[naked] Burning Man

naked 0119 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Finally, I am getting to write about one of the brightest events of the last year and my whole life so far – Burning Man, a festival that I had wanted to attend for years! And it is just on time before the tickets for 2013 go on sale already next Wednesday, for which you need to pre-register by this coming Sunday, 12:00 Pacific Time!

Of course, given this blog’s theme, I’ll focus on the naked aspect of the [Burning] Man, which is just a small portion of what I have experienced there. Nudity is a commonplace in Black Rock City (geographic alias of Burning Man), but only a fraction of people opt for it.  This gives you a realistic feeling of what it could be like if full nudity in public was legalised in Western society and some people would start make use of this freedom.

naturist 0130 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

By the way, it is thanks to this blog that I found a wonderful companion, Andre, to join me at the festival, as I had to sell a ticket originally planned for another friend who had to cancel. We planned all logistics together, and it worked out just fine, and we became good friends. The whole planning thing seemed quite complicated at first, as we had to organise a self-reliable camp out in the desert in Nevada with unpredictable weather AND visit and see as many interesting things as possible during the festival. The official website and mailing list contains all necessary information, but I’m going to give just a few words of advice re logistics (of course, this is just from our personal experience, and may be totally different for you).

1) There are now buses from some of the major cities in the area, but the price doesn’t seem to be competitive with car rental as long as you are more than one person.

2) Even a small tent can be totally fine as long as you have a good shading structure. You are not going to sleep much and spend time ‘indoors’. But it’s essential to have protection from dusty winds (sometimes) and blazing sun around noon (every day).

3) What the official booklet advised re water (up to 4 gallons per day per person) was absolutely over the top for us. I understand that they want you to stay on the safe side, but we took only half of the recommended amount and then had to give out at least a third of water.

4) Don’t bring booze, unless you want a very specific type or your camp theme is some sort of bar. There is plenty of alcohol everywhere, and don’t forget, everything is free at Burning Man once you get there!

5) Vinegar turned out to be really useful to clean skin, especially feet, from alkaline playa dust. I sometimes poured it in my ‘barefoot’ Bikram shoes; skin moisturisers are great too. On the other hand, I didn’t feel it was necessary to have more sun protection than, say, on a sunny beach day, as some sources claimed and urged to bring sunscreens of SPF100 etc. But then again, I was already tanned by the end of the summer, and also I suspect that dust might actually help against the sun. I used SPF15 or 30 on my shoulders and never got burnt.

6) Melons! They actually did well even in that heat for several days and we wished we brought more than 3.

7) Last but not least, it was a great decision to join a pretty big theme camp, Playa Bike Transportation in our case. They gave us a lot of advice and provided the kitchen, solar camp shower, and most importantly the shading structure.

So, construction of the shading structure was the first thing we took care of when we found our camp. This way we also got to know several camp-mates.

naturist 0021 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

It wasn’t too complicated, and I even found a minute to pose as the Vitruvian Man of Leonardo da Vinci 🙂

naturist 0022 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

The only difficult part was hammering rebar into the hard playa ground. But I had no idea that it would be much more difficult to get it out afterwards! (That’s when we used some of our extra water, as it was easier to pull out rebar from wet ground.)

naturist 0023 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Playa Bike Transportation camp turned out to be an excellent choice for me in many respects. Burning Man is built on the idea of everyone contributing something to ‘the community’ – “no spectators, only participants” is the motto. Being a part of a bike camp, it was easy to find a way to help people – by repairing their bicycles.

naturist 0003 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Black Rock City is quite a big town without public transportation and cars (unless they are ‘mutated’), so most people rely on bicycles to go long distances. But with all that dust, bikes break easily (it makes sense to have a playa-dedicated bike if you are a regular, or rent one from a camp like ours). So, our camp was always busy with people lining up for self-service or help from our professional mechanics or amateurs like me.

naturist 0006 Playa Bike Transportation/ Repair, Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

While on duty, we got approached all the time, but the good thing was that it allowed us to get to know a lot of people!

naturist 0007 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

It is worth noting, that Playa Bike Transportation (this year, Playa Bike Repair) is not a nudist camp per se. I knew there were camps that were more related to nudity, but my idea was to try to live as if birthday suit was as ‘normal’ as any other outfit and just do regular stuff in the buff… like repairing bikes. I did not want to stay in any kind of nudist colony, and I think this was the best thing I could do to show that there is nothing wrong with nakedness. Before joining the camp, I discussed the nakedness issue with the leader and he seemed to be convinced, although Andre and I were going to be its first naked members (pun not intended). It worked out just great, nobody seemed to have issues with that and a couple of our campmates got naked too on various occasions.

