Some dockless bike companies don’t mind if you use their bikes for Boston’s World Naked Bike Ride
If you’re planning to participate in the annual World Naked Bike Ride through Boston this weekend but don’t have a bike of your own, you’re in luck — some of the dockless bike rental companies that have recently infiltrated cities and towns around Greater Boston say they don’t mind if you use one of their rides for the evening.
That being said, those companies are also encouraging users to be cognizant of the people who may use the bikes after they’re done.
On Saturday, July 21, cyclists clad in . . . well, not much, actually, will hit the streets during the ninth annual naked ride around the city. The route and meeting location have not yet been announced.
The event, which got its start in Vancouver more than a decade ago, before eventually fanning out globally, is billed as a peaceful protest to promote cycling awareness, green transportation, “nudity, and free expression safe and enjoyable for everyone,” according to organizers.
“ ‘Less Gas, More [Tush],’ ‘Do You See Me Now?’ and ‘Every Body is Beautiful’ are slogans you’re likely to see painted on naked bodies during the ride,” according to a statement from the group hosting Boston’s event. “These slogans capture the three major targets of this attention-grabbing protest.”
In years past, Boston’s World Naked Bike Ride event has attracted hundreds of participants. And while many people choose to wear pasties, body paint, or shorts and underwear when cruising along the streets — organizers encourage doing whatever is most comfortable — others have been known to bare it all.
Now, with the recent influx of bike-share companies in communities around Boston, the notion that some people could opt for a rental ride is likely.
Jordan Levine, a spokesman for Ofo, one of the new dockless bike-share programs operating in Worcester, Revere, and Quincy, said while the company doesn’t have an explicit policy requiring users to wear clothing while on one of their bikes, they’d ask that people planning to join the event sans clothing “be courteous and use a seat cover.”
“Additionally,” he said in a statement, “our local operations team will be ready to sanitarily clean the bicycles afterward as necessary.”
When asked whether users could ride in the buff on one of Ant Bicycles’bikes, which operate in nearby Lynn but have been seen scattered closer to Boston, a spokeswoman for the Cambridge-based company enthusiastically embraced the idea.
“We are fully in support of this event,” Aries Yang said in an e-mail. “We can even provide bicycles on site for people who want to join.”
And at LimeBike, which recently invaded Arlington, Belmont, Everett, Watertown, Malden, and several other communities, “all who dare to bare” can do so — but should do it responsibly.
“Out of respect for the next rider, we ask that nude riders use seat covers or clothing accordingly for sanitation purposes,” the company said in a statement. “Whether riding for personal or environmental reasons, our hope as a company is that ...we can continuously promote body positivity and environmentally friendly alternatives to fuel-based transportation.”
Using rentals from bike-sharing companies for the nude ride might sound cheeky, but it’s not unprecedented.
In 2013, a picture of someone riding a Hubway bike — now known as Blue Bikes — during the event was shared online. Two years later, Hubway officials delivered a plea, and “strongly” encouraged “the wearing of clothing while riding” during the event.
This week, Blue Bikes officials echoed that sentiment.
“We’re flattered that Blue Bikes plays a very special role in people’s day-to-day life,” Blue Bikes general manager Katie O’Connor said in a statement. “But this is one instance where we’d ask that riders be considerate of each other before hopping on a bike in the buff.”