BURLINGTON WORLD NAKED BIKE RIDE
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
(These questions were taken from the main World Naked Bike Ride Website and Adapted for use in Vermont)
THIS FAQ IS NOT COMPLETE AND WILL BE UPDATED AND FIXED AS I HAVE TIME.
Q1. Why are you riding naked?
To celebrate cycling and the human body. The ride demonstrates the vulnerability
of cyclists on the road and is a protest against oil dependency.
Q2. Is it legal to be naked in public in Vermont?
It depends on the laws of the particular city in Vermont. In Burlington, it IS
legal to be nude within the city limits, with the exception of City Parks.
Simple nudity is legal, "lewdness" is not. Public nudity is often more
acceptable than you'd think, so long as the behavior of the naked people in
question isn't lewd, aggressive or violent.
Q3. Isn't riding naked uncomfortable?
Suprisingly, for both women and men, riding naked isn't especially less
comfortable than riding clothed. When riding with clothes on you're often
rubbing against the seams, so in some ways naked riding is comfier!
Ride routes will often be chosen with less experienced cyclists in mind,
so will avoid hills and be more leisurely in pace, increasing comfort.
Q4. Do I have to ride a bike?
No! Any sort of skates (skateboards, inline skates, rollerskates, rollerblades
etc) are welcome too. You won't be able to keep up with rides travelling on
foot, but any alternate body-powered transport is welcome and encouraged.
Several events have people riding on skates, unicycles, tricycles, chopper
bikes, tandems, recumbants and rickshaws. The only sort of bikes that would
be unwelcome would be petrol-powered motorbikes and scooters.
You can always rent or borrow one for the day! Ask your friends or try your
nearest bike rental shop.
Q5. Can I hurt myself by cycling in the nude?
Only if you don't wear any sunscreen or if you fall off the bike. We recommend
that you wear sunscreen, footwear and a helmet. Ride carefully and you won't get
hurt. Your bottom will probably not hurt any more than when you ride with your
clothes on. If you get sore, you could get a padded bike seat or get in practice
by cycling more often.
Q6. Do I have to ride naked? Can I participate clothed or top-free?
The World Naked Bike Ride dress code is "as bare as you dare". How bare is that?
How much do you dare? It's all up to you: you decide what you are comfortable
with. The ride is clothing-optional.
No one is excluded or discriminated against based on levels of clothing, body
paint, or anything else for that matter!
While nudity isn't required to participate in this ride we encourage you to
challenge yourself. Wear as little as you can while still feeling comfortable
about it. Last year, people came wearing shorts, bras, swimwear, body paint,
masks etc. There will be plenty of people who will cycle fully nude, so don't
feel that it is your duty to do this if you aren't comfortable showing all of
your body. Respect your own boundaries, and go As Bare As You Dare!
Q7. What should I wear? How should I decorate myself?
Please be creative and colorful in expressing yourself! Body painting,
customizing your bike, and other creative expression is strongly encouraged!
Q8. What if I'm not thin, young, conventionally attractive, or have scars on my
Great! Please come to the ride! We'll all be there to ride with you in
celebration of your body's strength and individuality. People of all ages,
sizes, builds and appearances ride on World Naked Bike Ride. At the ride,
you'll be treated with dignity and respect no matter what your body looks like.
Q9. What does it feel like to ride nude?
Just like it does with clothes but a bit cooler. Most riders also find it
exhilerating, liberating, empowering... and downright hilarious!
Q10. Should I wear shoes?
If you're not sure about this then you should wear some sort of footwear. This
is epecially recommended if you have rough pedals. Sandals or flipflops will do.
Most riders use footwear for safety and comfort reasons. If you're still
planning to ride barefoot, it's advisable to try this out on an urban ride
before cycling barefoot on World Naked Bike Ride.
Q11. I don't own a bike, skates or skateboard. How can I participate?
You can always rent or borrow one for the day! Ask your friends or try your nearest bire hire shop.
Q12. Will people and press photograph me?
They might. If it makes you uncomfortable, let photographers know that they
don't have permission to photograph you. Also, let other riders know this so
they can tell photographers not to photograph you. Another approach is to keep
your clothes on at the start of the ride, and take them off after you have left
the assembly point. Both of these approaches will reduce photographs being taken
at the start of the ride, but it's not possible to stop people from
photographing during the ride.
Local WNBR events often have documentary teams taking pictures and video, but
they are generally considerate professional people and will try to keep your
wishes in mind when covering the event. You can see many of their images
on the WNBR ( http://www.worldnakedbikeride.org/) website and publicity,
which is sometimes shared with other related non-profit groups.
