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Anchorage naked bike ride canceled after warning from police

Even after organizers canceled the event, the Anchorage Police Department has a warning for anyone planning on participating in a mass naked bike ride Aug. 21 in downtown Anchorage: Don't do it. Riding your bicycle sans clothing in Anchorage is illegal, APD says -- a violation of public decency laws or worse.

The event hit Facebook in late July. It was supposed to start at the parking lot on Third Avenue where the Anchorage Market and Festival is held at 7 p.m. on Aug. 21. The naked tour, planned for 1.5 to 3 miles, even had a tagline: "Bare as you dare." It also had recommendations for possible participants on how naked they should be: "You must be as naked as you feel comfortable with. Hint: the more naked, the better."

The event's Facebook page was taken down after organizers were contacted by Anchorage police, but several automatically created pages (not created by the organizers) for the event remain alive on the Internet.

APD Sgt. Denielle Hrovat said she tracked down the organizers of the event to tell them that they could be cited if people rode naked in Anchorage.

Hrovat said that in Anchorage, naked means "showing any genital areas or anus."

"There could be criminal charges (for the organizers) if someone is arrested for indecent exposure," Hrovat said. "They could be charged as eliciting a crime to occur."

Hrovat said the charge could even be a felony for someone with a prior public indecency charge who might be seen naked by a child.

The organizers said that before they canceled the event more than 500 people had signed up to ride naked.

Naked bike rides have been around for decades. The first ever World Naked Bike Ride, held in 2004, has blossomed into annual nude rides in St. Louis, Portland, Chicago, London, Berlin and Boston, among other cities.

Some are held as protests against dependence on oil. Others are organized as artistic and community events.

No matter the reason, APD said it was aware that some may still want to make a denuded dash through the city's center on what may prove to be a brisk August evening.

"We will go in and monitor it," Hrovat said.