Bike Riders Get Naked for the Environment

Cheyann Elmore
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Bike riders rode through San Francisco naked.

The weather in San Francisco was perfect this past Saturday for a naked bike ride.

Bike riders from all over the Bay Area came together Saturday morning for the third annual “World Naked Bike Ride San Francisco” to let it all hang out, so to speak, as they rode bicycles, skateboards and roller skates in protest of unsustainable energy policies across the globe, according to the event’s Facebook page.

“Our ride is part of a global protest taking place today in many cities throughout the U.S. and Europe,” said the organization’s website. “Tens of thousands of naked bike riders are protesting the global dependency of our society and economies at the hands of the oil cartel. We want to emphasize the harm this dependency causes to our environment, businesses and social lives. We want to endorse more bike riding and our nudity expresses our vulnerability to these matters and it draws attention to our cause.”

The naked bike riders met up at the northeast side of the Vaillancourt Fountain in Justin Herman Plaza, at Market Street and Embarcadero Blvd.

Biker weaves through traffic.

The participants took part in a body painting session, where some cyclists added colorful flare to their birthday suits by painting slogans and designs on themselves.

Prior to the birth of the World Naked Bike Ride, there were already two separate nude cyclist organizations protesting oil dependency, the Artists for Peace in Canada and the other was the Manifestación Ciclonudista in Spain.

The World Naked Bike Ride was first started in 2004 by Conrad Schmidt as a way of creating an international ride performed naked between the different activist groups nationwide.

At noon on Saturday, the naked cyclists headed out alongside traffic onto the main streets while spectators lined the sidewalks, running alongside them trying to capture the moment with their cameras and iPhones.

“It is a lot of fun being out here, but I was really nervous about doing something like this,” said Sandy Petrosky, 24, as she made the ride with a friend. “What I am enjoying the most is seeing the reactions of the families out here and the drivers. We are getting a ton of honks and a lot of ‘hoots’ and ‘hollers’ from the men.”

The riders rode through the Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Embarcadero and continued all the way down to the Civic Center area to AT&T Park.

“We face automobile traffic with our naked bodies as the best way of defending our dignity and exposing the unique dangers faced by cyclists and pedestrians as well as the negative consequences we all face due to dependence on oil, and other forms of non-renewable energy,” said the website. “It’s about body-positive values: living a healthy life in tune with, not against, our environment; respecting the natural beauty and diversity of human bodies and establishing and projecting a positive self-image and rejecting shame.”

According to the organization, as of 2010, the World Naked Bike Ride is actively staged in over 70 cities and 17 countries, including the United Kingdom, Hungary and Paraguay.

In support of last weekend’s event, a local bike rental shop near Fisherman’s Wharf named Blazing Saddle, offered everyone who participated a special one-day discount of 50 percent off of any bike rental.

“I’m out here because I am a fan of philosophy and extreme activities,” said participating naked cyclist Nate Robinson, 24. “I think it’s honorable to see so many different types of people coming together to do something extreme, but harmless for one common cause or goal.”

This event was a special Southern Hemisphere edition of the World Naked Bike Ride, which started three years ago. The main bike ride will take place on Jun. 9 this year.