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Riding the Red Line — with no pants — just for fun

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Updated: February 14, 2014 6:24AM

When 29-year-old model Claudine Tambuatco awoke Sunday, she hadn’t planned to ride the CTA Red Line without pants. “It just sort of happened,” she said.

About 10:30 a.m., she stumbled across a Facebook advertisement for Chicago’s eighth annual “No Pants Subway Ride.”

By noon, she was dropping trou alongside more than 100 commuters for a pantless trip south on the Red Line.

“It sounded like a good time, like a flash mob kind of thing,” said Tambuatco, barelegged at the Red Line’s North/Clybourn stop.

The “No Pants Subway Ride” was started 13 years ago by the New York-based comedy group Improv Everywhere and has since spread to more than 60 cities, organizers said.

“It’s just about getting out there and having a good time,” said Justin Hardesty, who was dressed as a priest on Sunday, even though he’s not one. He has organized the no-pants commute in Chicago since 2008. And he said Sunday was the warmest pantless day he has seen.

Participants on Sunday met near the Loyola Red Line stop to organize into groups and discuss strategy.

They milled about on the rooftop of a nearby parking garage, swigging Miller Lites and lattes and taking drags from cigarettes.

“People are going to give you weird looks. That’s fine. Act as normal as you can,” Hardesty told the crowd, after they had split into eight groups.

Filmmaker Rick Mastroianni, 22, arrived in a black suit.

“We’ll figure out something fun to say to mess with people. I’ll be on the phone, like, ‘I don’t think I’ll make the meeting today. I don’t know where my pants are,’ ” he said.

For Emily Bartsch, 19, the event was about having a good time with her friends.

“We do it every year. It’s just a lot of fun,” she said.

Raphael Mandrel, 26, said he was going to place a video phone call to his grandmother to walk her through the commute.

“She’d definitely get a kick out of it, I think,” he said.

As the participants made their way south to the Roosevelt station — each filing onto different train cars at every stop — pant-wearing Red Line passengers exchanged smiles or simply stared at their cellphones.

“I think they planned that,” a man whispered to the passenger next to him. Then he dropped his corduroys and got off the train.

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