Bike Buck Naked

International event promotes health for planet and body

By Matt Bartosik
|  Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009  |  Updated 2:59 PM CDT
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BROLL: Naked Bike Ride

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This Saturday is the annual World Naked Bike Ride. Cyclists of the Windy City will be feeling the wind in their hair... and in their fig leaves.

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BROLL: Naked Bike Ride

Watch the 2008 Naked Bike Ride as it pedals proudly through the streets of Chicago.
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Some people put way too much thought into what they're wearing on a daily basis. Even something as simple as a bike ride can require a couple of wardrobe changes.

But that won't be a problem this Saturday.

June 13 marks the 6th annual World Naked Bike Ride. Chicagoans will ride 12-22 miles au naturel from 9 p.m. to 12 midnight on an undisclosed route. (The location is—ahem—"revealed" only to those on the e-mailing list.) However, recommended viewing points for fans and spectators will be announced before the event.

The event is "bare as you dare." While participants are obviously encouraged to ride in nothing at all, cyclists are also invited to don body paint, skivvies, or whimsical costumes.

And you thought that bicycle seat was uncomfortable now.

Along with having fun and enjoying the wind in their—um—hair, the cyclists are also out to send a message. The World Naked Bike Ride promotes several causes:

  • Bicycling instead of driving helps reduce our negative environmental impacts on the planet.
  • Nudity represents the exposure we face every day from dangerous pollution and automobile fumes.
  • Seeing ourselves naked requires awareness of our own bodies and hopefully our health.
  • Nudity encourages appreciation of our individual beauty and uniqueness. People of all ages, sizes, builds, and appearances show the world how varied "real" bodies can be.

Don't have a bike? Skaters and skateboarders are also invited to participate.

The Chicago Police are tolerant of the organized event and help keep the ride safe (note: they can do nothing about related chaffing). Chicago law does invoke a fine for indecent exposure. However, CPD is willing to look the other way (literally) as long as participants are cooperative.

The police will not be tolerant of looky-loos and unauthorized photographers, however. Photography and videography is allowed only by identified authorized personnel. This policy is security-enforced.

If you're interested in participating but feel a tad shy, remember: "No one is excluded or discriminated against based on levels of clothing, body paint, or anything else for that matter."

Also, this is no small group! Last year, over 1700 people participated in the buff.

Several basics are covered and answers to Frequently Asked Questions are available at ChicagoNakedRide.org, Wiki.WorldNakedBikeRide.org, and the World Naked Bike Ride Chicago Yahoo! Group.

Get out there, and let your derrière enjoy some fresh air.

Matt Bartosik, editor of Off the Rocks' next issue, unfortunately can neither bike nor skate.

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