It happens every year. In metropolises the world over from London to Chicago to Cork to Mexico City, tens of thousands of in-the-buff bicyclists swarm the streets wearing barely a stitch for the World Naked Bike Ride. Here in Portland, it’s the largest annual group ride by orders of magnitude. Head counts hover around the ten-thousand mark, but including spectators, the ride gathers some 20,000 voyeurs and exhibitionists (albeit many temporary ones) to ride (and stare) as bare as they dare. It’s consistently the fucking funnest public event that happens in this city, no matter how many years you’ve participated. Truthfully, I wish I could do it again for the first time. One’s own initial maiden WNBR voyage is an experience unmatched in life.
Sadly, and comically, something else happens every year. As hype for WNBR ramps up, so too do the NIMBY voices of puritanical body-shamers determined to eradicate all that is enjoyable and curious and passionate about bicycles and the human body. Local media has proven all too eager to jump on this band-wagon, providing legitimacy to people who yearn to spend their free time worrying how thousands of dangling phalluses and mammary glands are destroying the fabric of American decency.
They say never read the comments, but how can you not? From the Oregonian, KATU, KGW, Facebook and others, these haters are practically self-parodying themselves with childish levels of judgmental absurdity.
From racist xenophobia, to car-centric selfishness, to blatant sexism, to Christian fundamentalism, to outright calls for violent attacks on cyclists, the following recent screen-captured comments illustrate Portland’s harbingers of hatred.
Prepare to facepalm.
Ugh. What’s wrong with people? Do they hate fun on such a deep level they must deride others they perceive as enjoying their own lives? Are they so self-inhibited that the mere reporting of activities they’re afraid to participate in launches them into fits of CAPS-LOCK fury?
In all likelihood, yeah, they are. And they fucking suck for it.
Speculating on how such individuals became so bitter and hateful probably isn’t worth your time, unless psychoanalyzing regressive character flaws is how you get your kicks. For the rest of cycling society, best to laugh it off, strip off our clothes, and fill the streets with bike-sexual sin.
Regardless of your ability or body type, the World Naked Bike Ride welcomes you with love and acceptance. Below are some of my own images taken over the years. For details on what to expect if this Saturday’s WNBR will be your first, click HERE.
See you in the streets!