Frequently asked questions
Home > Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
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.
Is it a ride around the world?
No. Separate short rides are taking place in cities and towns around the world on the same days. Of course, if anyone is up for cycling naked around the world...
Is it legal to be naked in public?
It depends on the laws of the country that individual rides take place in. Public nudity is often more acceptable than you'd think, so long as the bahaviour of the naked people in question isn't lewd, aggressive or violent. For countries with stricter laws, the ride is "as bare as you dare" – full nudity is not mandatory!
Why are you riding naked?
To celebrate cycling and the human body. The ride demonstrates the vulnerability of cyclists on the road and is a protest against oil dependency.
Is there a ride happening near me?
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.
Can I hurt myself by cycling in the nude?
Only if you don't wear any sunscreen or if you fall off the bike. We recommend that you wear sunscreen, footwear and a helmet. Ride carefully and you won't get hurt. Your bottom will probably not hurt any more than when you ride with your clothes on. If you get sore, you could get a padded bike seat or get in practice by cycling more often.
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!
Should I wear shoes?
If you're not sure about this then you should wear some sort of footwear. This is epecially recommended if you have rough pedals. Sandals or flipflops will do. Most riders use footwear for safety and comfort reasons. If you're still planning to ride barefoot, it's advisable to try this out on an urban ride before cycling barefoot on World Naked Bike Ride.
I don't own a bike, skates or skateboard. How can I participate?
You can always rent or borrow one for the day! Ask your friends or try your nearest bire hire shop.
What should I wear? How should I decorate myself?
Please be creative and colourful in expressing yourself! Body painting, customising your bike, and other creative expression is strongly encouraged!
If you look at the history section of this site you will notice different groups have different approaches to their rides regarding body adornment.
Seattle has a well-established naked bike ride during the Summer Solstice Parade that prides itself on its display of body painting creativity. In fact some even have dropped the "naked" in their name to call them the Painted Cyclists. Despite their streaker roots, a few among them even look down on participants who are just naked. We don't do that, our event is not strictly artistic, however, we strongly encourage people to express themselves and be colourful.
Blah blah blah bike seats?
Modesty and embarassment
- See Wikipedia's article on modesty.
Will people and press photograph me?
They might. If it makes you uncomfortable, let photographers know that they don't have permission to photograph you. Also, let other riders know this so they can tell photographers not to photograph you. Another approach is to keep your clothes on at the start of the ride, and take them off after you have left the assembly point. Both of these approaches will reduce photographs being taken at the start of the ride, but it's not possible to stop people from photographing during the ride.
local WNBR events often have documentary teams taking pictures and video, but they are generally considerate professional people and will try to keep your wishes in mind when covering the event. You can see many of their images on the WNBR website and publicity, which is sometimes shared with other related non-profit groups.
There will also be photographers at the event who use their images for other reasons, and you won't know without asking. If anyone is acting aggressively or suspiciously, or making you feel uncomfortable, please tell a WNBR team member or someone who can confront them, and tell them to back off and give people personal space. People need to understand the positive message of WNBR and understand that part of respecting each others' bodies is giving each other enough personal space to be comfortable. This is especially important for riders that have never been naked with strangers or in public before. They have their own issues they are dealing with and aggressive gawking or unwanted exposure adds an additional, unwanted complication to their experience. So speak up!
What will the ratio of men and women riders be?
It's hard to know the gender ratio in advance.
While many rides have been gender-balanced, it is rare that females outnumbered males on any ride. Of course we'd like it if every ride had a good gender balance, but the only people who can help make it happen is the promotion team and the people who show up themselves.
One good example of a gender-balanced painted naked cycling group is the painted cyclists of the Summer Solstice Parade in Fremont, Seattle. That group has been cycling for years, and there is a strong tradition of creative diversity. Having a ride that approaches the diversity of the community is a sign that the ride is maturing, has earned the trust of the community, and is attracting a wide range of people.
