The official count is in: Portland’s World Naked Bike Ride broke a record this year with an estimated 8,150 participants.
The last two years, ride organizers put the number of riders at 4,500 and 4,200 people respectively — so this is a substantial increase. The count was performed by volunteers who sat down tonight and watched video taken of the ride last Saturday. Ride organizers installed an overhead video camera on SW Jefferson just past the starting point of the route specifically to document the turnout (there has been a bit of controversy in the past about inaccurate counts, especially the inflated numbers that were originally reported for the 2010 edition).
According to Chris McCraw, one of the volunteers who watched the video, it took 73 minutes from the time the first riders passed the screen until the last one went through. McCraw the video showed a few minor crashes, one guy on a Segway, and “many more skateboarders and runners than expected.” McCraw also said that a significant amount of people were likely not counted since they either joined the ride after the point where the camera was mounted (what often happens on the Naked Ride is that onlookers get so overcome with emotion and excitement they end up disrobing and joining the fun!).
(Photo: Michael Andersen)
The 8,150 rider tally is considered a “high confidence, conservative number.” Prior to 2010, the only other count was an estimate by the Portland Fire Marshall of 5,000 riders. Naked Bike Ride volunteers have been wanting to get a more accurate count in hopes of going for an official run at the Guinness World Record. However, after learning that it costs $8,000 just to have the Guinness folks show up, that idea has been put on the back burner.
I wasn’t on the ride this year; but I suspected the turnout was huge when I heard that people had finished the seven-mile ride while there were still folks leaving the starting area. I also heard reports that the ride completely jammed up downtown streets for over an hour.
The buzz around the ride was especially strong this year due to the great weather and the attractive starting location. Unlike past years when the pre-ride gathering was in a vacant lot in an industrial area, this year the ride’s organizers collaborated with the Portland Art Museum to allow the ride to meet on the South Park Blocks in downtown Portland.
The result was a massive crowd that is by far the largest ever recorded for a naked ride in Portland. Well done everyone!
— Learn more about the Portland World Naked Bike Ride at PDXWNBR.org.