Once again it's time for the annual Circus of Fools or as its commonly known the Philadelphia Naked Bike Ride (PBNR), part of the World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR). Normally held on Labor Day weekend, but due to the Jay Z concert was pushed back to Saturday, August 25.
There are many mysteries surrounding the PBNR and since they have been historically reticent about talking to anyone, except for the limited information their website. Its time to insert some thoughts of my own since PBNR does not speak for itself.
In July they held a bikini bike wash and sold PBNR blinkies raise funds. The question that needs to be asked is, why? PBNR does not explain why they need this money; permits, security, port-a-potties, body paint?? If your going to raise funds to cover expenses you need to be clear about what your spending it on. Since the organizers have yet to be up front about any of the costs associated one has to ask, how much do they really need and how are they spending it?
The WNBR website states that the rides in this part of the world are normally held around June 9, but for some reason the Philadelphia organizers are focused on Labor Day weekend. I do get it; if you plan the ride you should have control over the date. But I believe that the Philadelphia organizers have a simpler motive. In the early 1970's streaking had a brief moment of popularity, it was a way to rebel against current culture. Holding the ride close to Labor Day ensures that the there are plenty of college students available to inflate the numbers on the ride. For college students this is just one big dare, riding naked through Philadelphia, without risk of arrest or public harassment. If the ride was held in June the number of riders would be smaller as the majority of the college students have gone home for the summer.
The last question that has to be asked is, why no fundraising to benefit Philadelphia residents? Every year organizers provide an overly generous, undocumented, and unverifiable count of the participants; this year they put the count at 2000. Yet the only organization that seems to benefit are the local bars that surround the Piazza at Schmidt’s, one in particular is PYT. It's really tragic at the very least the organizers could pass a helmet for donations, $1 per person. Give the money to a local organization that does something to help the residents of Philadelphia under the nebulous goals of the PNBR.
Bottom line; if you want go out and have party with your friends participate in one of the Philly Bike Party's rides. If you want to make change go out and volunteer your time or donate money. The Philadelphia Naked Bike Ride is the equivalent of clicking “like” on Facebook, it may give you a warm fuzzy feeling but in reality you have done nothing to facilitate positive change.