Friday, February 12, 2010
City Throws Cold Water on Naked Riders
By Dan McKay
Copyright © 2010 Albuquerque Journal
Journal Staff Writer
It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "bringing up the rear."
A local chapter of the group World Naked Bike Ride hopes to hit the streets of Santa Fe in mid-June after Albuquerque officials "had a cow" when asked for a permit to allow the ride, according to the organizer.
During the ride, bicyclists pedal along in various stages of undress as they try to raise awareness about cyclists' rights to share the road and protest humanity's dependence on oil.
A 41-year-old Albuquerque resident, Drostan, is organizing the effort. He didn't provide his last name for fear of creating problems for his employer.
Drostan tried to get the event going in Albuquerque, but the city "had a cow," as he put it, and turned him down.
City spokesman Chris Ramirez's description of the city's refusal wasn't quite as colorful.
"The city of Albuquerque informed the event organizer that city ordinances prohibited nude bicycle riding and advised him that a permit would be denied," he said.
Drostan said he is now targeting Santa Fe because its public-nudity law isn't as strict as Albuquerque's, where an ordinance prohibits the public showing of completely naked female breasts, among other things.
"I certainly hope the city of Santa Fe is much more willing to be cooperative," Drostan told the Journal on Thursday.
Santa Fe's city manager said he hadn't heard about the event and couldn't immediately comment. But the city attorney did say in 2008 that a topless protest in a park was legal.
World Naked Bike Ride takes place June 12 in about 70 cities across 20 countries, Drostan said. The group's Web site bills the experience as the "craziest, wildest, most insane event of the year."
"The whole purpose of it," Drostan said, "is to protest our economy's dependence on oil and nonrenewable energy sources. It's also to raise awareness for cyclists and pedestrians and the issues they face in our car-clogged cities."
In Albuquerque, female breasts cannot be exposed in public unless the nipples are obscured by a "fully opaque covering," according to a local ordinance.
Drostan said state law and Santa Fe's code don't appear to prohibit the exposure of breasts. He said he won't encourage people to break the law by showing their genital areas.
In fact, you don't have to be naked at all to participate, Drostan said. Wear as much or as little as you're comfortable with, he said.
"There is no requirement that you be completely naked," he said. "The model is, 'go as bare as you dare.' You don't have to be anything you don't want to be."
The World Naked Bike Ride's online site, he said, features people who are "fat, old, skinny, young, pregnant. You will see everything from all walks of life."
Drostan, for the record, bikes to and from his "sedentary" office job every day, but not naked.
"It'll be my first experience," Drostan said.
For a good cause, he insists.
"We're wanting to draw attention to this issue," Drostan said. "Nudity is a good way to make people think, 'What is this all about?' "