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. (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 thousands of 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 lose their shirts for body paint. We have some volunteer body painters confirmed, and you should definitely consider bringing your own acrylic paint (available at Michael’s and Fred Meyer) – it’s the best.
The ride is free, but if you can, please bring money to donate. It costs a lot to organize an event for thousands and thousands of people. There will be be people wandering around taking donations at the beginning of the ride. In exchange for your donation, you will be given a sticker! For $5-$10 donation, you can bike home with your very own WNBR bicycle seat cover. If you only have a credit card with you, we’ll have a spot set up by the volunteer booth where you can use it to donate.
Though we recommend you test your bike out thoroughly before biking down to the meet up spot, we realize accidents happen. You might get all the way to the start location and realize your tires are nearly flat! If this happens, fear not! We will have a small number of mechanics on site with limited time who will be happy to help asses your problem, sell you a tube, and help you install it. Don’t expect them to be available after the ride starts – stop by immediately when you arrive if you need help.
Around 8:55pm 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. We recommend you try and find a way to secure your belongings to you and/or your bike. (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 marching band sounding us off 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.
The route will not be disclosed prior to the ride.
The Portland Police will be corking car 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 come to the end. What happens then is… undecided. At the end, it is most likely a lot of people will hang out naked for a while, congratulating each other and telling stories. There will likely be dancing with portable sound systems.
Before you head off, be sure you are not leaving any trash!
Do not ride drunk. The police can arrest you for that too, and even if they don’t it’s 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.
“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 http://www.worldnakedbikeride.org/ 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 we 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. Might be a bit cushier to ride, too. But really any bike that works for riding will 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
I need help! On site, we’ll have many volunteers. You can ask anyone wearing an orange sash for help, and people wearing a blue sash are organizers. You can always find an organizer at the volunteer booth. We’ll also have uniformed security guards walking around on site whom you can reach out to if you’re being harassed or see someone else who is. During the ride, if there’s trouble, speak to a police officer (who will be at every major intersection). If there’s a medical emergency, call 911 AND THEN grab a volunteer who can handle traffic diversion and coordinate a response.
Before the ride, you can contact us via these channels:
How much should I strip down? The dress code is officially “As bare as you dare.” Typically it’s shoes and maybe a helmet. But really, there’s is no consensus – shoes and a helmet make some happy, while others add some combination of a bra, underwear, 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 car 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 we 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 thousands of 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, we 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, we 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? Though some Portland citizens may wish it was, it’s not. See The Law. Since this is a protest, it’s protected by Oregon’s constitution. Nudity as a form of protest is protected, but lewd behavior, as defined by Oregon law, is not. Please don’t be lewd, obscene, or engage in any sexual activity – that is an arrestable offense and we will have security on site helping the police enforce this law.
What if I see a cop? Say, “Thank you!” They’re corking the streets for us.
Can I participate without a bike? We’ve had skateboarders, rollerbladers, people on scooters, and joggers join us before. Anything human-powered is welcome.
Where is the start? Fernhill Park.
Where will I park my car? Don’t drive and you won’t have this problem to deal with.
When should I arrive? Meet at 8PM and ride at 9PM.
What’s the route? We do not disclose the route.