After last weekend's three day feast of non-stop nude recreation for me and my friends in Vermont, I again last night enjoyed my dessert before heading off to Europe for three weeks of freehiking which will include NEWT, by indulging in a 10 mile recreational bike ride in the nude in the jungle that is the streets of Boston and vicinity. I got my daily workout into my schedule, and was able to enjoy the entire three hours of it in the nude.
There are WNBR events in some cities that attract 8000 to 10000 riders. Some take place by day, others at night. The Montpelier ride two weeks ago was tiny by comparison at 25 folks , took place in the middle of the afternoon, and is always just as fun for me if not more than a larger event might be because we can keep moving yet make individual eye contact with the observers standing along the way. The Montpelier ride has been going on long enough there that people now come into town that day just to watch, many of them setting up chairs along the way before we even start. I'm glad that people enjoy the novelty so much, but sad that nudity is such a novelty. Contrary to suggestions that I have seen in other forums, children don't turn into toads or spontaneously combust at the mere sight of a naked human, so the more folks that have an opportunity to experience our bit or normalcy, the better. Boston was last night, more on that in a moment. The big one near me is Philly in the fall. But I have always had to work that weekend so far so I have not experienced a massive ride yet. Maybe some day, or perhaps London is in my future.
As for Boston, Sara the organizer for the past five years for the Boston event has outdone herself this year. I rode again last night and the event was everything that I described last year, only a quantum leap ahead in the fun factor. Like many around the globe, this event was staged much like a flash mob event. A meeting place was posted in social media and in the web versions of many of the local print media outlets and people came, many people! No route was announced ahead which only added to the fun. Between 9 and 10pm riders and spectators gathered on the Boston Common at the Bandstand. By mutual agreement, we held off on disrobing till about five minutes before 10, then at 10 we were on our way over 200 persons strong this year, dramatically up from last year's 100 or so. As was the case last year, at least 60% of us were completely nude but for shoes and helmets, so this was no timid "stick your toe in the water" event for many of us. These were folks committed for many reasons to the concept of acceptable full public naked behavior.
The crowds that had gathered to enjoy and spread our images over social media were extremely enthusiastic and supportive right from the start. Our route unfolded before us as we rode on, eventually covering a winding route of 10 miles over three hours. Not a blistering pace, but quite a feat of management in keeping us all together as a group and not spreading out hopelessly as we did last year, another credit to Sara and the volunteers who helped this year. The police along the way in the three cities covered, Boston, Somerville, Cambridge, and back to Boston were well aware of our presence and did not interfere . We even rode past patrol cars dispatched on non-related details along the way on several occasions and some of us high-fived the officers through their open car windows; this in a part of the county where public nudity of any kind under ordinary circumstances is strictly prohibited by law.
Thousands of folks along the way observed us, cheered us on and gave us a thumbs up. Numerous people called out to us congratulating us for our daring and were obviously in full approval of our efforts to stretch the boundaries of public nude behavior in our society. There is no question that we had their support on this most important issue which is one of my primary reasons for participating in this event.
Being a veteran of only day time events in the past, I had my doubts about the effectiveness of a WNBR being staged at night. These past two years in Boston has made me a believer. Having the ride after 10pm neatly sidesteps the prude issue of children possibly being traumatized or worse, self combusting at the sight of a naked human. This makes the whole thing a whole lot easier to handle for the authorities in a community like ours. And gaining exposure for our many causes is a non-issue. Thousands of wildly enthusiastic side line spectators holding similar numbers of smart device cameras ready to blast our images across social media is potentially far more effective than having the event in broad daylight for the benefit of a few reporters for traditional print and broadcast media. There is no doubt in my mind that such was the case in Boston the last several years, witness the explosive growth of participation in our event. As adults become more familiar with casual nudity through events like this and through exposure to more stealth nude behavior like nude hiking, boating, driving, etc, it is my hope that the broadly held misconceptions about exposing children to nudity will dissipate as it has in parts of Europe.
So where else can one take an invigorating 10 mile recreational bike ride through an urban environment just as one might do on a Sunday afternoon, AND do it completely in the nude? Add to that pleasure of knowing that there will likely be no interference from the authorities and that we will have the unanimous support of the public? Try it. You'll like it. Nude is by far the best way to enjoy riding a bike.
Not expecting a ten mile ride last night, and riding my fixie messenger bike my feet locked into pedals with no gears or freewheel hub, my legs were burning after the final uphill pull, up Beacon Street behind the Common. I enjoy minimalist bikes as well as minimalist biking. After the final turn at the intersection of Charles and Beacon Streets, we climbed to the summit of Beacon Hill at the State House and dismounted for the final time for a group photo of us all in the nude gathered upon the front steps. I shall return again next year.