The World Naked Bike Ride took place this past weekend to protest overdependence on cars. A good message, but why is bike solidarity always naked? If biking without a helmet is dangerous, shouldn't nude biking be, too?
I support biking and I support nudity. But as a combined phenomenon, nude biking has always eluded me. Naked bikers rallied at Williamsburg's Hasid-Hipster bike lane war. They have demonstrated for marijuana legalization, body acceptance, the Summer Solstice, and in support of gardens. Why do naked protesters want to be on bicycles? Why do cyclists want to be nude?
Whenever naked bike rides come up, all I can think about is greasy chains, the threat of skinning yourself on gravel, and the discomfort of a bike seat up your butt. As far as I can tell, nudity doesn't enhance cycling. In fact, naked may be the very worst way to ride a bike.
But maybe bicycles are good for nudity? The most awkward part of streaking is interaction between naked people and clothed people; the riskiest part of streaking is the fear that someone creepy will reach out and touch you. Being on a bicycle minimizes this awkwardness and that risk by putting all naked people at a different speed than clothed, grabby onlookers.
Or is the appeal of naked biking the awkwardness itself? Of the naked body, organic and blobby, interacting with a bicycle, one of the most efficient mechanical objects around? Maybe we should start having naked crank-a-can-opener days, or naked build-a-clock-from-scratch afternoons. Jerry Seinfeld would be horrified, which is always a bonus, I suppose.