Perhaps one of the most famous bike rides in the world, the Fremont Solstice naked bike ride is Saturday. Hundreds (many hundreds if it’s nice) of people will apply a variable amount of paint to their bodies and bike the parade route in an extraordinary display of creativity, happiness and skin.
Some people do the ride every year. Others have never done anything like it before. But once the wheels are rolling, it’s all smiles and cheers. Over two decades, the annual tradition went from a few people crashing the parade in the nude (sometimes getting arrested) to being a key part of Seattle’s culture (see our NSFW coverage from last year).
Many people host their own pre-ride painting parties, but the main painting party will be at the Old Ballard Library (5711 24th Ave NW) from 7 – 10:30 a.m. Bring $10 to help pay rent and cleanup costs, $15 if you also want to use shared paint.
The ride starts with a little tour of Ballard at 11 on the way to the parade starting point at 3rd Ave NW and NW 36th St.
Here’s the timeline from SolsticeCyclist.org:
7:00-10:30 Group paint party.
10:30-11:00 Clean up and organize for ride.
11:00-11:45 Ride to parade.
11:45-12:00 Enter the parade route (after 12:00, don’t try to join up).
Rendezvous at the start of the parade route – corner of 3rd Ave NW and NW 36th St – at 11:45am, painted and ready to kick off the parade!
A few tips:
- Don’t get too drunk before the ride. Naked road rash doesn’t sound fun.
- Even in the cold rain (like last year), the ride is a blast.
- Bring a way to transport your clothes to the end point near Gas Works Park. The ride is not a loop.
- Bring a bag or seat cover if you don’t want to get butt paint all over your bike saddle (though butt smears totally give your bike Seattle cred)
- Biking naked (or painted) is not technically illegal so long as you’re not being “obscene” or trying to cause alarm. So don’t do that.
- You don’t have to be totally naked. Simply go as bare as you dare (nobody will be checking for proper amount of nakedness)
- Get non-toxic paint (check for the ASTM non-toxic label). The SolsticeCyclist website has a lot of good advice on what paints to get.
Any other questions? Any important advice I left out?
Those sound like great tips, Tom!
I think it’s also fun to encourage people not only to dress themselves up (naked) but to also dress up their bikes. Sprucing up my bike with glitter and ribbons was part of the fun last year too.
I won’t be there riding. Nobody wants to see me naked — paint or not.
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How long is the bike ride route?