Cyclists Bare All: 2012 Philly Naked Bike Ride
Body paint. Bikini tops. Exposed flesh…. and pinwheels?
These were the sights on August 25th in South Philadelphia. Drivers and pedestrians both look stunned, surprised, and even amused at the hundreds of nude and near nude cyclists zipping through the streets. No person was dressed, or undressed, in the same way. Some cyclists bore body paint with written political statements, some rode simply in bathing suits or underwear, while others took the Naked Bike Ride motto, “Bare if you Dare” to heart, and wore nothing. One cyclist has strategically placed pinwheels– causing many passing witnesses to take pictures, honk their car horns, or call out words of encouragement. Many Philadelphians just stared in disbelief.
So why were there hundreds of naked people riding around Philly?
Rest easy, the nudity is just. The Philly Naked Bike Ride, the self proclaimed “Bare if you Dare” event, is held annually. The bikers unite to bring awareness to a variety of bike and non bike related issues such as cycling advocacy, fuel consumption, and having a positive body image. Run by volunteers and sponsors, the event staff provides on site medical assistance, monitors the video and photography taken at the event, and coordinates the logistics of the ride.
This year, the ride began at the corner of Washington and Columbus Blvd. in South Philadelphia, and led the riders up into Northern Liberties, ending at the Piazza at Schmidts. After the event, Empire handed out our waterproof bike covers and let the riders know, “even if they were naked, their bikes didn’t have to be.” Most of the cyclists stuck around to celebrate. Welcomed openly by local restaurant P.Y.T., the still nude and near nude riders parked their bikes and ended the night with burgers and beer.
For many Philadelphians, the common thought was- is this legal? During the ride, many locals asked this very question.
“Why are you naked?” One man yelled from a moving car. “Isn’t that illegal?”
According to Pennsylvania Laws, yes..and no. While classified as “incent exposure”, state law prohibits anyone from exposing themselves in a public place- but only “under circumstances in which he or she knows… it will offend”. Translation? It’s a gray area. The Philly Naked Bike Ride coordinators, as well as the participants, are well aware of this. Hence, “bare if you dare”. While it’s hard to imagine the city encouraging nudity, officers on scene DID temporarily block off traffic to allow the bikers through a congested area.
It’s not just Philadelphia- Naked Bike Rides are international. The “World Naked Bike Ride” is held in multiple cities, everywhere from Seattle to Spain. Similarly, riders “bare all” to raise awareness, while people passing by are either annoyed or amused. Either way, the rides continue, with extremely rare arrests or incidents.
Should the rides be illegal, or are cyclists simply promoting a cause?
Naked or not, choose to cover up your bike with Empire Covers.
Your bike will stay in tip top shape, allowing for years of naked cycling.
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