Ready or not, Milwaukee, the city’s first World Naked Bike Ride is underway.
The event is set for Saturday, Sept. 11 at 11 a.m. and will start and end at Boone & Crockett, 818 S. Water St.
At this point, the plan for the free ride will kick off with yoga, vendors and body painting in the parking lot, followed by a ride through the Third Ward, Lakeshore State Park, Downtown and back to Boone & Crockett in the Harbor View/Walker’s Point neighborhood.
Organizer and St. Francis resident John Jankowsi wants to make it clear the purpose of the ride is twofold: to celebrate body positivity, cycling advocacy and sustainability while simultaneously protesting large oil companies.
“This ride is open to everyone. It’s family friendly. The tagline is ‘bare as you dare’ which means people don’t have to be naked to participate,” says Jankowski. “And above all, it’s a peaceful protest.”
Jankowski says he is already working with the Milwaukee Police Department to ensure their support.
“I don’t have anything in writing, but after meeting with the police and speaking to the Milwaukee Bar Association and Marquette Law School the general consensus is that this is legal as long as its en mass. It’s not the same as one person or two people riding their bikes around naked,” he says. “We don’t want anyone to get arrested during this ride.”
Jankowski says the group will also acknowledge the 20-year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy before the ride.
The Milwaukee ride is part of a world-wide movement that started in 2003 in Vancouver and has since taken place in hundreds of cities from London to Portland.
“I know some people aren’t going to like this, but that’s the beauty of it. We may have differences of opinion but we can still express ourselves peacefully,” says Jankowski, who has participated in nine naked bike rides in Madison and one in St. Louis.
When Jankowski learned there was not going to be a ride in Madison this year because of COVID-19, he decided to organize a ride in Milwaukee.
“In Madison, the rides are a secret and the date and location aren't revealed under a couple of days before the ride. I don’t like secretiveness, so we started promoting this more than two months in advance,” he says.
Jankowski got a Milwaukee agency – he would not say which one – to design a poster which he put onto social media.
“Some of details are still fluid, but I’m excited to bring this ride and protest to Milwaukee after having a safe, positive experience in several other cities over the years,” says Jankowski.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.