Last Saturday, many cities throughout Northern Hemisphere have seen one of the merriest events imaginable which also represents a peaceful demonstration for environmental consciousness and body acceptance – World Naked Bike Ride. I think it wouldn’t be a true world event if New York weren’t a part of it; finally, New York City is catching up on the naked part too! Unlike last year, this time we were escorted by police, but unlike 2 years ago, they were rather cooperative and did not bother for fully naked participants.
Needless to say, naked, semi-naked and bizarrely-dressed riders attracted a lot of attention. Our naked bodies meant to emphasise that we are unprotected against the traffic and pollution…
and if someone didn’t get the message, they also served a great canvas for slogans.
‘More ass, less gas’ was probably our most popular chant too.
Another popular chant was ‘Whose streets? – Our Streets’, and it indeed felt that throughout most of the route, which went through Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Downtown Manhattan, the streets were ours.
If only more people used bikes, how much cleaner and quieter it would be! Is it not possible to imagine New York City streets like that –
– most people going by bikes and just a few by cars (typically for NYC, cabs). And by the way, nobody seemed to be shocked by nudity – quite on contrary, we were cheered all the time. Even if people were puzzled what it was all about, I’m pretty sure many would check online and get the idea.
As I mentioned, it was quite comforting that police was cooperating and friendly (except for one brief incident). I was actually running late for the ride and, accompanied by a fellow [male] rider in a kind of ballerina skirt, which immediately revealed where we were heading to, we were given directions by policemen several times. During the ride, they only seemed to care that we would follow traffic rules.
But I think we were actually pretty good, law-abiding riders, except that we wouldn’t all fit on the bike lane.
For some reason, police was particularly concerned that we’d ride strictly on the right side of the Hudson River Greenway, so we stretched out quite a lot there.
I think the Hudson River Greenway is one of the best urban projects, and it is definitely my favourite way to go Up-/Downtown Manhattan on the west side, and is probably the most pleasant bike path in the whole city.
That’s where we could gain some speed and ride freely without having to watch out for cars.
Williamsburg Bridge is probably the most bike-friendly of all big bridges, and it was so nice to ride it in the buff, feeling the breeze all over body.
Can’t we get some more of such dedicated bike paths? Even the East River Greenway is not complete. I guess we’ll have to continue our naked bike rides and chanting ‘More ass, less gas’ in the years to come :-)
PS Thanks to Time’s Up for organising the WNBR in New York City. Here is the video produced by Barbara from 2013 ride: