oil-Independence Night in Boston (WNBR)

Last Saturday, Boston had its own edition of the World Naked Bike Ride, when more than 200 people took over its streets.

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It’s my 4th city where I’ve done WNBR, but it’s the first one where it takes place at night.

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I won’t stop repeating that WNBR is probably the most cheerful and peaceful demonstration against oil-dependency, promoting human-powered modes of transportation as a healthy alternative. It serves as a fun bike tour too, and I think I’m going to make it a tradition to visit new cities for WNBR.

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I’m not sure that nigh is the best time of the day for WNBR, as we want to have a bigger impact on public, and Boston is not the city that never sleeps. However, we passed through both sleeping and bustling neighborhoods, with overwhelming support from the street crowd, especially on the streets with bars 🙂

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We had a couple of short breaks to catch the breath in parks,

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just to fill up the streets again with new power.

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Altogether we were riding for more than 2 hours through Boston downtown and Cambridge in our altogethers!

Given the nightly atmosphere, it was nice to have some bright lights, which a friend of mine gave me as a present after I got hit by car; they are a bit too crazy to use them on a daily (or rather nightly) basis, but they served just fine for WNBR in NYC and in then Boston, and thanks to them I got on boston.com site – check out the photo gallery with yours truly.

Philly Naked Bike Ride bigger than ever?

Philly Naked Bike Ride is Philadelphia’s own edition of the World Naked Bike Ride; as their website states, “PNBR is about: Riding together to promote fuel conscious consumption, positive body image, and cycling advocacy.” From my first experience of the World Naked Bike Ride in Madrid in 2009, I also learnt that it is the best way to have a bike tour through the city – with hundreds of fun people as a company and central streets being cleared of cars. So I thought it’d appropriate to visit the first historic capital of the United States on such an occasion. In most cities in Northern Hemisphere, World Naked Bike Ride takes place on the second weekend of June, but Philadelphia hosts one in August, so I wouldn’t have to skip the ride in NYC this year in order to go to Philly. Although I was happy with how New York’s naked bike ride went this year, I have to admit it is dwarfed by the ride in Philly with its 3000+ participants.

As my friend from Philadelphia who gave me a lift to the city wanted to volunteer before the ride, we arrived a couple of hours before the official start. There were numerous signs and volunteers on the bike lanes that directed bikers towards the starting point.

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The lawn next to Penn Treaty Park was already filling up with people, and as soon as the first one got naked many others followed the trend; body painters were getting busy too.

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Then more friends from NYC arrived, and after we covered ourselves with enough glitter (with the assumption that there is no such thing as too much glitter),

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we went on to make new friends and share glitter.

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Green, for the political statement.

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Meanwhile, the lawn got really packed and the bikers were lining up in preparation for the ride. This was another opportunity to make new friends, like this fellow in romper suit.

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The organisers and volunteers of PNBR were dismantling the stands and cleaning the park, a good tone for environmental demonstration.

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Some participants had to do last minute fixes…

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So the delay time was not wasted,

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and the energy was high when the ride finally started.

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The work of volunteers continued in regulating the traffic and directing the ride, and they did a great job, all went smooth. This is quite impressive given the mere number of cyclists. We filled up the street as far as you could see in both directions.

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That’s what you call a critical mass! In the tunnel, it was even more evident.

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Below is an arial shot.

PNBR air view

By the way, although the vast majority of participants rode typical bicycles, you could see a wide spectrum of  engine-free modes of transportation.

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Of course, there was a tandem bicycle – perfect for a well coordinated couple, as it provides better power-to-weight ratio.

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And this guy on the tall bike certainly had the best view.

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Those two ladies had a leisurely ride without having to pedal at all, thanks to a friend who didn’t mind being their rickshaw.

