The What?

The Peeled Peddlers. The Bare Bicyclists. The Casual Coasters.

Welcome to Madison, Wisconsin, the state capital and home to lots of friendly, plain-speaking, down-to-earth people, hosting hearty mid-western events like the annual “Naked Bike Ride” where once a year people ride their bikes around town with the key distinction from bike rides the other 364 days of the year being that this time they do it without wearing any clothes.

Which leads to the first question: does that violate the health code?

Which leads to the second question: do these people disinfect their seats at the end of the ride? Because if they don’t that would be really disgusting.

Which leads to the third question (assuming they do disinfect their seats because if they don’t I’d have to digress to a distinctly different topic): isn’t it terribly uncomfortable, especially over the bumpy parts?

Which leads to the fourth question: does the sunscreen sting? (This is Madison so yes, they are probably wearing bike helmets. And sunscreen. Which is why I wondered about the stinging because I have sensitive skin so sunscreen stings me and that’s just on my face – I can’t imagine how bad it might be on places that normally never see daylight.)

Which leads to the fifth question: why in the world would anyone ride a bike naked?

Yes, I know the purported reasons: “a protest against the pervasive use of petroleum products and an affirmation of the beauty of the human body.” But they might want to rethink their approach: people riding bikes without clothing doesn’t exactly scream “we must stop the pervasive use of petroleum products.” Or affirm “the beauty of the human body.”

And yes, I know some bodies can be very beautiful. (Like this one. )

But then there’s most of us. Who are vivid reminders of the reasons why clothing was invented. I am solidly in this category. And so understand the benefits fabric offers, particularly in the art of camouflage.

But I do understand why some clothing-free people might feel compelled to circle the square (if you’re from here you’ll understand how that can be possible) on a Saturday morning in June as shoppers at the Dane County Farmers’ Market try not to gawk. (We’re Wisconsinites, so although we’re not used to seeing naked people riding bikes as we peruse produce, we do know it’s not polite to stare.)

Although one must wonder at the observer who insisted “I didn’t like it,” as he took photos of the naked bikers.

But next year – as a public service to those of us with inquiring minds – before they ride out perhaps they can answer questions1 through 4 first. And maybe they could get this guy to come.


Posted on June 26, 2012, in Commentary, Humor, Other. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Why in the world would anyone ride a bike naked? Because they can and the scene brings a smile to this old beared face.

    Your article made me think of Lady Godiva, an 11th-century Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who, according to legend, rode naked through the streets of Coventry in order to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband on his tenants.

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