By Robert Mills

Update, 6:20 p.m. Think we went too far posting a video of the naked cyclists? Not worried about nudity in this context? Take the poll on our Facebook page so we can get your feedback.

Update, 5:45 p.m. After YouTube took down our video (a first for Berkeleyside — being censored), we have uploaded the same video on vimeo with a perhaps less offensive still front image. It can be viewed above.

Update, 4:25 p.m. YouTube took down our video of the Naked Bike Day cyclists in Berkeley because of the nudity content. Stay posted –we will try to replace it or at least provide still images.

Just over a dozen Bay Area cyclists assembled in People’s Park Saturday to roll out Berkeley’s World Naked Bike Ride 2011. “As bare as you dare,” was the general rule at the gathering. There weren’t many regulations past that.

Riders yelled, “it’s the World Naked Bike Ride!” to any and all  – and a lot of folks paid attention.

Some passersby snapped cell-phone pictures and cheered on the group. More than one visitor grunted that People’s Park was not “a nudist camp.”

A park supervisor — who refused to comment to Berkeleyside — warned group members to get dressed. She called the police after more cyclists continued to gather and disrobe.

Cyclists convene at People’s Park before participating in the Naked Bike Ride Day. Photo: Robert Mills

Officers arrived and informed naked group members that nudity was not permitted on university property. After a friendly exchange, the exposed demonstrators — who were waiting naked in the park for more members to arrive — covered up.

Some men pulled on shorts. Others wore leopard-print bikini briefs and athletic supporters. The few women in the group remained clothed while in the park.

“There’s a $100 ordinance, but the cops don’t enforce it,” said George Davis, a longtime nudist and naturalist who helped start San Francisco’s first non-beach, urban, clothing-optional park called “The Buff Stop”.

Davis and other members said they gathered for similar reasons: to call attention to humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels, to demonstrate the vulnerability of cyclists, and to enjoy a lengthy naked bike ride through town.

The parade of cyclists left the park around 1:00 p.m., stopping on the sidewalk to undress. Some riders remained half-clothed while others wore only a helmet. One rider wore a body-paint message on his back reading: “Cars Are Earth’s Cancer.”

The group peddled through Dwight Way, College Avenue, Ashby Avenue, Telegraph Avenue, Bancroft Way, Shattuck Avenue, Rose Street, Cedar Street, 4th Street and across the I-80 Pedestrian Bridge where they rested by the water.

On the return route, they traveled back across the bridge to 4th Street, riding through Cedar Street, Sacramento Street, Hearst Avenue, Shattuck Avenue and back to Dwight Way and People’s Park. The entire ride spanned about 15 miles.

Robert A. Mills is a graduate student studying interactive journalism at The Reynolds School of Journalism at The University of Nevada, Reno. He is currently interning at Berkeleyside.

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  1. Leave it to Berkeley to once again have to take it upon itself to teach the world a useless lesson

  2. dratman et al.

    Dr, Kevorkian may no longer be in business, but there’s always the self-starter kit.  If humans are a plague and a virus, please lead by example.

  3. The absurdity is almost choking. Almost seven billion of our species of supposedly intelligent apes are in the process of crowding out most other life on the planet. Every one of our billions is, at this very instant, naked beneath a few millimeters of cloth. Each one of us came into being as a result of the movements of various fluids through and around adult human genitals. Those more or less hairy bits of skin, slots and tubing are practically everywhere on this wretched planet. In fact, there are now far too many of them.

    I wish to suggest that there is a connection between our mainstream public denial that such orifices and appendages even exist, and the massive overproduction of new humans continually issuing from the relevant female body parts.

  4. people’s park is a filthy place and I wholeheartedly believe that the university should use their rights as the owners of the land and build something. 

  5. If the prude ones were not so offended by seeing a couple of nude people, the nude protests would probably go away because no-one would think it special. And don’t compare nude people to “cut up fetuses” – one is the form you were born in and will  die in, and the other is something totally different. I am shocked how many body haters are out there – yeah, so the dudes were old – so what. It is just good old fun and nothing else. It was refreshing to visit the gorgeous gardens in Munich, in the middle of the city, where they have a nude section, and where families pass by. It is natural at every age. Unfortunately in this country the number of people who feel bad about their bodies and other bodies is sky-high.  