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There were some BMX bikers too, but unfortunately there was not much chance for them to show their skills, but I’m sure it was a pretty intense exercise anyways, as most of the time during our 2-hour ride they had to pedal standing.

stepper bike at PNBR 2013

So as this guy on a stepper bike (not sure which is more difficult).

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But why limit yourself with bicycles? Roller skates

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and skateboards were a popular choice too and proved to be good alternative for commuting in Philly.

But I saw a couple of people who went even further: they ran the whole route. One of them, even barefoot. Why not, human body is capable of amazing physical endurance.

I myself was ‘just another’ cyclist on the ride, except that I was busy taking a lot of pictures for this report (most of the photos here are by me, but some are from the PNBR flickr pool).

And there were a lot of notable characters worth mentioning:

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The Mexican wrestler;

golden lady (I know how it feels to be covered in gold 😉 )

and the winged lady;

the romper suit guy again;

the naked chef;

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pink-red guy and his dog;

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the tall bike guy again (he quite literally stood out in the crowd);

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Deadmau5 (or rather his fan, judging by the absence of the tattoos);

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and this fellow with the first aid kit was conveniently easy to spot too (not that anyone ended up needing it, as far as I know)… Oh wait, I think he just missed this dude who seemed to have got himself seriously wounded before the ride even started…

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Don’t worry, he was actually just promoting the ‘Naked and Scared Challenge’ at Shocktoberfest, “Pennsylvania’s Premier Haunted Scream Park.”

By the way, the success of Philly Naked Bike Ride has drawn an even bigger company to promote itself by distributing free drinks to energise the participants. Nothing wrong with that!

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And definitely there was an impact on other citizens of the city.

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Most importantly, car drivers seemed to be happy with the ride, even though we took over the streets for a while.

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Some cheerers had even prepared quite affirming posters for us.

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And even entire families went out of their houses to cheer to us!

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I’m pretty sure those tourists on the bus got some good memories; and perhaps next time, they will take a bike tour instead. Speaking of which – as I mentioned, it was my first visit to Philadelphia,

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so I enjoyed the views of the city on the way,

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especially when we rode between Philadelphia Museum of Art

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and Logan Square and the City Hall;

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riding through some narrower streets was fun too.

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The ride ended at a parking lot near Piazza.

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Here is the view from above.

Unfortunately, unlike in previous year the after-party was no longer clothing-optional, as the condominiums surrounding Piazza pressured its owner to make participants of the Philly Naked Bike Ride to be no longer naked around there. The party at PYT bar was still fun, but there was a rumour that Piazza owner also has a swimming pool, which would be a great alternative for the after-party next year. That would be great, but regardless of that, Philly Naked Bike Ride has established itself as a massive event with a lot of fun and big impact.

World Naked Bike Ride + New York 2013 = fun and success!

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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.

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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…

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and if someone didn’t get the message, they also served a great canvas for slogans.

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‘More ass, less gas’ was probably our most popular chant too.

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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.

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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 –

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– 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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That’s where we could gain some speed and ride freely without having to watch out for cars.

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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.

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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 🙂

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PS Thanks to Time’s Up for organising the WNBR in New York City. Here is the video produced by Barbara from 2013 ride:

Save Lighthouse Beach – write letters!

Naturist Action Committee has made a press release for all those concerned about beach time in New York area this summer. The next thing we, visitors of the beach and whoever cares about freedom and human rights, should do is writing letters to park officials and politicians. For more info, refer to http://www.naturistaction.org/fiis

Check out my previous post on how this issue arose, all of a sudden, starting with an open letter of Fire Island chief ranger.

Save Lighthouse Beach Fundraiser

As I wrote in the comments to my previous post about closing of the Lighthouse beach for clothing-optional use, Naturist Action Committee (NAC) seems to have taken this issue seriously and are working on lobbying against the nudity ban on Fire Island. So, the best we, the people who enjoy the beaches of Fire Island, can do for now is to support NAC. There is a perfect opportunity for that at the upcoming fundraiser event in Long Island this coming Thursday, the 21st of March.

