Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Day #48: Celebrating the Solstice

Today's Route: Rest Day in Seattle (6 miles)
Total Trip Miles: 2,221

As fate would have it, our rest day in Seattle happened to coincide with the annual Fremont Solstice Parade. Fate was clearly telling me that this was the year to ride my bicycle in the parade.

Are you ready for a little game? Here we go! Look at the two photos below. Can you spot the differences?

A photo of me and Alex, from my A Commercial Break post.
(Photo by Ferit.)

Alex and me, riding in today's Fremont Solstice Parade.
(Photo by Ferit.)

Yup, you're right on! In the second photo, Alex is in front, Alex is wearing a helmet, and we're riding on gravel instead of a paved road. Can you spot any other differences?

The following blog post excerpt may be helpful in spotting another difference. It is from Day #26: Naked Bicyclists, which I wrote during last summer's cross-country bicycle trip.

Yesterday was the summer solstice - the longest day of the year. Yeah solstice!

I, of course, love the summer solstice for all of the wonderful daylight. But I also love the solstice because of the Fremont Solstice Parade.

Fremont is, without a doubt, the funkiest neighborhood in Seattle. And its annual Solstice Parade is, without a doubt, one of my favorite Seattle events.

Why do I love the Fremont Solstice Parade so? Because of the naked bicyclists, silly! Yes, each year, hundreds of cyclists bike nekkid in the parade.

Well, to be truthful, most aren't full-on nekkid. Most have some degree of artsy body paint covering up their vitals, as well as the body's largest organ.

To me, riding in the parade looks like great fun. It's something I've wanted to do for a few years now. But I've never quite worked up the courage to get full-on naked, have someone paint me (oh, that would tickle), and then ride in a parade where spectators hoot, point, and giggle.

And take photos.

I think the biggest hurdle has been the thought of my co-workers having photos of me on their cameras. Yeah, that's just something I don't exactly want floating around the office. But, since I no longer have co-workers, I'd be game.

The problem is that the parade is being held today. In Seattle. And I am in Michigan. Poo bah! I guess I'll have to wait until next year's solstice.

While we're on the topic of naked bicyclists, perhaps now is a good time to say that bicycling does wonders for the naked body.

I probably don't weigh any less now compared with when I started the trip (as muscle weighs more than fat), but I've definitely trimmed up. I think it's safe to say that my winter hibernation layer has disappeared.

Though the fat has disappeared, tan lines have now made their appearance, despite the daily application of some heavy-duty suntan lotion.

The most noticeable tan lines are on my legs, where my bike shorts end. Surprisingly, I don't have any tan lines at my sock lines. (I'm wearing socks with my Tevas everyday so as to minimize the Teva lines.) As I'm wearing long sleeves, gloves, and a neck scarf, I fortunately don't have too much sun exposure to my upper body.

I ramble. Truth of the matter is, though, that there's no better time to be a naked cyclist in the Fremont Solstice Parade than when your body has been tranformed by a long cycling adventure.

Now that you have some context, are you able to spot another difference?

I mentioned to Alex a few days ago that I wanted to ride in the parade. When I asked if he'd be interested in joining, he was instantly on board -- there was no hesitation whatsoever. Coolio.

Julie, Alex's girlfriend, painted Alex's base layer. An artist helped to replicate the sun on the back of Alex's jersey. The paint job is pretty spot-on, eh?

Julie models Alex's real jersey, while Alex models the real paint job.

Ferit did a great job replicating my cycling attire. To spice up my plain blue merino wool jersey, Ferit took some artistic license in adding some feminine swirls and flowers. In case his early retirement plans don't work out, Ferit may have a future in textile design.

Me and my jersey.

Ferit signed his artwork on the back of my right leg -- Little Rebel.

The signature of the artist, and a fitting description of the cyclist.
(Photo by Ferit.)

Once we were painted, we were ready to ride! This was our view as we patiently waited for the parade to begin.

The naked cyclists line up for the parade.

In my humblest of opinions, I think our paint jobs make us look as though we are two ordinary cycling tourists who just happened to get swept up in the parade.

Just two ordinary cyclists, caught up in a parade.
(Photo by Julie.)

Ride my bicycle nekkid in the Fremont Solstice Parade. Check! The diem has been carped. And what's awesome is that I didn't even have to show off any of my tan lines!

Now that I have participated in the Fremont Solstice Parade as a nekkid cyclist, I can cross one more item off the bucket list! And now that the bucket is more full, we'll take off again tomorrow to complete the final leg of our trip.

Believe it or not, there's skin under that paint.
(Photo by Ferit.)

Happy solstice, and hello summer!


  1. OMG!! Sarah and Alex, you rock! So cool, I am happy you did that!!

  2. If I wasn't impressed before with you (and I was) I am now!! And may I say cycling has done amazing things to you! (not that I noticed of course)


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