World Naked Bike Ride Seattle

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World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) Seattle is an umbrella reference for Seattle's collection of local World Naked Bike Ride-affiliated events including WNBR Downtown Seattle Daylight Ride (the longest standing ride), the permaculture-oriented Gardens Everywhere Bike Parade, WNBR Seattle Night Ride/Cyclonudista Luminata, WNBR West Seattle, WNBR Lake Washington/Seafair Cyclists and Hemp Ride. WNBR Seattle tries to schedule its events to avoid conflicts with local Pacific Northwest clothing-optional bike rides such as local WNBR events, such as those that take place in Bellingham, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Vancouver, British Columbia; Victoria, British Columbia; Olympia, Washington; and Eugene, Oregon, as well as other clothing-optional bike rides such as the Solstice Cyclists and Body Pride Ride as well as rides that have no specific dress code and tolerate clothing-optional participants such as Seattle Critical Mass/Seattle Critical Ass. The rides are also currently scheduled in July, August and September, when Seattle generally has its dependably dry and warmer weather.



In 2003, Daniel Johnson met with Conrad Schmidt after both participated in an Artists Against War/Artists for Peace/Work Less Party "Go As Bare as You Dare" ride (which Conrad organized) in Vancouver, BC. Conrad expressed interest in creating an international naked cycling event modeled after the rides in Vancouver and Daniel committed to having one in Seattle.


Seattle was the second city to organize a WNBR event after Vancouver, and the first American city to organize a ride. With the exception of the WNBR-affiliated Manifestación Ciclonudista ride in Zaragoza, Seattle was the first WNBR-affiliated event to organize a day ride. Seattle is also believed to be the first city to work with city officials on the ride, the first city to stage its body painting parties in public parks and the first city to have yoga in public park areas with a certified yoga instructor.

The idea to start off the ride in the Fremont and Wallingford districts of Seattle was because these neighborhoods were supportive of painted/naked cycling in recent years. This is due to the continuing success and growing creativity of the Solstice Cyclists who have been a highlight of the Summer Solstice Parade and Pageant held annually in Fremont. The Solstice Cyclists participate in the artistic spirit and non-political atmosphere of the Summer Solstice Parade in Fremont, held on the Saturday closest to the Summer Solstice.

For the Solstice Cyclists, Gas Works Park has traditionally been the end of the parade route and the end of the naked cycling, yet Johnson felt that the location's proximity to the Burke-Gilman Trail beckoned riders to continue on to explore other parts of the greater Seattle area. In addition to the Solstice Cyclists, WNBR Seattle was also inspired by the AAW/AFP/WLP Rides in Vancouver and Manifestación Ciclonudista in Spain, which predate WNBR.

With regard to the WNBR Seattle route, Daniel felt that leaving the area via the Fremont Bridge would provide a feeling that the cyclists would cover new ground, outside the established safe-haven of primarily artistic freedoms, into those that also integrate more political and social concerns. In 2004 he stated that "our aspirations are symbolized by our push to reach the International Fountain at the Seattle Center, giving the event an international scope and highlighting the global appeal and need for our message". Having reached that goal, Daniel is encouraging others to reinvent the ride every year, to keep the event fresh and interesting for riders and spectators alike.

In 2003, Conrad and Daniel initially chose the June 12, 2004 date for WNBR to coincide with other ride events, which predate WNBR; and to take advantage of the nice weather around the Summer Solstice. There was an attempt to combine both painted naked rides in Seattle at the time, however, many of the Solstice Cyclists preferred that their event appear to be more spontaneous and without an overt message, respecting the parade's festive, non-political context. Up until early 2006, the name and e-mailing list of the Solstice Cyclists group was kept somewhat secret to avoid unwanted hassles.

Those participating in WNBR, operate in a distinctly different context and respect the request that the two events stay separate. While both groups strive to have a fun time, those involved with WNBR are also biking in solidarity with others in cities across the globe who wish to engage the public with a message. Up until 2006 they were the only painted/naked ride to openly publicize their events so that a larger number of people have the opportunity to participate. This changed in 2006 when Body Pride Ride launched highly visible naked promo rides during Seattle Critical Mass in March and April 2006, and when the Solsice Cyclists launched their public web site.


In 2005 there were four naked bike rides in Seattle. Three of those occurred in three consecutive Saturdays in June alone. The other two Seattle naked cycling events included the Solstice Cyclists (June 18, 2005, about 160 riders), and the premiere of the First Annual Body Pride Ride (June 26, 2005, a dozen cyclists) cycling around Capitol Hill and then as entry #186 in the Pride March. So, with WNBR, that was three separate naked rides in three weeks. In addition to ongoing monthly Critical Mass rides, 2005 marked the First Annual Independence From Oil Day Parade (3 July) and the emergence of the Ghostcycle project, raising awareness of cyclists on the streets with evocative installations around the city.


