The Fremont Solstice Parade is Saturday, and that means it’s time to go buy some paint, put a plastic bag on your saddle and join hundreds of people in the annual Solstice Cyclists Painted Bike Ride (AKA the Fremont Solstice Naked Bike Ride).
For 23 years, people have been biking naked in front of the Fremont Solstice Parade, an awesome human-powered parade that rings in the summer Seattle-style. Over the years, more and more people have joined in the pre-parade bike ride with recent years seeing perhaps 1,000 riders (there’s no official count, so nobody really knows how many people participate).
The ride helped inspire the World Naked Bike Ride, which happens in cities across the globe each summer. But unlike the WNBR, the Fremont Solstice ride has no overt political statement. Rather, it’s just a mass display of bold creativity.
If you get painted up at your own private painting party, just show up at the parade start at the corner of 3rd Ave NW and NW 36th St between 2:30 and 3 p.m. Don’t be late or they won’t let you in. Or you can join the official group painting party at CSR Marine (4701 Shilshole Ave NW), which goes from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Then there’s usually a slow tour of Ballard before entering the parade route. Bring $10 to donate.
So you’re thinking of biking naked…
Congratulations! The solstice ride is an absolute blast. Here are a few tips you should know before you start:
- Put on sunscreen before you paint. Even if it looks cloudy, just do it. You can thank me later.
- Cover your bike saddle with a plastic bag. If you don’t you’ll be biking around with telltale evidence of your Solstice ride covering your saddle and your pants for the next couple months.
- Be prepared for a lot of photographers. It’s a public event, and your photo will get taken a lot. If you can’t be seen participating for whatever reason, consider wearing a mask, wig, giant sunglasses or some other clever disguise.
- Go “as bare as you dare.” People ride in various levels of paint and costuming.
- Bring a way to carry your clothes on your bike to Gas Works Park. It’s not a round trip.
- Don’t drink too much before the ride. Every year you see a couple people who hit the liquid courage a bit too hard.
- Be awesome and have fun!
Oh, what’s that? You don’t have a bike for the ride? Well, you’re in luck! This is the first Solstice Parade since Pronto Cycle Share launched, and they’re offering six hours of riding without late fees so people can use their bikes in the parade. All you have to do is check out a bike, ride in the parade, return it within six hours and then call customer service (844-677-6686) by midnight to tell them you were in the parade.
But please, do us all a solid and cover the saddle with a plastic bag when you ride!
And finally, here’s one of the funnier fundraising ideas I’ve heard in a while: New this year, organizers will carry your clothes to the end of the ride for a $10 donation to the Fremont Arts Council, which puts on the main parade (UPDATE: Ethan says they had to cancel this service due to a lack of pre-registrations. Still, it was a good idea!). Details:
Solstice Cyclist Shuttle Service: Have your clothes arrive at Gas Works Park for you!
Fremont Arts Council will offer the Stuff Shuttle Service for cyclists from the Paint up Party to Gas Works Park. Fill a box for $10. There will be a U-haul Van parked at the Paint site to offer this service. There will be water bottles for sale at this point as well. All proceeds directly support the Parade. Reserve your box now, they’ll fill up fast! contact [email protected].
Here’s the schedule for the ride:
6:00-7:30 p.m. Set up at CSR Marine, 4701 Shilshole Ave NW.
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.
11:00-1:00 Clean up at CSR Marine.