Last Saturday, Boston had its own edition of the World Naked Bike Ride, when more than 200 people took over its streets.
It’s my 4th city where I’ve done WNBR, but it’s the first one where it takes place at night.
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.
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 🙂
We had a couple of short breaks to catch the breath in parks,
just to fill up the streets again with new power.
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 now in Boston, and thanks to them I got on boston.com site – check out the photo gallery with yours truly.
I’ve already posted about some areas in New York that I think could easily accommodate both people who like to be naked outdoors and those who prefer to remain clothed, just make it legal and give people choice! My first choice would be Fort Tilden park and beach, and North 40 Natural Area in Jamaica Bay would be great too! Too bad Central Park is not federal land, or is a lawn for naked sunbathing or frisbee too much to ask? Meanwhile in San Francisco, the fight for legalizing urban nudity seems to gain some success. Naturist activists in the Fog City got so much public attention and support that police decided not to interfere with a naked wedding ceremony in front of the City Hall!
While in my last post I suggested to try to make North 40 Natural Area a naturist-friendly park of New York City, there is a group of naturist activists that is trying to bring body freedom to the city where public nudity was legal until February, San Francisco. It is outrageous that laws banning nudity are being passed in the 21st century, and in San Francisco, out of all places. I know how these silly laws are enforced on my own experience after getting a fine for doing yoga naked in a park in San Francisco. Even if for some reason you think it is not acceptable (unnatural???) not to wear clothes in public, just look at the video from this group’s latest protest and think if this ban doesn’t violate freedom of speech, so cherished in the USA.
Luckily, there are such people who don’t give up, and I wish they had more support from naturist community, as well as anyone who wants to keep our society as free and accepting as possible. You can read more at their website, as well as donate them @ www.MyNakedTruth.tv
Here is also information about their upcoming demonstrations:
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15 @ 12 NOON – JANE WARNER PLAZA – NUDITY BAN PROTEST
Please, join us for another protest against the nudity ban at the Jane Warner Plaza. An award winning Norwegian documentary film maker Jan Dalchow will be filming the protest for his documentary film “The Naked Dream”. His crew will be flying in from Norway to document the body freedom movement of San Francisco. We would love to see you there. Please come and be part of the documentary!
In case of rain the protest will be held at the Sex and Culture Center at 1349 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19 @ 12 NOON – SAN FRANCISCO CITY HALL – NAKED WEDDING – GYPSY TAUB AND JAYMZ SMITH will get married naked in front of the City Hall. We will also have a protest/march/parade after the ceremony.
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.
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.
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),
we went on to make new friends and share glitter.
Green, for the political statement.
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.
The organisers and volunteers of PNBR were dismantling the stands and cleaning the park, a good tone for environmental demonstration.
Some participants had to do last minute fixes…
So the delay time was not wasted,
and the energy was high when the ride finally started.
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.
That’s what you call a critical mass! In the tunnel, it was even more evident.
Below is an arial shot.
By the way, although the vast majority of participants rode typical bicycles, you could see a wide spectrum of engine-free modes of transportation.
Of course, there was a tandem bicycle – perfect for a well coordinated couple, as it provides better power-to-weight ratio.
And this guy on the tall bike certainly had the best view.
Those two ladies had a leisurely ride without having to pedal at all, thanks to a friend who didn’t mind being their rickshaw.
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.
So as this guy on a stepper bike (not sure which is more difficult).
But why limit yourself with bicycles? Roller skates
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:
the tall bike guy again (he quite literally stood out in the crowd);
Deadmau5 (or rather his fan, judging by the absence of the tattoos);
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…
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!
And definitely there was an impact on other citizens of the city.
Most importantly, car drivers seemed to be happy with the ride, even though we took over the streets for a while.
Some cheerers had even prepared quite affirming posters for us.
And even entire families went out of their houses to cheer to us!
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,
so I enjoyed the views of the city on the way,
especially when we rode between Philadelphia Museum of Art
and Logan Square and the City Hall;
riding through some narrower streets was fun too.
The ride ended at a parking lot near Piazza.
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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!!!
We will also have a HOSTED Bar serving Wine and Beer.
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.
