While the five-mile route that naked bicyclists will take through Colorado Springs this Saturday is being kept secret, organizers are clear that they intend to comply with the law.
"We'll ride two abreast," George deadpans. "That's the rule of the road."
Puns aside, George, who asked that his last name not be used in print, is trying to balance legal risk with risqué spirit as he brings a World Naked Bike Ride event to Colorado Springs for what is believed to be the first time. The city has shown little patience for displays of near-nudity in the recent past, but George says that could actually be an advantage in transmitting the event's anti-oil-consumption message.
"Being nude, or semi-nude, makes a huge statement," George says. He adds, "Colorado Springs is going to care. It's going to make waves here."
That said, George is not expecting a huge turnout — 25 creatively dressed riders would be impressive.
The ride is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Saturday in front of Left Side Spin bike shop, 333 N. Tejon St. It comes a week after thousands of riders showed up for naked rides June 13 in Portland, Vancouver, New Orleans and other cities.
About 35 scantily clad riders took to the streets in Boulder despite the police chief's warning that naked riders could be cited for indecent exposure, a charge that, with conviction, carries the risk of having to register as a sex offender. Video of the event, posted by the Daily Camera newspaper, shows men in Speedos and women wearing skirts and pasties, chanting, "Less gas, more ass!" No arrests were reported.
It's not clear if pasties will fly in Colorado Springs. The city's public indecency ordinance prohibits exposure of the "genitals or buttocks of either sex or the breast or breasts of a female," except during breastfeeding. Some police officers apparently take the "breast" part seriously: Last summer, two women wearing equal-rights stickers at a Pride event were told to cover up, as were topless protesters with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who were covered only with a banner.
George says he's planning "a creative costume," and that he plans to caution riders that topless women and anyone going bottomless could be ticketed or even arrested. The precise line between skimpy and too-much-skin is not spelled out in the ordinance, according to Wynetta Massey, deputy city attorney for municipal operations.
If police cite anyone, charges could be filed in city or county court, with a conviction in the latter carrying the possibility of more serious penalties, even having to register as a sex offender.
George doesn't think it will come to that. He's already ridden without hassle in four naked bike events, going buff twice in St. Louis and partially clothed in Louisville and Lexington, Ky. (No, he says, it's not as uncomfortable as you might think.)
It's no accident that the event falls on the same day as the Starlight Spectacular midnight bike ride. George is taking part in both and hopes others will, too, though he laughingly resists calling the afternoon ride the "moon-light spectacle" or anything of the sort.
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