Thursday, September 15, 2011

Parade of Asses


Once again Philadelphia has survived the annual Parade of Asses or as it is better known, the Philadelphia Naked Bike Ride, part of the World Naked Bike Ride. Don't worry if you missed it, the Philadelphia Inquirer will be flogging the pictures on the main page of their website for the next 364 days, just like they did with the 2010 ride.

Like Critical Mass the PNBR accomplishes nothing other than creating a parade and while this ride has grown exponentially around the world, in my opinion it has jumped the shark. The best example of this is when G4TV's Attack of the Show sent out one of their on air hosts to cover the ride in Portland, OR. Sarah Underwood, a Playboy centerfold, who reported on the ride by participating in it. It's this kind of investigative journalism that shows how seriously the WNBR is taken.

WARNING: Video is not office friendly.

As much as the PNBR has stated goals, the average person has a completely different reaction.

Why We Ride:

2.     We ride to RAISE AWARENESS about FUEL CONSUMPTION and the environmental impact of car culture.
4.     We ride to PROMOTE ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY as a way of life and a corporate responsibility.

Man on the street

1.     Look at all of the naked people riding bicycles!
2.     This is going up on YouTube.
3.     Most of these people need to put their clothes back on.
4.     What was that all about?

Participating in the PNBR is the same as clicking “Like” on the Facebook page of a non-for profit, you’re not doing anything to help that organization. The PNBR does not raise any money to help an advocacy group that meets the goals of the PNBR. Nor do the hundreds of riders that they attract actually do anything that benefits the community they live in. However unlike the recent column in Philebrity I would not call the people who participate in this “bad citizens”, not everyone can or wants to spend $50 to ride through Philadelphia to participate in the Bike Philly ride. Instead I would view them as a group of children in need of guidance, to harness the potential that exists.

So what would I do?
By all means since the PNBR is part of the core value of this group then the ride should remain intact. What about a voluntary donation of $1 per rider, at the start or the end of the ride, with the proceeds going to an advocacy group so the end of the ride something more than just an excuse for a party.

I would also recommend that the PNBR participate in the Philly Spring Cleanup, in past estimates the PNBR has had close to 2000 participants. Can you imagine what would be possible if 25% of the participants met at a central location and then bicycled out to local parks in need of help to pick up trash and clear brush?

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