We ride the last Friday of every month all year round. Meet at confederation park (elgin and laurier) at 5:30, ride leaves at 6pm!

This is a team blog. To join the team (and get access to post and/or administer the site), email criticalmassottawa@gmail.com

Sunday, June 04, 2006

World Naked Bike Ride Next Saturday!

Of course a lot of you have already heard about World Naked Bike Ride and maybe you're even thinking of coming out this Saturday, June 10, to Confederation Park - 2pm for body painting and decorating, 3pm for the Ride.

Here is some more information and pictures taken from some of the World Naked Bike Ride websites to give a better idea of the purpose of the ride, what it might look like and hopefully get some more people excited about coming along! Please explore the websites for more info on getting ready for the ride.

"We face automobile traffic with our 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 face due to dependence on oil, and other forms of non-renewable energy."

"Frequently Asked Questions"

Isn't riding naked uncomfortable?

Suprisingly, for both women and men, riding naked isn't especially less comfortable than riding clothed. When riding with clothes on you're often rubbing against the seams, so in some ways naked riding is comfier! Ride routes will often be chosen with less experienced cyclists in mind, so will avoid hills and be more leisurely in pace, increasing comfort.

Do I have to ride a bike?

No! Any sort of skates (skateboards, inline skates, rollerskates, rollerblades etc) are welcome too. You won't be able to keep up with rides travelling on foot, but any alternate body-powered transport is welcome and encouraged. Several events have people riding on skates, unicycles, tricycles, chopper bikes, tandems, recumbants and rickshaws. The only sort of bikes that would be unwelcome would be petrol-powered motorbikes and scooters.

Do I have to ride naked? Can I participate clothed or top-free?

The World Naked Bike Ride dress code is "as bare as you dare". How bare is that? How much do you dare? It's all up to you: you decide what you are comfortable with. The ride is clothing-optional.

No one is excluded or discriminated against based on levels of clothing, body paint, or anything else for that matter!

While nudity isn't required to participate in this ride we encourage you to challenge yourself. Wear as little as you can while still feeling comfortable about it. Last year, people came wearing shorts, bras, swimwear, body paint, masks etc. There will be plenty of people who will cycle fully nude, so don't feel that it is your duty to do this if you aren't comfortable showing all of your body. Respect your own boundaries, and go As Bare As You Dare!

What if I'm not thin, young, conventionally attractive, or have scars on my body etc?

Great! Please come to the ride! We'll all be there to ride with you in celebration of your body's strength and individuality. People of all ages, sizes, builds and appearances ride on World Naked Bike Ride. At the ride, you'll be treated with dignity and respect no matter what your body looks like.

What does it feel like to ride nude?

Just like it does with clothes but a bit cooler. Most riders also find it exhilerating, liberating, empowering... and downright hilarious!

Why would anybody embrace public nudity?

Non-sexualized, colourful and creative nakedness in uptight societies is a refreshing way to remind people of some of the fundamental freedoms of life that people have collectively handed over, without really thinking of the consequences. Its 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.

Do I need to get a permit to ride naked on the streets in a large group?

How many Critical Mass (http://critical-mass.info/) groups seek permits to ride in the streets? Do car drivers get permits to cause traffic jams? Do you think you need permission to ride your bicycle with others? Isn't bicycle riding one of the most responsible and efficient ways to get around? Shouldn't local and national government be supporting people who encourage change for the better? Do you need a permit to swim naked at the beach or to sunbathe in the park? Think about it. Think about the implications of asking permission for your freedom, rather than granting yourself the right to live fully and completely.

It's one thing to work with officials or other community groups to make sure the event happens in a successful way if you are using city resources or community space, but quite another to ask for permission to use the roads that you collectively own with other tax payers to go cycling in a responsible manner.

Will I get arrested?

A common question that seems to be coming up is, what does the law say?

Yup, it seems that almost everywhere in the world riding your bicycle naked is illegal — but still we do it!

Most of the naked rides that we have done in Vancouver, have been, well pretty much naked, but Vancouver is a lot more tolerant than say Beijing or Riyadh.

If you feel uncomfortable going completely naked or you are afraid of any legal scuffles, here is some advice. Don't go completely naked.

Image:Solstice2001 3b.jpgImage:Solstice2001 2b.jpg

Above, an artist produced this painting to invite the community of Seattle to mock the looming threat of police arrests of naked participants, including the Nekkid Bicyclists, during the 2001 Fremont Summer Solstice Parade. Pictures above and below appear courtesy of Gary David Yngve (http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/gyngve/).

