I am definitely the type of person who craves new experiences. I’ll try almost anything once, which has led me into some very interesting, questionably legal and often downright ridiculous situations. So when two good friends and founders of my burlesque troupe invited me to join them at the Midnight Naked Bike Ride last weekend, how could I resist?
After all, I have been known to ride commando in a flowing hippie skirt during those dog days of summer, savoring the warm breeze as it caresses my nether regions. And while that certainly feels liberating, I would come to learn that it doesn’t hold a candle to biking in the buff, greeted by the hooting and hollering of random strangers expressing their intrigue and titillation.
I missed the annual World Naked Bike Ride back in June. There was a little nagging voice in the back of my head warning me that biking around in my birthday suit wasn’t the greatest idea on a chilly, misty morning while fighting off a nasty head cold. This time around, the ride started at midnight on a Saturday and traversed some of the city’s busiest streets at that hour, including St. Denis and Crescent.
There are three main goals to the Midnight Naked Bike Ride: to reduce pollution and vehicle-dependence, to promote urban cycling and to celebrate personal freedom and diversity. They maintain a “bare as you dare” dress code, where nudity is an option to those who feel comfortable with it, and no one is discriminated against based on their choices regarding clothing, costumes or body paint.
As I cannot turn down an invitation to don a costume, I opted for a colorful paper-maché cat helmet and eyeliner-drawn black whiskers. I meowed my way through the ride, curling my fingers and the tip of my nose. When we were stopped by the police at the corner of St. Laurent & Rene-Levesque, I meowed at the cops and even managed to crack a few smiles.
Not surprisingly, a sizable majority of the participants were male, unashamed of their floppy dicks of varying sizes. I suppose it has something to do with how male and female brains are wired, with men possessing more of the bold, exhibitionist inclinations that would drive one to hop on their bike nude or nearly so. For those who didn’t have bikes of their own, Bixi was the next best thing, though I wouldn’t want to rent that Bixi next!
As if this humble columnist had ever contemplated a career in politics, the amount of naked photos of me out there is sufficient fodder for generations worth of scandals. It seems that technology has enabled everyone to have a camera in their pocket to snap those once-in-a-lifetime (or, in this case, once per year) photos, just to prove they weren’t hallucinating those hundred or so nude cyclists.
What impressed me most about this ride was how much the public was impressed. I knew the ride would feel physically liberating, but it was also very psychologically liberating. People, especially the inebriated who dominate Montreal’s downtown core after midnight on a Saturday, are impressed with titties and skin. I took the sheer volume of hollering, whistling and car horn honking as a flattering ego boost. In response, I rang my bell proudly and often.
While there was a minor snafu with the police that held us at the corner of St. Laurent and Rene-Levesque for what felt like an eternity, it couldn’t damper the mood of the riders. Eventually, they let us finish our ride, and I beamed all the way home, even after putting my clothes back on. There’s quite the rush from breaking the rules and deviating from the norms of society in such a brazen, blatant way. I’ll definitely be there next year to take my place atop my metal steed and greet the streets with my tits and twat!
Here’s a short video made by Xtra.ca columnist and exhibitionist extraordinaire Michael J. McCarthy of the World Naked Bike Ride which took place on June 12th.
Photo courtesy of Adrian Parlog via Amelia Mensche