Besides Playa Bike Transportation, Andre (mostly) and I volunteered at the neighbouring Post Office camp. Yes, Black Rock City may be a short-living settlement but it’s got its own functional Post Office with a proper stamp! I tried my best to be the least friendly possible mocking the stereotype of a USPS worker, but Andre was much better at it and soon became known as an ‘angry postman’.

naturist 0142 Post Office, Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Again, we surprised our customers by our attire, but everyone seemed to love it!

naturist 0077 Post Office, Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Our coworkers were cool about it too.

naturist 0078 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Thus, I think our biggest contribution to the Burning Man festival was spreading the idea that nakedness is just fine and there is nothing shocking about it by doing regular jobs in the buff and interacting with large numbers of people every day. Burning Man is all about expanding your views and comfort zone, and hopefully we’ve triggered this at least in some of our “customers” and campmates.

Besides acquiring new friends, I also knew some old buddies were coming as well. One of them was Miguel, a devoted naturist traveller.

naturist 0000 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

He stayed at colourful Comfort and Joy camp.

naturist 0100 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

When I ventured out to search of Miguel’s camp, I saw El Pulpo Mecanico, one of the hundreds of art cars, or mutant vehicles on the playa.

naturist 0097 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And I think it remained to be my favourite till the end. It looked fantastic in daylight and at night too, with all its moving tentacles emitting fire.

naturist  0000 Pulpo Mecanico, Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Some mutant vehicles were huge and impressed with their design and mere size.

naturist 0139 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

There were also a lot of spectacular structures and constructions, big and small, that made the landscape absolutely surreal.

naturist 0107 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

This pirate ship sinking in sand was definitely one of the highlights.

naturist 0190 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Some structures were interactive, like these phone booths.

naturist 0001 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

By the way, as you can see on this photo, there was a night when it was warm enough to walk around naked. When we played with my LED-lit frisbee, it was even too hot. But most of the nights were quite chilly, so we had to wear something. Andre and I had a minimalist ‘caveman’ outfit made of fake sheep fur rugs (you can see me on the left of the night el Pulpo Mecanico picture).

The main structure was of course the Man himself, seen from all over the city thanks to its geometrical plan (and provided clear weather, usually in early mornings) – on this photo from 9 o’clock plaza, where our camp was located,

naturist 0131 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

or from Center Camp, here.

naturist 0144 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

At night, it is lit up, as almost everything (and everybody) else.

naturist 0109 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

The Man structure was also a gathering point for some events like Black Rock City’s own issue of the World Naked Bike Ride, aka World Naked Pub Crawl. With bikes being such a crucial part of life during the festival, and its idea to promote self-reliance and sustainability, WNBR seems to fit perfectly into the concept of Burning Man; and with those phallic structures around the Man, which I guess had to do with 2012’s theme, Fertility, the naked aspect of the ride seemed only more appropriate.

naturist 0008 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Before the ride, naked people took over the Man,

naturist 0012 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

filling the whole structure

naturist 0013 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and climbing everywhere possible.

naturist 0014 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Nice view from the Man 😉

naturist 0009 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Most of the participants were on regular bikes, but it wouldn’t be Burning Man without some amusing riders, who decorated their naked bodies,

naturist 0024 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

fancy tandem bikes, or this guy on a unicycle.

naturist 0010 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Amazeballs! [I know, the term use is somewhat controversial, but it suits here more than anywhere else 😉 ]

Several “pubs” welcomed naked bike riders. The Duck Pond was probably the most fun, as it had a 150-foot-long slip-n-slide.

naturist 0036 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

At least one guy made it almost all the way till the end of it!

naturist 00366 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

I went a bit sideways and didn’t reach that far.

