Chicago’s Naked Bike Ride. Though I believe I’ve heard about it in passing, I didn’t witness it until a couple days ago when, through a Facebook invite, I found myself standing alongside a crowd checking out what proved to be the most interesting spectacle I’d seen in quite awhile…
Organized as an international movement to “celebrate cycling and the human body… demonstrate the vulnerability of cyclists on the road… and to protest against oil dependency” (from the World Naked Bike Ride Site), this ride gives a whole new meaning to “stopping traffic with one’s looks”. People left their vehicles in the streets to cheer and holler alongside those who already filled the sidewalks, watching as hundreds of people rode by in, at most, their mere underwear (while most donned a lot less).
On this day I achieved a new never-knew-I-wanted-to-reach-it-goal: I high-fived 8 naked men in the span of about 45 seconds. I can’t exactly think of a situation during which that would happen, again.
A debate broke out the next day between my friends and I. While some, understandably, felt that this was a travesty — that people should not be allowed to break the law in masses while a person, acting alone, would be fined or arrested, labeled a child molester or a sex criminal, etc. — I was among those who thought this was all in good fun, free, expressive, and harmless. Though most would assume that a group of nude people would thrive with sexuality, this event couldn’t be more asexual. The ride wasn’t carried out by anyone in a perverse manner; the attitude was one of comedy, goofing off, freedom, or true belief in the cause.
I send kudos to those who braved the crisp night air and the threat of “indecent exposure” fines to live that freely for a bit. And if you’re interested in checking out the event next year (as a spectator or rider), visit http://chicagonakedride.org/.