What to Expect
First, an important point of etiquette: Ride your bike to the starting location. Arriving by car with bikes stowed as cargo is a big faux pas. It violates the idea of oil-free sustainability that the ride is all about. If you live in the ‘burbs, consider riding the subway part of the way. (You’ll probably want to have clothes on when you board, so plan ahead.) Or park at an urban friend’s house and ride from there in a group.
When you arrive at the starting point, it will be a scene of happy disarray. Manchester will be blocked off between Sarah and Talmage, there will be a stage, booths selling food and drinks, a DJ will be playing music. A sense of general friendliness in the air. Most folks will be wearing clothes at first, until they get a handle on what the scene is like. You’ll gradually see more skin as people lose their shirts for body paint. We have some volunteer body painters confirmed, and you should definitely consider bringing your own acrylic paint – it’s the best.
Though we recommend you test your bike out thoroughly before biking down to the meet up spot, we realize accidents happen. You might get all the way to the start location and realize your tires are nearly flat! If this happens, fear not! We will have a repair tent on site who will be happy to help asses your problem, sell you a tube, and help you install it. Don’t expect them to be available after the ride starts – stop by immediately when you arrive if you need help.
Around 5:55pm the announcement is made that it’s almost time to ride. We strip down and stuff our clothes into a backpack/fannypack/pannier/saddlebag to take with us. We recommend you try and find a way to secure your belongings to you and/or your bike. (By the way, backpacks and bodypaint are natural enemies – don’t mix them!) Then we get on our bikes, and wait for the rest of the crowd. There will be a horn sounding us off so we can all start en masse.
Crowds will roar their approval. High-fives will spring forth. We may gain a few extra naked riders along the way. It’s absolutely amazing.
Adrenaline can also make you want to ride fast. Resist that urge. Not everybody has a fast bike, or fast legs. And even some who do will want to savor the experience slowly. This isn’t a race, folks! We want to stay together as best we can.
The St. Louis Police will be corking car traffic for us. If you see a traffic cop extending his palm out, he is not inviting you to give him a high-five. He’s trying to encourage you to ride a little closer to the center of the road, so he has room to work safely.
Eventually we come to the end. What happens then is… more fun. We’ll have a band, street performers, dancing. A lot of people will hang out for a while, congratulating each other and telling stories.
Do not ride drunk. The police can arrest you for that too, and even if they don’t it’s just a stupid thing to do.
Ride at your own risk and watch where you’re going. Many riders won’t be used to riding in a large group. If you then add onlookers jumping into the street to high-five us, and railroad tracks, and (let’s face it) some drunk cyclists, this can be a dangerous ride. There are vast opportunities for doing stupid things. Be careful. Be sober.
“Nudity – it isn’t just for sex anymore.”
If you think you’re going to an orgy, then you’re going to be very very disappointed.
We’re using nudity as a way to draw attention to cycling, and promote positive body image. We hope motorists will begin to suspect cyclists have more fun, and hence maybe they don’t need their cars as much as they thought.
It’s also good, goofy fun.
There are rules at the starting/ending location. The organizers’ mantra is “Safe, Comfortable, and Fun,” so anybody at the starting/ending location who makes other participants feel unsafe or uncomfortable will be asked to leave. The use of cameras without consent is not allowed at the starting/ending location, with the exception of sanctioned film crews who’ll be following strict rules.
The ride itself has no rules since it takes place on public streets, outside of our control. That’s why it’s important for riders to take care of each other.
About Your Bike
Ride the bike you have. Don’t obsess over the hardware; any bike will work.
If you have multiple bikes (and aren’t loaning out the extras to friends) then we recommend a fat-tire mountain bike or cruiser over a superskinny-tire road bike. This is because fat tires are less likely to get a flat, or slip. Might be a bit cushier to ride, too. But really any bike that works for riding will work just fine.
