After the COVID-19 pandemic ended last year’s cycling tour, the annual Philly Naked Bike Ride is back with just one dress code requirement: you must wear a mask.
Why go naked biking for 10 miles, you ask? The event aims to promote positive body images and a love of cycling, an environmentally friendly mode of transportation, no matter what you wear (or don’t wear).
Masks are mandatory during the ride despite the lifting of the Philadelphia mandate for those fully vaccinated and out. Restaurants should operate at 50% capacity, although the distance between chairs is reduced from 6 feet to 3 feet. Indoor events with catering can operate at 25% capacity and outdoor events at 50% capacity.
Although most of the city’s COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, bike ride organizers have not had a chance to revise their strategy. Lead organizer Wesley Noonan-Sessa told NBC Philadelphia that they “are going to stick to our original mask guidelines.”
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On August 28, participants can wear as much or as little clothing as they want. Although the predominantly nude event is not legal, as of 2021, the bike ride has not encountered any problems with the police, according to its website.
It’s a scenic drive, not a race, offering opportunities to pass landmarks such as Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which was featured in the “Rocky” movies.
The ride, which takes two to three hours, is part of a larger organization called World Naked Bike Ride. People rode naked bikes in New Zealand, Argentina, Japan, Canada and more than a dozen other countries.
In Auckland, New Zealand, the message of the bike ride was to highlight the country’s oil dependence and “the negative social and environmental impacts of a car-dominated culture,” according to its website.
During the Philly Naked Bike Ride, participants wear unique hats, goggles and outfits. A body painting area is provided where participants can draw objects, pictures or share a message.
The event is free and no registration is necessary. Organizers recommend wrapping something soft around your seat, like a t-shirt or bandana, especially if you’re renting a bike.
The organizers stress that no form of sexual or physical harassment will be tolerated.
While nude cycling isn’t for everyone, World Naked Bike Ride organizers argue that the message the ride promotes is what’s important.
Cy Wol, an organizer of the World Naked Bike Ride London, said in 2017 that the messages are “a bit buried in the more obvious interest of naked people on bicycles”.
“We think this is a very positive form of protest – a healthier, safer lifestyle for everyone,” Wol said. “A better environment. Safer travel. An antidote to media anxiety about body image.”
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