There will also be photographers at the event who use their images for other
reasons, and you won't know without asking. If anyone is acting aggressively
or suspiciously, or making you feel uncomfortable, please tell a WNBR team
member or someone who can confront them, and tell them to back off and give
people personal space. People need to understand the positive message of WNBR
and understand that part of respecting each others' bodies is giving each other
enough personal space to be comfortable. This is especially important for
riders that have never been naked with strangers or in public before. They have
their own issues they are dealing with and aggressive gawking or unwanted
exposure adds an additional, unwanted complication to their experience.
So speak up!
Q13. What will the ratio of men and women riders be?
It's hard to know the gender ratio in advance.
While many rides have been gender-balanced, it is rare that females outnumbered
males on any ride. Of course we'd like it if every ride had a good gender
balance, but the only people who can help make it happen is the promotion team
and the people who show up themselves.
One good example of a gender-balanced painted naked cycling group is the painted
cyclists of the Summer Solstice Parade in Fremont, Seattle. That group has been
cycling for years, and there is a strong tradition of creative diversity. Having
a ride that approaches the diversity of the community is a sign that the ride
is maturing, has earned the trust of the community, and is attracting a wide
range of people.
Obviously, cycling and opposing oil dependency are not gender-specific
activities. Public nudity has a very different meaning for each of us and
this often relates to our experience of being male or female.
Q14. I'm not sure if I want to participate in the ride. Can I watch from a distance,behind a bush, with binoculars?
WNBR is an event which encourages participation. People who show up just to
watch or take pictures are likely to make some feel uncomortable and may be
asked to either get involved in a helpful, positive way or leave the immediate
WNBR is not just a great event for spectators, visiting tourists and the general
public, it's an amazing experience that everybody can participate in or support.
For example, many cities have a bodypainting party in one location with live
music, then move to another start location, then hold various happenings around
the city or stop off at different points during the ride for various activities.
These additional activities can include a massive group splash in a prominent
urban fountain, a photo shoot with a spectacular backdrop, somewhere to protest
oil dependency (such as a petrol station), and maybe to conclude at a house
party or pub.
Q15. Will I get arrested?
In Burlington, Vermont....probably not unless you are doing something "lewd" and you get caught.
If you feel uncomfortable going completely naked or you are afraid of any legal
scuffles, here is some advice. Don't go completely naked.
Q16. Isn't public nudity offensive?
People are offended by all kinds of harmless things, people and ideas. People
have been offended by religous cartoons, Muslims converting to Christianity (in
Afganistan), farting, burping, Martin Luther King, Jesus, Gandhi, the accidental
exposure of Janet Jackson's breasts, rock'n'roll, sex education, tattoos,
dancing, the peace movement, environmentalists, droopy pants, "minority" groups,
potbellies, hairy chests, Teletubbies, and most likely even you at some point.
For a good essay looking at this issue look at The Offence of Public Nudity
(http://bodyfreedom.org/guide/essays/offense.html) by Mark Storey
Q17. What about the children? Aren't they especially at risk from the adverse
consequences of seeing naked people?
The idea that somehow children are negatively affected by non-sexualized nudity
is a myth. Children are more likely to be curious if nudity was discouraged in
their family. The only thing prudish parents have to worry about is that their
children might want to get naked themselves if it looks like people are having
fun. As children grow older they are more likely to resent repressive parents if
they think they lack common sensibilities.
See also Wikipedia's article on Issues in social nudity as it relates to
Read Mark Storey's essay "Children, Social Nudity and Scholarly Study
Q18. Can my children ride or otherwise participate in your event?
Yes, children are allowed to participate in WNBR. WNBR is designed to be
family-friendly. Children do sometimes ride, participate and otherwise
contribute to WNBR events, currently however, it is pretty rare. As an example,
the Seattle ride has had one kid participate in their rides in 2004 and 2006,
other naked cyclists events have also had kids participate.
Children and teenagers under 16 or 18 (depending on what country they are from)
are not encouraged to participate in WNBR without close supervision from a
parent or legal guardian. WNBR does not provide child care or babysitting
WNBR has a policy of not allowing promoters to directly recruit children to
participate in our events. Children who are interested in participating should
speak with their parents or legal guardians.
Q19. How can I organize or get involved in a local ride?