The Seattle 2006 event saw some significant changes over previous years, while participation numbers held steady to number of riders for three years straight. The ride was a record six hours on the road and in the parks and approximately 27 miles were covered. At the time this was a new record for naked bike rides in Seattle. Another first for a naked ride in Seattle was that permission was received from the City of Seattle to use many of the bathrooms in the park system. There were about seven bathroom breaks. The size of the screened off body painting area easily doubled which made for plenty of room for people who wanted to get body painted. This year was also a first for using Pike street instead of South Jackson in the Seattle Chinatown-International District. The ride also stopped at Cal Anderson Park and took a photo at the water feature. For the first time ever in Seattle, a clothing-optional bike ride went through the Central and Madrona Districts of Seattle to begin its trek down Lake Washington Boulevard, which was originally designed as a bicycle path by the Olmsted Brothers.

The yoga session at Madrona Park on Lake Washington with Mekosun was a precedent-setting unique feature for naked bike rides. There was a brief stop at Stan Sayres Park and ride continued through Seward Park. The group had an incredible presence at the Group Health Bicycle days event there. Riders stopped and took over a beach there on the North of Seward Park and went into the water and relaxed for a while. The group gathered to sing happy birthday to some family having a picnic at Madrona Park after visiting the park for a second time on the way back. We went through the Washington Park Arboretum and over the Montlake Bridge, firsts for naked rides. And finally, after two years, we met up with University of Washington Commencement graduates leaving from Husky Stadium.


In 2007, WNBR Seattle introduced its first night ride, starting at Green Lake Park and found out that there were already others streaking Green Lake Park. For the first time, the start location was moved from Gas Works Park to Fairview Park. Additionally, the main ride date from was pushed forward to June 9, 2007, when most other cities were riding, to July 14, 2007, for weather reasons. Riders noted that if they had stayed with the original global WNBR date of June 9, 2007 the event would have been rained out for the second year in a row. This year's main ride route was more or less the same as 2006 with the exception being the changes in the beginning. The ride also had its first three arrests, which occurred at Seward Park. Additionally the group had its first after-ride party immediately following the ride at the Eastlake Zoo Tavern. The Hemp Ride rode from Magnuson to Downtown back to Magnuson.


In 2008, the WNBR Seattle ride was broken up to form two distinct events, a downtown ride and a Lake Washington ride. Start location returned to Gas Works Park for the Downtown Ride.

The second WNBR Seattle event, the Lake Washington Ride, began at Denny-Blaine Park on Lake Washington, which was a first for the event. That park has a history of clothing-optional use. Ride went to Seward Park and this time had no arrests.

First WNBR West Seattle ride began at Camp Long, traveled North to Alki Point and then SW to Lincoln Park.


For first year, the main ride was organized by different, anonymous volunteers. This is primarily because Daniel Johnson was under a great deal of stress from his accident, his permaculture class and from years of organizing rides. After unsuccessfully being able to get Volunteer Park as a start location, the organizers decided to have the event start at Louisa Boren Park which provided a start location very close to Volunteer Park and had a nice view from the top of Capitol Hill. A second body painting party was organized in the Central District to the South, which required those cyclists to meet up with the cyclists at Louisa Boren.

There were also two successful night rides organized by anonymous cycling advocates. One of the rides had a police escort for the entire duration. Despite this both night rides were considered a significant success and inspired similar rides in future years on similar routes.

Despite Daniel's state, he was able to launch a new WNBR-Seattle affiliated event, the Gardens Everywhere Bike Parade.

Additionally Daniel remade Hemp Ride, which had not been scheduled since 2007, which launched as well as later in the summer and featured a stop through a very crowded Seattle Hempfest event at Myrtle Edwards Park.

A new organizer, Matt, stepped forward to lead the WNBR West Seattle event, with some assistance from Daniel. This year the event started at a local West Seattle business, Aaron's Bicycle Repair, Inc., the owner of which is known for his cycling advocacy. The ride was stopped shortly after leaving Lincoln Park. A shorter route was found to lead back to the starting location.

Significant efforts also were put into supporting the local clothing-optional ensemble of riders in the local Seattle Critical Mass group. A new record was set for clothing-optional riders. Police were involved in one ride at they told riders to get dressed before reaching the wading pool at Green Lake Park. It has been speculated that because of this there was a police escort during the very next WNBR Seattle event, the Night Ride. Some riders felt that WNBR Seattle should not be trying to affiliate with or appear to co-opt Critical Mass Seattle. In 2010 promotional language was changed a bit to show more distinction between the events while still supporting clothing optional participation during Critical Mass.


