Berkeley bicyclists go bare for World Naked Bike Ride

Update, 6:20 pm: Think we went too far posting a video of the naked cyclists? Not worried about nudity in this context? Take the poll on our Facebook page so we can get your feedback.

Update, 5:45pm: After YouTube took down our video (a first for Berkeleyside — being censored), we have uploaded the same video on vimeo with a perhaps less offensive still front image. It can be viewed above.

Update, 4:25pm: YouTube took down our video of the Naked Bike Day cyclists in Berkeley because of the nudity content. Stay posted –we will try to replace it or at least provide still images.

Just over a dozen Bay Area cyclists assembled in People’s Park Saturday to roll out Berkeley’s World Naked Bike Ride 2011. “As bare as you dare,” was the general rule at the gathering. There weren’t many regulations past that.

Riders yelled, “it’s the World Naked Bike Ride!” to any and all  – and a lot of folks paid attention.

Some passersby snapped cell-phone pictures and cheered on the group. More than one visitor grunted that People’s Park was not “a nudist camp.”

A park supervisor — who refused to comment to Berkeleyside — warned group members to get dressed. She called the police after more cyclists continued to gather and disrobe.

Cyclists convene at People's Park before participating in the Naked Bike Ride Day. Photo: Robert Mills

Officers arrived and informed naked group members that nudity was not permitted on university property. After a friendly exchange, the exposed demonstrators — who were waiting naked in the park for more members to arrive — covered up.

Some men pulled on shorts. Others wore leopard-print bikini briefs and athletic supporters. The few women in the group remained clothed while in the park.

“There’s a $100 ordinance, but the cops don’t enforce it,” said George Davis, a longtime nudist and naturalist who helped start San Francisco’s first non-beach, urban, clothing-optional park called “The Buff Stop”.

Davis and other members said they gathered for similar reasons: to call attention to humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels, to demonstrate the vulnerability of cyclists, and to enjoy a lengthy naked bike ride through town.

The parade of cyclists left the park around 1:00 p.m., stopping on the sidewalk to undress. Some riders remained half-clothed while others wore only a helmet. One rider wore a body-paint message on his back reading: “Cars Are Earth’s Cancer.”

The group peddled through Dwight Way, College Avenue, Ashby Avenue, Telegraph Avenue, Bancroft Way, Shattuck Avenue, Rose Street, Cedar Street, 4th Street and across the I-80 Pedestrian Bridge where they rested by the water.

On the return route, they traveled back across the bridge to 4th Street, riding through Cedar Street, Sacramento Street, Hearst Avenue, Shattuck Avenue and back to Dwight Way and People’s Park. The entire ride spanned about 15 miles.

Robert A. Mills is a graduate student studying interactive journalism at The Reynolds School of Journalism at The University of Nevada, Reno. He is currently interning at Berkeleyside.

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  • Bruce Love

    Is “protester” quite the right word?   “Celebrant” could be argued.   My favorite part of the video is the negotiation and deliberation with the cop — funny as heck, especially the part where the (I gather) UC cop mentions not caring what they do on *city* land…..   It’s a nicely edited video.

  • Naked_Oldsters_Lover

    Rock on, naked riders. Rejoice!

    What a bunch of pitiable comments here.The Horrors! Human bodies, aging ones at that! Old penises. Breastseses. There shall be no enjoyment of physical form as one ages. Is it any wonder the corporations have taken over, when so many are so easily convinced that their own physical form is despicable?Poor, ignorant people incapable of individual perceptions, unable to love their own bodies.Unless you plan on killing yourselves before your breasts and testicles sag, your skin wrinkles, and perhaps (can we hope) you glean some wisdom from your life experiences you body haters are going to have a difficult time looking in mirrors.

  • The current image is not what the original image on the Berkeleyside homepage was.
    I attempted to post a photograph showing what the original Berkeleyside homepage image was, but apparently the moderators here have decided that their own homepage is so offensive that they will not allow it to be posted in the comments.

    As of 1993, public nudity is against the law in the City of Berkeley.
    Images of full frontal nudity are forbidden in the corporate workplace.

    I don’t really care about having seen those photos, though I wish the Berkeley Police would actually enforce the law and arrest or fine folks who break the law. What bothers me is Berkeleyside’s unprofessionalism in their choice of image, their insensitivity to those who might work in offices where images of that nature might not be allowed, and the lame attempt to blame their editorial decision on YouTube.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of occasionally offending readers to make an impact. Using potentially offensive images in the news is important – as long as it is necessary to convey the story. But what did using those specific images add to the story that could not
    have been conveyed equally well by using a tastefully cropped image at
    the top of the story, and allowing readers to click through to see more
    graphic photographs if they wanted to?

