All smiles, Philly Naked Bike Ride returns for 11th year

A rider gives a thumbs up to a cheering crowd during the Philly Naked Bike Ride. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)

A rider gives a thumbs up to a cheering crowd during the Philly Naked Bike Ride. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)

Smiles lit up the faces of pedestrians in Center City Saturday as they stopped in their tracks just after 5:30 p.m.

With cell phones set on record, they cheered, waved and applauded the parade of bike riders in varying states of undress participating in the annual Philly Naked Bike Ride.

Students from the University of the Arts join a rider taking a selfie at Broad and Pine. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)

An estimated 1,000 riders, sometimes riding eight across, made their way from FDR Park in South Philadelphia, through the Italian Market and Center City, and finished up at Eakins Oval in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The route of the race had been kept secret until 5 p.m. Friday, 24 hours before the race. Riders gathered at FDR Park shortly after 2 pm. One after another they shed their clothes, revealing an assortment of body types, tattoos and piercings. 

As a steady stream of cars passed, drivers slowed to a near crawl to get a better look.

Steve Prudente from Columbus, Ohio, traveled to Philadelphia for his fifth Naked Bike Ride. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)
A woman uses her phone as a mirror as she prepares for the Philly Naked Bike Ride. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)
Roller derby skater Candi Kaboom stretches to warm up for the Philly Naked Bike Ride . On the right, is Ron Ashworth, one of the ride organizers. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)
Dustin Jones (left) and his husband, Brian Illis, came from Middletown, N.J., for the Philly Naked Bike Ride.. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)
Warren Daniels of Crystal City, Va., douses himself with insect repellant in FDR Park prior to the Philly Naked Bike Ride. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)

Warren Daniels had come from Crystal City, Va. He had been disappointed by the poor turnout at Washington, D.C.’s Naked Bike Ride, so he came to Philadelphia, which has the nation’s second-largest.

Other Virginians who came to the ride were Tammy and Alan Harrison. The Harrisons run the White Tail Resort, a family nudist resort in Ivor, Va. They were joined by a half-dozen resort members.

Now in its 11th year, the annual race was moved from September to August to provide better weather conditions for the riders. The 2019 temperatures “were pretty much perfect,” said Maria Lily, one of the ride’s organizers.

Riders take over Lombard Street at Broad as they make their way through Center City. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)
A woman records the Philly Naked Bike Ride on her phone at Broad and Spruce Streets eyes one of the riders. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)
A woman in Carmen Miranda couture heads north on Broad Street in Center City. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)
A rider waves to approving pedestrians who stopped to watch the Philly Naked Bike Ride make its way through Center City. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)
Guest at a wedding being held at the Ritz Carlton stop to record the Philly Naked Bike Ride. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)

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