* 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
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!
Recently, there has been a lot of fuss about the proposed ban against public nudity in San Francisco (I saw it to be the top read news on BBC website). So on my latest trip to San Francisco I thought I might as well enjoy the last days (hopefully not!) when I could express the simple freedom and most natural right of being naked. If it was only that simple!
I used to live in Berlin, where nude recreation was really easy to achieve even in major city parks, so I feel a bit repressed in New York City, where I reside now. I was happy to hear that at least one major US city, San Francisco, allowed public nudity.
My San Franciscan friend Dan and I had an idea of doing acro-yoga at Golden Gate Park and did about 20 min of acro-yoga naked on one of the lawns, while our friend Niko was taking photos for us (I’ll post more pics later, in a separate blogpost, this just to give you an idea of what it looked like).
Then, all of a sudden, a park ranger showed up, told us to put on clothes and asked for IDs. Another one followed soon. The first one appeared to be quite indifferent to the matter though, whereas the second one made it clear that it was her personal interest that we’d be punished. She went into assumptions that we simply didn’t have our own children, and also noted that we wouldn’t be the first case she’d win in court unless we’d get a liberal judge! So, without giving us any warning, they immediately produced a citation for us, and the second one continued her verbal harassment.
We honestly had no idea there was a specific law against nudity in parks, but they didn’t care. Actually they tried to persuade us the law was city-wide! Three police officers soon came as well, they didn’t really try to interfere, but two of them were quite chatty. They didn’t seem to know exact law about public nudity, but at least they appeared to be ready for discussion, at least one of them, we felt, was on our side. But too bad, it wasn’t their case. We made a quick search online, and we found the following:
There is a rarely enforced anti-nudity civil ordinance in the parks of San Francisco, including Golden Gate Park. This ordinance was put in place in 1970 in response to a custom which had developed in early 1969 among some hippies of dancing nude in a circle every Sunday in Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park. The parks are run by an unelected Parks and Recreation Commission who draw up the park codes. If the Park Rangers encounter someone nude in a city park, they will inform the nudist that he or she is violating a city ordinance. At that point, the nudist can decide whether to dress or to be issued a citation, which would require time and effort to have discharged. No criminal charges are pursuable from the encounter.
Not only did it sound weird that in a city where nudity was allowed it was illegal in parks, the most obvious place for nude recreation, we were not given any warning and choice to act according to the ordinance. It is worth noticing, that one passer-by shouted from the car “Don’t arrest them!”, and another, a runner, stopped and asked what was happening in the park that he apparently frequented. When he heard the story, he seemed worried and said it could have been him… It was nice to get all that support, but the rangers left us with citation nevertheless… And the policemen just left a pile of horse shit after them.
We could only wonder why in our culture, our own body is considered inappropriate, but other animals, including the well-endowed horses, can walk around naked; do they really think our bodies were filthier than horse manure?
Later on, we went to Castro district, where Harvey Milk and Jane Warner Plazas are well-known hangouts of urban nudists. We spoke to a policeman there, he confirmed that it was legal to be naked on the streets of San Francisco but not in the parks; however, he wished us luck at the court. We also met Lloyd, one of the local nudists.
It is thanks to Lloyd and people like him, that inhabitants of Castro district seem to be accustomed to nudity human bodies and are accustomed to it. Tourists? They want one of those ‘only in San Francisco’ shots!
We strolled with Lloyd for a bit, and discussed the current affairs with the proposed ban on nudity in the city.
Visit to the Hot Cookie pastry seemed almost mandatory :p
Later in the evening, quite a big crowd gathered to commemorate Harvey Milk at the Plaza that bears his name; it was anniversary of assassination of this prominent activist for equal rights for gays.
Although, the fight for gay rights is far from over in the US, this made me think that naturists might be the last group that is discriminated so openly in this country. And certainly, no one can accuse them in practicing something unnatural.
This coming Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors takes the final vote on the nudity ban. There is a group of nudist activists that run a rally against this ban. Maybe they will manage to stop it and who knows, even reverse it to allow nudity city-wide, including the parks. Then, hopefully, San Francisco could again become the pioneer city in promoting human rights.
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…