PHILADELPHIA >> Hundreds of fun-loving bicyclists spent the afternoon gearing up for a ride around Philadelphia and then took off — their clothes.
Some of the nude cyclists sported body paint, glitter or fancy hats on today as they made the annual Philly Naked Bike Ride. They pedaled 10 miles (16 kilometers) through the streets of the City of Brotherly Love past sights including Independence Hall, the U.S. Mint, the Liberty Bell and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where Sylvester Stallone sprinted up the steps and jubilantly raised his arms as Rocky.
Participants in the ride can go as bare as they dare. Some were in their birthday suits while others wore underwear or masks.
Natasha Mell-Taylor participated with her husband, Jared Gruenwald, and their 3-year-old daughter, Juniper, who rode in a child seat on daddy’s bike.
Mell-Taylor bore the message “Love Your Body” on her back, painted by artist Matt Deifer. She said that her husband attended a previous ride while she was pregnant and he loved it but that this was the first time for her and Juniper, who’d rather ride than walk or sit in a car seat.
“We started riding bikes with her,” Mell-Taylor said of her daughter. “It’s her preferred mode of transportation.”
The bike ride is to protest dependence on fossil fuels, advocate for the safety of cyclists on the road and promote positive body image.
Olivia Neely, who rode for the first time last year after the breakup of a long-term relationship, said the Philly Naked Bike Ride inspired her and made her realize she’s her “own superhero.” She said it’s something she wants to do every year.
“I’m doing it for myself,” she said.
Model and former burlesque performer Loretta Vendetta, back in the bike saddle for the fourth time, had another reason to attend: “I like to be naked.”
Rider Ryan Skopinski had “LOVE” painted on his back in the style of the iconic Robert Indiana sculpture of an L and an O atop a V and an E, with the O tilted sideways — because love isn’t perfect. He said he was celebrating nine months being sober and “just wanted to do something wild.”
“I’m going all the way,” he said as he dropped his drawers. “Nude!”