The World Naked Bike Ride 2023 is scheduled to roll at 5 p.m. on Saturday (June 10) through the Bywater, Marigny and French Quarter, according to a post on the event’s Facebook page. Look for the route at the bottom of the story.
The WNBR is an exercise in bicycle burlesque in which riders bare it all — or most of it, anyway — in the interest of boosting road safety awareness. As cyclists can tell you, the term bicycle safety is an oxymoron on the streets of the Crescent City.
We, of course, are too bashful to join the unabashed cycling safety activists, but based on our purely journalistic observations of past Naked Bike Rides, here are some popular accoutrements.
1. Nothing whatsoever
The World Naked Bike Ride is no misnomer. Attendees of the event will witness plenty of pedaling Adams and Eves who left the fig leaves back at the garden.
Riders often use body paint to transform their torsos into public awareness posters. We've seen "Give me 3 feet," "We R Traffic," "Now you see me?" and the rhyming "Less Gas more A --." The theme of the WNBR is "Can you see me now," implying that if drivers notice naked riders, maybe they'll pay more attention to the clothed ones. Scroll through the top photo gallery to see more fleshy slogans.
Reflective flecks are ALWAYS appropriate, of course. But never more so than during the attention-gabbing WNBR, where a twinkle of magical audacity and amusement is everywhere.
4. Crazy wigs, tiaras, feathers and such
Below the neck, riders may be mostly au naturel, but above the neck is still the province of costume and couture. Many prudent, though certainly not prudish, riders wear a helmet.
5. Bikinis or bikini bottoms
These scanty swim suits, named for a Pacific atoll where the atomic bomb was tested, are preferred by some to wearing nothing at all. Get it, atoll/at all? Clever, huh?
6. The classic Crown Royal bag
The elegant purple pouch that comes with every bottle of the top shelf Canadian booze has long been the repository of Mardi Gras doubloon collections, marbles, and loose change. It is also the go-to riding gear for gentlemen who feel the need to draw the line somewhere.
Even in New Orleans, the degree of exposure seen at the World Naked Bike Ride is beyond the norm. And the brutal sun can turn the bike ride into a lobster boil, unless the proper precautions are taken.
8. Cowboy hats and boots
Many riders turn up in Stetsons and Western footwear. In between, they adhere to Cole Porter's plea "Don't Fence Me In." Shrimp boots and bucket hats are a bayou variation on the cowboy look.
Among bicyclists, adhesive bandages are most often seen on the knees and elbows. Except during the WNBR, when they are sometimes employed to hide the particulars. Pasties, Xs made from electrical tape and other such stick-on obfuscations are also common among the marginally modest.
10. Pride symbols
The World Naked Bike Ride has nothing whatever to do with the annual Pride parade that takes place at 6 p.m. Saturday in the French Quarter. The former is a plea for motor vehicle driver attentiveness; the latter is an expression of LGBTQ+ identity. But there is always some symbiosis, as WNBR participants let their rainbows shine.
The Naked Bike Ride 2023 Route
The ride begins at 5 p.m. at Mickey Markey Park at the corner of Royal and Piety Streets in the Bywater.
It follows Royal Street toward the French Quarter, turns left on Franklin Street, and right on Decatur Street.
The ride continues on Decatur Street into the French Quarter, turns right on St. Louis Street, right on Burgundy Street, right on St. Ann Street and left on Chartres Street.
The ride follows Chartres back toward the Bywater, turns left on Desire, and left on Royal, returning to Mickey Markey Park.