Monday, June 15, 2009

Cyclists Bare Arms and More for World Naked Bike Ride

Cyclists from around the world bare all to promote bicycle safety.

A catchy title if a little misleading.

While naked bike rides were held in many cities around the world this past weekend, naked bike day occurs in a different season altogether for activists in the southern hemisphere. Those in Australia should mark March 13th down on their calendar.

Organizers for World Naked Bike Ride believe that "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."

More than 1000 showed up for the carnival like atmosphere in London on the 13th - body art is encouraged. In NYC less than 50 made the trek from Union Square on 14th St thru Times Square before retiring and redressing in Central Park. Despite the name, most New Yorkers wore shorts. The threat of arrest had one cyclist cover up quickly.

No such problems in Chicago as the city and the police make sure that the ride goes off safely. Though in the early years of the Chicago ride, arrests for indecency were made. Overseas, upwards of 1000 people participated in Thessalonski, Greece.

Back home, organizers in San Francisco prefer to think of the event as Critical Mass with a really lenient dress code. Critical Mass is a monthly event historically held on the last Friday of each month.

Founded in San Francisco in 1992, Critical Mass is held in over 300 cities worldwide. Like its newer cousin, World Naked Bike Ride, Critical Mass brings attention to bicycle safety and the inherent dangers of cities to the well being of cyclists. Critical Mass uses traffic disruption as its main tool as cyclists gather together and ride slowly through high traffic areas.

Spain hosted the first World Naked Bike Ride in 2001. A similar event transpired in British Columbia. In 2004, both camps, operating without the knowledge that the other existed joined forces to become the entity that it is today. The general population may question the shock value of partial nudity but it is hard to dispute the results. The rides do raise awareness about bicycle safety and sharing the road.

Bladers are welcome too!

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