Tuesday, June 12, 2007

naked cycling

this isn't really triathlon related. but it is bike related, and just oddball enough that i felt compelled to write about it...just to break the monotony of training, if nothing else, and maybe lend some moral support to fellow cyclists.

in case you don't know, this past June 9 was World Naked Bike Ride Day.

apparently, it's a world-wide event to protest various issues, and basically consists of people around the world riding their bicycles naked.

i mean naked. as in stark raving nekkid. bare skin. bare bottoms. bare privates. on bike seats. in public. in open daylight.

check out the BBC and CNN news items:
oh the horror, the horror.

this year's event was to protest automobile usage, bike accidents on the road, and oil pollution. based on the info from the event's website, it's been going on for several years, with 2007 being the 4th annual event. from the looks of it, it is indeed global, with coordinated events in 70 cities around the world--although it's clear that the event is celebrated more heavily in some locations than in others (UK seems to be the hotbed, although the US is doing its share, and the Spaniards appear to be doing fine, with the Germans holding their own).

i'm not going to comment on the politics, because i don't want to focus on this. i do want to focus on the event itself because 1) it is just plain hilarious, and 2) i think it says something about the extent of the global community of cyclists.

i'm looking at this as an example of the scale of the population of cyclists that exist in the world, and just how widespread bicycling is--contrary to the sense of automobiles as having overwhelming domination of the roads. cyclists have rights to be on roads, and there is nothing wrong with using bicycles to travel from one place to another. even in fully industrialized and automated and post-Industrial societies...or maybe especially in fully industrialized and automated and post-Industrial societies.

i'm sure each and every one of us reading this post has their own story of a bike accident caused by obnoxious motorists, or abuse from callous law enforcement, or ridicule from ignorant pedestrians. and i'm sure these stories are not just of friends or relatives, but also personal.

would i participate in this event? uh...no. i'm a little too prudish for this sort of thing. would i watch? uh...i don't know. prudishness aside, i'm a little leery of public political protest, but i have to admit to a certain macabre voyeuristic curiousity--just to watch the comically absurd spectacle that can only be found from performance art such as this.

but with this news item, at least i can feel that there are other cyclists in the world. and it's okay for us to ride bikes to get around. and we're not just a bunch of freaks (er...well...maybe we are...).

we all are gonna ride our bikes, dammit!

the official event websites are at the following:
and as you probably suspect, there is indeed amateur video on Youtube from several of the past years, including 2007. i took the liberty of compiling a sample of ones from around the world-- should warn you: hide the kids, and don't be squeamish, cuz this stuff is...well, unedited, if you know what i mean:
there's others, i'm sure--i saw a few from Germany, Netherlands, Japan, and South Africa. but i just picked ones for 2007.

cheers, mate! and don't forget to wear some sunscreen and bodyglide!


Anonymous said...

jon, i reckon you should get involved next year and show the ladies what you've got. don't be shy.

Rebecca said...

did they at least wear helmets??

Anonymous said...

no. there's no need. they were only going 2-3 miles per hour.