Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Naked Bike Ride: Missoula, MT

When my friend Joanne recently mentioned that The Naked Bike Ride was coming to Missoula, the immediate conversation between David and I went something like this:

Me:  We have to go.
David:  I don't think so.
Me:  How can we not go?  We have to go.
David:  No.
Me:  Hmmm, maybe it would be better if you didn't go.
David:  If you're going, I'm going.
Me:  No, I think you should stay home.
David:  I don't think so.

There was some debate both here and at David's job over what kinds of nakedness one might see.  Will this be a bunch of hard core biker hardbodies?  My opinion was no, that there would be all kinds.  You can be the judge later because, yes, be forewarned, there will be photos. 

And I should clarify now.  We did not participate in the ride.  There are two reasons for this.  1)  We don't own bikes.  2)  I don't even like it when my bra straps show so there is no way I would ever be in public in any way, shape or form, doing anything naked.

When we first arrived we went to the bridge on Higgins Street, which is in the heart of downtown.  There are a group of people gathering by the old depot with their bikes.

No nakedness yet.  A few of the men had their shirts off but that was it.  We stayed there for a while watching people in the river trying to surf and tubing.  Not much happening on the bike ride front.  This seems like it is going to be the most un-naked naked event I have ever been to.
Others start joining us on the bridge.  One man approaches us and asks what we are taking pictures of.  Really?  I am pretty sure he knows why we are here.
This guy came prepared.  Unlike me and David, I think he might be here out of more than curiosity.
So the bike riders in the parking lot take off (riding) and a new guy next to us says, "I knew they'd chicken out".  This ride happens in other cities and it was a big deal in the newspapers that it came here.  The article I read yesterday said even though the city approved it that didn't negate the ordinance against lewdness and the jurisdiction of the sheriff's department or the highway patrol inside the city limits.
This guy is the boldest we have seen in just his underwear.  I don't think that is what the man in the lawn chair was hoping for.

So we leave the bridge and go down the trail a ways thinking maybe we missed the main part.  There are other people with lawn chairs and generally loitering about so we decide to wait and see what happens.  Then we hear cheering and we see them across the river in a neighborhood.  We hurry back to the bridge just in time.
Here they come.  And there are a LOT of them.
And most of them didn't chicken out.  Most were completely nude other than shoes.
This older gentleman kept his black socks on.  And let's don't forget the ball cap.  Wouldn't want to get a sunburn on his scalp.
Some people were partially clothed, girls in tutu's, guys in jock straps.
Or "Caution" tape.  That looks really uncomfortable.
As I said, I could never do this.  I have always been excessively self-conscious about my body.  I wouldn't say I was jealous exactly but I can't help but want to say "you go girl" to women that aren't.  This lady had a sign on her bike that reads, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." 
We did see one protester holding a sign but it was completely unrelated to this event.  Something to do with the university and curriculum.  Let's just say that no one was paying him any attention.  When we were looking his direction there was a woman bending over.  David was stressing a little, he wanted her to stop.  It was like that episode of Seinfeld.  There's good naked and then there's bad naked. 
I was more interested to see what he would do.  The answer?  Nothing.  The police around downtown appeared to be there just in case.  It didn't seem like any of them planned to get involved with any of the riders.  David saw a couple of cops on bikes early on but they had their clothes on so I didn't bother photographing them.
Probably my favorite photo from the event.  When I looked at these in the car on the way home I thought this was going to be a good one to share as it captured the good-natured spirit of the participants without fear of offending anyone.  Then I got home and brought it up on the bigger computer monitor and BOOM...there it was, staring at me from under her armpit.  Quit looking so hard.  I blurred it with editing software.
I did see this one kid and a few people, including this kid's dad, with baby carriages behind.  I said to David, "Blake (our son) would be mortified if we were naked in public for any reason".  David said, "I would be mortified if I were naked in public for any reason."
On the way home I sent Joanne a text since she declined to come with us.  I said, "That was awesome!".  She replied, "I don't believe you."
I will never look at riding a bike the same way but I'll tell you the same thing I told her:  Any event that can make a person smile and/or laugh is worth attending.  The riders and I did both.

No comments:

Post a Comment