  6. pro·fes·sion·al·ism
    noun /prəˈfeSHənlˌizəm/ 

    1. The competence or skill expected of a professional
    * – the key to quality and efficiency is professionalism

    2. The practicing of an activity, esp. a sport, by professional rather than amateur players
    * – the trend toward professionalism

    It’s not my idea of a corporate workplace. It’s the way corporate workplaces are in America today. I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing with it, I am simply pointing out that it exists and that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to ignore potential problems with workplace rules for no particular reason. Do you think CNN, MSNBC, NPR, or any other major news outlet would have run their site with an image like that occupying the entirety of their front page?

  7. I’m all for nudity, but not on bicycles or in the public way.  This is cheap showmanship, and nothing else.  There’s no point to it, and it’s aggressive in its presentation. 

    My town is a joke.

  8. Unprofessionalism? The only thing professional means is getting paid to do something. The folks at Berkeleyside are under no obligation to kow-tow to your particular idea of a corporate workplace. Thank goodness. Bend like a willow, or you are bound to break in the wind. 

  9. I attempted to post a screen shot showing the front page of the site yesterday, and it has not appeared here in the many hours since then. I’ll try again.

  10. Can we stop with all of this hippy “celebrating the body” talk BS?  How many times do Sharkey and I have to explain this to you?

    Anyways, the fact that we’re only discussing the nudity involved here and not the issues that the riders were trying to promote just goes to show ineffective these types of actions are.  I hate to use this term considering the context, but nude “protests” are essentially political masturbation.

  11. I will continue to frame my discussion as I see fit, Thomas Lord (AKA “Bruce Love”).

    I suppose that expecting you to notice that I do not normally use language like that here on Berkeleyside and draw a parallel between offensive language and offensive images is asking too much.

  12. They can enjoy it as much as they want in the privacy of their own homes, or on private land.

    Nudity is illegal in public in the City of Berkeley.
    Images of graphic nudity are forbidden in many American office environments.
    It was unprofessional of Berkeleyside to run those images on their homepage.

  13. They can enjoy it as much as they want in the privacy of their own homes, or on private land.

    Nudity is illegal in public in the City of Berkeley.
    Images of graphic nudity are forbidden in many American office environments.
    It was unprofessional of Berkeleyside to run those images on their homepage.

  14. The current image is not what the original image on the Berkeleyside homepage was.
    I attempted to post a photograph showing what the original Berkeleyside homepage image was, but apparently the moderators here have decided that their own homepage is so offensive that they will not allow it to be posted in the comments.

    As of 1993, public nudity is against the law in the City of Berkeley.
    Images of full frontal nudity are forbidden in the corporate workplace.

    I don’t really care about having seen those photos, though I wish the Berkeley Police would actually enforce the law and arrest or fine folks who break the law. What bothers me is Berkeleyside’s unprofessionalism in their choice of image, their insensitivity to those who might work in offices where images of that nature might not be allowed, and the lame attempt to blame their editorial decision on YouTube.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of occasionally offending readers to make an impact. Using potentially offensive images in the news is important – as long as it is necessary to convey the story. But what did using those specific images add to the story that could not
    have been conveyed equally well by using a tastefully cropped image at
    the top of the story, and allowing readers to click through to see more
    graphic photographs if they wanted to?

  15. Rock on, naked riders. Rejoice!

    What a bunch of pitiable comments here.The Horrors! Human bodies, aging ones at that! Old penises. Breastseses. There shall be no enjoyment of physical form as one ages. Is it any wonder the corporations have taken over, when so many are so easily convinced that their own physical form is despicable?Poor, ignorant people incapable of individual perceptions, unable to love their own bodies.Unless you plan on killing yourselves before your breasts and testicles sag, your skin wrinkles, and perhaps (can we hope) you glean some wisdom from your life experiences you body haters are going to have a difficult time looking in mirrors.

  16. Is “protester” quite the right word?   “Celebrant” could be argued.   My favorite part of the video is the negotiation and deliberation with the cop — funny as heck, especially the part where the (I gather) UC cop mentions not caring what they do on *city* land…..   It’s a nicely edited video.

