2024’s Best Cities for Naked Biking

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Where can you bike ride in the buff and stay on the right side of the law? 

As the World Naked Bike Ride kicks off in cities this month, LawnStarter ranked 2024’s Best Cities for Naked Biking.

We compared the 500 biggest U.S. cities based on five categories. We looked at naked biking events, local interest in nude cycling, biking infrastructure, and public nudity laws, among 17 total metrics.

Cycle through our ranking below. To learn how we ranked the cities, see our methodology.

Contents

City Rankings

See how each city fared in our ranking:

Top 5 Close Up

Check out the slideshow below for highlights on each of our top five cities.

A shot of Portland, Oregon’s skyline at night from the opposite side of the Columbia River
No. 1: Portland, Oregon| Overall Score: 74.47

Average Monthly Google Searches for “World Naked Bike Ride” and “Naked Bike Ride” Over Past 12 Months: 1,040 | Rank: 1
Bike Score: 83 | Rank: 7
Nudists Per 100,000 Residents: 172 | Rank: 33

Photo Credit: Tabitha Mort / Pexels / Pexels License
Two people riding bikes with Chicago skyline in the background
No. 2: Chicago| Overall Score: 68.05

Average Monthly Google Searches for “World Naked Bike Ride” and “Naked Bike Ride” Over Past 12 Months: 870 | Rank: 2
Number of Bike Clubs: 11 | Rank: 4
Bike Score: 72 | Rank: 16

Photo Credit: Chait Goli / Pexels / Pexels License
An aerial view of Downtown Philadelphia’s skyline
No. 3: Philadelphia| Overall Score: 67.63

Average Monthly Google Searches for “World Naked Bike Ride” and “Naked Bike Ride” Over Past 12 Months: 460 | Rank: 6
Number of Bike Clubs: 4 | Rank: 23
Severity of Penalty for State Public Nudity Rule Violations: 9.5 | Rank: 41

Photo Credit: Kelly / Pexels / Pexels License
A view of the Seattle, Washington skyline and Puget Sound, with the iconic Space Needle tower in the foreground
No. 4: Seattle| Overall Score: 66.92

Average Monthly Google Searches for “World Naked Bike Ride” and “Naked Bike Ride” Over Past 12 Months: 380 | Rank: 8
Number of Bike Clubs: 11 | Rank: 4
Number of Very Hot Days (April-September): 0.67 | Rank: 1 | 1 = Fewest

Photo Credit: Josh Fields / Pexels / Pexels License
Red car on the road, overlooking the Hollywood sign
No. 5: Los Angeles| Overall Score: 63.44

Average Monthly Google Searches for “World Naked Bike Ride” and “Naked Bike Ride” Over Past 12 Months: 520 | Rank: 4
Number of Bike Clubs: 9 | Rank: 7
Friendliness of State Bike Laws: 4 | Rank: 39

Photo Credit: Daniel Semenov / Pexels / Pexels License

Key Insights

Cyclists are shedding inhibitions along with their clothes in a cheeky twist on urban cycling. Clothing-optional bike rides have become a trend in 16 major cities across the U.S. Portland, Oregon (No. 1), Chicago (No. 2), and Philadelphia (No. 3) lead the pack with excellent bikeability and event popularity.

Most southern cities seem to prefer a more covered approach. Clarksville, Tennessee (No. 495), North Port, Florida (No. 494), and Buckeye, Arizona (No. 493) land at the butt of our ranking, with low popularity, cyclist-friendliness, and nudist-friendliness. 

