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.

World Naked Bike Ride is next Saturday. We need it in NYC!

Finally, the New York City part of the World Naked Bike Ride is set up for running riding, and even in two parts!

It will take place on the 9th of June, next Saturday, together with most of the Northern Hemisphere cities participating in WNBR. As I wrote earlier, we do need this event in New York, there is a lot of room for improvement in terms of body freedom and biking, and with claims of being the capital of the world, this city should set an example in these issues.

Please take part if you can, and spread the word! Refer to the official WNBR NYC wiki page and WNBR NYC press release for details.

World Naked Bike Ride is in one month. We need it in NYC!

World Naked Bike Ride is a worldwide demonstration promoting cycling as an urban mode of transportation, as well as body acceptance. Riding naked is symbolic and effective way to draw attention to vulnerability of people against the traffic and pollution, and it also shows that being nude is not lewd. That is why we need WNBR so much in New York City, as well as probably any other big city, perhaps with the exception of Berlin, where you can ride your bike wherever you like, and you can be naked even in Tiergarten, Berlin’s equivalent of Central Park. There has a been a stunning improvement in making New York a bike-friendly city, but still, there is no cross-town bike lane in the entire Midtown Manhattan from the 20th to the 90th street, for example. Also, even though it is legal for women to be top-free in public in New York, Felicity from Young Naturists America was arrested for walking topless during an art performance on Wall Street!

This video that went viral a while ago, pretty much summarizes just some of the daily troubles of cyclists in New York City.

WNBR in New York was a big success in 2010.

It gained more momentum as a protest against oil-dependence – it was a year of bp oil spill – and the naked demonstrators did not miss a chance to stop by a bp gas station.

But last year, we did have some issues. First, we had unusually cold and foggy weather on the day of the ride, even though during the week the weather was fine. So the ride was postponed and we only had a after-party-turned-promoparty, which was actually fun.

Then when we had the second date set, there was too much police presence and no one dared to go totally naked for most of the ride.

I opted for a minimalistic jockstrap, as well as many others, and some body paint (it said ‘Green light to bikes’ on my back). I also had a tree fixed in my bike bag, as a symbol of Green.

That cherry bike painted on the back of one of my ride mates was my creation inspired by the logo of Pacha, my favorite dance club in New York. Actually, when I go out there, I do come on my bike 😉

We rode through most of Downtown and Midtown Manhattan,

and made a brief stop at Union Square for some dancing.

Only in the end, when police stopped following us, some finally disrobed totally on Williamsburg Bridge

and arrived to the after-party in Williamsburg just like that 😎

The after-party was at a bike shop, a perfect setting! I was spinning some upbeat electronica in the backyard.

I hope this year we’ll manage to cooperate with police more thoroughly, just like it was at the WNBR in Madrid when I was there in 2009, or as it happens regularly in London, which traditionally gathers the biggest number of naked riders. By the way, I wonder how WNBR will go in London this time, in the summer of the Olympics. But in any case, we need to organize the naked ride in New York, what kind of World Naked Bike Ride will it be without New York City partaking? And so far there is no certain information about WNBR NYC even regarding the date :-/

PS Photos #3 and #5 courtesy of Sheryl.

Run for the Wild!

I will be happy if some of my dear readers support me in raising money for conservation of lions!

Next Saturday I will participate in a 5k fundraiser run at the Bronx Zoo, Run for the Wild. We are raising money for the Wildlife Conservation Society, this year particularly for lion conservation. I unfortunately I cannot promise to run totally bare, as I usually do, but I will run barefoot. I used to have Vibram Fivefingers ‘barefoot’ shoes, but I lost them in my last trip, so I will run totally barefoot. I am still learning the techniques of Moving Naturally system, which I mention in the post about Jones Beach, which I find less energy-demanding than running that we’re used to after wearing thick sole shoes.

In case you wonder why lions need money to support them, this is what I wrote on my personal Run for the Wild page:

Join me in making tracks for lions! On April 28, I will be participating in the WCS Run for the Wild, a 5K run/walk at the Bronx Zoo. This event is dedicated to these beloved big cats, which are losing ground across the African Plains. The funds I raise will go toward the Wildlife Conservation Society projects to conserve lions and other imperiled animals around the globe and at the Bronx Zoo.

Did you know that lions now live in only a small number of African countries? The nations of Morocco, Algeria, Congo, and Gabon have lost all of their lions.

If we do not act soon, they could also vanish from Nigeria, South Sudan, and Uganda.

Being at the top of energy pyramid in many habitats in Africa, they are essential to the ecosystem. Even $10 will make a difference for lions African ecosystem. The donations I collect will go toward WCS efforts to monitor lions and work with local communities toco-exist peacefully with the big cats. With your support, WCS will continue this important work.

Please also consider joining me for this fun event! You can register at http://www.wcsrunforthewild.org.

Thanks in advance for your generosity and your commitment to saving lions.

Please support me, lions and Wildlife Conservation Society following this link.

Sea is the cradle of life, not a trash bin!

I already complained about butts on the beach (of course I mean cigaret butts), as some people think it’s totally fine to throw them in the sand, but this cartoon will hopefully make you think twice if you want to throw some garbage in the sea itself.

It was kind of painful to see a plastic bag floating at the coral reef in the Red Sea in Israel, and that was one of the cleanest waters I have swum!

NO BUTTS on the beach!

We’ve been writing a lot here about all those wonderful beaches and other places to hang out naked, but there is one thing that often bothers us: garbage, especially cigarette butts!

Isn’t it strange, that so many people are able to bring food and beverages to the beach but are not able to take empty plastic bags and bottles with them?
And it is really annoying to lie down in the sand/on the rocks after a refreshing swimming session and smell tobacco instead of the clear sea air. As if inhaling the smoke from neighboring smokers is not enough, some of them seem to find it totally normal to throw cigarette butts just around them.
Or they think that the holes in the rocks are perfect natural ashtrays.
Please, if you do so, try to think again, whether it’s ok for environment and your neighbors!
All butts are welcome at the beach, but not those of cigarettes 😉