The legendary Fremont Solstice naked/painted bike ride is Saturday

Photo by John Cornicello (used with permission)

Photo by John Cornicello (used with permission)

2013 was likely the largest Solstice bike ride ever (see our NSFW report here). And if the weather forecast holds up, there’s no reason to believe Saturday’s ride won’t be just as big.

Commonly referred to as the “naked bike ride,” people participate in all levels of dress and body paint. Be creative!

The tradition of biking naked before the Fremont Solstice Parade began in the early 1990s. Over the years, more and more people joined, and the tradition gained both controversy and a place in the heart of the Seattle. The city tried to stop the tradition in the early 2000s, but both the official parade organizers and key politicians (including Councilmember Nick Licata) stood up for it. And, of course, if officials try to squash an essentially autonomous and fun expression of creativity like this, they only make it stronger. And that’s exactly what happened.

It’s possible that the Solstice bike ride inspired the World Naked Bike Ride, an event that has taken off in cities all across the globe. But unlike the WNBR, which is a protest against car-dependence among other causes, the Solstice ride does not have any specific political statement. It’s up to everyone involved to make their own statement. Most people choose: Riding a bike essentially naked on is really fun!

And, of course, everyone should be sure to stay and watch the official Fremont Solstice Parade, which is entirely people-powered and awesome.

Many people organize their own private painting parties and meet up at 2:30 p.m. at the start line (3rd Ave NW and NW 36th St). Others join the big group painting party held for the second year at CSR Marine on Shilshole in Ballard. It costs $10 to join that party, and riders can share paints if they did not bring their own (but you are encouraged to bring your own). The painting party crew also typically goes for a ride around Ballard to get warmed up for the parade.

Here’s the schedule of events from the Solstice Cyclists website:

9:00-1:30 Painting at CSR Marine or satellite locations.

1:30-2:00 Clean up and organize for ride.

2:00-2:30 Ride to parade.

2:30-3:00 Enter the parade route.

3:00-?? Loop back through the parade route as often as you like, always keeping ahead of the parade, and always keeping to the right side of the street.

Some quick tips:

  • Bring and wear sunscreen. Seriously.
  • The ride is not a loop, so make sure you have a way to transport your clothes and other belongings to the end point at Gas Works Park.
  • Don’t get too intoxicated before the ride.
  • There will be a lot of cameras. So be prepared for that.

Anyone else have tips to add? Leave them in the comments below. And have fun, everyone!

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4 Responses to The legendary Fremont Solstice naked/painted bike ride is Saturday

  1. Jayne says:

    Yawn.

  2. Jessica says:

    Wow, I am not quite sure where I fit in among these other comments, but they are pretty funny.
    Thanks Tom for all the updates! And, speaking of naked biking, thanks for the heads up on last night’s bike happy hour with Cascade at Naked City Brewing. I had a great time and got to be part of a video they’re making about the plans for a protected bike route on Westlake. And Naked City’s beetburger is amazing!

  3. Larry says:

    Seattle degenerates!

  4. Pingback: What We’re Reading: Hop On the Bike Train and ST’s LRP Update | The Urbanist

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