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Portland to Host Largest World Naked Bike Ride Sat. June 25

World Naked Bike Ride

It would fit that the city that wholeheartedly embraced ultra-liberal President candidate Bernie Sanders would be the host world’s largest naked bike ride. The common misconception is Portland is weird. Hell, at Music Millennium on Burnside, you can buy a bumper sticker that says just as much. Other cities take part in the Naked Bike Ride but do not have the sheer numbers of participants.

Why has it caught on here?

I have lived most of his life in this town and Portland’s weirdness is no greater than almost any other city. For whatever reason, the annual World Naked Bike Ride resonates strongly with the Portland citizenry for a variety of reasons. Each year that the event has taken place, it has surpassed the previous year’s benchmark of participants. The latest edition of the ride goes down tomorrow in the official guise of protesting America’s dependence on foreign oil and, of course, bring awareness to bike safety.

Experiencing the  Naked Bike Ride

Last year was my first true  experience with the bike ride. The previous year, my girlfriend and I experienced some of the ride by car. I soon found out that the real experience is not in the ride but the build up. Determined to experience it right smack dab in the middle of the happening, I was unprepared for what I was in store for. I was engulfed in a sea of humanity, naked flesh everywhere. The biggest misconception is that middle-aged men dominate the crowd. That could be the furthest from the truth.  There were plenty of women there as well, naked like their male counterparts.

Exhibitionism or Taboo?

An interesting thing happened the more I lingered around the scene. The nakedness of the people becomes pass, and I began to want to dig deeper into why people take part in this event. To write it off as exhibitionism is too easy. I suppose the American upbringing, where girls and boys are immediately separated at birth is the true culprit.

Our bodies become taboo but for what reason? After all, boys and girls are made one of two ways. If you’ve seen one pair of breasts or a penis then you’ve seen them all.

Were it that simple?

Happening today, Portland will try to top its own record for number of participants.

I hope to see you there.

World Naked Bike Ride
World Naked Bike Ride Portland, Or. Image: Shakey Herschfeld