(Cross-posting the post-ride press release.)
World Naked Bike Ride is a massive public awareness event, promoting freedom from oil and the beauty of people.
I always say with peak oil production now history, and global warming, naked people on bikes is simply a fact.
This was the 8th annual, so at this point we've got logistics fairly well handled
The police were great as always, and this couldn't happen without Chicago being a world-class bike-friendly city.
The outpouring of joy and support by fans was massive. We are now a well known annual city phenomenon, covered by all press.
We certainly held up a lot of car traffic, but it’s hard to complain waiting for such a thing to pass. "Best cab ride ever!" is a frequent joke.
We had some special features this year including a wedding, passing Boystown’s marriage equality rally, reaching all the way to Wrigley Field, and a raffle.
Mass counts are averaging ~900. Inline, skater and pedicab participation was high.
There were some thefts after ride, including phone/keys/wallet of the naked elf ride leader himself, and words can’t suffice for how furious I am on this. Information or return welcome. But overall, drunkenness, pervs, and incidents were low.
Given icy drizzle, and low 60s temps at best, the courage and dedication of the riders was extreme.
The weather is always a challenge, but this one was particularly bitter and no doubt heavily effected turnout. We've stuck to this date forever because it’s when many cities ride, but I think that we may finally move later.
Remember the message: Celebrating freedom from oil, and the beauty of people.
Chicago 2010 #7 Was a success. The weather warned rain all night, but it's drizzled assult lasted only a few minutes about a half an hour before the meetup. Tons of people cheered us on while others clenched to their steering wheels looking at the car stopped in front of them. The Chicago police department did an excellent job stopping traffic, and no arrest or serious injuries to report.
The sixth annual Chicago World Naked Bike Ride was on Saturday June 13th 2009. Participants were instructed to check-in after 6pm near the "O" sign (oprah Winfrey's Harpo studios lot, 1077 W Randolph), then on to a large secluded walled lot for body painting and party. Spectator were told to come to Finkl (a well known steel mill on Cortland by Kingsbury) before 11pm and to wave and cheer safely from the sides and to behave and come without car. This worked extremely well, compared to prior bottlenecks through boystown. As usual the map was an artwork of great beauty.
Counts ranged strangely broadly, and not just reflecting peak and dropouts. Even with online videos (http://chicagonakedride.org/photo) guesses ranged from 600 to 1800, personally I feel 1200 is a safe guess. I've been reluctant to admit decrease from prior year, but it was cold and wet weather. I even sent a message on day of discouraging frail riders due to conditions. I'd say, with three tries and some experience counting such things, we could certainly quote "over 1000 riders in 2009".
The fifth annual Chicago World Naked Bike Ride on Saturday June 14th 2008 was an overwhelming success, with an official participant count of 1700!
This count was calculated using a stationary elevated video record of the entire mass from head to toe passing a fixed point early in the ride, counted using slow-motion, repeated four times and averaged. The video was taken at the North East corner of Washington and Racine as mass left a traffic signal, using a crosswalk line as count point. Point was about 1.5 miles into ride from gathering area, about .5 miles from Union Park check-in point. Mass there averaged a dozen deep, passing about ten a second. Margin of error could be high, but certainly over 100 more joined the ride well after the count (many intentionally merging at the half-way viewing point) making 1700 a safe figure. Others may review the count using the reference video on our photos page. Several preliminary photo albums, route map, and more are also there.
1700 nearly triples Chicago's 2007 turnout, and reportedly sets the new world record! This year we intentionally under-publicized, to save on printing and distribution, to throttle growth and filter for earnest and repeat participants, and to focus on safety instead of size. In modesty, Chicago's WNBR benefits greatly from sheer population, an active bike culture and clubs, 10 years of Critical Mass, bike friendly city government, good weather on ride day, and being a night ride.
Route covered about 14+ miles, and for our first time a text messaging group was used to broadcast our progress live. The throng of fans at viewing point (Belmont and Halsted) was exceedingly thick (compressing and lengthening the mass) and we arrived there fashionably late. Some 24,000 informational handouts were distributed en-route. Accidents, flats, and altercations with cars were few.
