Bare-Breasted Babes on Bikes

Critical Tits

Originally uploaded to Flickr by pattista.

Nothing is sexier than a great pair of tits, right? In our society, breasts are so sexualized that women cannot expose them without causing a scene. Sometimes, causing a scene feeds the soul.

Every month in cities around the globe, thousands of bicyclists gather to ride in tandem, empowering the community of bike riders – Critical Mass. Bike riders are a diverse group, as are women, and just like bikers get to convene for Critical Mass, women too have created a unifying bicycling event.

At Burning Man, there is an event called Critical Tits, in which women and those who identify as women ride their bikes topless (otherwise adorned however they choose) along a pre-organized route.

I was skeptical. My first year, I did not attend. The event seemed like it was overly sexualized and too exhibitionist for me. This year, however, some really strong women I had become close with encouraged me to go. I considered it, and although I was still worried, I decided to go. The Playa is a very sexually safe place, but there was still the risk of creeps populating the sidelines, leering and possibly taking photos or video. I had no interest in the soul of my breasts being captured by a random person and stuck up on the internet, without my consent or consideration.
Still, the agency I have felt within my body for the last year took charge of me and I decided to do it. My friend “Desert Fairy” and I set out together. She had beautifully painted breasts, which were partially concealed by a sheer negligee, while I stripped myself bare upon arrival. I felt a sense of power like never before – here I was, in all the glory my body had to offer, in front of thousands of strangers. My breasts sat comfortably on my protruding tummy, and looking around at the plethora of shapely women (women of all shapes), I felt happier than ever before to have pockets of fat on my body.

When we started to ride, Desert Fairy decided to shed her clothes as well. We set off amid thousands of women, a few men, and some who could not be classified, on this journey. Men and women lined our path, shouting at us that we were beautiful, that we were wonderful, thanking us for being so free, spraying us with water to cut the heat of the day, and giving us gifts. Any face I looked at was warm and smiling, and I never felt exposed – I felt empowered.

Since then, I have been reluctant to bike anywhere that I cannot ride topless with thousands of women. I was afraid that I would not be able to get on a bike again until next September’s event, but upon investigation I discovered that some cities actually hold events like Critical Tits! Since 2004, cities around the globe have hosted the World Naked Bike Ride; in 2010, there were World Naked Bike Ride events in 74 cities from 17 countries.

The idea of biking topless in the world outside of the Playa is both thrilling and daunting. I fear that outside the accepting world of the Playa, those who we would ride past would instead be disgusted or made uncomfortable. Why ever be nude in a hostile environment? However, one of the fundamental lessons of Burning Man is radical self-reliance, so having to cheer myself on in spite of negative looks or comments is an exercise I will pursue.

Would you do Critical Tits?

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7 comments

  1. Ryan

    Hey I loved this article! That would be so cool to see a massive show of people all riding naked in the middle of LA… or more safely- San Francisco. While I think the idea of critical tits is spectacular and is huge in the push towards women’s empowerment I think it would be nice to take the gender element out of it entirely. Don’t get me wrong, a flock hundreds thick of bare breasted women would be the most glorious thing under the sun. In spite of my massive bias towards the woman flock biking down my street, I just think that equality is so much better. Dissolution of gender bounds and barriers to a free and equal world. Shall we call it, Scandinavia?

    You’re the bomb Nora, I really like the way you write and your ideas. Talk to you soon! :]

  2. Ryan

    Hey I loved this article! That would be so cool to see a massive show of people all riding naked in the middle of LA… or more safely- San Francisco. While I think the idea of critical tits is spectacular and is huge in the push towards women’s empowerment I think it would be nice to take the gender element out of it entirely. Don’t get me wrong, a flock hundreds thick of bare breasted women would be the most glorious thing under the sun. In spite of my massive bias towards the woman flock biking down my street, I just think that equality is so much better. Dissolution of gender bounds and barriers to a free and equal world. Shall we call it, Scandinavia?

    You’re the bomb Nora, I really like the way you write and your ideas. Talk to you soon! :]

  3. Ryan

    Hey Nora! I’ve was thinking a lot about this article last night and i think you’re right! While equality is good and the ideal situation for all of us, I think that the fight towards women’s liberation is one of the most important issues in the world today. So shabam! Hooray for critical tits!

    Thanks for writing this article, it really made me think about these issue a lot!

  4. Ryan

    Hey Nora! I’ve was thinking a lot about this article last night and i think you’re right! While equality is good and the ideal situation for all of us, I think that the fight towards women’s liberation is one of the most important issues in the world today. So shabam! Hooray for critical tits!

    Thanks for writing this article, it really made me think about these issue a lot!

  5. Nora Daly

    Ryan, I really appreciate your comments! I think that the push for women should absolutely be gender equality. Subduing men and subordinating them is not my goal- how can we fight for equal rights if we intend to deny others of them?

    I believe that gender equality begins with gendered empowerment for women. I thought Critical Tits was a great bonding tool! Afterwards, I felt comfortable in my sex, my gender, and my body, and I believe that nudity is totally congruous with my brand of feminism.

    I am super juiced that you like my writing and ideas – there will be more of both! I’m really glad I could make you think!

  6. Babe-ra

    Tits ROCK. We are all or us, men and women, built to enjoy tits. Tits perform so many functions in society….they are sexual, they are nutritious, they have been medicalized (pink ribbons, I ask you), they have been commercialized, commodified, bra-ed and disbanded. Nice of you to just take ‘em out for a little bike ride after all they’ve done for us!

  7. Babe-ra

    Tits ROCK. We are all or us, men and women, built to enjoy tits. Tits perform so many functions in society….they are sexual, they are nutritious, they have been medicalized (pink ribbons, I ask you), they have been commercialized, commodified, bra-ed and disbanded. Nice of you to just take ‘em out for a little bike ride after all they’ve done for us!