My first World Naked Bike Ride Adventure

I just got back from an experience like I’ve never had before: the 2018 edition of the World Naked Bike Ride.

Portland is about a 7 hour drive from Boise. A couple friends and I jumped in the car and made the drive and it was absolutely worth the time invested.

It turns out that of all of the WNBR events worldwide, Portland has the largest one! They’ve been holding the ride for more than a decade and this year’s estimate was that over 18,000 people participated.

It’s kind of remarkable if you’ve never been. We biked across the city from our host’s home to the staging area and had about an hour and a half to soak in the evening sun and listen to a great fusion jazz band (High Step Society) before the ride began.

The whole thing is voluntary and run by volunteers: no tickets, no demands, no clothes!  AND there were no incidents of violence or sexual assault– just people truly being people.

It was an atmosphere of simple joy — it was quite relaxing — and I couldn’t stop feeling happy being there!

About half an hour before the ride, the crowd was starting to grow and the band was getting their groove on. I don’t it on video, but later the natural amphitheatre filled up with nude dancers having a wonderful time. You’ll have to watch the video to see what I mean, but when someone says “naked people dancing,” what do you think of? Maybe a darkly lit nightclub and a pole?

This wasn’t that. This was people having carefree fun in their skin.

I didn’t have my DSLR, but I did capture a few candids of people enjoying the pre-ride festivities, getting body-painted and managed to get just a few during the ride itself. Maybe next year a GoPro will be in order?

As I rode the 6 mile course through Portland’s beautiful neighborhoods and along a bluff overlooking the river, there were two things that really stuck out to me:

  1. Riding a bicycle naked feels just like riding one with clothes on.  Really! No, I didn’t get sore or chafed, but Yes, it was actually less sweaty and cooler because there weren’t any clothes to collect all that body heat.
  2. Along the whole bike route, parents brought their children outside on their driveways where they cheered us on, waving and ringing bells and welcoming us to their neighborhoods. It was such an emotionally positive experience!

I would definitely do this again and I hope you’ll come with me next year!  Here are a few photos:

Beyond the Setting Sun

MODEL / Anonymous
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

Here’s what the model wrote about our shoot:

My soul lies right between the earth and my body. Or maybe it is a mixture of the two. I was always intrigued by the human body, and was always interested in the strange argument behind why humans shame other humans for letting our bodies be free.
 
I’ve always believed that our most natural form is the most important form for us to embrace.  To completely love ourselves, we have to start from the purity of the soul, and pay close attention to the shell that it lives in, which is our bodies.
 
When I was given the opportunity to do a nude photoshoot, I wouldn’t say it’s something that had crossed my mind before. But I also saw it as an opportunity for me as a human to practice the way of life we were originally created in, as humans.
 
It will always be nerve wrecking, to do the things that society now shames us for… to do the things the world makes us think is wrong.
 
But never in my life, did I ever feel so alive, so raw, so natural.
 
Standing there, in my pure, natural form, I found my body & soul connecting more and more to the earth around me.
 
Slowly, I felt it all become ONE. I found myself sinking into the earth, as if it’s all my body had ever known. I was stripped of all the restrictions that society had me drowning in.
 
I felt free, and that’s what it’s about. It’s about finding freedom — showing  the world that our bodies are the most unharmful things. Though our minds can be corrupted, but our bodies are merely just a build up of bones, skin, fat. They are natural, they are real, & instead of being shamed and sexualized, they should be glorified for the beauty they are, and the beauty of being human.
 
We humans need to take back the one thing we have to take pride in, and it’s what we were born with, and given as a gift. These shells our souls walk in, are not to be shamed, we need to accept them with open, bare arms. We need to accept them, love them, and set them free.
 
It is a different view than what the world is used to today, but it’s the most beautiful view, from the inside and out.