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Advice for biking in the 2017 Fremont Solstice Painted Bike Ride

Photo by John Cornicello (used with permission)

Well, the hours of daylight can’t get much longer than this, so it must be time to get naked, paint your body and bike through Fremont with more than a thousand other people.

The 2017 Fremont Solstice Parade and Painted Bike Ride (AKA the “Fremont Naked Bike Ride”) is Saturday. People biking will crash the start of the official parade 12:30 – 1 p.m., entering the parade route at the corner of 3rd Ave NW and NW 36th St.

After 1, you won’t be able to enter the route because the totally awesome, human-powered Fremont Solstice Parade will be starting. The parade is powered by volunteers and donations from the public, and it’s one of the few parades that does not allow the use of any motor vehicles.

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Many people host their own painting parties in homes across town, then show up at the start line between 12:30 and 1. But there is also a big, organized painting party at CSR Marine in Ballard. That party will be open 8 – 11:30 a.m., but don’t show up at the last minute. It takes longer than you’d think to get painted up, and the volunteers running the party want to have time to shut it down and join the ride. Bring $10 to donate. There are some communal paints, but bring your own if you need specific colors.

CSR Marine paint party participants usually bike around Ballard a bit before joining the parade route. So people who want to maximize their naked biking should either join the big paint party or arrive at CSR Marine by 11:30 to join. Learn more about the official paint party and get all kinds of paint advice at the Solstice Cyclists website.

Some advice for first timers

  • This is a very public event, and there will be a lot of cameras. So be prepared for that.
  • Bring a way to transport clothes to the finish at Gas Works Park. Don’t expect to return to the start.
  • Put on sunscreen before the paint.
  • Spending a little extra on makeup paints like the Ben Nye brand is worth it. But if you are using cheaper paints (acrylics are common), just make sure they are non-toxic. More advice here.
  • Respect your fellow participants and look out for each other.
  • The ride includes lots of stopping and inching along in a big painted bike traffic jam (the world’s best kind of traffic jam). So be ready for that.
  • Bring a plastic bag or cover to protect your saddle (and, later, your pants) from paint.
  • Nude is not lewd. But seriously, don’t be lewd.
  • Express yourself and have fun!

Here’s the timeline for the day for people joining the main painting party and people who want to volunteer to help make it all happen, from the Solstice Cyclists website:

6:00-7:30 p.m. Set up at CSR Marine, 4701 Shilshole Ave NW.

8:00-11:30 Painting at CSR Marine or satellite locations.

11:30-12:00 Clean up and organize for ride.

12:00-12:30 Ride to parade.

12:30-1:00 Enter the parade route.

1:00-?? 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.

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