How do I NAKED bike ride? You know, when it's permissible and orderly.
July 30, 2014 12:22 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to participate in a festival-related naked bike ride! [GULP!] I've never done this, but am excited to do so. At this point, I am unsure what I need to know going into it to make it the most fun. Your inputs are welcomed!

Have you done this? What was it like?

What do you wish you had known? Any tips?

Some special snowflakes:

I am comfortable on my city bike.

My preference is to wear a helmet during the ride.

I am female.

Most cyclists who participate in the rides where I'm located have elaborate body paint and costumes (wigs, accessories) for the rides.

I can come up with dozens of costumes for the ride, but am unsure if I would paint myself or have a buddy paint me or find a pro (Are there pros who would do this work? I've heard there are, so I'd want to go through the right channels).

What else am I missing?
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What else am I missing?

Making sure you are comfortable being photographed and having those photographs on the internet forever (and with the assumption that facial recognition programs will continue to improve). If you google the name of your local naked bike ride you'll almost certainly find pages and pages of photos, some fun and celebratory and some more masturbatory, so you can see what kinds of pictures get taken.

It's not necessarily a bad thing at all, just something to have thought about and be at peace with beforehand.

And chafing -- test your bike seat beforehand.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:32 AM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've done to huge Portland World Naked Bike Ride and it was super fun and awesome. I wore a helmet and nothing else. Everyone is naked. It's just bodies. It's not weird or awkward or anything. Everyone is having a really good time.

Do whatever you're comfortable with. Not everyone goes totally naked - some wear underwear, some wear stickers, some wear body paint. If you do body paint, I hardly see the need to go pro for such a thing, and would opt for just getting some body paint and having a friend do you up before the ride.

When I've done it there have definitely been people lining the streets to watch, which was fine with me and basically you are just zooming past people so it wasn't very weird at all. There are photos taken but honestly I've never seen myself in one, the photos are always mobs of naked people on bikes, and even if someone recognized me it's a bit like - who cares? It's a naked bike ride for a festival which is different from like a naked photo you sent to a lover leaking out or something like that. In any case, I think the photo issue is a pretty minimal risk overall.

A lot of people (including myself) would have a couple beers beforehand, which definitely reduced a bit of the OMGNAKED anxiety, and since the bike ride was always on blocked off roads with no cars and at relatively low speeds, it wasn't really a riding while intoxicated type risk in the regular sense.

Seriously though, it's LOADS OF FUN. I always went with friends who I would normally never see naked and it was not weird at all. Just lots of people having a good time. I will definitely do it again probably many times.
posted by Lutoslawski at 6:39 AM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I lived in downtown Portland for several years and have witnessed many naked bike rides. I've never participated, but if I did, there are a couple of things I would keep in mind based on my experiences as a spectator.

Many times when naked bike ride women are stopped at lights I've seen men cluster around them with cameras in a way I found unnerving. If I were planning to participate I'd want to mentally prepare myself for this, and possibly rehearse something to say to men like this if they became invasive: "Hey, back off!" or similar.

Once I saw a young guy swerve to avoid a showboating biker (lots of people get thrilled by the crowds and start showing off), and he wiped out pretty badly and was knocked unconscious. An ambulance picked him up and I think he was probably fine, but since he was completely naked and alone, I was left with the impression that it might be wise to carry, at a minimum, an ID and an insurance card in your shoe or taped inside your helmet or something, just in case.
posted by milk white peacock at 7:16 AM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've done the Portland naked bike ride. A COMFY SEAT IS VERY NICE. Like, with lots of padding. Also, I found that, although I normally ride with clips, having normal pedals is much, much nicer when you're riding in a packed crowd (and of course, if you want to bike completely naked, including no shoes).
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:14 AM on July 30, 2014

Wear sunscreen, especially on areas that don't normally get much sun.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:54 AM on July 30, 2014

I did a few in chicago. there were so many people riding and watching - that there was very little actual riding. it's SLOW. no need for a helmet in my experience - and i'm pretty fanatical about it generally. (fwiw - i'm a very slow and cautious rider)

i didn't need a special anything on my seat either. i would definitely wear shoes for paddle/walking your bike in areas of lots of people. june in chicago is still pretty cold, so keep that in mind if that might be an issue for you. we weren't really riding fast enough for most of the ride to get warm that way. and riding naked in 55 degrees is really cold!

there are a lot of people in body paint and there were fewer people naked than you'll expect. go with what you're comfortable in. on the really really really big rides - there are just so many people and the crowds are so huge, getting recognized is less of an issue.

for my first ride i had a cute little ruffle panties and bra something or other all planned. about 50 feet in decided that if i was going to do it, i was going to do it and undressed on michigan ave. there were probably only 300 or so people on that ride, and i was one of two or three girls riding naked.

it's really about the most fun you can have.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 2:01 PM on July 30, 2014

When you're thinking about water and sunscreen, consider that a ten-mile route might take hours to ride. These goofy festival rides often turn into morasses of bikes packed in like crit racers but moving slower than walking pace.

I strongly recommend you wear shoes, because you might fall or be knocked off your bike and have to put your feet down in a hurry.

I second the advice above not to clip in, and to carry ID and money with you.

I don't have any personal experience with this, but I know a woman who said she got a UTI after a naked ride. Not sure whether it's just contact with the saddle, or the dust rising off the road, or maybe even complete coincidence. Maybe wipe off your saddle before you start? I don't know.
posted by d. z. wang at 5:51 PM on July 30, 2014

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