Friday, June 10, 2022

World Naked Bike Ride Toronto 2022

The annual global environmental protest rides through Toronto once again as the World Naked Bike Ride takes place on Saturday, June 11, 2022. Riders will gather early on Saturday morning beginning around 10am to socialize, disrobe and apply some body paint before heading out on the streets of Toronto at approximately 1pm - "rain or shine we ride". Come back often as I add photos from Saturday's WNBR Toronto! Gene estimated about 200 riders for 2022, the numbers are climbing after the pandemic kept a few people away in 2020 and 2021.

Gathering at the memorial in Coronation Park
Gene Dare before his interview with Roxanne O'Neill from Naked News

Led by organizer Gene Dare (posing with a fan at the 2019 ride in the photo at top), the WNBR is fighting against climate change along with a healthy dose of body positivity and as Gene says "ride as bare as you dare", you don't have to ride without clothes. The gathering place is Coronation Park, just south of the Princes' Gates in Exhibition Place, in the Veteran's Memorial close to the trail along Lake Ontario. Gene will be in the tall, red hat standing near his bike with the Canadian flag WNBR banner. 

Before the riders depart the park the group poses for photos, including a large group photo on the steps of the memorial, then the 2.5 hour ride will head north up Strachan Avenue towards Trinity-Bellwoods Park, then going clockwise through some of the iconic Toronto locations such as Kensington Market, the University of Toronto, Queen's Park and the Legislative Building, Yorkville, Allan Gardens (also good for a bathroom break), into Ryerson University, a couple of laps around Yonge-Dundas Square and into Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall for a romp in the pond (also good for a bathroom break). Then the ride heads down Bay Street until it hits the bike trail along Queen's Quay, turning east to Sugar Beach. New for 2022; the ride will skip the Toronto Island ferry docks (some will leave the ride early to go to the the Island's nude beach at Hanlan's Point) and go to the CN Tower followed by a trip to H2O Beach and finally return back to Coronation Park. At this point there are a couple of options - one is you finish the ride, two you head back to the ferry docks and go to Hanlan's Beach and third is a dare to go bare swim at a Toronto Pool - you can talk to Gene about it if you are interested.

Construction and other events impacted the ride at Queen's Park Circle, Yorkville and through Ryerson. Weather wise it ended up an almost perfect day - the rain turned into a few episodes of spitting out, just enough to cool the riders down for a few seconds.

The ride heading south on Bay Street

Saturday's weather is supposed to be a mix of sun and clouds with a high of 21 degrees Celsius so it won't be too warm - undress accordingly! Some words of wisdom from Gene: wear sunscreen, bring plenty of fluids, maintain your bike, bring seat covers (especially if you use Bike Share Toronto bicycles), keep your bikes legal (working lights, bell or horn), wear a mask if you want (it will help you remain anonymous in all the pictures). Gene has also alerted the Toronto Police Service to the WNBR 2022 event and it is always possible that they will provide a bicycle police escort (they have in the past for the occasional WNBR ride).

Circling Yonge-Dundas Square along the Toronto Eaton Centre

The dreaded streetcar tracks crossing Spadina

And some of my tips - add some flare or costume to you or your bike (have some fun), bring some bodypaint, watch our for hazards such as streetcar tracks or when the group slows down unexpectedly, keep an eye out for road closures due to ActiveTO which might impact Lake Shore Boulevard West, there is limited parking in Coronation Park (and you have to be early to get a spot) otherwise park at Exhibition Place, Ontario Place or some other close by location. Be ready for people lining the street and watching in cars, buses and patios, most enjoying the spectacle of the ride and taking photos and videos.

Quick update from the City: The westbound lanes on Lake Shore Boulevard West, from Strachan Avenue to Windermere Avenue, will be closed to vehicles from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m., June 11, for the Ride to Conquer Cancer cycling fundraiser.

See more photos of the ride after the jump.

Playing in the pond at City Hall

Passing by Union Station
The Rogers Centre and the CN Tower at HTO Park before heading west on the bike path
Heading back into Coronation Park as the ride comes to a conclusion

Here are some of my posts from previous WNBR Toronto rides: 2021, 2020 and others.

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