After spending the morning and afternoon hours of Independence day rock climbing at Barn Bluff, I had to quickly make my way back to St. Paul to get ready for the annual "Freedom From Pants Ride." I heard about this event from a friend at work, and wasn't really sure what to think, but I kept an open mind and ended up having a great time!
For those of you who don't know, the Freedom From Pants Ride is essentially a group bike ride, though it includes more drinking and dancing than most bike rides, and far less clothing. The attire of the participants was wide-ranging. Some chose to come simply in "tighty whities," while others had elaborate costumes, such as the man wearing the upper half of a Bat Man suit, along with some similarly themed underwear.
Candice and Kylie preparing for the ride.
All the participants met in NE Minneapolis and once adequately prepared, took off en masse. The scene was quite a spectacle to behold, as what seemed like a few hundred half-naked bikers engulfed the streets of Minneapolis. We made our way south on Hennepin Avenue going toward Downtown. As we rode along the group received plenty of whistles, cheers, and honks from the onlookers.
Approaching the Hennepin Avenue Bridge
Once we made it across the Hennepin Avenue Bridge we got onto the Nicollet Avenue Mall on our way to the first stop at Loring Park. When we arrived at the park the riders dismounted and broke out their refreshments. Some of the Freedom Riders had specially customized bikes with speakers that provided music at each stop. One bike even had a portable stove attached to it and it's owner was serving grilled cheese!
After Loring the troupe made it's way west to Theodore Wirth Lake Beach, riding past the Basilica of St. Mary, under I-94 and onto the Cedar Lake Trail. Here we hit a bottle neck as the trail cork-screwed up onto a bridge.
Once at the Lake another break was taken as we all enjoyed the beach at sunset.
When the sun had set and darkness was falling upon the group, we gathered our bikes to make the final leg of ride to Nicollet Island for the fire works. A Grand Finale for a pretty spectacular day!