ST. LOUIS – Hundreds of cyclists are expected to take on several streets of St. Louis on Saturday for the 15th annual World Naked Bike Ride.
First held in St. Louis in 2007, the World Naked Bike Ride has drawn more than 2,000 cyclists at a time in previous years. Cyclists generally cover more than 10 miles of ground in highly-visible areas within St. Louis City.
Riders will meet at 4 p.m. at HandleBar, a bicycle-themed bar in The Grove neighborhood of St. Louis. The ride starts at 6 p.m. and is expected to end around 8 p.m. Organizers tell riders to go as “bare-as-you-dare,” so some may choose to participate in the ride without any articles of clothing.
World Naked Bike Ride organizers released the following map of planned routes around St. Louis City:
The World Naked Bike Ride was first recognized as a protest against oil dependency in Canada in 2004. It has since expanded its footprint to dozens of U.S. cities and at least 20 countries. St. Louis is one at least 12 U.S. cities planning such a bike ride this year.
According to a FAQ section of the website promoting the St. Louis event, “The World Naked Bike Ride is a protest and that’s why people are allowed to be naked,” as long as cyclists refrain from illegal conduct while naked. The website encourages personal expression, but also mentions, “due to legal restrictions in St. Louis, full-frontal nudity is at your own risk.”
“We inform our guests of this,” Tatyana Telnikova, lead organizer of the bike ride in St. Louis, told FOX 2 last year. “But being on the bike ride itself is like a protest, if you’re riding with a mass group of people.”
Telnikova says the ride is intended to promote a positive body image, alternative forms of transportation and cyclists’ rights. “It’s about being together, having fun and being your true self on a bicycle,” she adds.
Telnikova, who also owns HandleBar just outside of the race’s starting point, took over as lead organizer of the event nearly a decade ago. She credits a group of Washington University students for bringing the concept to St. Louis in the mid-2000s.
While the ride originally began in the Southampton neighborhood, it has been modified in recent years to essentially loop around The Grove. In recent years, St. Louis has rivaled Chicago and Portland in terms of participation with the event.
The festivities have since expanded to include a pre-ride costume contest and a massive afterparty with live entertainment. FOX 2 captured several photos without obscenities from last year’s event.
For a closer look at The World Naked Bike Ride and events planned around it, click here.