The Fremont Solstice “Naked” Bike Ride seems to grow year-over-year. And with the start of this year’s parade delayed until 3 p.m. (it usually starts at noon), it will be even easier for people to wake up, eat breakfast, paint themselves however they see fit and bike to the 2:45 p.m. start at 3rd Ave NW and NW 36th St.
What started with just a couple naked people crashing the Fremont Solstice Parade in the 90s, the ride became a tradition. Other than some early police crackdowns and a few Fremont grouches, the ride has grown and grown to become a vital highlight in Seattle culture.
Unlike the World Naked Bike Ride (consider links in this story NSFW), which has a stated bike-centric message, the Fremont Solstice painted bike ride (“naked” is really a misnomer since 99 percent of participants wear body paint) is a spontaneous celebration of creativity, joy and summer that means different things to different people and has only recently become a more organized affair.
If you are interested in getting an idea of what it’s like to ride or learn more about the ride’s history, I highly recommend watching the recently-released documentary Beyond Naked ($9.99 to watch it online).
How do I ride?
So you want to ride? Great! Last year there were nearly 1,000 people in the ride despite the somewhat chilly start. All you need to do is paint yourself on your own or with a few friends and simply show up 3rd Ave NW and NW 36th St at 2:45.
If you would like to share paint and have a space to get ready that is near the start, you can go to the official Solstice Cyclists painting party, which meets this year at CSR Marine (17th Ave NW and Shilshole). It will be open from 9 a.m to 2 p.m., when riders will do a little tour of Ballard before arriving at the parade start. Here’s the day’s schedule from the Solstice Cyclists website:
9:00-1:30 Group paint party.
1:30-2:00 Clean up and organize for ride.
2:00-2:45 Ride to parade.
2:45-3:00 Enter the parade route (after 3:00, don’t try to join up).
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.
Bring your own paint or be ready to donate some extra bucks to borrow some (it’s a $10 donation to get into the party or $15 if you want to borrow paint).
To ride, all you really need is a bike. However, the ride does not end where it started, so you’ll want to have some way to carry your clothes with you on your bike.
Most of all, have fun!