1) I am not opposed to fossil fuels
2) I am not the best bicyclist
3) I hate being around a ton of people
So when Andrew announced for the third year in a row that he would be participating in the World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) I knew that IF he was going to go, he’d be going alone.
I say IF because despite announcing his intentions every year, Andrew has never participated in WNBR. That’s mostly because it is usually 40 degrees and raining. Andrew barely likes being naked in bed with flanel sheets and a heated comforter when it’s 40 degrees and raining.
This year, however, the temperature was mild. It was a, practically balmy, 66 degrees out. Also, some of our friends started a
peer pressure Facebook group where they could talk about all the plans for doing the nekked ride. I was not a part of that.
Saturday, the day of the ride, I had three improv shows starting at 2 and going until 8:40. But, first, I had a massage. I asked Andrew to borrow his truck because my wrist really hurt from the 90 kipping toes to bar the day before and riding my motorcycle would just put strain on it.
“No, take the car. I need the truck to haul my bicycle for the Naked Ride.”
“Oh yeah! I had totally forgotten that. When is it?”
“I pumped up your tires.”
“Why would you do that?”
“Because I know you.”
My massage therapist, Victoria (who is the best massage therapist ever) reset my wrist, which was apparently out of joint. I went to my three shows and then grabbed my bike and met up with my friends in the South Park blocks. It was about 9:00.
The first thing I noticed at the gathering was that there was a lot of naked people. I know this sounds like something I should have expected, but somehow the magnitude of the amount of people hanging around naked in front of the Portland Art Museum was insane. The second thing I noticed was that Andrew was not naked. We went up to our friends. They, too were not naked. I was also not naked.
After standing around and soaking in the environment (by which I mean getting stoned from the clouds of pot smoke wafting by) I was finally ready to go big or go home. I convinced Andrew that it was not too cold and that it was time and the two of us got down to bare bones.
It was cold.
Also, there was a lot of standing around.
Which was cold.
I was naked in public. That wasn’t so bad, actually.
I was naked in front of my friends. THAT was awkward. For about 20 minutes I couldn’t look in my friends’ eyes. NOT that I was looking elsewhere. Not that I wasn’t. Mostly, I was just looking at Andrew or at strangers. I finally relaxed and was able to hold conversations with my friends. Then we started taking pictures to post to Facebook.
I wish that were a joke.
Andrew “accidentally” cropped a picture wrong and there may have been some Temporary Nipples (my favorite Carrie Underwood song) on Facebook.
I got the courage up to take some tasteful photos.
The first I was attempting to look trepidatious – which, judging by the picture, I apparently took to be a synonym for sex-kitten.
For the second picture, I covered up.
Using Andrew’s hand. Yes, the quality of the picture may be a product of purple haze.
We took off sometime after ten, but I never did look at my watch – that I wasn’t wearing because I don’t own one. My friend Kelley stayed with Andrew and me which was a good call for her when her chain got a bit wonky. Andrew is handy (not to be confused with handsy).
The ride slowed to a must-walk pace at every turn in the route (apparently I was not the only, nor most, novice rider). There were a bunch of spectators all through the route, some were naked some were obviously pervy, some were just irritatingly caught in the milieu. PS – spectators, I am not high-fiving anyone when I am naked, nor am I high-fiving anyone when they are naked, nor am I high-fiving anyone when I am on a bicycle – naked or otherwise.
Despite the fact that WNBR is a protest against the use of fossil fuels I had the distinct feeling that most people were there to Keep Portland Naked. There wasn’t much protesting going on, and it may not have been the most well thought out protest either; there was so much traffic caught up by the WNBR that I am sure those cars were burning more fuel than they would have had they just driven home.
The last mile of the course was almost completely downhill. We passed a bank that had a temperature sign which read 66 degrees. That sounds lovely, but coasting naked in 66 degrees is cold. When we got to the finish there was a little uphill that a bunch of people in front of us stopped at. I had to crash to a halt and ended up hitting my pelvic bone with my handle bars. Yes, that is right, while I was not one of the at least 3 cyclists that had completely biffed it on the ride, I did not mange to escape uninjured.
We finished the course and immediately threw on as many items of clothing as we could find. I was frozen, and tired and miserable. At home I got into a scalding shower and stayed in it until Andrew started adding onions, carrots and celery, then I went to bed.
When Andrew and I do things like this, we often talk about how we would go about it the next time. Every time that happened on this ride I would start with, “Oh, next year, hmmmm never mind, I am not doing this again.” That’s probably true. Well, unless the climate really does change drastically and it is a lovely 75 degrees or warmer. That way I could get a moon tan (both meanings).