Saturday, June 01, 2024

Info for World Naked Bike Ride Toronto 2024 one week away

It's the 20th anniversary of the first World Naked Bike Ride Toronto, twenty years since the protest ride took to the streets of Toronto and from humble beginnings the ride now brings hundreds of riders going as bare as they dare. The annual ride is held on the second Saturday of June in the Northern Hemisphere and in 2024 that date is June 8th. UPDATE: Here is my post for the 2024 rideHere is my post for the 2024 ride.

Here is some information regarding the 2024 Toronto ride.

Why the WNBR: Less Gas, More Ass (is the rallying cry throughout the ride)! From the Toronto groups Facebook page "World Naked Bike Ride is a peaceful protest against fossil fuels and dependency on oil. Also; an awareness of the vulnerability of cyclists, and to promote body positivity."
Gene is in his big hat

Where it all starts: Coronation Park along Toronto's waterfront, just south of the Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place. Participants gather around the Victory-Peace Monument near the Canadian flag pole - beginning early around 9am for socializing and body painting with ride coordinator Gene Dare (in giant, red Canada hat and large WNBR flag banner on his bike) usually the first on site. 
Coronation Park memorial photo (earlier in the year)

The park is well served by the lakefront multi-use path, has limited pay parking (probably non-existent when you get there) and there is a bathroom on site. I highly recommend that you bike into the site.

Events in the area: There will be a baseball tournament in the ball diamonds in the park from 8am to 1pm. Also thousands of bikers will be in Exhibition Place for the Princess Margaret Ride to Conquer Cancer which starts at 8am. If you are coming in by car find a place to park wherever you can.

The Gathering: From 9am people will start to trickle in to the monument area with more people arriving around 10am. It won't take long before a couple of the participants go clothes free. People will also begin body painting or discuss stuff and also get their bikes many adding WNBR leaflets or posters.

Sometimes the Toronto Police drop by to touch base with Gene Dare and in the past they have occasionally escorted the ride through Toronto.

How to prepare: The weather for Saturday is supposed to be mainly sunny with a high of 19 degrees expected - so a little cooler in the morning. No rain is currently expected during the ride (it's a rain or shine ride anyway).

-Bring sunscreen
-Bring water or other beverages to stay hydrated and snacks as required
-Bring a bag or backpack to hold your clothes
-Bring your bike, scooter or skates
-Bring locks for your bikes and valuables
-Bring a seat cover - especially for rental bikes
-Bring costume accessories and body paint along with signs and decorations for your bike and body
-Bring masks if necessary (health and/or anonymity)
-Get ready for non-participants to show up to see what is going on or take pictures of the riders
-Bring simple first aid as falls do happen on the ride, especially during sudden stops or because of streetcar tracks.
- Note: there are not too many bathrooms along the route (unless you leave the ride) except for Coronation Park and City Hall.

Last hour of the gathering (12 noon to 1pm): A large portion of the WNBR join the gathering as we get closer to the departure time. Final body painting and decorating is being completed and more people go as bare as they dare. In the last half hour there is usually a group photo along the steps of the side of the memorial.
Lake Shore at Strachan across from Princes' Gates, Exhibition Place

Departure: The ride leaves Coronation Park at approximately1pm - from the memorial to the first street: Lake Shore Blvd at Strachan Avenue - heading north up Strachan under the guidance of the ride leader.

The route: The ride takes about 3-4 hours and you can join or leave at any time (suggest you dress up if you leave the group), although it is difficult to know where the WNBR group is at any specific time so it is hard to join up unless you see the group in person (quite a few people join along the ride). Most people either head back to Coronation Park at the end of the ride, or head to Hanlan's Point beach on the Toronto Islands by ferry for more fun in the sun.

It should be noted that most people along the route find the ride amazing and fun to watch with crowds pulling out phones to record the event and people clapping and giving high fives. Over the years groups of riders have joined marriage parties for group photos with the happy couples and associated wedding party (always good for the wedding album). Some people (definitely a small minority) will say bad things including possibly body shaming.

Major landmarks in downtown Toronto are passed during the ride with a couple locations used as planned stops for photo opportunities, the favourite being City Hall's reflecting pond where many riders take to the water. The route is generally circular going in a clockwise direction. 

Here is a list of the typical sites we ride by, or stop at, shown in the staging of the ride (with some changes could occur due to construction or other factor).

Coronation Park (start, bathroom)
Trinity Bellwoods Park
Kensington Market
University of Toronto
Queen's Park (possible stop)
Allan Gardens (possibly, construction is underway in the park. possible stop)
Metropolitan University of Toronto
Yonge-Dundas Square (usually two circles around the square)
Toronto Eaton Centre
Toronto City Hall (usually the longest stop, bathroom)
David Pecaut Square (new biking sculpture)
Union Station
Roundhouse Park/CN Tower (possible stop)
Sugar Beach (possible stop)
HTO Beach
Coronation Park (final stop, get dressed, bathroom)

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