  17. I think that far more inappropriate than the image from the video frame is:

    ageism:  “old men’s cocks”

    poor language:  “cocks”, “dick”, “dusty sausages”

    You’ve repeatedly framed your complaint in terms not merely about nudity, but about the age and gender of some of the subjects of that nudity.   This undermines any claim that you are defending basic civility.

  18. How silly to argue just for the sake of arguing. It is inconceivable Sharkey that you were *that* offended by these images. Your argument about offices is hypothetical: the workplace you and Bryan describe is an extreme case, not the norm. It is just weird to suggest that in an office where people are allowed to surf the web in their spare time, they might also be reprimanded (or worse, did I hear “sexual harassment”? phh) because their news outlet has a story about public nudity with a very tame image on the cover. On the other hand, what really bothers you is clear, and you’ve said so several times: wrinkly penises. You actually go so far as to make an analogy to torn up fetuses. How revealing (just kidding…). I would say that the editorial decision is about what one may reasonably be offended by. It is reasonable to think that many readers will be repulsed, angered, hurt, or worse by the image of the fetus – that is after all the intended effect. But it is not reasonable to be offended or repulsed by “wrinkly penises”. No more than it is to be offended by ugly faces, or overweight bodies. I could make the exact same arguments you and others have been making about one of those articles on obesity that show a fat person from the neck down. It would be an incredibly dumb and insensitive argument, and that is how I feel about the way people here are referring to the protesters, who after all are probably reading this.

  19. > It’s not quite, but almost, like visiting and expecting to see nudity.
    You are wrong.

    Berkeleyside is a Berkeley news and information site. is an adult erotica site. They are very different.

    I don’t mind nudity being posted to Berkeleyside, but the nudity does need to be behind a work-safe link. Almost all workplaces have strict rules about viewing nudity in the office.

  20. I hope your advertisers are happy to have their brand posted next to an old  man’s penis dangling on a bike.

  21. Berkeleyside had control over posting the YouTube video as the lead-in for the story, so that the still image was at the top of the page when you visited the site.

    But I agree. It would behoove the editors to understand how YouTube selects the still image so that they can better control what shows up in their links.

  22. “Berkeleyside had no control over which image You Tube posted as the “lead” image of the video.” vs. “How would you feel about Berkeleyside putting some enormous photographs
    of cut-up fetuses on the front page because they were doing a story on
    anti-abortion protesters on campus?”  These two post are 25 minutes apart. Did the second poster not read the first’s post. One needs to learn how YouTube selects the “still.”

  23. Berkeleyside had control over putting the YouTube video at the top of the story so that it was the first thing readers saw when they came to the site.

    After seeing what the image was, Berkeleyside continued to use that link at the top of the story for several hours, even after the video was deleted by YouTube.

    Even having no control over how YouTube selects their lead video image (always the middle of the video), it could have easily been replaced by a less racy still image from the video once you saw what it was.

    It’s your website and if you want to make the decision that large images of full frontal nudity are acceptable on the main page that’s fine. But let’s not try to foist the responsibility for this off on YouTube. It’s not like you didn’t have other options.

  24. Berkeley is known for protests, not for nudity in specific. How would you feel about Berkeleyside putting some enormous photographs of cut-up fetuses on the front page because they were doing a story on anti-abortion protesters on campus?

  25. I can’t stay out of the nude debate. 

    1. Berkeley is known for nudeness – so anytime you read or watch anything regarding Berkeley be ready! And don’t act like you are not aware of it. The rest of the country knows it. 

    2. Shame on you for using valuable work time to surf Berkeleyside! God punished you with nudeness.

    3. If we could only accept nudeness and death in this country – perhaps it would help our GDP.


  26. I tried to explain that Berkeleyside had no control over which image You Tube posted as the “lead” image of the video. If you look at the video, it starts out not showing anything too radical.

  27. What did using those specific images add to the story that could not have been conveyed equally well by using a tastefully cropped image at the top of the story, and allowing readers to click through to see more graphic photographs if they wanted to?

