T-minus 36 hours until the world's largest naked bike ride hits the streets of Portland. That's right! The annual naked ride is tomorrow night! Be prepared.
This is around the time when I start fielding sheepish questions from friends that start out, "So... if I were to go to the naked ride—totally hypothetically—should I, like, wear clothes on the way there or something?"
DON'T WORRY. For the bike issue a couple weeks ago, I asked for some tips from friendly cyclists with experience in urban re-nude-al. As a refresher course, here's what you need to know in case you're, you know, maybe totally hypothetically going to be one of the 10,000 people who strips down on the streets tomorrow.
• Consider your disrobing plan. Except for the hardcore Crocs-only nudists, most everyone shows up to the ride clothed and then strips down minutes before the start. At that point, "You will soon discover that you are more comfortable naked because you're going to be totally out of place if you keep your clothes on," says veteran ride organizer Stephen Upchurch, who recommends stashing your togs in a pannier or basket.
• Fanny packs are modesty flaps; says Bike Smut film festival organizer Reverend Phil Sano. Point taken. Also useful for staying discreet: a mask.
• Wear some damn clothes. Namely, shoes and a helmet. Cheek-to-seat action is not so bad, but tender-foot-to-pedal is no fun.
• Pack a tool. Like, a multi-tool, pump, and patch kit in case you break down, which is one of those things that is not hilarious at the time. The ride also has roving mechanics on hand, just in case.
• Don't be drunk. You're riding naked with thousands of people. Crashing will hurt. And, besides, Portland police politely escort the ride and will ticket you for biking while intoxicated, says Upchurch. "Many fine establishments will be happy to serve you a drink after the ride," he adds. "Some may serve you naked if you just haven't had enough."
• Say cheese! If you wish to avoid the adoring crowds that cheer, snap photos, and occasionally spank riders, stick to the middle of the pack and ride in the middle of the road. "Folks are often worried about the perverts," says Sano. "Well, they exist. If you are gonna be in public space with a few thousand other naked bikers you might suffer some awkward moments." Sano also offers this concise tip on how to tell if you are one of the unwanted pervs in question: "You are alone and you are not riding a bike."
UPDATE: Portland Police just sent out a short press release alerting the city to the ride. They include this detail: "The Portland Police Bureau will have extra officers on hand to ensure everyone is safe and to provide assistance at intersections.
The Portland Police Bureau recommends that all riders at least wear a helmet and shoes to avoid any potential injuries. Bike lights are also recommended."
Really glad we live in a city where the police offer naked bike riding tips.
The ride meets on SE Water Avenue near OMSI at 9pm tomorrow and departs promptly at 10pm. See you there, totally hypothetically!