Montreal’s Naked Bike Ride returned this summer for the second year in a row as part of the World Naked Bike Ride.
by Deborah Rankin
Montreal’s Naked Bike Ride returned this summer for the second year in a row as part of the World Naked Bike Ride. The event’s poster was released in May in anticipation of the Daytime Naked Bike Ride in early July and the Nighttime Naked Bike Ride at the beginning of August.
Michael D’Alimonte had posted about the upcoming naked cycling events on his blog in May under the banner “It’s Official, Montreal’s Naked Bike Ride Returns This Weekend.” D’Alimonte encouraged his blog followers to read up on last year’s event “for an idea of what will go down” – no pun intended.
The blog post read, in part: “Two of the best things ever, being naked and riding a bike are coming together this summer for the World Naked Bike Ride. Every year cities around the globe cycle in the nude to simultaneously celebrate biking, the human body, and also to showcase the vulnerability of bikers on the road, something Montreal is all too aware of these days.”
D’Alimonte signed off by encouraging his followers to “Strip and cycle for a good cause” although the post never made clear how cycling in the buff would educate the public about the dangers on the road for cyclists or prevent accidents.
It would seem as though nude public events are becoming a worldwide phenomenon these days, according to Peter Stockland, publisher of Convivium Magazine, a public policy journal that delves into topics of faith in relation to social well-being and democracy. “It’s interesting how old fashioned exhibitionism becomes something else when it dresses in political drag,” he said.
Many would concur with this assessment, but since when was nudity in public even legal?
Citizens in urban centers are by now getting used to people flaunting the laws against public nudity. Montreal denizens will recall how a few years ago hundreds of students protesting a proposed tuition hike by the Quebec Government bared all and smoked weed downtown during the Grand Prix festivities as male police officers stood around smirking at naked ladies.
Nudity has become a staple of the annual Pride Parade in TO, while attendance by public officials has become de rigueur. Somehow an ethic of looking the other way has developed in relation to law-breaking where politically sensitive issues are at stake, without that fact ever being explicitly acknowledged by public authorities.
However, not everyone is willing to turn a blind eye. Some Montrealers were furious when they discovered that a number of participants sporting nothing but their birthday suits had rented bicycles from Bixi-Montréal.
“It’s disgusting,” Alex Hum, a Bixi-user, told the French press, referring to the fact that the seats hadn’t even been cleaned after the last event. “That’s (for) sure, that for the Naked Bike Ride, I prefer that they don’t use Bixis,” he said.
Bérengère Thériault, a spokesperson for Bixi-Montréal, said that Bixi was one mode of collective transport, and like other forms of public transportation involving buses, the métro, and trains, Bixi’s administrators couldn’t keep track of everything that was going on across the entire territory of Montreal 24/7. He said that a special cleaning had been done on Bixis after the Naked Bike Ride, skirting the issue of public nudity which isn’t likely to become a reality on the bus, métro or train commutes anytime soon.
Last Night at the Gayete
The Centaur Theatre's 2015- season is drawing to a close with its final production of Last Night at the Gayety, a musical comedy by Bowser & Blue which runs until May 22nd.
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