Standout Stats

  • Portland Pedal Power: Portland, Oregon tops the charts this year, thanks to high numbers of Google searches for the World Naked Bike Ride and its cyclist-friendly infrastructure. While public nudity is illegal in the city, Portlanders participating in the ride can strip down without worry. Thanks to a legal exception, nudity is permitted as an act of political speech. 
  • West Coast Wonders: The West Coast proves it’s the wheel deal for naked bikers. Seattle (No. 4), and Los Angeles (No. 5) join Portland, Oregon in the top five, showcasing not just their scenic routes but their liberal attitudes and top-notch bike lanes. While Los Angeles offers more favorable riding conditions, Seattle puts a unique touch on the event, celebrating the summer solstice with a naked bike parade and body paint.  
  • Bare-ing the Weather: Cities like Austin (No. 9), Houston (No. 13), and Madison, Wisconsin (No. 7) face weather challenges with higher chances of extreme heat or precipitation.  Despite this, their strong infrastructure and legal environments make them top choices for cycling nude. 
  • Surprising Spokes: Milwaukee, Wisconsin (No. 12) has a flair for bare despite recent legislation aiming to ban the World Naked Bike Ride in the state. This unexpected metro pedals its way to the top 15, with impressive nudist-friendliness and popularity.  

Ask The Experts

It’s not every day you encounter bare skin on bikes. If you’re new to this unique activity, equip yourself with some practical knowledge before embarking on your first naked bike ride to avoid any pitfalls.

We reached out to some experts for insights and tips to help you steer clear of dangers ahead. Read their thoughts below.

  1. What are your top three tips for first-time naked bike riders?
  2. How does one gear up for a clothing-optional bike ride?
  3. Judging by the lack of nudist-friendly laws in the U.S., public nudity is considered taboo in our country. How likely is this to change in the near and far future?
  4. Some cities in our ranking registered high volumes of Google searches for the term “naked bike ride” over the past 12 months but ranked low overall, which suggests high interest in the event. What gives?
Robert Watt
Former President and Sports Director
Robert Watt
Former President and Sports Director
University of Vermont Cycling

What are your top three tips for first-time naked bike riders?

  1. Find an event to join! It doesn’t have to be huge, just big enough that you’re not alone.
  2. Have a plan and know the laws. For example, In Burlington, VT you can be naked in public but you cannot get naked in public. It might also be nice to have clothes stashed somewhere so you don’t have to pedal home naked.
  3. Don’t forget the basics! Make sure you have a safe, working bike and all the accessories you might need. Shoes, helmets, lights, and a repair kit are all great ideas. Consider the time of day and consult local laws on lights and helmets.

How does one gear up for a clothing-optional bike ride?

It’s probably a better question to ask how to gear down. Get dressed for a regular bike ride and lose the clothes!

Judging by the lack of nudist-friendly laws in the U.S., public nudity is considered taboo in our country. How likely is this to change in the near and far future?

I don’t think this is likely to change in a big way anytime soon. There will continue to be thrill-seekers interested in things like streaking, naked biking, or skinny-dipping, but I don’t see a huge push to normalize public nudity. There are some real perks to wearing clothing and I think we can all agree there are more important issues to address in this country.

Some cities in our ranking registered high volumes of Google searches for the term “naked bike ride” over the past 12 months but ranked low overall, which suggests high interest in the event. What gives?

I question your assumption that elevated google search levels necessarily indicate local interest in participating. It seems that this apparently inconsistent combination of metrics might appear in locales that have a high degree of curiosity about naked bike rides as they occur in other places without interest in replicating those events. However, these cities are probably good picks for an aspiring ride organizer as this curiosity could likely be transformed into interest.

Methodology

First, we determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to rank the Best Cities for Naked Biking. We then assigned a weight to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into five categories: Naked Biking Popularity, Cyclist-Friendliness, Nudist-Friendliness, Climate, and Safety. The categories, factors, and their weights are listed in the table below.

For each of the 500 biggest U.S. cities, we then gathered data on each factor from the sources listed below the table. 

Finally, we calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each city to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A city’s Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked “Best” (No. 1) and the lowest “Worst” (No. 500).

  • The “Worst” among individual factors may not be 500 due to ties.
  • Due to inaccuracies in the Virginia State Police’s sex offender registry, the data used in our study related to sex offenders in Virginia may be incorrect. We will update our findings as soon as accurate information is available. 
  • Disclaimer: This report is intended to provide entertainment value only. It should not be relied upon as a source of legal information. Our research on public nudity and toplessness laws is limited to aggregated data from several sources listed below, which may be updated without our knowledge. It is each reader’s responsibility to verify the current laws in their city and/or state.