Cheers to everyone for their tremendous courage! I'd guess that over 90% were in briefs or less (and paint), and 5-10% of those were nude or bare-breasted despite risk, with gender mix not far from even. The mass included a marching-type band and several large music systems, over a dozen inline skaters, several skate boarders, many art bikes, and a rear-guard of trailers. As usual, participants have trouble describing the experience, with even gushing words like magical, miraculous, incredible, unbelievable, transcendent, and "best time of my life" barely sufficing.
Huge kudos to the volunteers and coordinators who gave outstanding performance and dedication under pressure. Body painting capacity was more than doubled, and additional activities and more snacks and water were added. And for the first time we rented porta-potties.
ANYONE WITH PRESS clippings or TV NEWS captures of the Chicago ride PLEASE retain and reply. Don't assume we already have it. I'm told I was on TV again this year, but have yet to see it.
Finally but foremost, boundless sincere gratitude goes to mayor Richard M Daley and to the Chicago Police for their acceptance and facilitation of this ride. This and other massive local rides tangibly show Chicago's ongoing commitment to being a notably bike-friendly U.S. city.
Chicago World Naked Bike Ride 2007 a Spectacular Success!!!
Official count: 600*
Saturday, June 9th 2007, ride check-in was at Union Park (about 100 N. Ashland) from 6pm, assembled and body painted at a secure location a mile away, and departed at 9pm. Ride passed published recommended viewing points at Belmont/Halsted and Belmont/Clark ("Boystown") around 11pm, and Rush/State ("Viagra Triangle") around 11:45pm. Also circled NBC tower, R&R McD, and ended at Oprah's studio after covering about 20 miles. Inline skater participation was WAY up with perhaps three dozen or more, as well as a few skateboarders. Runners/joggers were discouraged this year as a practicality based on experiences in prior years. Gender ratio seemed pretty close to even. Donations again almost exactly balanced expenses (Thanx everyone!), and we're getting many compliments especially on the level of organization.
Helped by excellent weather and great spirits almost everyone was as nearly naked as the law allows, with perhaps as much as 10% basically fully nude (not counting backpacks and such), some 5-10% in minimal shorts/t-shirts, and perhaps 1% (such as admin personnel) in full clothes. A considerable number travelled in from adjacent states to participate. A wildly joyful time was had by almost all, and mad props for courage go out to everyone. Generally, the feelings voiced by participants are that being in the ride is an almost inexpressibly wondrous experience.
MANY THANKS to the police, who were as tolerant and helpful as they could reasonably be, and protected our rear and flanks. Sincere apologies for the few times we annoyed them, mainly by being surprisingly huge.
Pre-ride publicity was our most massive ever, with event listings appearing in all major local print news and pertinent websites, a Yahoo group topping 700 (now over 800), some 5000 flyers distributed in advance to bike stores and similar, and the "Indecent Exposure to Cars" documentary played on local public access cable TV twice. Several post-ride reports appeared in print and on local TV news.
- Several press clippings have been posted here.
- ALSO Google Earth and printable versions of the route map.
- Photos and videos are still being assembled. Stay tuned.
- Anyone with additional press clippings or video captures from this or prior years please contact email@example.com
Major improvements this year included:
- Hotline phone number - Dedicated line created with detailed outgoing info message.
- Donated printing - Usually our highest expense. Contact me for a printer recommendation.
- Expanded publicity drive - Three times the flyers as last year.
- Published recommended viewing points and times - Eliminated masses of oglers from the starting point.
- Spectator information handouts - >20000 discussing the anti-oil message and why naked, with URLs.
- Tight control of media - Only specific designated known and proven photographers who also participated in the ride were allowed at the gathering. Others were limited to an outer area blanketed with anti-oilgarchy propaganda banners, or forwarded to the viewing points.
- Walkie talkies - Kept principals in constant contact, connecting the mass from head to toe (10mile type).