Obviously, cycling and opposing oil dependency are not gender-specific activities. Public nudity has a very different meaning for each of us and this often relates to our experience of being male or female.
I'm not sure if I want to participate in the ride. Can I watch from a distance, behind a bush, with binoculars?
WNBR is an event which encourages participation. People who show up just to watch or take pictures are likely to make some feel uncomortable and may be asked to either get involved in a helpful, positive way or leave the immediate area.
WNBR is not just a great event for spectators, visiting tourists and the general public, it's an amazing experience that everybody can participate in or support. For example, many cities have a bodypainting party in one location with live music, then move to another start location, then hold various happenings around the city or stop off at different points during the ride for various activities. These additional activities can include a massive group splash in a prominent urban fountain, a photo shoot with a spectacular backdrop, somewhere to protest oil dependency (such as a petrol station), and maybe to conclude at a house party or pub.
Legality and offence
Do I need to get a permit to ride naked on the streets in a large group?
How many Critical Mass 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.
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.
Isn't public nudity offensive?
People are offended by all kinds of harmless things, people and ideas. People have been offended by religous cartoons, Muslims converting to Christianity (in Afganistan), farting, burping, Martin Luther King, Jesus, Gandhi, the accidental exposure of Janet Jackson's breasts, rock'n'roll, sex education, tattoos, dancing, the peace movement, environmentalists, droopy pants, "minority" groups, potbellies, hairy chests, Teletubbies, and most likely even you at some point.
What about paedophiles and perverts who might try to become aggressive and take advantage of the situation?
People should not avoid riding bicycles because they are afraid of negligent drivers. People should not avoid getting naked in public or at home because of their fear of paedophiles and perverts or prying neighbours who want to clog up the courts with frivolous lawsuits. Who wins when you change the way you live out of fear? Think about it.
Problem behaviour can be dealt with directly by confronting people who are behaving inappropriately and alerting law enforcement authorities if the behaviour continues to be suspicious or the individual becomes a threat.
What about the children? Aren't they especially at risk from the adverse consequences of seeing naked people?
The idea that somehow children are negatively affected by non-sexualized nudity is a myth. Children are more likely to be curious if nudity was discouraged in their family. The only thing prudish parents have to worry about is that their children might want to get naked themselves if it looks like people are having fun. As children grow older they are more likely to resent repressive parents if they think they lack common sensibilities.
- See also Wikipedia's article on Issues in social nudity as it relates to children.
- Read Mark Storey's essay "Children, Social Nudity and Scholarly Study".
Can my children ride or otherwise participate in your event?
Yes, children are allowed to participate in WNBR. WNBR is designed to be family-friendly. Children do sometimes ride, participate and otherwise contribute to WNBR events, currently however, it is pretty rare. As an example, the Seattle ride has had one kid participate in their rides in 2004 and 2006, other naked cyclists events have also had kids participate.
Children and teenagers under 16 or 18 (depending on what country they are from) are not encouraged to participate in WNBR without close supervision from a parent or legal guardian. WNBR does not provide child care or babysitting services.
WNBR has a policy of not allowing promoters to directly recruit children to participate in our events. Children who are interested in participating should speak with their parents or legal guardians.
How can I report behavior or actions concerning potential or actual incidents of sexual exploitation of children?
If you know about a child who is in immediate danger or risk, call your local police.
If you live in the USA please report incidents to The CyberTipline or call 1-800-843-5678. For incidents in Canada please report to Cybertip.ca. For incidents in the UK please report to Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre or call +44 (0)870 000 3344.
The WNBR admin team does report suspicious forms received from our web site to the proper authorities. Incidents that occurr during our rides are referred directly to the police.
Finding or organising a local ride
Is a local event being organized in my city or region?
Please look in the list of upcoming rides. If you don't see a ride listed near you, how about networking and organizing your own ride? Organizing a ride is almost as fun as the ride itself! You'll be amazed what you can achieve.
How can I organize or get involved in a local ride?
