Well, I did it! Despite serious fatigue on Saturday evening (following a morning of gardening and an afternoon of toddler wrangling), I resisted the urge to just spend the night curled up on the couch and miss out on yet another World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR).
I loved experiencing the positive energy and camaraderie of the Tour de Fat ride in D.C., and that, combined with the fact that we’ve been talking about doing this forever, provided the necessary motivation.
We returned from the garden (sans toddler) and ate a quick dinner, after which I donned my blue tutu and hopped on Baby Jake. We rode to the rendezvous point/pre-party on South Grand, where we made some final outfit adjustments.
The ride is part protest against dependency on oil and other nonrenewable resources, part celebration of bodies and positive body image, and part really fun group bicycle ride, summed up nicely in this quote:
It’s time to put a stop to the indecent exposure of people and the planet to cars and the pollution they create.
Clothing ran the spectrum from nothing (except footwear — I didn’t see anyone barefoot, though I wouldn’t count it out) to totally PG, family-friendly beach wear, which we’d already discerned from previous years’ pictures.
In this age of digital media, where everyone has a camera and can post to the internet in seconds, we opted for a middle road. You know, just so there’s nothing scandalous that would mar my future run for president.
We fed off the energy of the crowds that lined many portions of the thirteen mile route through the streets of St. Louis, and, while our ride certainly caused delay for some motorists, they didn’t seem to mind, given the free entertainment.
With over 1500 participants, this was the largest WNBR in St. Louis to date, pretty impressive for an all volunteer-run event.
My only complaint about the ride itself (and the pre-party), was the smoking. I would love to see the ride become a smoke-free event. I’m not sure where that would leave the men who stuffed their cigarette packs in their underwear, hoping to compensate for certain, um, shortages, shall we say, but my lungs would really appreciate it.
Barring the ride going smoke-free, we’re planning to bring water guns next year, so we can help put out fires (guy who puffed a cigar for half of the ride, I am looking at you! Actually, I was this close to walking up and pulling it out of your hand and smashing it under my running shoe).
Other complaint about the event? The after-party.
The route ended in The Grove, at an outdoor event sponsored by HandleBar and Atomic Cowboy. By that point, I seriously needed a restroom (having not relieved myself in alleyways along the route, the toilet of choice for numerous other riders). After looking in vain for port-a-potties, we headed to HandleBar, hoping for a restroom and the chance to purchase some food.
Instead of welcoming the riders, as one would expect given their sponsorship of the event, HandleBar was charging a five dollar cover for the evening. Seriously lame, guys! I was planning to buy food, but you just lost some business.
We crossed the street to Atomic Cowboy (no cover) and joined the growing bathroom queues. Afterward we grabbed a table and waited in vain for someone to take our food order. We even resorted to eating our own snacks, sure that that would attract attention, but no.
I finally hopped up and approached a waitress who had just delivered an order to a table across the room, only to have her completely and blatantly ignore me. (Was it the petals? Would less clothing help?)
We finished our own snack and headed to the outside “party” area, where I hoped to find an awesome dance party in progress. Not so.
In addition to being lame in general, there were far too many “spectators” at the after-party, people who were creepily milling around, not following the [un]dress code at ALL. A private event just for riders (and perhaps appropriately clad friends) would be much better.
Final verdict on my first WNBR: the ride itself was great — I’m very glad we did it, and I’m looking forward to next year!
The after-party? Seriously anticlimactic! It needed restrooms, food, less fully-clothed people, and more dancing.
Barring those changes, we agreed it would have been fun to have a group of friends to hang out with at the end. So, who’s joining us next year???