The few lessons we can apply next year are being discussed and amassed among the coordinators. Please send firstname.lastname@example.org any thoughts. Primary items so far are: 1. No more loops (sorry, we expected less car traffic and a smaller mass); 2. More volunteer staff needed (especially "security" to help with aggressive cars and drunken spectators); 3. More water carried and/or fountain stops.
MASSIVE THANX TO:
- Andrew and Susan (orange clad lilac haired skate footed hard hatted safety guy self and tall thin gothottie check-in grrl) for countless hours of coordinating.
- Steven (with Polar bear family) for route planning, leading, location, and more!
- Jerry and Nick (suits) for keeping us semi-legal.
- Howard for PR and for securing the rear and rescuing the injured.
- Other trailer and pedicab dudes for same as above.
- Also body painters D+D, Kristina, Melissa and Mairead; Documentarians Zack, Rob, Antoinette, Barbra, Baramesi; Facilitators Mr. Bike, Travis, and Dubi!
- Anyone else my flu addled brain has omitted, consider yourself included.
PLEASE all come again next year, and bring some friends!
Count method: 600 was mass size at likely maximum, +-20, as counted twice, by fives and tens, from stationary points at narrow passages, at about a mile then at two miles into ride, as mass passed from head to foot, averaging about five to seven abreast, about four solid blocks long. Multiple other opinions and videos generally confirm. Total participants is even higher as mass picked up dozens more along the way, especially ones who started at the half-way viewing point.
Saturday 10 June: Check in at Wicker Park Fountain, 1455 N. Damen, 6pm gathering and body painting, 9pm departure. Chicago's 2006 ride was challenged by hostile authorities (well known in advance), and cold wet weather (came abruptly). Nonetheless, everything really was very successful. Heavy pre-event publicity, well handled check-in, good pre-party location and body painting preparedness, excellent route planning, (in)decent post-parties, and lots of volunteers, all pretty much perfect. Thanks to advanced discussion and compromise with police about avoiding certain spots, there were no arrests this year (despite lots of nudity!!!), and in fact we were escorted and assisted through most legs of the ride, which again covered several very high visibility tourism areas! This year was almost exactly 15 miles, intentionally down from the over 20 in 2005, and took just over about 2.5 hours.
Certainly had it not been for the weather (which forecast rain all day and night and temperature in the 40s, but which was actually clear and low 50s during ride hours), we probably would have had a much better turnout. Fortunately we did emphasize the WNBR position of rain or shine when asked in advance. Even so, real head count early in the ride (stationary counter as pack passed) was AT LEAST 250. And that excludes a renegade pack of some 50 which left early.
Skater turnout was much better than last year (I'm a skater) with at least a dozen.
Photography was mostly limited to participants, several of whom documented the ride well. Two even skated with the pack taking professional video. A few press did talk their way in to the body painting though.
As before, we used separate check-in (disclosed) and pre-party (secret) locations, as Chicago's ride gets SWAMPED by spectators. This year by 8:40pm-ish the check-in park had become complete PACKED with oglers, perhaps literally 1000+ who thought the event would be there. I credit our several promotional TV news appearances. So packed was the park, that it became futile to try to connect with and inform any few straggling bicyclists arriving late. Police at that scene were amused that the gawkers, not the riders, had become the problem. Procedural improvements for next year are planned. And finally, donations (mostly at pre-party door) almost exactly balanced expenses (just over $200) which were mostly for printing and body paints.
Saturday 11 June: Wicker Park, 1666 N California. Well over 200 cyclists and a handful of bladers turned out. The great majority were nearly naked (thongs and body paint), and several dozen were nude. The route covered some 20 miles including prime areas such as Gold Coast, Rush Street, Michigan Avenue, and even Lake Shore Drive. A few of the fully nude men were arrested at a police ambush early on while passing through a conservative district, but afterwards the police were largely helpful. Applause by onlookers was thunderous, and camera phones countless. The event was generally reviewed as spectacular.
Saturday 12 June: Buddy Gallery, 1542 N Milwaukee.