Naked people will once again ride bikes through Philadelphia – but must still mask up

After the COVID-19 pandemic shut down last year’s bike ride, the annual Philly Naked Bike Ride is back with only one dress code requirement: You must wear a mask.

Philly Naked Bike Ride requires masks on Philadelphia route

Why ride a bike naked for 10 miles, you ask? The event aims to promote positive body images and love for cycling, an environmentally friendly mode of transportation no matter what you’re wearing (or not wearing).

Masks are required during the ride despite Philadelphia’s mandate being lifted for those fully vaccinated and outside. Restaurants must operate at 50% capacity although the distance between chairs will be reduced from 6 feet to 3 feet. Indoor catered events can operate at 25% capacity and outdoor events at 50% capacity.

Although most of the city’s COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, the bike ride organizers haven’t had a chance to re-strategize their plans. Lead organizer Wesley Noonan-Sessa told NBC Philadelphia they’re “going to stick with our initial mask guidance.”

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On Aug. 28, participants can wear as much or little clothing as they’d like. Although the majority nude event isn’t legal, as of 2021, the bike ride hasn’t experienced issues with police, according to its website.

It’s a scenic route, not a race, featuring opportunities to pass by monuments including Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which was featured in the “Rocky” movies.

The ride, which takes two to three hours to complete, is part of a larger organization, called World Naked Bike Ride. People have biked naked in New Zealand, Argentina, Japan, Canada and more than a dozen other countries.

In Auckland, New Zealand, the message of the bike ride was to highlight the country’s oil dependency and “the negative social and environmental impacts of a car-dominated culture,” according to its website.

During the Philly Naked Bike Ride, participants sport unique hats, glasses and outfits. A body paint area is provided where participants can draw items, pictures or share a message.

The event is free, and no registration is needed. Organizers recommend wrapping something soft around your seat, such as a T-shirt or a bandana, especially if you rent a bike.

Organizers stress any form of sexual or physical harassment will not be tolerated,.

Although nude cycling may not be for everyone, World Naked Bike Ride organizers argue the message promoted through the ride is what’s important.

Cy Wol, an organizer of the World Naked Bike Ride London, said in 2017 that the messages are “buried a bit in the more obvious interest in naked people on bicycles.”

“We think it is a very positive form of protest – healthier and safer lifestyle for everyone,” Wol said. “Better environment. Safer travel. An antidote to the media-driven angst about body image.”

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