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Philly's 2d annual Naked Bike Ride set for Sunday

Come Sunday at dusk, Clifford Greer will bare all and take to his bicycle for one reason: "to promote fuel-conscious consumption."

Come Sunday at dusk, Clifford Greer will bare all and take to his bicycle for one reason: "to promote fuel-conscious consumption."

"That's the No. 1 message that we're trying to send," said Greer, 31, a stagehand, audiovisual technician, and lead organizer of the Philadelphia Naked Bike Ride, set to make its second annual appearance.

"Turning your car into a bicycle and using it daily," Greer added, "is probably the simplest thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint." The naked trek serves to draw attention to the cause.

To the 4,000 people signed up at, organizers will e-mail - at 11:50 p.m. Friday - the official bike route.

In recent years, naked bike rides have been held in cities around the world to promote cyclist safety and cleaner air. Last summer was the first in Philadelphia, drawing more than 700 mostly nervous riders, Greer said, promoting various causes, including world peace and saving whales.

When participants rode off from the gathering point near 25th and Locust Streets, very few were naked. Many had on swimsuits. Men pedaled in briefs. Some ladies wore carefully applied body paint, or went topless, promoting either road safety or a major traffic jam. As the ride progressed peacefully along the seven-mile course from the Schuylkill River Trail on Kelly Drive past people dining in Rittenhouse Square, around City Hall, and up to Northern Liberties, some said they considered baring all.

"These are the kinds of things that celebrate a city - that we can have fun and have fun on two wheels," said Alex Coty, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia, whose ambassadors will be on hand to lecture on bicycling safely. "There's lots of reasons why we can encourage people to bike - health, air quality. But in the end, the things that get people riding bikes is the joy of it."

For Greer, the most memorable moment of the inaugural ride was being offered a police escort. "We were nervous about the reception we were going to get from law enforcement," he said, "and it was overwhelmingly positive."

The feeling was mutual.

"They rode quick, and left," said police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore, noting that there were no related arrests last year. "Once again, we're aware of [the ride], and we're going to monitor the activity. We don't anticipate any problem. But if there are, we're going to address them right away."

Vanore said police would investigate any complaints of lewd behavior.

For the naked ride, nudity is optional, said Greer, who bikes six or seven miles a day, fully clothed. "We tolerate all levels of confidence," he said.

Participants are encouraged to wear sunscreen, however, along with footwear - and helmets.