Every year, cyclists around the world ride together in the buff during the World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) in hopes of creating positive societal change. The Boston chapter, which began eight years ago, will kick off this year’s festivities in Jamaica Plain with bikers making their way to Cambridge in just their birthday suits. Here are some facts to know for anyone interested in this au naturel social justice event.
1. Defend biker’s rights and protest non-renewable energy
At first glance, it can be quite easy to label this event as an exhibitionist experiment or a wacky, intimidating affair. This, however, is really not the case. “The World Naked Bike Ride started as a protest against oil dependence and its a great way to highlight the vulnerability that cyclists face every day on the street,” explains organizer Ellyn Thompson. She points out that traffic incidents cause many cyclist deaths each year in Boston, and that riding naked attracts more attention to the cause while also promoting “amazing body positivity.”
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2. Anyone can ride
Everyone who rides a bike, from Lance Armstrong-types to daily commuters, are welcome to partake in the WNBR. Thompson says that the event attracts all types of people and means something different for each individual. For example, she most prizes the fact that this event is all about avoiding body shame, and that they really do look forward to seeing all kinds of different body types, sizes, genders, colors and ages.
3. You don’t actually have to be naked
WNBR wants to make sure that everyone knows nudity for this event is completely optional.[tab]“We have 'as bare as you dare' as our slogan of sorts - there is no pressure to be nude,” clarifies Thompson. “However, I will say it is totally comfortable and fun riding naked.” Riders are also encouraged to wear creative costumes that conceal their faces if they would prefer to remain anonymous.
4. Kick off the night with a party
The bike ride this year will begin at a private space in Jamaica Plain for “disrobing, body paint, and getting to know each other,” according to Thompson. This will start at 6 p.m. and the exact location of this venue will be announced 24 hours in advance of the ride on social media and on the WNBR Boston website.
5. Finish off at Flat Top Johnny’s
After the ride, bikers and spectators alike are invited to Flat Top Johnny’s pool hall and bar for food, refreshments and fun. Replenish all those burned calories with a cold glass of Sam Adams lager and a juicy burger.
If you go:
July 22, 6 p.m. Jamaica Plain, free, wnbrboston.com