A Warm Reception Given To LA World Naked Bike Riders Through Los Angeles
LA Naked Bike Ride 2015 and Introducing a new column – the SCNA Naturist Review:
Felicity has asked me / SCNA to contribute periodic articles here on the YNA website concerning the naturist movement, and specifically what is happening in and around Los Angeles.
In the past several years, we have observed that interest in naturism among young adults has virtually exploded across the southern half of California.
Gone is the necessity of going into a gated nudist club to get naked with people who are old enough to be your parents or grandparents. More and more young people are finding more creative ways to enjoy their natural instinct to enjoy the sun and breeze without clothes. This column intends to explore the many options open to anyone wanting to explore naturism in new and different ways.
First up: the recent World Naked Bike Ride through downtown Los Angeles on June 27. Parts of this article were written by Rolf Holbach, current SCNA President, and one of the WNBR-LA organizers.
From various participant accounts on all sides (veteran riders, newbies, volunteers, and the LAPD), this was the BEST WORLD NAKED BIKE RIDE EVER since the first one held in Los Angeles 11 years ago. The police estimated there were between 400-425 riders, an increase of approximately 100 riders from last year.
The smiles on everyone, from beginning to end, were the best testament to how well participants, volunteers, and organizers came together to make this year’s ride one that will not be forgotten soon.
Many of the veteran riders commented on how much more they enjoyed this year’s ride.
As much as college-age naturists prefer “flash-mob”-type events that appear to have no advanced planning and go off spontaneously, the truth is that once a crowd gets larger than about 100, the police department insists they have leaders they can call, bike routes pre-planned, etc.
Otherwise they are less inclined to approve the event. Over the past several years, a team of leaders have emerged for the LA ride. As the number of riders grew, so did we see the need for portable toilets, rider leaders spaced out among the riders to keep the bicyclists in their lanes and not straggle. This year, the team began work last September to be sure the bike ride looks as smooth as possible.
This year we arranged for a different and larger pre-ride staging area that was shielded from the public streets. We also had wristband bike registration and clothes-check service to be sure both the bikes and people’s clothes were secure from possible theft. We added walkie-talkies for the ride leaders so everyone knew exactly what was going on at all times throughout the mile-long line of naked riders through the downtown streets.
We solicited sponsors for the portable toilets, and we secured liability insurance (required by the city or else we could not get the permit). Last, we secured a food truck to sell sandwiches, water, and soda to the riders (this was much appreciated!) and we had another vendor who handed out free cookies for a little energy boost!
The smooth behind-the scenes operation was commended by the LAPD after the race. The local sergeant in charge called us that evening to congratulate us on a successful ride with no complaints at all from any of the officers who monitored the bike ride throughout the afternoon.
Although many riders did not notice them, we can now reveal that both uniformed and undercover police along both legs of the ride heavily monitored the ride.
The LAPD commented how well the ride was received by the public-at-large this year (many waves and cheers, with some bystanders dropping their clothes and joining us!).
The LAPD also appreciated the changes in the route we made this year, breaking it into two legs: a short 5 mile route through downtown for those who were more out of shape but wanted to say they participated, and a longer 15-mile leg that extended out through Echo Park, Chinatown, Silver-lake and back. The entire ride took a little over three hours to complete.
There were many first-time riders, some of who came from all over Southern California, including some from San Diego and others from Bakersfield.
We even had a guy from Australia on vacation who told us he was flying up to Portland later that evening to do their ride as soon as our ride was done!
Of course, the creativity in decorating bodies as well as bikes was just awesome! We had a vendor supply free body paint to anyone wanting to have a sign painted on their bodies, and many of the riders thought that was a delicious idea!
The slogans related to body freedom, saving oil, promoting alternative energy, and reminding auto drivers to drive more carefully and share the road with bikers.
Some participants decided to ride skateboards instead of bicycles, while a few others came with very unique forms of transportation.
One fellow had what looked like a solar-powered tricycle, while another had a bicycle-powered chariot with the man’s girlfriend waving to all as they drove past!
This year, we also finally got some television exposure. Local KTLA-5 and the Eyewitness ABC affiliate sent trucks. Several radio stations sent reporters, and there were also some freelancers pushing to get a story they could sell to other news outlets who weren’t there.
The latter were a nuisance at times, and we actually asked a few to leave when it became obvious they were just there to take pictures to post on the Internet.
One of the co-organizers, Allen Baylis from both the Naturist Action Committee (NAC) and the Orange County naturist club (NitOC) served as our official spokesperson who skillfully answered the reporters’ questions so the rest of us would not be interrupted doing our organizing. Allen did a great job!
This year’s ride was such a success, that the LAPD has tentatively given us the green light a year in advance for next year’s World Naked Bike Ride. We hope, if you are in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 11, 2016, you can plan to join us!
A great thank you to the organizing committee for a job well done: Michael Beals (ANFA club), Ron Mercer (NitOC), Rolf Holbach (SCNA), Levi Clancy (YNA), Allen Baylis (NAC) and Gary Mussell (AANR-West). Being organized is the key to success, we have found, and trying to make everything look unorganized and spontaneous to the riders.
Photos on this page courtesy of Ron Mercer, Dennis Crane, and Rolf Holbach.
This blog by SCNA about the LA Naked Bike Ride 2015 was published by – Young Naturists and Nudists America