ST. LOUIS (KMOX)- This month, don’t be so shocked when you see naked bicyclists in St. Louis.
It’s the 5th World Naked Bike Ride in St. Louis, and it’s bigger, better, and hotter, than ever.
On July 28, organizers are asking protesters to come as bare as they dare to protest oil dependency, raise cyclist awareness, and advocate positive body image.
Last year’s ride drew over 500 cyclists, marking St. Louis as one of the larger rides (exceeding the turnout of San Francisco!), and this year organizers are expecting an even larger turnout. And at a time when American oil dependency remains dangerously strong, organizers are eager to promote positive alternatives to car culture.
So, why the nudity?
One reason is to challenge mainstream media portrayal of body image. In addition, nudity symbolizes the vulnerability cyclists face when challenged on the roads on a daily basis. However, nudity is by no means required — each year, participants can be found fully clothed, covered in body paint, swim-suits, and creative coverings as well.
And above all else, the World Naked Bike Ride also “keeps communities fun and interesting,” claims fifth-year rider and volunteer Nowell Gata. “I went on the first St. Louis WNBR on a whim. The event brought me out of my shell; I can do weird, fun things and there are others just like me in this city?”
The City, participating business districts, and SLMPD have been cooperative and supportive of the protest. No arrests have been made in its past four years.
This year’s gathering will begin at 6 p.m. at the South Grand Parking Lot at Hartford. Expect body-painting, live bands, “costume” contests, and an expo to include leading cycling, environmental, and body positive groups and businesses in the area, including Trailnet, Live Well Ferguson, Cycling Savvy, Commute St. Louis, Big Shark Bicycles, Randy’s Recycled Cycles, Cherokee Street Bikes, Sex Positive St. Louis, and more. Ride will depart at 8 p.m. sharp for a loop around the city, before landing in the Grove for a post-ride celebration.
This year also includes a variety of pre-ride film screening and discussion series on the issues of cycling rights, body acceptance, and oil dependency.