It’s going to be a fun-draiser!

Here is info from the event’s facebook page:

So you heard and it’s true, Lighthouse Beach has been shut down. This is our home, where families have been going for generations, where lovers have met for the first time, where we created bonds that last all year round and essentially our “Nude Family” lives. Well What now???
We need to unite and do our best to battle the decision. What better way to join forces then to have a meet and greet fundraiser and unify our voices. Oh and let’s make it Clothing Optional!!!
All proceeds will be given to The Naturists Action Committee, who already has a Lawyer on retainer and lobbyists in Washington D.C. The Naturist Action Committee is the non-profit political adjunct to The Naturist Society (TNS). NAC is a grass roots organization that relies on the involvement and participation of individual naturists and groups at local levels. They are soley based on donations.
So let’s get together, show our support for Lighthouse Beach and begin to unite all our groups together in effort to be one solid front in combating this decision. There is a chance we won’t win, but we couldn’t be satisfied with losing if we didn’t put all our collaborated efforts together and given them everything we got.
Even if we don’t win, let’s set an example for the rest of the Nation and let them know what the real Lighthouse Beach is about and stop this nonsense about it being a bunch of “Drunken, brawling, drug-using, prostitutes” like the media and other officials would like to portray the majority of beach users as.

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TICKETS CAN BE PURCHASED AT DOOR CASH ONLY OR YOU CAN PRE-REGISTER @
http://savelighthousebeach.eventbrite.com/

$25/Ticket 21+ EVENT

Can’t make the event but want to show your support please click on the link below and select the donation option to show your support for the fundraiser.
http://savelighthousebeach.eventbrite.com/

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Resident DJ BRANDON will be bringing musical delight to our ears all night long. DJ BRANDON has captured our hearts with his superior beats and his ability to make you dance the night away. We are delighted that he has donated his time and art of music to us all night long!!!

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We will also have a HOSTED Bar serving Wine and Beer.

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We will be serving snacks through out the night and will have a pastry bar with coffee and tea for purchase. All proceeds will go toward the fundraiser effort.

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Bob Morton the director of The Naturist Action Committee will be joining us via Skype to answer some of our questions and give the scoop on the latest news!!

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– Chinese & Silent Auctions Raffle & 50/50

Some Auction Items we Already Have:

* 1 Hour Massage
* 2 Day Passes to Rock Lodge Naturist Resort
* Private Dinner for 2 Cooked By a High End Private Chef
* Professional Nude Photography Items
* Professional Nude Art Items
*Zensuality Nude Yoga passes
*2 night stay at Sunny rest Nudist Resort
*A complete Personal Tax return
*Photo Shoot

And many more generous donations……

We are accepting donations for the auction items from friends, families, & local businesses until March 18th.
Message Us if You would like to be a sponsor!

 

and it goes on… will we fight for our rights???

New York’s nudist community has been shocked by recent news: “Effective immediately, state nudity laws will be enforced at Fire Island National Seashore”

It means that three places that I’ve described here – Jones BeachLighthouse beach and the Pines of Fire Island – have to go off the list 😦

This is beyond sad, and there is no doubt that we need to fight for our rights, otherwise we’ll be easily stripped off them! The mere fact that “Public nudity has been prohibited in the State of New York since 1984 under New York State Penal Code 245.01”, i.e. it isn’t a vestige of some prudish pilgrim set of laws and is quite new, is scary enough. Look how situation developed in San Francisco: 2011, a towel law is proposed. I found it ridiculous that there had to be a LAW about it. It may be a courtesy, but do we need to put it in law that one has to hold the door for the next person, for example? Look how New York Times started there article: “Perhaps it should not be a surprise that San Francisco does not have a law against being naked in public, nor that a small, unselfconscious segment of the city’s residents regularly exercise that right.” And guess what, that was just a probe, they wanted to see how nudists and others would react, and reaction was very mild. So just a year later, a new law was proposed and passed prohibiting nudity in San Francisco entirely, except for specifically designated events. I myself thought to enjoy the last days of freedom and did naked yoga in Golden Gate park with a friend last November, but we got fined, because they had a law specifically against nudity in parks, which we didn’t know about. And already in February 2013, we’ve got first arrests for public nudity in San Francisco (see the video here): So what makes you think it won’t go any further? And if New York and San Francisco are the most liberal cities in the US, what can we expect other place in the US? What’s next?

