costumes to highlight their concerns and issues.
The use of body-paint (as shown above) is currently a favorite and trendy way to not only highlight a message but one’s nudity as well. A little creativity is all that’s needed to catch the attention of both spectators and photographers. If your statement is political, then there’s no better way than to use your bare body to promote your cause!
Regardless of the location, most local World Naked Bike Ride participants gather in a pre-determined and publicized space either before or immediately following the ride. This venue generally serves as the focal-point for the scheduled activities that often include live entertainment, speakers on a variety of concerns and spontaneous events that may not always be sanctioned by the ride sponsors.
The Mad Hatter (above) appeared at the World Naked Bike Ride in London, UK, in 2016. Few who take part in the clothes-free rides want to leave any doubt of the fact that they’re riding while proudly nude (and I don’t blame them one bit)! During the years that I rode I had no regrets about my nakedness and/or having my picture taken. I’ll have to write about my experiences as a World Naked Bike Ride participant in a future post here.
This event has always had a loyal following among not only the cycling community, but from environmentalist supporters as well. In today’s activist climate, it’s easy to see how those two groups advocate for earth-friendly causes. Both the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer – GLBTQ – (gay) community (refer to the rainbow flag attached to the bicycle handlebars in the lead picture) and the naturist/nudist communities (of course) also give enthusiastic endorsements to this global effort making the World Naked Bike Ride into an event that figuratively and literally offers “something for everyone!” Many of the WNBR events not only feature political and social messages, they also offer colorful costumes, street theatre and ample body art. Besides, who wants to argue, criticize or disagree with a nude cyclist? They’re the ones showcasing their courage and commitment by proudly riding clothes-free in public – without any shame!
For additional information on WNBR events, history and mission, please click on the link below:
The site linked below has even more information although it is specific to the WNBR event in Portland, Oregon, USA: