Public rental bikes used during Naked Bike Ride

NEW ORLEANS -- The organizers of the 2019 World Naked Bike Ride in New Orleans ran into a potential problem they didn’t see coming - participants using public rental bikes.

Many of the eye-popping sights spotted as the riders pedaled their way through the French Quarter June 8 occurred atop Blue Bikes, a fact organizers of the ride say they didn’t anticipate.

The publicly available rental bikes, which are sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana, hit the streets of New Orleans in 2017.

Members of Blue Bikes New Orleans can simply walk up to any Blue Bike parked at dozens of designated spots around the city, enter their membership code to pop open the lock, and pedal away.

You must be 18 years old to ride a Blue Bike, but, as the World Naked Bike Ride showed, you don’t have to be wearing clothes.

“This is the first year Blue Bikes were widely used by participants, and we had not anticipated this. As such, the organization didn't say anything about it beforehand,” World Naked Bike Ride New Orleans Head of Security Shane Steinkamp said. “We will make such a statement next year.”

With temperatures in New Orleans exceeding 90 degrees on the day of the ride, questions of personal hygiene arise for both the naked bike riders and whoever rented the bikes next.

“Most riders already cover their bike seat with a plastic bag or a towel,” Steinkamp said. “We assume that participants will use common sense.”

Officials with Blue Bikes New Orleans have yet to respond to questions about how often the Blue Bikes are cleaned.