-A bicycle helmet
-A messenger bag
…And that’s it. Saturday was the World Naked Bike Ride here in Portland, and I was not going to miss it. Last year, I learned of the event too late and wasn’t able to participate because I was playing Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, really. While thousands of other Portlanders were getting naked in the streets last year, I was playing D&D. (Though, it was a really fun D&D session…)
The Oregon constitution goes a bit further than the federal one with regards to protected speech. Because the World Naked Bike Ride is technically political speech (we were ostensibly there protesting oil dependence), the ensuing bike-mounted parade of butts, boobs, and saddle-mounted wangs were 100% legal. The police were out in force… corking traffic for us. Several of the cops waved, and one particularly enthusiastic officer of the law was throwing metal horns to the various naked cyclists.
This was the second time in my life that I’ve been naked on a bike, and just like when I got naked for a flaming lips video, it was pretty much entirely nonsexual. I’m not about to turn into some kind of ideological nudist, but damn it was fun. Lots of fun. Overturning social mores almost always is.
A steady crowd of onlookers had massed on the street, often with their arms out, high-fiving the participants. The naked participants, in turn, often shouted things such as “Take off your pants!” to the crowd. Amazingly, some of them did. There were more than a few naked onlookers, most notably a very well-muscled gentleman sitting naked astride a motorcycle and giving everyone a thumbs up. If there ever was a potential cover for a gay metal album, he was it.
One of the bums I recognized from Old Town also decided to get naked, and there, on the side of the road, he was wearing nothing but dirt whilst bouncing up and down excitedly. I could have gone the rest of my life without seeing filthy bouncing hobo wang, but there it was. Also in Old Town a rather obnoxious frat-boyish sort of guy screamed “Where the titties at?” I thought this was sort of a curious thing to say given that titties were everywhere.
Like I said, overturning social mores is nearly always fun. The feeling of everyone getting together and saying “Hey, guys! Let’s temporarily operate using alternative social constructions!” is precisely the kind of thing that can make lots of people say “Woo!” It’s a refreshing reminder that things are mutable.
It was highly neat. If I’m in Portland next year, I’m definitely getting naked again.