Well that was a thrill. Last night, thousands of naked, semi-naked and body paint-slathered Portlanders gathered under the Hawthorne Bridge for the city's seventh annual World Naked Bike Ride.
One volunteer estimated the crowd at 13,000 but that sounds way too high to me—it felt to me like there were about as many people at the start point as there were last year, putting the number of riders at more like 5,000. Either way, the ride is very likely the world's largest naked bike ride and took 30 to 40 minutes to pass the cheering throngs gathered along the nine mile route that snaked through Old Town, Broadway and Southeast bar scenes on 28th, Belmont and Hawthorne.
Like last year, the Portland Police escorted the ride, blocking intersections for the entire route. That, plus the sheer mass of cheering people, kept altercations to a minimum and (from my perspective at least) the ride seemed very safe.
One person was hit by a car on Hawthorne, but reports from the scene say the injury wasn't very bad. An ambulance was at the crash very quickly.
The only questionable part, in my mind, was the Pervo Gauntlet at the beginning of the ride, where a handful guys set up their zoom lenses along the first part of the route. But the percentage of pervos among cheering fans (some of whom stripped in solidarity while exiting bars or cars) was a tiny fraction. Some participants have already uploaded photos of the ride, which you can check out on Flickr.
Anyway, I rounded up some other Portlanders' thoughts from the Twitters this morning. Here's what people are saying about the ride:
Below the cut: not everyone likes the naked bike ride! Check out an anonymous protest sign found on a North Portland telephone pole bearing the phrase, "Naked bike riding shows how much you need to reprent and turn to the Lord Jesus." I'll get right on that. After I shake this hangover.