Nudity ban passed in San Francisco

😦 :’-( :-(((

Nudity ban passed in San Francisco

I was quite surprised to find out that many people didn’t take it seriously, thinking that it wouldn’t happen, ‘not in San Francisco’. Now it has happened. Mind you, it all started with a law that required naked people to put a piece of fabric or a newspaper when seated in public places just about a year ago. Obviously, they didn’t plan to stop on that. What’s next? And we’re talking about the ‘most liberal city’ in the country that positions itself as a stronghold of democracy…

Naturist Activists, Friends and Guests in Bay Area!

This Wednesday, if possible, you should take part in the historic RALLY FOR URBAN NUDITY in San Francisco. I wrote previously about an attempt to strip San Franciscans and guests off their right to be clothes-free in public places, but here is a chance not only to stop the ban, but perhaps help to secure and expand this overlooked basic freedom?

So, here is a copy of the announcement, hope it will be success:

Greetings Body Freedom Supporters and Friends!

A reminder that on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at Noon, the  RALLY FOR URBAN NUDITY will take place on the steps of San Francisco City Hall, (across from Civic Center on Carlton B. Goodlett Place).

Clothed, nude or anywhere in between, if you support the right to choose your own form of attire without government interference, come join us!

World Naked Bike Ride NYC 2012 – [modest] success!

So, two weeks ago it happened after all! I was really worried about how the NYC edition of the World Naked Bike Ride would go, as last year, more-than-necessary police presence scared the participants, so no one even dared to get naked. This year was quite an improvement in this respect, even though only several tens of people of showed up. For whatever reason, there was no intervention whatsoever, and the ride went totally smooth.

It started with some speeches from the organizers with the iconic Manhattan skyline on the background.

I couldn’t believe it, but right after we took off, one guy disrobed totally. Obviously, I couldn’t help doing the same. He turned out to be from Portland, where WNBR attracts thousands and most of participants are naked, so he rightfully pointed out that was actually why it was called ‘naked bike ride’.

Well, yeah, maybe in Portland and most of the Western world, but I had to explain that NYC was somewhat difficult. But there I was, riding naked through the streets of New York.

Soon, the leader joined the naked team,

and even more people followed.

After Williamsburg, we headed to East Village,

Chinatown,

and Lower East Side. We weren’t as many as we’d like to, but we still filled the road for about half of the block. And we definitely attracted a lot of attention from the crowd!

When we stopped at the crossings,

or even while riding, we were asked by pedestrians and drivers alike what it was all about. I tried to explain in two words, but hopefully many did their search online afterwards so that awareness about cycling in the city would spread.

One of the important points was stopping by BP gas station, still symbolic as one of the major pollutants after the spill in Mexican Gulf.

Unfortunately, we didn’t go through main sights of New York City, like most of the naked rides do in other cities, but we did encounter some sightseeing buses, and I bet it the highlight of their tour.

Well, I hope next year we’ll cover more areas of Manhattan – to get more people involved, interested, alerted – but also for the fun of it. Isn’t it just awesome to have a group bike tour through NYC, and on tope of it in the buff?

Before heading out to the after party, we had one last naked stop in the park. I wish we could have a party in the park like it was in Madrid, but I feel that would be too risky in NYC.

PS thanks to the reporter from Village Voice for nice coverage (and yes, he was fully covered). I’ve used some of his photos.