Here is why we have been getting away with it:

The laws on nudity are often incredibly vague and difficult to enforce

You probably don't need to cover up an awful lot to be legal. With the incredible transforming powers of a little body paint, liquid latex, a strategically-placed sock or duct tape you too can transform the average city-streaking wild naked cyclist into "the legal city-streaking wild naked cyclist". Be creative: a little imagination can change everything.

The laws on nudity also seem to hinge on something called "indecent exposure". The fact of the mater is that being naked is not "indecent". There is nothing indecent about a naked body. The only thing that is indecent are the laws on indecent exposure. Simon Oosterman of the Auckland 2005 WNBR says it best: "Stop the indecent exposure to vehicle emissions!" After all, the shame is on them, not on us!

There are many indecent laws that we the citizens of the world have to stand up to, especially those that infringe our personal freedoms.

Police do not want to be seen confronting a large group of peaceful naked people

It's too embarrassing!

World Naked Bike Ride is clothing-optional

Ride "as bare as you dare!"

Our best weapon is humour

This is a very important one. If you encounter police or any other aggression, do not reciprocate the aggression. Keep it light. It's tough getting angry at a colourful naked person on a bicycle.

Anger and aggression only returns anger and aggression.

None of our rides have been behind closed doors, we do them loud and we do them proud. After all, who would care if we did the ride in reserved nudist areas or where no one could see us? We advertise them in local non-mainstream newspapers. We are challenging social norms, we are challenging the template laws that tell us that what is right is wrong.

I have had many fun encounters with police officers, one of the most interesting was when this grumpy police officer came up to me and told me that he thought that what I was wearing was indecent. I looked him straight in the eye and told him that I thought his opinion was indecent. I was right — and no — I was not arrested.

Nobody has ever been arrested at any of the major naked cycling events in Vancouver, Spain or Germany. There have been arrests in Seattle during the Solstice Parade, but charges were dropped and police do not generally engage the naked cyclists during that event anymore. One of the other arrests at that event was due to an situation where one of the bicyclists accidentally hit a child on the parade route. Just bicycle responsibly and use common sense.

The only arrest that has ever been made at a WNBR event was on February 13, 2005 in Auckland. More info at the Enzyme WNBR web site

WNBR is not just a ride against oil dependency, its a ride for self-empowerment.

What does riding bikes naked have to do with protesting oil dependency?

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.

It looks more like a party than a protest. Why should WNBR be taken seriously as a form of political expression?

Having fun and doing public outreach are not mutually exclusive goals. People see us on the streets and you can see the gears turning in their heads. People see a large group of cyclists and they think to themselves, what is this, why are they doing that? It won't take long for them to figure out that by doing something different, by immersing ourselves in lanes intended for cars and not for bicycles, by tossing our clothes and rejecting our shame, we are protesting a way of life which needs to abandoned.

We paint our bodies with political messages or beautiful designs to complement our forms. We pass out flyers informing the public about our message. We use portable public address systems or raise our voices and chant in unison

Getting people to laugh and smile is a great way to connect and share ideas in a non-threatening way. We realize there will always be the occasional grinch that just can't share the road with cyclists or stand the sight of a natural human being. Fortunately for us, their numbers are decreasing and ours are increasing.

Can I bring a placard, leaflets etc? What message should I communicate?

We recommend bringing something that communicates the messages of the ride (opposition to oil dependency and celebration of our bodies). You could paint the message onto your body (click here for a terrific photo of painted messages from Aukland's Feb 2005 ride, and inspiring use of stencils from the USA's RNC 2004 protests in NYC). You could mount a sign/object/flag onto your bicycle. You might want to wear a prop (mask, wings, tail, etc). Use your imagination.

Don't feel limited by the main WNBR messages. You can communicate opposition to oil dependency through a number of local-specific issues. You may feel strongly opposed to the UK and US led war in Iraq. It can be easily argued that this war wouldn't have happened if the world were no longer oil dependent. It would make sense to attend the World Naked Bike Ride in protest of the war in Iraq or any other conflict fuelled by oil dependency.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woooooo! Last year's ride was amazing. Hopefully the 2006 Ottawa World Naked Bike Ride is twice as big!


8:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's kinda cold today eh? Or should I say 'nippy'?

10:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo I saw you guy's today I would have come too if so many of you werent naked...it's very distracting

10:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a mother to a 7 year old boy, i would rather not be baraccaded in my home for the day because you guys are riding bikes naked, i understand that you are making a statement and i am with you 100 percent on that, but you would be just as effective clothed, and the city of ottawas residents would appreciate and have more respect for you and what you are fightinh for.

7:48 AM


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