Monday, May 08, 2017

@WNBRToronto 2017 coming June 10

#WNBR Toronto's protest against gas dependency requires only a bicycle and shoes, the rest is not required - ride as bare as you dare during the World Naked Bike Ride. In cities around the world the nude and nearly nude will join together on Saturday, June 10 to raise awareness of alternatives to smoke-belching, toxic gas spewing cars, SUVs and trucks. Also highlighting the alternatives to biking around in plain old, boring clothes. PS a helmet is suggested for safety as an occasional rider takes a spill (watch out for the streetcar tracks and keep a safe distance to other bikers)!
Coming into the Yonge-Dundas intersection as hundreds look on and take photos
The start of the ride is in Coronation Park Toronto, which is just south of the Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place on Lake Shore Boulevard West, at the WWII Memorial near the waterfront. The cyclist start showing up in the park from 10am and meet up with fellow riders, shuck your clothes and pose for pictures (some people wear masks to protect their privacy) or get some body-painting applied (you can bring your own paint or see if the official body-painter is available). 
Friendly ride organizer Gene Dare, above, says "Just Show Up and Ride!" and "Less Gas, More Ass". You can find Gene with the large Canadian flag, over-sized red and white hat with a big ass set of party sunglasses. His marketing efforts have increased the number of riders and he hopes for 1,000+ participants for 2017. The ride leaves the park at 1pm and heads out onto the streets of Toronto with a fantastic tour of some of the tourist highlights of the city core, sans clothes.
Heading south towards Queen Street 
Leaving Yonge Street and heading west on Queen Street towards Toronto City Hall
WNBR route - can be revised due to road conditions

Some highlights of the trip: People tend to either toss their clothes right away, mingle and pose for photos or wait until the last minute to take off their clothes. Do what is comfortable and expect a lot of photographers. Before the ride departs everyone gets together for a group photo at the memorial. Many times Naked News is on site doing interviews and usually the outgoing Oasis Aqualounge Aquaflirts are on hand. People wandering by stop, curious to why there are so many nude people, and begin to take photos. The Toronto Police tend to show up to say hi and sometimes they have provided bicycle escort (but not the last few years).

Around 1pm the ride begins and heads north on Strachan Ave to Queen Street West. Cheers and honks of support greet the bikers as they ride along busy Queen Street. The ride bypasses Trinity-Bellwoods Park as it is usually full with a giant yard sale going on and continues NE until they ride through the tight streets of Kensington Market where the pedestrians have a great time watching the ride pass by the famous neighbourhood.

Pedaling through the market leads to College Street where the north east direction continues until the ride enters the University of Toronto St George Campus, going round Kings College Circle where they often run into a wedding party who usually invite the bicyclists into wedding photos. Exiting the University grounds the ride next hits Ontario Legislature property - Queen's Park where the first photo op usually takes place if they are allowed on the steps, if not it is a small stop on the way towards the next big stop - Allan Gardens in support of sex workers awareness gathering.

Then the route goes through Ryerson University before entering Toronto's busiest pedestrian intersection - Yonge and Dundas where hundreds of tourists and shoppers realize that nude bikers are in their midst. Mobile phone cameras starting snapping photos as the grinning tourists line Yonge Street. Next stop Toronto City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square. Participants stop at the south side of the reflecting pond, greet the tourists and frolic in the pond, splashing in the fountain spray. Another group shot and then the bikers head south on Bay Street in the heart of the financial district to the Toronto Island Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. At this point parts of the group quit the WNBR, put on their clothes and head elsewhere, part continue without clothes onto the ferry and onto Toronto's clothing optional beach at Hanlan's Point and part of the group cycle back to the starting point at Coronation Park.

Riding on Queen Street where people on streetcars, in cars and walking down the street see and support the bicyclists is the point where riders really start to feel comfortable but I think most peoples favourite part of WNBR is playing in the pond at City Hall.

I plan to be riding and taking photos, so if you see me there say hi and pose for a photo for or with me! PS I have a beard now.
Selfie with James and Judy (Partner with Oasis Aqualounge)

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