You are invited to not only ride with us but also to help organize a WNBR event in the city of your choosing. All you have to do is fill out the sign-up form (at http://worldnakedbikeride.org) and we will help you set up a web page with all the necessary information, such as meeting and after party location. There are other resources on the main WNBR site as well that you may find interesting and useful. There resources include info on helping you promote an event and other ideas and suggestions for organizing rides.
Anybody who wants to organize a meeting to organize a ride, please post it on the main announcement list.
Anybody who wants to volunteer can do any of the following:
- contact the coordinator in that city,
- become a coordinator in that city,
- attend meetings
- design a flyer and post to the main web site
- join the discussion groups. A list of all the discussion groups is on the at http://worldnakedbikeride.org
- make a donation to your local coordinator; ( don't leave them saddled with the debts ).
- if you want to get involved and your local coordinator is not helping, organize your own ride.
The World Naked Bike Ride belongs to everybody.
That means that you are entirely welcome to organize your own naked bike ride as long as your event is a protest against oil dependency and participants have the option to ride their bikes naked, the main WNBR web site will promote your event.
How can I contact local WNBR event coordination teams?
Search for a ride by country on the main page, or look over the list of upcoming rides by city. Sometimes contact info is there.
If not you can use the form on the main page after selecting an existing ride from the pull-down menu and then posting your comments or questions to the coordination team in the comments/question area of the form. Then hit submit.
If that does not work, one can then join the main or regional WNBR groups and ask your question of the coordination team there.
How many participants do I need to have a successful WNBR event?
It's not about the size of the event.
WNBR is not a competition, its about the empowerment of the individual. A ride with only two people can be just as successful as a ride with 400.
Even though there was a really cold autumn rain storm in Brazil on 12 June 2004 the WNBR event went ahead as planned. Two really cold and completely naked cyclists took to the streets of Brazil. It often takes more courage to do something when you are all alone than when you are in a big group.
The first naked bike ride that we organized in Vancouver had only 13 people; but it was the best ride we ever organized. Even though we had only 13 cyclists we cycled straight past the biggest police station in Vancouver and we didn't do it quietly either.
Courage is the first step towards solutions.
- Conrad Schmidt, 22 January 2005
Is it OK to organize a WNBR event but leave out the environmentalist or body-positive themes, or require people to wear a minimum of clothing?
No. People are entirely welcome to organise their own naked bike ride as long as their event is a protest against oil dependency and participants have the option to ride their bikes naked. Only then will the official WNBR website agree to promote the event.
Does the ride have a single "brand" or message?
The ride has many different images and slogans that people use to communicate the ride's purpose. Local rides are free to highlight local concerns (closure of a local clothes-free cost-free beach, urban road expansions, safety needs of cyclists). All local rides use clothing-optional bike rides as a means of protesting against oil dependency and celebrating the power and individuality of our bodies.
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.
See the biketivism and sustainability page.
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.
This sounds a lot like Critical Mass bike rides. Are you trying to disrupt or stop traffic? Are you a bunch of agitators?
We are not stopping traffic, we are traffic! Critical Mass and other bike activist groups promote awareness of cyclists out of necessity — many cyclists are seriously injured and killed by careless drivers. That includes commuters, students, children, police officers on bicycles, every body is at risk in a society that promotes car culture over cyclist culture and walkable communities.
Many roads were not built for bicycle traffic, many communities were not designed to take advantage of the world's most efficient means of personal transport. Instead, we have subordinated our common sense and community values to the requirements of large, expensive, dangerous, loud, and polluting vehicles. Oil has become one of our most important commodities despite its inherit evils, despite the costs of war and innocent lives. No wild area is too pristine to mine this "black gold". This must change.
Like Critical Mass, WNBR aims to promote bicycle transportation and recreation, walkable communities, and environmentally-responsibility, sustainable solutions to living in the 21st century. Who can turn down the opportunity to be free of emissions, free parking, and the free feeling?
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.
What slogans and chants do you have for the ride?
See the Slogans page.
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.
What is World Naked Bike Ride all about?