In the beginning of the year, Daniel Johnson went to Seattle Municipal Court for charges stemming from the WNBR Seattle 2009 ride. Johnson had hired attorney Paul Richmond of Port Townsend. Charges were dropped.

Second year the Downtown WNBR Seattle event launched from Louisa Boren Park. This time the ride was organized primarily by Matt, with help by Daniel. The ride ended at the Seattle Center with two after parties.

There was one night ride which ended with police interference on Broadway on Capitol Hill.

The Seafair Cyclists concept was launched however event was rained out and there were few participants, for the first time ever a WNBR Seattle ride was canceled. However, the morning run at Seward Park and evening swim at Madison Park beach took place and were a success, but not financially as no money was raised.

Daniel decided on that day to move the 2011 Seafair Cyclists ride at least temporarily, off schedule with the Seafair hydro races because of the route challenges to the traditional WNBR Lake Washington Route. Johnson also believes that the name Seafair Cyclists would still work well as Seafair festivities last a good part of the summer and could still work well with the human-powered, anti-corporate, independence from oil message of WNBR and its shorter than the long form of "World Naked Bike Ride Seattle Lake Washington Ride".


This is the first year WNBR rented out a dedicated painting space in Belltown as well as starting on the Seattle Waterfront at Olympic Sculpture Park for the annual WNBR Downtown Seattle Day Ride. Daniel Johnson, noting heavy development design work on the Seattle waterfront and also wanting to start the ride on a beach to align with the Seattle free beach movement, pushed very hard to move the ride from Louisa Boren Park on Capitol Hill to the waterfront beach. Riders from WNBR Bellingham also came down to bring attention to the legal case against cyclists arrested in their event. The ride ended at the Olympic Sculpture Park Beach with a wade-in. One conflict that was noted was the Fire Festival in Pioneer Square, unfortunately causing the ride to go around the area for lack of reroute.

This year the Night Ride took on a new theme that was emphasizing bike art and bike lights, with the name Cyclonudista Luminata. This ride had its pre-ride party and launch at the Fremont Arts Council's Powerhouse, where the Seattle Naked Pumpkin Run has previously had its pumpkin carving parties.


Downtown Day Ride is scheduled for July 7 and again starting at Olympic Sculpture Park beach, without the pre-party in Belltown. There has been talk of doing a night ride starting at Counterbalance Park, which would be much closer than Fremont for a start location for a ride which focuses on Downtown Seattle. The ride is also promoting a new attraction, the Seattle Great Wheel, a 175-foot tall Ferris wheel being installed at the end of Pier 57.


The 2013 World Naked Bike Ride Seattle was held on July 13.

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • The Seattle Times Seattle Parks seeking to ban nudity By Erik Lacitis, Seattle Times staff reporter. Originally published November 13, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified November 13, 2008 at 8:59 AM. This city's famous tolerance for the unconventional just got a little less so. Here is a message from Seattle Parks and Recreation to all...
  • KING-TV News Nudity in Seattle parks could become thing of the past November 13, 2008 - Did you know that it's not against the law to run around naked in a public park in Seattle? That could change under a new rule being proposed by Seattle City Parks. KING 5's Linda Byron reports. (Interviews with Seattle Police spokesperson, Daniel Johnson (WNBR), Joelle Ligon (Parks Dept.))
  • Seattle Post-Intelligencer City weighs stripping nudists of bike ride By KERY MURAKAMI, P-I REPORTER. Thursday, November 13, 2008. Breaks the story of Seattle Parks & Recreation public nudity rule proposal, its relationship to WNBR Seattle. Quotes by Dewey Potter (Parks), Mark Storey (NAC), Daniel Johnson (WNBR). (Editor's Note: This story has been altered. Earlier versions, based on incorrect information from the Seattle Parks and Recreation department, inaccurately described what happened to 23 nude bicyclists during a ride in July.)
  • West Seattle Blog Two wheels, no clothes: Bicycling protesters in West Seattle Posted September 6, 2008
  • Nude & Natural (N) magazine covered Benham Gallery and Seattle Art Museum visit in issue 28.2, Winter 2008. "Naked Cyclists' Artful Idyll" by Marie Gunn. Pages 61–62. Discussion of Daniel's idea to collaborate with Marita Holdaway of Benham Gallery in Seattle.
  • Nude & Natural (N), Seattle's Solstice Spectacular/Body Positive Creativity Abounds... at the Fremont Summer Solstice Parade by John Cornicello & Daniel Johnson. Also Guerilla Nudity/Wave Makers: Introducing the Body Freedom Collaborative by Mark Storey. Issue 23.1, Autumn 2003.