You are invited to not only ride with us but also to help organize a WNBR event
in the city of your choosing. All you have to do is fill out the sign-up form
(at http://worldnakedbikeride.org) and we will help you set up a web page with all the necessary information,
such as meeting and after party location. There are other resources on the main
WNBR site as well that you may find interesting
and useful. There resources include info on helping you promote an event and
other ideas and suggestions for organizing rides.
Anybody who wants to organize a meeting to organize a ride, please post it on the main announcement list.
Anybody who wants to volunteer can do any of the following:
* contact the coordinator in that city,
* become a coordinator in that city,
* attend meetings
* design a flyer and post to the main web site
* join the discussion groups. A list of all the discussion groups is on the at http://worldnakedbikeride.org
* make a donation to your local coordinator; ( don't leave them saddled with the debts ).
* if you want to get involved and your local coordinator is not helping, organize your own ride.
The World Naked Bike Ride belongs to everybody.
That means that you are entirely welcome to organize your own naked bike ride as
long as your event is a protest against oil dependency and participants have
the option to ride their bikes naked, the main WNBR web site will promote your
Q20. How can I contact local WNBR event coordination teams?
See our Yahoo Group at
or our website at http://worldnakedbikerideburlington.com
Q21. How many participants do I need to have a successful WNBR event?
It's not about the size of the event.
WNBR is not a competition, its about the empowerment of the individual. A ride with only two people
can be just as successful as a ride with 400.
Even though there was a really cold autumn rain storm in Brazil on 12 June 2004
the WNBR event went ahead as planned. Two really cold and completely naked
cyclists took to the streets of Brazil. It often takes more courage to do
something when you are all alone than when you are in a big group.
The first naked bike ride that we organized in Vancouver had only 13 people;
but it was the best ride we ever organized. Even though we had only 13
cyclists we cycled straight past the biggest police station in Vancouver
and we didn't do it quietly either.
Courage is the first step towards solutions.
- Conrad Schmidt, 22 January 2005
Q22. Is it OK to organize a WNBR event but leave out the environmentalist or
body-positive themes, or require people to wear a minimum of clothing?
No. People are entirely welcome to organise their own naked bike ride as long
as their event is a protest against oil dependency and participants have the
option to ride their bikes naked. Only then will the official WNBR website
agree to promote the event.
Q23. Does the ride have a single "brand" or message?
The ride has many different images and slogans that people use to communicate
the ride's purpose. Local rides are free to highlight local concerns (closure
of a local clothes-free cost-free beach, urban road expansions, safety needs of
cyclists). All local rides use clothing-optional bike rides as a means of
protesting against oil dependency and celebrating the power and individuality
of our bodies.
Q24. What does riding bikes naked have to do with protesting oil dependency?
We face automobile traffic with our naked bodies as the best way of defending
our dignity and exposing the unique dangers faced by cyclists and pedestrians
as well as the negative consequences we all face due to dependence on oil,
and other forms of non-renewable energy.
Q25. It looks more like a party than a protest.
Why should WNBR be taken seriously as a form of political expression?
Having fun and doing public outreach are not mutually exclusive goals. People
see us on the streets and you can see the gears turning in their heads. People
see a large group of cyclists and they think to themselves, what is this, why
are they doing that? It won't take long for them to figure out that by doing
something different, by immersing ourselves in lanes intended for cars and not
for bicycles, by tossing our clothes and rejecting our shame, we are protesting
a way of life which needs to abandoned.
We paint our bodies with political messages or beautiful designs to complement
our forms. We pass out flyers informing the public about our message. We use
portable public address systems or raise our voices and chant in unison
Getting people to laugh and smile is a great way to connect and share ideas
in a non-threatening way. We realize there will always be the occasional
grinch that just can't share the road with cyclists or stand the sight
of a natural human being. Fortunately for us, their numbers are decreasing
and ours are increasing.
Q26. This sounds a lot like Critical Mass bike rides.
Are you trying to disrupt or stop traffic? Are you a bunch of agitators?
We are not stopping traffic, we are traffic! Critical Mass (
http://www.critical-mass.info/) and other bike activist groups promote
awareness of cyclists out of necessity — many cyclists are seriously
injured and killed by careless drivers. That includes commuters, students,
children, police officers on bicycles, every body is at risk in a society
that promotes car culture over cyclist culture and walkable communities.
Many roads were not built for bicycle traffic, many communities were not
designed to take advantage of the world's most efficient means of personal
transport. Instead, we have subordinated our common sense and community values
to the requirements of large, expensive, dangerous, loud, and polluting
vehicles. Oil has become one of our most important commodities despite its
inherit evils, despite the costs of war and innocent lives. No wild area is too
pristine to mine this "black gold". This must change.