World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is about protesting oil dependency and celebrating the power and individuality of our bodies. Naked bicycle people power!
What is the appeal of WNBR? Why do people do it? Why has it grown so fast?
WNBR is highly infectious. Its message and image has immediate widespread appeal. It operates on a simple, scaleable model, relies on grassroots promotion, and integrates easily into collaborative projects and interests in the vast majority of progressive communities across the globe. It is no wonder that events are rapidly spreading to other cities all over the globe!
WNBR is not just a great event for spectators, visiting tourists and the general public, it is an amazing experience that everybody can either participate in, witness or support at whatever level they are comfortable.
People love the idea of participating in a ride that celebrates the natural beauty of the human body, the shameless freedom and innocent sensual pleasure from not wearing clothes while travelling pollution-free through the breeze through our communities. Auroroa Denai, one of Chicago's high-energy riders, urges her fellow riders to
They also enjoy engaging the public in a cheerful, light-hearted way about a very serious threat to the entire globe – oil dependency and car culture. For some it is also a great feeling to stick it to the man, to challenge the status quo, and raise the blood pressure of prudes and gas guzzlers alike. We have noticed that the same people who support the oil industry and a culture of complacency on important environmental issues tend to also be repressive of other peoples' personal freedom.
Others see it as delivering a very powerful, life-affirming, basic message:
Is there a main discussion group or local discussion groups for World Naked Bike Ride that I can join?
Yes, people who support the message of WNBR are invited to join the main discussion group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WorldNakedBikeRide/
Several of the cities or countries will also have local, grassroots discussion groups that you can join. You can find a listing of those groups on the list of upcoming rides.
Where can I find out more about past WNBR events?
Visit the WNBR past events page.
Who is endorsing and supporting WNBR?
World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is being organized and supported by many different groups. The groups are only connected by their determination to all be naked on their bikes June 11th, riding in celebration, jubilation to deliver a vision of a cleaner, safer, body-positive world to the masses. Yes, we have many great reasons to be celebrating June 11th with all the glory of naked two wheel sanity. It's time to join hundreds of naked compatriots in a free, non-sexual, fun bike ride!
See the Media coverage page.
What is the Sydney Body Art Ride (SBAR)? I hear they required people to wear a minimum amount of clothing during the February 2005 event. Is SBAR a WNBR event?
The Sydney Body Art Ride (SBAR) was initially going to be a WNBR-affiliated Valentine's Day 2005 event, until WNBR organisers found out that their dress code policy was requiring people to wear a minimum amount of clothing around their waist. There was a large uproar and it was decided that the SBAR dress code and message was not in line with that of WNBR. Of course, just because it is a non-WNBR ride does not mean the ride would not be fun, or have value, or indicate that WNBR riders will not participate.
What is the history of WNBR and naked cycling in general?
See the History section of this site.
What kind of people participate in WNBR?
People from all walks of life and beliefs. We have families with children, engineers, university professors, carpenters, environmentalists, sport cyclists, gardeners, multimedia artists, bike activists, naturists/nudists, social activists, therapists, poets, city workers, lots of college students, artists, millionaires, people who are living in poverty, Burning Man people, union workers, legal professionals, people who are just curious what it would be like to ride — people just like you! You would be surprised!
Why are there not more riders who are women, teens, pregnant, obese, elderly, Mormon, disabled, Muslim, et cetera? Why are there no rides scheduled for Africa? Why are most of the riders white? Why are the rides primarily in western countries?
Everybody is invited not only to participate in local rides but also organize rides in their own cities.
Are there any kind of fundraising items you are selling?
Yes, we have WNBR T-shirts. Funds from the T-shirt go into a legal fund for the defence of arrested cyclists.
Can you please send me some pictures of naked people?
Sorry, probably not. There are plenty of pictures available all over the web. We encourage active participation in the ride itself.
Can I write off financial contributions to World Naked Bike Ride on my tax return?
Thank you for offering to help out. Please contact your local WNBR event coordinator for details about making donations.