You should bring a spare tube. If your bike doesn’t have quick-release skewers, then you should also bring wrenches that fit your bike’s lug nuts. If convenient, you should also bring a pump and tire levers, though you could probably borrow those from another rider in an emergency.
Legally, your bike must have a white headlight in front, and a red reflector or red light in the rear. This is important! Besides, it’ll probably still be dark out when you ride home afterward, and you’ll want to be visible then for safety’s sake.
About WNBR Etiquette
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do people do it? The World Naked Bike Ride is actually a protest — against oil dependence, and for cyclist safety and body positivity. But riders are encouraged to support or protest any cause they want, using their bodies as a poster board.
How many people will participate? – Last year we had about 2000 riders
Do I have to be naked? Nope! You can wear whatever you want! A lot of people go with body paint and some undergarments. You can be partially naked too. The dress code is officially “As bare as you dare.”
Is there an age requirement or restriction? No. Anyone is welcome to join, but minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Does it cost anything? No, the event is free. But we will greatly appreciate if you make a donation.
Do I have to register? No, just show up!
What should I bring? You will want to arrive clothed, so bring something to put your clothes in, like a backpack or pannier. Bring a working bike — if you’re riding a bike — with inflated tires, and an extra tube in case you get a flat. Bring acrylic paint to paint your body. Bring water but no alcohol or weed. Riding your bike under the influence is illegal. Wear a helmet and shoes and make sure your bike has red back reflectors and a white front light. It’s also illegal to ride your bike at night without reflectors and lights.
Will people be taking pictures? Yes. While no unsanctioned photography is allowed at the start and end of the ride, the rest of the ride takes place on public streets and you should expect that photos will be taken, by news outlets and others. If you don’t want naked pictures of yourself on the internet, don’t be naked at the World Naked Bike Ride.
How long is the ride? It’s about 12 miles, at our slow pace it takes us about 1-2 hours to complete. The route will be posted a month before the ride.
What if I fall behind or get lost? You probably won’t. This isn’t a race, and we do our best to keep the group together. We may stretch into smaller groups, but even if you end up in a group of 20 instead of a group of 2000, you’ll feel safe. Really, you’ll be okay. We take care of each other. Besides, the police are blocking car traffic for us. Even if you end up alone, you won’t get arrested. If you are alone, stick to well-lit streets and obey traffic laws.
What if I get a flat tire? There will be some bike mechanics along the ride. You can also expect other cyclists to help. We will also have a support vehicle following the ride and picking up people with broken bikes. You may ONLY use this vehicle if your bike is in fact broken.
What if I fall? Injuries are rare. We’ll try to have medics riding along to patch you up, or call 911 if something really bad happens but you might want to bring your own cell phone just in case. By the way, the most common reasons for falling are hitting potholes, getting caught in the train tracks, and collisions with other cyclists. Watch where you’re going!
What if the weather is bad? This is a rain or shine event. So unless there is a tornado in the city, we’ll ride!
Isn’t this illegal? Though some St. Louis citizens may wish it was, it’s not. Nudity as a form of protest is protected, but lewd behavior, is not. Please don’t be lewd, obscene, or engage in any sexual activity – that is an arrestable offense and we will have security on site helping the police enforce this law.
What if I see a cop? Say, “Thank you!” They’re corking the streets for us.
Can I participate without a bike? We’ve had skateboarders, rollerbladers, people on scooters, and joggers join us before. Anything human-powered is welcome.
I want to join but have no one to go with! Come make some friends at one of our socials, but also, have no fear! Everyone here is super nice, friendly and approachable. If you still have doubts – send us an email or FB or Insta message, and we’ll be your friend 🙂
Where is the start? Manchester between Sarah and Talmage.
Where will I park my car? Don’t drive and you won’t have this problem to deal with.
When should I arrive? Meet at 4PM and ride at 6PM.
What’s the route? We’ll post it a month prior to the event.
Wait… When is it? July 20th, 2019.