Sources: U.S. Department of Transportation, Vision Zero Network, USA Cycling, Bike Index, Meetup, Walk Score, Google Ads, National Centers for Environmental Information, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Census Bureau, other LawnStarter studies, World Naked Bike Ride, The League of American Bicyclists, FindLaw, True Nudists, World Population Review, and City-Data.com

Shedding Light on Road Cycling Risks

World Naked Bike Ride is rolling through cities across the U.S., bringing attention to the annual clothing-optional cycling event.

Founded in 2003 with the slogan “bare as you dare,” this global movement initially protested oil dependency. Today, it champions safer cycling infrastructure and body positivity. 

In the U.S., preventable bike fatalities have surged by 37% over the past decade, peaking in September. Fortunately, many American cities are enhancing bicycle safety through measures such as protected bike lanes, car-free streets, and bicycle boulevards

While you might enjoy cycling or gardening in the nude, always prioritize safety. Mowing your lawn naked is particularly dangerous. Hire a local LawnStarter pro to handle your lawn care tasks instead.

Media Resources

Quotes from LawnStarter Editor-in-Chief, Jeff Herman:

If you want to participate in one of the roughly 70 World Naked Bike Rides (WNBR) across the U.S. and the world, here’s how to do it safely via a roundup of tips from organizers and news reports.

Speaking of safety, many of these rides are at night, with the routes announced only the night before to avoid gawking crowds and traffic nightmares. The rides aren’t incredibly long or on lots of hills – both of which can lead to chafing in awkward places.

  • New York: Sports physician and avid biker Jordan D. Metzl told Time “If you’re going to do this, don’t fall, use a lot of sunscreen, and pay attention to the aches and pains. If they’re getting really worrisome, maybe spend some time out of the saddle.”
  • Los Angeles: These bike rides draw crowds of watchers, so LAist recommends you wear a disguise. “So you’re, um, ballsy enough to go full frontal, but you still don’t like the idea of someone snapping photos of you and putting it on the internet for posterity? Consider some sort of disguise, like a mask, a bandanna or sunglasses paired with a hat or wig.”
  • Philadelphia: Isn’t it uncomfortable to sit on a bike seat naked? That’s a question on an FAQ about the city’s “bare as you dare” naked bike ride. Here’s the answer: “Not really. You should try it! Otherwise we recommend wrapping something soft around your seat, such as a T-shirt, a bandana, a swatch of velvet, or anything else that will make your bum feel happy. If you are renting a bike, we strongly recommend wrapping your seat.”
  • Chicago: Secret Chicago likens the June 29 ride to a parade… “The clothing-optional people-powered event invites people to get involved by wearing anything from body paint to underwear to fanciful costumes, though it emphasizes that ‘due to legal restrictions’ full frontal nudity, which is often seen at WNBR events, is at the individual’s own risk.”
  • Portland: The local Johnston Law Firm advises sticking to the rules and protecting yourself by wearing a helmet and shoes. “Follow all instructions provided by event organizers, stick to designated routes, and be considerate of others. … While clothing is optional, wearing an approved safety helmet, pads, proper footwear, and other safety gear is strongly encouraged.”

And one final tip from Bicycling… Plan for the after-ride parties:

“Many rides will have post-event festivities, generally at a local watering hole. You’ll want clothes for that part. Riders often bring (and ride with) a small pack so they can stash their streetwear for the ride and slip back into it when they’re done.”

Main Photo Credit: Paul Sableman / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Kimberly Magerl

Kimberly Magerl

Kimberly Magerl is a writer and editor specializing in landscaping, gardening, lawn care, and pest control. She enjoys growing orchids, tending to fruits and vegetables in her garden, and cooking with her home-grown herbs.