Fantastic Solstice Parade weather greets 1,000+ naked and painted people on bikes (NSFW)

Photo by John Cornicello (used with permission)

Photo by John Cornicello (used with permission)

Incredible weather and later-than-usual start time drew a record-breaking number of people to the 2013 Fremont Solstice Parade and the legendary Solstice bike ride that comes before it.

I cannot begin to give an accurate estimate of the number of people who stripped down, painted their bodies and hopped on their bikes for a remarkable and joyful tour of Ballard and Fremont Saturday. If I were to guess, I’d say at least 1,000 people and maybe as many as 1,500 (if anyone has a more accurate count, be sure to post in the comments below).

And, of course, that means many of the riders took part in the Seattle tradition for the first time. During the staging of a group photo with hundreds (though not all) of the painted riders at Ross Park, an organizer asked the group who there was riding for the first time. Half of the participants raised their hands, a sign that the appeal of the Fremont Solstice bike ride is still growing rapidly from the small handful of riders who started it in the 1990s.

So many people participated this year that never-before-seen naked traffic jams were constant throughout the ride route. The ride marshals tried to keep things in order as they have in previous chilly and drizzly years, but the dramatically larger numbers of both participants and spectators seemed to overwhelm the plans with chaotic, jam-packed painted and naked people on bikes.

In short, it was awesome.

After the ride and parade, people gathered in Gas Works Park. There were bikes and painted people everywhere: At the top of Kite Hill, swimming in Lake Union and drinking beer in the Honkfest West beer garden.

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Below is an non-curated and NSFW gallery of photos from the day, via Flickr:

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12 Responses to Fantastic Solstice Parade weather greets 1,000+ naked and painted people on bikes (NSFW)

  1. Jessica says:

    I don’t love the idea of posting photos of naked people without their permission. I feel that biking naked or streaking or the like implies permission for people to see you naked in the moment, in that context, but does not imply permission for people to look at those pictures later and save them and show them to others. The context (i.e. being present at the parade) is key, I think. I say this as someone who has participated in a college naked run tradition where we used to streak the library on the night before finals week. I was OK with the people present in the library seeing us naked, as that was an integral part of the event, but I felt it was creepy to have pictures circulating after the fact. I can’t speak for all the Fremont bikers, of course, this is just my opinion.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      There is definitely a line somewhere between a photographer capturing a beautiful moment and a photographer being a creepster. For example, the after party at Gas works could have been a lot of fun, but creepy photographers swarmed in and sort of got in everyone’s face and killed the fun (well, for a lot of people, anyway).

      It’s a public park, so I guess maybe it’s simply unavoidable. It’s also definitely a symptom of the size of the event.

      In the two photos I posted, I feel like it’s reasonably difficult for people to be recognized (unless someone already knew what their costume looked like, of course). I feel like it’s important to show the size and creativity of the ride.

      The Flickr slideshow, on the other hand, is an automated gallery from a Flickr search. I’d be open to taking it down or simply linking to it if people here think that would be better. Thoughts?

    • Nella says:

      There are professional photographers all along the route who receive permits to be out in the street to capture the best pictures, and there are thousands of people lining the route, many taking picture. Participants *know* they will be photographed and that the pictures will be posted on the Web. They participate by choice and you often see them hamming it up for the cameras. There is nothing “creepy” about it.

  2. Chuck Manley says:

    I love the first photo of the bikes coming down the street. I wish I would have had a photo pass to get in that close. Oh well, maybe next time.

    The idea of posting naked photos is a tricky ethical one. On one hand they were in public and what is in public can be photographed and shared. On the other hand, it’s a vulnerable moment that may not need to be shared. I guess it comes down to subject matter. I happen to have a beautiful photo of a nude person in the parade that I think turned out amazing. The photos wasn’t of her naked body so much as it was the composition, framing, action, and all that comes with creating a piece of photographic art.

    The nudity added an element to it, but it wasn’t the focus.

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  6. Ye Old Troll says:

    I am one of the parade builders, and after the few naked cyclists turned into over a thousand painted cyclists, with a few perverts who always find a way to twist a beautiful event to their viewpoint, and I am not wanting more cyclists and in fact think it is time to have a parade of your own. Those of us who spend a month or more building an art sculpture or rehearse a large complex dance, or a crazy costume of the screaming monkeys ensemble, are just over shadowed by the short strip and paint time it takes to run through our parade. I just knew when I advocated for the initial 6 naked guys on bikes, as a comment on how women’s bodies are so displayed and men’s bodies so carefully covered, that someone would take this to an extreme end. Hey go have a parade of your own why don’t you, and slow down, and don’t hit another child playing in the street. You all must lost the privilege of being in the parade. We who run the parade are wondering what to do with too much fun of yours and the lost of ours, who would all year around to develop parades. I would love to help you design a parade of your own, that tours the cool parts of the city, starting in Fremont, up Stoneway to N 45th, turn right to the U-district and down the Ave, along Eastlake ave, and maybe climb up to Broadway, and all the way to Yesler, down to Pioneer square and up 1st, down Elliot Ave, and a finally race to Ballard. Hey I challenge you all to go big on Seattle!

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  8. phoeniss says:

    i used to live on the Ave in the ’80s and looked forward to the creative and sometimes silly events going on in Fremont and the U District every year. it is perfectly legal to photograph someone in a public space without their permission. i live in bellingham and now there is a similar event here (albeit smaller). enjoy the ride.

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