  • They can enjoy it as much as they want in the privacy of their own homes, or on private land.

    Nudity is illegal in public in the City of Berkeley.
    Images of graphic nudity are forbidden in many American office environments.
    It was unprofessional of Berkeleyside to run those images on their homepage.

  • They can enjoy it as much as they want in the privacy of their own homes, or on private land.

    Nudity is illegal in public in the City of Berkeley.
    Images of graphic nudity are forbidden in many American office environments.
    It was unprofessional of Berkeleyside to run those images on their homepage.

  • They refer to themselves as protesters, so yes, it’s the right word.

  • I will continue to frame my discussion as I see fit, Thomas Lord (AKA “Bruce Love”).

    I suppose that expecting you to notice that I do not normally use language like that here on Berkeleyside and draw a parallel between offensive language and offensive images is asking too much.

  • No one deleted anything you posted on this issue, so I am not sure what you are referring to

  • Bryan Garcia

    Can we stop with all of this hippy “celebrating the body” talk BS?  How many times do Sharkey and I have to explain this to you?

    Anyways, the fact that we’re only discussing the nudity involved here and not the issues that the riders were trying to promote just goes to show ineffective these types of actions are.  I hate to use this term considering the context, but nude “protests” are essentially political masturbation.

  • I attempted to post a screen shot showing the front page of the site yesterday, and it has not appeared here in the many hours since then. I’ll try again.

  • Bender

    Unprofessionalism? The only thing professional means is getting paid to do something. The folks at Berkeleyside are under no obligation to kow-tow to your particular idea of a corporate workplace. Thank goodness. Bend like a willow, or you are bound to break in the wind. 

  • DC

    I’m all for nudity, but not on bicycles or in the public way.  This is cheap showmanship, and nothing else.  There’s no point to it, and it’s aggressive in its presentation. 

    My town is a joke.

  • pro·fes·sion·al·ism
    noun /prəˈfeSHənlˌizəm/ 

    1. The competence or skill expected of a professional
    * – the key to quality and efficiency is professionalism

    2. The practicing of an activity, esp. a sport, by professional rather than amateur players
    * – the trend toward professionalism

    It’s not my idea of a corporate workplace. It’s the way corporate workplaces are in America today. I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing with it, I am simply pointing out that it exists and that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to ignore potential problems with workplace rules for no particular reason. Do you think CNN, MSNBC, NPR, or any other major news outlet would have run their site with an image like that occupying the entirety of their front page?

  • Nude is Good

    If the prude ones were not so offended by seeing a couple of nude people, the nude protests would probably go away because no-one would think it special. And don’t compare nude people to “cut up fetuses” – one is the form you were born in and will  die in, and the other is something totally different. I am shocked how many body haters are out there – yeah, so the dudes were old – so what. It is just good old fun and nothing else. It was refreshing to visit the gorgeous gardens in Munich, in the middle of the city, where they have a nude section, and where families pass by. It is natural at every age. Unfortunately in this country the number of people who feel bad about their bodies and other bodies is sky-high.  

  • Bryan Garcia

    Holy crap, do you people just not bother to read the other comments????

  • anon

    So happy I moved to Northside. 

  • anon

    people’s park is a filthy place and I wholeheartedly believe that the university should use their rights as the owners of the land and build something. 

  • Anonymous

    The absurdity is almost choking. Almost seven billion of our species of supposedly intelligent apes are in the process of crowding out most other life on the planet. Every one of our billions is, at this very instant, naked beneath a few millimeters of cloth. Each one of us came into being as a result of the movements of various fluids through and around adult human genitals. Those more or less hairy bits of skin, slots and tubing are practically everywhere on this wretched planet. In fact, there are now far too many of them.

    I wish to suggest that there is a connection between our mainstream public denial that such orifices and appendages even exist, and the massive overproduction of new humans continually issuing from the relevant female body parts.

  • GPO

    dratman et al.

    Dr, Kevorkian may no longer be in business, but there’s always the self-starter kit.  If humans are a plague and a virus, please lead by example.

  • Eastbayopine

    Leave it to Berkeley to once again have to take it upon itself to teach the world a useless lesson

  • I love living in a Puritan country full of people who panic when they see a human body.