Like Critical Mass, WNBR aims to promote bicycle transportation and recreation,
walkable communities, and environmentally-responsibility, sustainable solutions
to living in the 21st century. Who can turn down the opportunity to be free of
emissions, free parking, and the free feeling?
Q27. Why would anybody embrace public nudity?
Non-sexualized, colourful and creative nakedness in uptight societies is a
refreshing way to remind people of some of the fundamental freedoms of life
that people have collectively handed over, without really thinking of the
consequences. Its about body-positive values: living a healthy life in tune
with, not against, our environment; respecting the natural beauty and diversity
of human bodies; and establishing and projecting a positive self-image and
Q28. Can I bring a placard, leaflets etc? What message should I communicate?
We recommend bringing something that communicates the messages of the ride
(opposition to oil dependency and celebration of our bodies). You could paint
the message onto your body (click here for a terrific photo of painted messages
from Aukland's Feb 2005 ride, and inspiring use of stencils from the USA's RNC
2004 protests in NYC). You could mount a sign/object/flag onto your bicycle.
You might want to wear a prop (mask, wings, tail, etc). Use your imagination.
Don't feel limited by the main WNBR messages. You can communicate opposition to
oil dependency through a number of local-specific issues. You may feel strongly
opposed to the UK and US led war in Iraq. It can be easily argued that this war
wouldn't have happened if the world were no longer oil dependent. It would make
sense to attend the World Naked Bike Ride in protest of the war in Iraq or any
other conflict fuelled by oil dependency.
Q29. What is World Naked Bike Ride all about?
World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is about protesting oil dependency and celebrating
the power and individuality of our bodies. Naked bicycle people power!
Q30. What is the appeal of WNBR? Why do people do it? Why has it grown so fast?
WNBR is highly infectious. Its message and image has immediate widespread
appeal. It operates on a simple, scaleable model, relies on grassroots
promotion, and integrates easily into collaborative projects and interests in
the vast majority of progressive communities across the globe. It is no wonder
that events are rapidly spreading to other cities all over the globe!
WNBR is not just a great event for spectators, visiting tourists and the general
public, it is an amazing experience that everybody can either participate in,
witness or support at whatever level they are comfortable.
People love the idea of participating in a ride that celebrates the natural
beauty of the human body, the shameless freedom and innocent sensual pleasure
from not wearing clothes while travelling pollution-free through the breeze
through our communities. Auroroa Denai, one of Chicago's high-energy riders,
urges her fellow riders to
They also enjoy engaging the public in a cheerful, light-hearted way about a
very serious threat to the entire globe – oil dependency and car culture. For
some it is also a great feeling to stick it to the man, to challenge the status
quo, and raise the blood pressure of prudes and gas guzzlers alike. We have
noticed that the same people who support the oil industry and a culture of
complacency on important environmental issues tend to also be repressive of
other peoples' personal freedom.
Others see it as delivering a very powerful, life-affirming, basic message:
Q31. Is there a main discussion group or local discussion groups for World Naked
Bike Ride Burlington that I can join?
Yes, people who support the message of WNBR are invited to join the main
discussion group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WorldNakedBikeRideBurlington
Q32. Who is endorsing and supporting WNBR?
World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is being organized and supported by many different
groups. The groups are only connected by their determination to all be naked
on their bikes June 11th, riding in celebration, jubilation to deliver a vision
of a cleaner, safer, body-positive world to the masses. Yes, we have many great
reasons to be celebrating June 11th with all the glory of naked two wheel
sanity. It's time to join hundreds of naked compatriots in a free, non-sexual,
fun bike ride!
Q33. What kind of people participate in WNBR?
People from all walks of life and beliefs. We have families with children,
engineers, university professors, carpenters, environmentalists, sport
cyclists, gardeners, multimedia artists, bike activists, naturists/nudists,
social activists, therapists, poets, city workers, lots of college students,
artists, millionaires, people who are living in poverty, Burning Man people,
union workers, legal professionals, people who are just curious what it would be
like to ride — people just like you! You would be surprised!
Q34. Are there any kind of fundraising items you are selling?
Yes, we have WNBR T-shirts. Funds from the T-shirt go into a legal fund for
the defence of arrested cyclists.
Q35. Can you please send me some pictures of naked people?
Sorry, No! There are plenty of pictures available all over the web.
We encourage active participation in the ride itself.