    It’s not a problem for me but I’m aware of the fact that it might be a problem for some folks. If the story could have been told equally well by using a less graphic main image and still keeping the same content and images after the click-through, why not present the story that way?

  28. What did using those specific images add to the story that could not
    have been conveyed equally well by using a tastefully cropped image at
    the top of the story, and allowing readers to click through to see more
    graphic photographs if they wanted to?

  29. ” Scrolling past a photo in a news article could hardly be considered looking at nudity at work.”

    Except that it can, and I am sure in some offices it is.

    What did showing a large picture of old men’s cocks on the top of the front page of the site add to the story? What important information about local Berkeley news was conveyed through an image with a dick in it that could not have been conveyed equally well with a tastefully cropped image at the top of the story that then allowed people to click through to see more images if they really wanted to take a peek at some dusty sausages?

  30. “All it takes is one person looking over the shoulder of the person checking it out to file a sexual harrassment suit.”

    That is not true.  Sexual harassment requires a pattern of activities that creates a hostile work environment.  Sexual harassment can be based on a single act only if that acts involves a quid pro quo.

    Having made that point about the law, I will also go on to agree that it can be embarrassing to have nudity on your computer at work, and I agree with all the people who say that the nude picture should not have been placed where it is displayed as soon as you view Berkeleyside. I have no object to the nudity on Berkeleyside, but I don’t think it should have been placed in the location where it displays with no warning as soon as you go to

  31. There must be a legal way to post nudity on YouTube. Because Youtube is full of it.

    For instance, this video posted by the Daily Cal more than 4 years ago shows streaking students.

    It hasn’t been taken down after 49 months.

    Here are other Cal nudity videos that are still on YouTube.

  32. There must be a legal way to post nudity on YouTube. Because Youtube is full of it.

    For instance, this video posted by the Daily Cal more than 4 years ago shows streaking students.

    It hasn’t been taken down after 49 months.

    Here are other Cal nudity videos that are still on YouTube.

  33. Sharkey, if you look at the video, it’s a good video. The beginning is demure with no exposure of private parts. But apparently, when you post on You Tube, it automatically selects three stills to use as the cover image of the video. You Tube selected the shot that showed so many people stark naked. Berkeleyside could not unselect those stills and substitute others. This was a Berkeley event and a Berkeley news story and we thought it merited coverage. We did not mean to offend anyone or get people in a work setting in trouble. Now Vimeo is hosting the video and the problem is solved. People can read the title and decide for themselves if they want to watch the video.

  34. My 2 cents.  I had the distinct misfortune of seeing this band of aging satyrs ride by.  In a word:  revolting.
    I think most of this discussion has missed the basic issue which goes beyond the workplace.  Aggressive public nudity is a form of assault and battery upon those who do not wish or choose to be exposed to this, including minors.    Likewise, on a general interest local news site, this story can be covered  with an “opt-in” link.
    I have no problem with nudist colonies, nudist beaches or anywhere else semi-private or secluded where consenting adults can get their jollies by exposing themselves.   I am sorry, but I find these naked “cyclists” creepy myself.  In lieu of the proverbial raincoat at the park, they have found a pseudo-respectable pretext for exposing themselves . 
    Consideration is not just a one way street.  Berkeleyans tend to me hypersensitive to many issues, including perceived animal cruelty, sexist imagery, homophobic or racist tinged humor or language or even public smoking, littering, pollution or waste.    Berkeleyans are actually surprisingly puritanical about many of their own taboos which they indignantly expect others to respect and abide by!  

  35. I really don’t understand why this is so hard for people to grasp. Are so many of Berkeleyside’s readers unemployed, retirees, or self-employed that they just don’t understand what the average workplace rules are these days?

  36. I’m not uncomfortable with nudity, I just don’t like looking at a bunch of saggy old men with their genitals hanging out. It’s aesthetically unpleasant, and it’s asinine for Berkeleyside to use an image like that on their front page.

  37. Tizzleish – You are a bit out of touch. Every major corporation in America follows HR practice that effectively prevents looking at even benign nudity like this in the workplace.  All it takes is one person looking over the shoulder of the person checking it out to file a sexual harrassment suit.  The phrase “Safe For Work”?  This is exactly what that phrase means – this image isn’t.  It doesn’t matter how enlightened you are, or your boss is, your your admin assistant, or the three people in the cubicle next to you.  All it takes is one person seeing it and not being comfortable with it to make this a major workplace issue.

