Thursday, April 19, 2018

World Naked Bike Ride Toronto 2018 coming in June

With the recent warm Spring weather (just kidding) it is time to start looking forward to the upcoming Saturday, June 9, 2018 WNBR - it should be just enough time to plan your riding wardrobe choices; It's as bare as you dare so it could be all or nothing. All body types and people, naked or not and even on roller-blades, all are encouraged to take part in the ride.
The world wide clothing-free protest against oil dependence and pro-cycling, pro-body acceptance came to Toronto in 2004 and since then has been an annual staple of freedom loving, eco-bicyclists. Creative costumes, masks and body paint are popular choices for the event and their will be an artist ready to apply paint before the ride starts for a fee, or come with your own paint.
Organizers Gene Dare and Leif Harmsen continue their leadership of the Toronto World Naked Bike Ride and they do an excellent job of promotion as the ride becomes more popular every year - they are even looking for a horse for the 2018 ride! Gene is very noticeable with his giant red hat, glasses and Canadian Flag flying from his bike. He says the flag will be modified so that it will be less ass, more grass.

Gene notes that there will be a baseball tournament at the park diamonds as well as a charity run which takes place starting at 7:30am and ends at 11:30am. If the events pose an issue for the ride he says we can always relocate 200m west to Inukshuk Park. Parking at Coronation will probably be an issue so you might want to park close by in Exhibition Place, Ontario Place or at another convenient location and bike over to the park.
The ride begins in Coronation Park which is located just south of the Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place on Lake Shore Boulevard West. Limited parking is available on site (and another event might be closing off the parking on that day) so you can find parking in Exhibition Place, at Ontario Place or near the Island Airport.

Bikers meet at the Victory Peace Monument and Canadian flagpole located right beside the waters of Lake Ontario. The stepped, circular area, bookmarked by metal sculptures that suggest you are standing in a ship, is the perfect place to gather round and socialize and prepare for the ride. Gene is usually on site early, say by 9am, and the body painter arriving by 10am, so drop by anytime in the morning with the ride hitting the streets around 1pm.

You can bring some snacks, beverages for staying hydrated and definitely bring some suntan lotion. Many people bring towels to cover the bike seats, especially important if you are bringing a community bike share bicycle.
Gene says the riders are "a mix of men, women, youth, families, all religions and all cultures ride together in harmony; even visitors from other cities and countries". Gathering in a large group around the memorial, it doesn't take long before most people remove their clothes and people start to gather to take in the nakedness and to take pictures of, or with the participants, because you really don't see this kind of thing every day.
After assembling for a group picture, riders leave the park en masse and the group heads north on city streets gettin tons of positive responses on the way. People honk from their cars, pedestrians along the way stop on the curbs, take photos, laugh and wave at the cyclists as streetcars and tour buses riders really enjoy the spectacle or occasionally cover someones eyes. Generally several people see the naked bike ride and then in the spirit of the day, remove their clothes and join in the ride. The actual route changes slightly each year depending on conflicting events at certain locations or construction restricting the path but it generally follows the map above.

Some of the trip highlights include the UofT campus, Kensington Market, Queen's Park, Allan Gardens Park, Church St Village, Ryerson University, City Hall and the Ferry Terminal at Harbourfront. At the park at the terminal the riders divide up with some people going to the Toronto Islands nude beach at Hanlans Beach, some returning to Coronation Park and some putting on their clothes and leaving the group. We stop at a few of the places for group photo opportunities such as at Queens Park
In earlier years the police have provided escort duties but for the last several years they just show up at the park to confirm what is going on and then let everyone alone. WNBR riders provide their own traffic control to keep the group together and safe. Always be careful when biking because sometimes people do fall from their bikes, usually because of railway tracks, and with less clothes the fall could be a little more painful.

Here are my posts from some of the other Toronto WNBR events over the years.

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