NEW ORLEANS (CBS Local) — Organizers of the 2019 World Naked Bike Ride admit they didn’t see this coming — that participants would use publicly available rental Blue Bikes.
The 11th World Naked Bike Ride in New Orleans took place on Saturday, with participants peddling their way through the French Quarter in various degrees of undress.
“This is the first year Blue Bikes were widely used by participants, and we had not anticipated this,” the event’s head of security Shane Steinkamp told WGNO. “As such, the organization didn’t say anything about it beforehand.”
The Blue Bikes, which is a partnership between the City of New Orleans and Social Bicycles and is sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, were introduced in 2017.
Blue Bikes New Orleans members can simply walk up to any Blue Bike parked at dozens of designated spots around the city, enter their membership code to pop open the lock and pedal away.
But, with temperatures in New Orleans exceeding 90 degrees on the day of the ride, the sight of sweaty, unclothed people pedaling around on the shared bikes has raised concerns over personal hygiene for both the naked bike riders and those who rented the bikes next.
Some critics took to Twitter, calling the practice “disgusting” and “sick.”
“Most riders already cover their bike seat with a plastic bag or a towel,” Steinkamp said. “We assume that participants will use common sense.”
Officials with Blue Bikes have yet to respond to WGNO’s questions about how often the rental bicycles are cleaned.