    Yes, I have seen stuff like this happen.  It’s all very well to moan about it, but frankly it’s the standard expectation in corporate USA  today that people don’t look at nudity at work.

    It’s not an issue of civil rights.  The law is very clear.  You are at work, in a private environment, using your employers equipment, you must follow their rules as far as how you use that equipment.  They don’t care what you do at home, but yeah – they do get to control what you do at work. Plus, yeah – it’s basic work place courtesy.

  38. One positive aspect of this story for me    . . . I have never really had jobs where I worked in an office and someone managed how I spent my time. And I have not thought much about people sitting in workplaces getting paid, presumably to work, surfing the internet, reading berkeleyside.  I have, naively I guess, assumed that people did not surf the internet and read the news while at work. Okay, maybe on a coffeebreak.

    I have never been in an environment where something on my computer screen would be anyone’s business but my own.  I might sound like a snot or prudish or something but I don’t think should set their editorial policies based on how some of their readers might get in trouble with their bosses.  I think focussing on Not suitable for workplace viewing is a completely wrong perspective to make their editorial choices. 

    Surely it is up to the individuals surfing the internet while at work to take full responsibility for their behavior. Berkeleyside should not be expected to manage that responsibility.

    But, if I assume a faithful berkeleyside reader came upon the scandalous video of male nudity this morning while at work, and further assuming that the video was inappropriate for their workplace, why the heck wouldn’t such folks just, um, change screens immediately?

    It irks me that some folks want to put some responsibility onto berkeleyside. Grown ups in workplaces are grown ups, right?  Those grown ups can take care of themselves. 

    If someone’s job would be at risk because a boss became aware that a NEWSsite had a funny, local representation of something that actually happened in the news in Berkeley. .. . geez. .. that seems way more serious a threat to civil rights than seeing a penis or two.

  39. My first thought when I first saw berkeleyside’s now-censored-by-youtube video showing men’s penises, my first thought, honest to goddess was “how refreshing, male nudity”.  I really did think “gee, I’ve seen lots of female nudity but I think this is the first time I ever saw male nudity in a media setting. Heretofore, my views of nude male penises have been limited to my private life, saunas, the hot tubs at Esalen . . .  I am fascinated, and have been all along, that male nudity is so much more censored than female nudity.  

    I also associated the glimpse I got of male penises on berkeleyside earlier today with the imbroglio involving an African American male from SF who got arrested when, according to airline staff, he refused to pull up his pants because he favors the strange ‘fashion’ of mostly-young men wearing their outer pants below their underpants. It is such a funny practice. I see boys sloping down the streets of Berkeley, carefully stepping up the steps of buses.  .  I watch closely sometimes because I can’t figure out how these kids get their pants to stay up and I can’t understand why they choose to shuffle through the world with their pants so drooped.  Males aren’t supposed to openly acknowledge their physical sexuality but women are encouraged, by many in this culture, to fairl openly display the closely revealing contours of the female body. I don’t get the discrimination.

    I know this is separate from a discussion of photos of male nudity but I see a connection:  male body parts are more guarded in this society than female. How’s come?  I don’t have an answer, but I have lots of speculation.

    Male nudity elicits opprobrium, female nudity .. . not nearly as much. How’s come?

    Harkening back to a young male wearing flamboyant boxer shorts, then wearing his jeans magically cinched below his butt, the jeans positioned somewhere between the end of the butt and the knees — how the heck do they stay up?!! — what if it became popular for young males to wear tights that came with carefully contoured pouches to display the male penis and testicles the way society likes women to display the close detail of their bosoms?  Why is it okay for women to walk around revealing just about everything covered in a thin veneer of clothing but the idea of young males walking around with a thin veneer of stretch tights carefully protruding their ‘package’ is almost inconceivable?

    well, as I wrote this nonsense, I remembered that in the berkeleyside censored video, we could also see men only nominally covered up. That is okay?  I don’t think the real objection was the nude penises. I think the real opprobrium is about male nudity in general.

