Boston’s Naked Bike Ride passed by me near the Public Garden last night. About 75 people in various states of undress, some completely nude, rode their bicycles as part of a protest:
“By riding in the WNBR we face automobile traffic with our naked bodies as the best way of defending our dignity and exposing the unique dangers faced by cyclists and pedestrians as well as the negative consequences we all face due to dependence on oil, and other forms of non-renewable energy.” – ride facebook page
In an opinion piece for the Boston Globe, Jennifer Graham questioned the effectiveness of these rides. I agree that there are more effective ways to convince the public that cyclists need to be protected. And, I imagine that many of the riders choose this particular ride because they find it enjoyable and subversive, rather than the most effective means of change.
Still, Graham embodies the cluelessness that the riders are trying to dispel. “If you want to promote cycling,” she says, “both as a sport and as a lifestyle, put on some clothes — even Lycra ones, if you insist — and take a trip to the Minuteman Bikeway.” Cyclists are not trying to promote a sport, nor to develop a lifestyle. They want to peacefully commute from one point to another in a dense city ideal for doing so. Graham’s suggestion is absurd.
Instead of the naked ride, Graham suggests the Tour de Fat, a ride that “entices the frat-party crowd.” These riders may be drunk but “at least they’re wearing clothes.”
Confusingly, Graham appears pleased with the Hubway bike share program. Maybe she’s not aware that there are no stations along the Minuteman?