naturist 0067 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Next stop was spontaneous, as some riders simply took over trampolines of another camp.

naturist trampoline 0015 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist trampoline 0020 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Needless to say, it was a lot of fun and some were really good at tumbling!

naturist trampoline 0037 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist trampoline 0071 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Next bar, Barbie Death Camp, saw a naked pianist performance.

naturist 0011 Barbie Death Camp, Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Party Naked Tiki Bar, is a probably the most known naked hang out place at the playa, and it was a part of the World Naked Pub Crawl too, of course.

naturist Tiki Bar 0196 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Besides those, I would also like to mention Scarbutts Cafe, where we got our late morning coffee

naturist 0140 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

for a couple of good spanks 😀

naturist 0076 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Center Camp is a great hang out spot too, and it wasn’t left without some naked activities either.

This guy was really good at playing with the sock ball.

naturist sock ball 0000 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And I was really happy that my Burning Man didn’t go without some capoeira games.

naturist capoeira 0100 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

There was a martial arts theme camp, Black Rock Kwoon and Dojo, with classes on different martial arts including capoeira, but there were daily games (rodas) at the Center Camp too.

naturist capoeira 0076 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist capoeira 0077 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And I was even happier when one more naked guy joined the game, as well as a topless girl (not on the photos, though).

For a moment, the Center Camp turned into an Ancient Greek gymnasium 🙂

naturist capoeira 0050 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist capoeira 0105 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist capoeira 0106 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist capoeira 0107 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Too bad it was the last evening already, but that was a definitive “yes” – Black Rock City rocks!!!

naturist capoeira 0019 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Those were sad and happy two last nights when major structures were burnt, but that is also a part of beauty of Burning Man, highlighting the idea that one must live in the moment.

naturist 0185 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And it ends, as everything, only to give a new beginning… Already on the way back, my new friends and I were discussing our ideas for the next year! (Though I am still to decide whether I am going in 2013.)

naturist 0195 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Oh wait, I’ve also compiled a video with some of the brightest moments at Burning Man. No video is capable to show what that festival of festivals really is, but hopefully it can give you some idea and inspiration.

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.

Ciclonudista – Madrid 2009

English

¡Si alguna vez tienes la posibilidad de participar en la carrera mundial nudista en bicicleta, hazlo!!!

Porque: 

1.Promociona un medio de transporte urbano saludable y amigable con el entorno: la bicicleta.

2.Facilita la aceptación de cada persona con su cuerpo: de hecho, te sorprenderías de que la gente no se siente ofendida o sorprendida ante el nudismo en absoluto.

 Los turistas estarán contentos de hacer fotos al evento y los vendedores de las tiendas están encantados de venderte agua o helados sin inmutarse!! 😎 

3.Es una muy buena ocasión para conocer otra gente a la que también le interesan los deportes y el medio ambiente 🙂 

4.¡Si eres turista, es la mejor forma de disfrutar de un tour gratuito en bicicleta por la ciudad!

Pero no te preocupes, se hacen pausas para descansar… ¿o bailar?

5. Normalmente hacen un after-party, como nuestro en un parque en el centro de Madrid. Todos nos sentíamos felices como niños.

 La gente compartía su comida y lo pasó genial!!

 El castillo humano fue muy divertido =)

Text in Spanish by Marcos

World Naked Bike Ride – Madrid 2009

español
If you ever have a chance to participate in the World Naked Bike Ride, do it!
Because:

  • it promotes healthy and environment-friendly urban transportation – biking 🙂 
  • it prmotes body acceptance: you will be surprised that people are actually not shocked or offended by nudity at all.
  • Tourists are happy to take pictures and sellers in local shops are happy to sell water and ice-cream without even raising their eyebrows 😎 
  • it is a great place to get to know other people who are interested in sports and environment 🙂 
  • if you are a tourist, it is the best way to have a free sightseeing bike tour! 

And don’t worry, there will be breaks to catch your breath… or dance?

  • For whatever reason everyone seemed happy, having pure fun just like children.

Usually there is also an after-party. We were lucky to have one in one of the central parks of Madrid, amazing! People shared their food and joy =)

 

That human pyramid was epic!