    I lived in Seattle a few years. There is a city festival in which everyone is encouraged, at a certain point in a parade, to run in the parade naked.  My memory is fuzzy but it seems to me photos of the event would get published . . but maybe it was all women cause it was a dykes on bikes thing? My memory is fuzzy.  Nude women seems to be much more acceptable than nude males. Get over it guys.

  40. I think posting the video was fine, but not the way it was done.

    Perhaps a Safe For Work photo telling readers that when they click through they see naked bikers. Then they could decide when, or if, to click through.

    I enjoyed the very Berkeley video and neither of our supervisors, Poudini and Baby T, seemed to mind … But I can definitely see it being a problem (potentially a big one) in other work environments.


  41. Why is this so hard for some of you to understand? It’s not about being prudish. It’s about possibly getting in trouble at work for having naked people on your computer screen. Quit acting like some “enlightened” snob.

  42. Being sensitive to the many readers who may be in offices where viewing nudity on their computers is not permissible does not mean that those of us who are shocked at Berkeleyside’s choice of image on the main page are at work,  or are in offices where anyone gives a damn.

    Personally speaking, I just don’t like looking at wrinkly, naked old men when I try to check the local news.

  43. Some workplaces are okay with their employees browsing the web during down time, but that doesn’t mean they’re okay with you looking at nudity.  At the very least it can present an awkward situation and at the worst you could be reprimanded.

    Also, the whole protest that this discussions stemmed from seems to have been one big white whine anyways.

  44. I have no idea what bizarro world you live in but here in the real world Berkeley is no longer synonymous with public nudity even if you accept the dubious premise that it was in the past. I can, and have, gone years without seeing naked people traipsing around town. is a site created primarily for looking at female nudity. is a site for learning about Berkeley news.

    They aren’t even close to the same thing.

  45. You’re goofing off at work looking at a website that has nothing to do with work — and you’re upset that the site makes it obvious that you’re not working? First world problem.

  46. Also, I don’t even visit People’s Park clothed, so there’s no way I’d hang out there naked.  Watch out for needles before you sit down!

  47. Some of us would prefer for Berkeley to grow up and accept the fact that the 60s ended a long ago.

  48. The Daily Cal has often run nude males with their penises hanging out on the front page — and in some cases, in color.

    It’s de rigeur in a city like Berkeley.

    If you’re going to a site called “Berkeleyside” you should expect to see nudity because it fits in with the city’s image.

    It’s not quite, but almost, like visiting and expecting to see nudity.

    So there should be no problem.

    If you are interested in Berkeley enough to click on this site, you should know what you’re getting into.

  49. I agree.  

    I don’t care – I work out of a home office and just think it’s tacky, but people in an office setting could be reprimanded or worse for having this up on screen.

  50. It’s just plain inconsiderate, and just downright rude to many readers who work in offices.

    Adding the disclaimer text below the image also seems really pointless and silly. Why not replace the Youtube video they have no control over with a photograph, and put the video after the click-through? I don’t get it.

  51. There are many things one might do naked.  Having been hit by a car last year while biking, and skidding across pavement and getting severely abraded with my clothes on, I can say definitively that biking should NOT be one of them.  

    And really, please tell these people the 1960’s were over last millennium.

  52. The point is that you’ll be greeted by that image even if you’re just scrolling through the Berkeleyside main page checking for the latest updates.  Right now it’s the top story!  So there’s not much escaping it.  They could have at least hidden it after the “jump” (where you click the “continue reading” link).

    Not saying any of this to be prudish, I just don’t find posting such an image without warning to be very professional on Berkeleyside’s part.

  53. No, but I’m surprised that when I come to Berkeleyside’s home page the enormous first image that greets me has nudity in it.

    It’s not like I clicked through to the story and found the picture – it’s the first thing that you see when you come to the site right now, and you see it even if you don’t click on the headline.

  54. The article title is “Berkeley bicyclists go bare for World Naked Bike Ride” and you are surprised that there are pictures of naked people?

  55. Wow, I would have really appreciated having the video still with an old man’s penis hanging out and a topless woman be hidden behind some kind of NSFW link.