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Painted Cyclists

The painted naked cyclists and community of artists who participate in the Fremont Summer Solstice Parade in Seattle

featuring media links and exclusive images not seen in the Nude & Natural article

(This site is unofficial and is provided as a supplement to the Fall 2003 article in N magazine. The group of painted naked cyclists are in no way affiliated with the Body Freedom Collaborative, although a number of people are involved in both groups.)

2003 procession of cyclists moves through Wallingford. Below, pictures of clothed citizens from the perspective of the unclothed painted cyclists. Photography by Jacob Sayles.

Seattle saw a massive group of eighty painted naked cylists in the 2003 Fremont Summer Solstice Parade, four times as many as in years previous. They also officially joined the Fremont Arts Council event by hosting a float for the first time.

Be sure not to miss the article by John Cornicello and Daniel Johnson in the Fall 2003 edition of Nude and Natural (N) magazine and find out about the details of this year’s historic procession both before and during the parade as well as an overview of the cyclists in the parade since the late 1990’s.

Above, Superman addressing the crowd at Cowen Park, before the three mile procession began through the city to the parade entrance. Below, the group stops at a busy intersection in Seattle’s University District. Photography by Jacob Sayles (2003).

The Fremont Arts Council in Seattle produces local celebrative art events including the Fremont Summer Solstice Parade, Trolloween, the Feast of the Winter Solstice, and the May Day Maypole Dance.

Many body-celebrative participants such as the Nekkid Bicyclists have been well-received by Fremont Summer Solstice Parade goers year after year and have introduced tens of thousands of citizens to healthy body positive attitudes in a festive way. 2003 finally saw the answer to the question: when will the Nekkid Bicyclists be included officially in the parade and when will the police stop threatening to arrest them?

As some may remember, the 2001 event was marked by a police threat of arrest of any naked participants and, if nudity in the parade was not discouraged by the FAC, a possibility of shutting down the festival in the future by revoking the event’s permit. At the last minute the police where told to back off and the crowd was delighted to see the Nekkid Bicyclists make an appearance. In their own way the Nekkid Bicyclists are laying the groundwork for body acceptance in Seattle and abroad. Perhaps the group will also show up at other times during the year.

:: chronology ::


History shrouded in myth and lore

Brad Erlich of the FAC, according to the 1998 Seattle Press article below, said “nude bikers have been part of the parade for five or six years.” This would place the first appearance to possibly as early as 1992 or so. According to JC, a long time FAC member, the “crash” by naked cyclists has become an expected part of the parade that began with a small number of guys in 1995.


Six attended a bodypainting party at current host’s house and they all bicycled naked together from the house to the parade.

Some of the cyclists arrested this year.


The Seattle Press: Nude Bikers Pedal in Solstice Spotlight, By Carol Marsh

Nude and Natural (N) magazine 18.1


Twenty (up from six last year) attended a bodypainting party at current host’s house and they all bicycled naked together from the house to the parade.

In 1999 FAC secretly launched its own spoof of the naked bicyclists. Wearing flesh-colored body suits with exaggerated body parts sewn on, one woman had three butt cheeks, while two bicyclists pretending to be police officers gave chase through the parade. When the truly naked cyclists showed up they blended right in with their FAC body-suit imposters.


Nude and Natural (N) magazine 19.1


Internationally acclaimed bodypainting artist Steven Bradford joins the bodypainting team and paints bodies at the host’s party.


Nude and Natural (N) magazine 20.2


To the amusement of many in 2001, an artist had a painting in the parade showing a naked female bicyclist next to a baton-wielding police officer. The pose itself could have either shown the apprehension or the cop gleefully stopping for a picture next to the bicyclist. The panel was put on a small platform on wheels and parade goers were invited to have their pictures taken with their heads poking out of the holes of the naked bicyclists and the officer. 2003’s informational poster for the Fremont Solstice Celebration made and distributed by the FAC had the caption “clothing/costumes always encouraged” under a photograph by John Cornicello of the painting.


