OMG, Get Your Cameraphone Close-ups Ready!
Toronto is SUCH a fun city. The ridiculously zany occurs on a regular basis, and my most recent adventure was no exception. On a weekend where there were no less than three major arts festivals (NXNE, MMVA, and LuminaTO), our wonderful city was also host to a yearly event that inspired belly laughs, jaw-dropped finger-pointing, impromptu frantic photo shoots, and a little bit of the ol’ ultra-disgust, for those who cannot handle the greatness that is The WORLD NAKED BIKE RIDE!
Mainly an effort to reduce oil/gas emissions from motor vehicles of all kinds, this annual event took place on a balmy Saturday afternoon in downtown Toronto, gathering a collection of liberated nudists, activists, sexually-advanced spirits, photographers and journalists to spread a variety of messages, and to inform those who may not know about the importance of reducing carbon emissions and exploring alternate sources of public transportation for the labor forces operating the engines of motion that keep making this mechanized world of ours move forward every day.
I say all that to say:
WE GATHERED TO GET NAKED AND RIDE OUR BIKES THROUGH DOWNTOWN TORONTO ON A BEAUTIFUL SATURDAY AFTERNOON!
For me, the spreading of a political message was second to the spreading of a natural message: liberate thy beautiful body from the oppressive shackles of the clothing police, ha ha! And there were nothing but beautiful bodies there. Mind you, if your definition of beauty only fits in a Marilyn Monroe-James Dean framework, then you might not have found the bevy of old white men as tantalizing as the next nudist. But the beauty of a happy group of spirit-cherishing, nature-defending, exercise-inspiring naked people collectively dropping all social convention, reservation, hesitation and fear of connection to unite for a common cause and smile together can never be shameful or saddening, no matter how small a man’s penis might be, or how large a woman’s belly is. Everyone was just happy to be together!
The majority of participants were middle-aged, middle-class white males, natch. And there was about 85% men there, and 15% women/trans/etc. Only a few of the participants were black (such as myself) or South-Asian (shoutout to the homie in the bearded Satan toque!) or Asian, but thankfully the spirit of “we’re all standing here together with our dicks/tits out and we’re in downtown Toronto” just united everyone under one shining sun. Thankfully for which, the weather was perfect for cruising… naked or not!
After lotioning up the exposed skin, preparing sunscreen and drinking water, and giving the news their news coverage (all naughty bits will be pixelated, they promised), we all assembled like naked Voltron. We then started the Naked Bike Ride across Toronto at about 2 pm down at Coronation Park near the Exhibition Grounds and the Lakeshore, and this is where the fun begins!
We rode up to Queen Street, through Trinity Bellwoods Park, then east down Queen West for a while, until deciding to ride north and travel through Kensington Market, lapping around the park and collecting a basketfull of smiles and surprised delight from most Torontonians NOT expecting to see 150 people ride by them on bikes, fully naked! Next, we took over College Street and meandered our way towards the University of Toronto. After a mini-tour ’round the circle street path inside, it was north up Avenue Road to Yorkville, which was a definite highlight. Seeing all those finance-focused folks with their expensive fashion choices gasp and gawk and guffaw at all us nudeniks decrying petroleum products was an utter delight! An elderly lady shouted “Any nice Jewish boys in there?” to which I wanted to reply “Yeah, this guy here on the reclining bike is Jewish! Come grab him up!!” but I couldn’t find him to make the love connection in time, ha ha. (He was the wonderful fella who came over to me and said “Nice to see some non-white people on this bike ride, too! It used to look like Toronto in the 50’s at this event! Everyone needs to join in the fun!” To which I completely agreed 🙂
Then we made our way down to the intersection at Yonge Street and Bloor Street (NAKED. On a Saturday afternoon, mind you. It gets NO busier than Yonge and Bloor!) After, a leisurely jaunt down Yonge brought us to Wellesley, where we meandered through the Gay Village on Church, and then across to Dundas Square, which was PACKED with people just gobsmacked at the fact that there was a parade of naked people biking through this huge intersection!!!
So much good times!
We took a break and a group shot at Nathan Phillips Square and City Hall together, some of us running naked in the pool where the winter ice skating rink is. Ahhh, talk about refreshing! The bike ride finally brought us all to the docks at Harborfront, where some bike riders decided to break off from the pack and go over to the nude beach at Hanlan’s Point, as the weather couldn’t be more perfect to lounge in the warm sand after a nice (naked) bike ride.
A few others went back across Harborfront and Queens Quay to our starting point at Coronation Park, and to reflect on the greatness that we all just experienced, sans clothing, across downtown Toronto. The spirit of polyamory and unity and freedom and acceptance was in full swing, and the fact that the vast majority of the people who witnessed us biking by them, full monty, were totally laughing and smiling and giggling when we all shared that split moment together was a satisfying bonus. I have to send love to that magnificent woman at the corner of Church and Gerrard who was screaming “That’s disgusting!!!” while pointing her camera phone directly towards us all, and furiously taking so many pictures; I could see her thumb rapidly pressing her smartphone button as she panoramically panned to capture as many bikers as she could. I nearly wiped out, I was laughing so hard at her repellent state of attraction.
Much love to ALL the naked bike riders who came out with us, and peace to my wonderful friends, the only black woman on the bike ride (utterly regal in her high-braided hairstyle, long striped socks, and duct-taped nipples… but otherwise 100% NUDE) and her amazing lover boyfriend, who reminded me to get my bike ready to get on board the beautiful journey we took together on a sunny, Saturday afternoon, which I did… and LOVED IT EVEN MORE THAN THE FIRST TIME I DID IT! They say the third time’s a charm, right?!
I genuinely look forward to the next time I get to ride down Yonge Street without any clothes on…
Always in love,
For more info, check out: World Naked Bike Ride