Above, An artist produced this painting to invite the community of Seattle to mock the looming threat of police arrests of naked participants, including the Nekkid Bicyclists, during the 2001 Fremont Summer Solstice Parade. Below, Some of the Nekkid Bicyclists from the same year. Pictures above and below appear courtesy of Gary David Yngve. For the original versions of these images and for more 2001 Solstice Parade pictures.



Seattle P-I “Nudes flash: City sees a Fremont cover-up: Police fear indecent exposure incidents at solstice parade”, Tuesday, May 15, 2001 By PHUONG CAT LE

Komo 4 News “Nude Bikers Warned Again: Stay Away From Fremont Parade” May 15, 2001

The Seattle Times, Friday, May 18, 2001 “Some folks in a huff over bikers in the buff” By Caitlin Cleary

Council Member Nick Licata As Himself,
Or, How I Was Busted For Riding A Bike, With Clothes On

Nude and Natural (N) magazine 21.1


Numbers quadrupled over previous years. Two videos were produced from footage of this year’s event. One is being sold on DVDR and VHS with proceeds going to BikeWorkds, the other is called “Solstice: A Celebration of the Art of Bodypainting” premiered at the Seattle Art Museum on May 15th, 2004.


Nude and Natural (N) magazine 23.1


New record this year, about 116 riders? Main group started ride in Ballard for first year. No float this year but more elaborate art instalations on bikes. This year’s theme was Noah’s Ark animals.


Nude and Natural (N) magazine 24.1 (Photos by John C) – no story this year

Seattle Times

Pictures (there are many more than below)


Top left, the bicyclists were greeted with a great deal of enthusiasm by the locals along 45th street, the main drag through Wallingford. Top right, A couple of authentic streakers, like many of the early Nekkid Bicyclists, join the procession in the U-district. Bottom left, Turning on Phinney Avenue to begin the wind downhill to the parade entrance in Fremont. Bottom right, A banana slug cycles through Wallingford. Photography by Jacob Sayles (2003). Click on image for larger view.


Daniel’s posterior. This year was the first time he participated in the Solstice Parade naked. He was one of several going for a weather theme. Photo above by JC. Click on image for larger view

Below, Nekkid Bicyclists at the Fremont Summer Solstice Parade in Seattle. Year and origin of photo unknown. Click on image to view at larger size.

:: related links ::

Fremont Arts Council (host of the Fremont Summer Solstice Parade & Pageant)

Over the years the cyclists in the Fremont Summer Solstice Parade have been given several names, often given by others. They have been known as Riders in the Raw, Nekkid Cyclists, Naked Bicyclists, Nude Bikers, Bikers in the Buff, Painted Naked Cyclists. The group currently has a new reference for themselves, which will not be posted here.



:: selected deleted material from the 2003 N article ::

At the same time the communal painting was going on [during the 2003 bodypainting party], a video production crew from Circle Rock Productions was on hand filming the painting and conducting interviews. The title of the film is “Invitation to Stare: A Documentary on the Art of Bodypainting”.

Troy McFarland had this to say about those who showed up without an artistic contribution:

“unless you have a really interesting birthmark, it would be much better if everyone painted themselves up first.”

Fortunately the weather was just cool and sunny enough to be at the perfect temperature when cycling to the parade and held up until the last thirty minutes of our time on the float. Wishing the crowd a happy summer solstice on the last wet and cold stretch seemed to take on an unusual Seattle twist.

:: downloadable computer wallpaper ::

1024 x 768 (233 KB)

image collage © KLG 2003

: The Young O Experience :

Young O loves to get out and share his love for “NW Living Experiences and its rich Culture” through his unique photographic vision, often assisted by a third party. Young believes that his photography shows that “we All Belong and Our Region of NW’s highly prized Culture, which hopefully enhances Quality of LIFE by appreciating one another in more sensible manners.”

All are sure to enjoy the “Humorously Participating Photography” experience when visiting Young O’s CLUBPHOTO Albums

Young O on the Painted Cyclists:

“Fremont Street Fair has been rather well known for its Ingenuity of Individualistic Free Expression and Painted Cyclists as its major attraction on Solstice Celebration and Fertility. The Painted Forms delighted at the carnival setting of fair, as it could had been considered tailored out by the most fancy garments of advancement.”

Below, Young O poses with cyclists. Image courtesy of Young O (2003).