JRS VOLUME #15; ISSUE #26
Burning Man Update: The Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 15, Issue #26 BIKES
August 5, 2011
BIKES: THE ESSENTIAL PLAYA ACCESSORY
+ WHAT KIND OF BIKE SHOULD YOU BRING TO BURNING MAN?
+ LIGHT YOUR BIKE, OR DIE
+ WHERE CAN I STILL GET A BIKE?
+ BURNING MAN'S COMMUNITY BIKES PROGRAM
+ DON'T WANT YOUR BIKE TO GET STOLEN? OK THEN ...
+ BIKE REPAIR ON THE PLAYA
+ GOT A BIG THEME CAMP? PROVIDE BIKE RACKS!
+ DISPOSING OF YOUR BIKE AFTER THE EVENT
CONNECT WITH BURNING MAN:
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Last Sunday at 5pm PST, the Golden Spike went into the ground out in the Black Rock Desert, marking the center point of what will become Black Rock City ... the point on which The Man will stand, and from which the entire city will be surveyed. In other words, here we GOOOOO! And a bit of trivia for you Burning Man trivia buffs: this year, the spike was painted silver in honor of Burning Man's 25th anniversary (or because somebody grabbed the wrong can of spray paint ... ahem). Yeah, so anyway ...
OK so today's JRS is dedicated to that wonderfully simple machine, the bicycle. Any Burner worth their dust will be the first to tell you that bikes are an absolutely ESSENTIAL item for an enjoyable Burn, right up there with WATER. The playa is BIG, people, there's LOTS to see, there's all these PEOPLE you want to play with, and all this incredible ART to experience ... and it's really really spread out!
So take a second to pretend I'm your mom. "Get a bike! Make sure it's playa-ready! Illuminate it so you don't break your neck! Get a bike lock! Don't just leave your bike on the playa! Read this JRS to learn how! Call your mother now and again!"
Burning Man is very much a bike culture ... in fact, some say Black Rock City has more bikes per capita than any city in the world. Cool, huh? OK, you get the point. Bikes! If you don't have one, you'll be bummed. If yours falls apart, you'll be especially bummed. Don't let this happen to you ... read on!
Thanks to our buddy Nathan Aaron Heller for all his help with compiling the Reno-based aspects of this JRS!
The Man burns in 29 dayyyyyys!
WHAT KIND OF BIKE SHOULD YOU BRING TO BURNING MAN?
For the easiest cycling on the playa surface, the ideal bicycle is a beach cruiser with fat tires, or a mountain bike. Thin 10-speed type tires can make for some tough travel.
It should be in good enough shape to withstand abuse and ride smoothly, but keep in mind the playa turns any bike into a rustbucket in short order, so don't bring your multi-thousand dollar mountain bike if you don't plan on either having it destroyed, or doing some serious cleaning and restoration work on it after the event. Or you're a masochist made of money.
Many participants (this Rabbit included) have a dedicated "playa bike" that's used exclusively for Burning Man ... so just go ahead and consider that.
The best information about bikes at Burning Man -- including what kind of bike is recommended to bring, how to maintain it, how to be safe and keep it from being stolen -- can be found in your Survival Guide (which you've read, right?), and also online at the Burning Man website, riiiiiiight here:
LIGHT YOUR BIKE, OR DIE
It's super freakin' dangerous to ride around on an unlit bike at night. Dangerous for you, and for those around you. So get some lights and put them on your bike. And we're not talking about weak-kneed pansy lights either ... get good ones that you can see from afar. A headlight and a taillight are key, too.
There's a lot of people running around on playa at night, and guess what? If your bike isn't lit, THEY CAN'T SEE YOU. Riding an unlit bike is just asking to get whacked, and nursing a broken collarbone is a less-than-ideal way to spend your Burn. Without a headlight, you might not see that dude sleeping (read: speed bump) on the open playa. At the very least, it's a lot easier to find your bike amongst the acres of other bikes if you light it uniquely.
So please, if you take just *one* thing away from this JRS, it's this: light your bike. Or die.
WHERE CAN I STILL GET A BIKE?
Say you're flying into Reno, or you don't want to haul a bike from across the country. We've got a few favorite bike shops every year that really take care of us Burners, and we'd like to let you know about them again...
Black Rock Bicycles
7550 Hillview Drive - 775-972-3336
The only bike outfit in Reno catering primarily to Burners, Black Rock Bikes offers brand new, high quality cruisers for women and men at very reasonable prices, as well as a variety of bike accessories (el-wire and other lighting, locks, bells, baskets, racks, fashion, and backup supplies). Due to enormous demand for their bikes all summer, they have a limited supply left -- get 'em while they last. To get one, go to their website at http://www.blackrockbicycles.com. NOTE: They are out of rentals -- something to check out early next year. And, finally, if you want to return a bike purchased from this shop post-Burning Man, they will donate money for the value of the bike to Washoe County Safe Kids, a local program supporting the prevention of unintentional injuries to kids.
Reno Bike Project
541 East Fourth Street - 775-323-4488
A community bike shop operated by Burners near downtown Reno, this is the place in town to get a well-cared-for recycled bike for life on the playa at a great price. They also repair bikes, and carry el-wire and various other lighting and accessories, such as baskets, racks, bells, and backup supplies. They will also take and recycle bikes back from you post-Burning Man. IMPORTANT NOTE: Reno Bike Project is unable to reserve bike purchases over the phone, so you will have to visit the shop in-person to purchase a bike. RBP is open 9am-9pm around Burning Man time. Call ahead though for possible after-hours appointments and to see if they still have bikes.
Final Notes on Bikes in Reno:
First, the Kiwanis Bike Program, due to enormous demand again this year, has no bikes left for purchase at their shop. However, you can get one -- while they last -- in-person during Burning Man at the Save Mart Supermarket, located at 525 Keystone Avenue, 775-786-2150. For next year, best to contact Kiwanis in the spring to get one for sure.
Second, the other very popular Rats Bikes of Reno, which offers rentals exclusively to long-distance Burners, has been out of bikes all summer. If you live way afar from BRC and are looking for a real good bike rental for Black Rock City in 2011, remember to send Rat an email early in 2012 at nv_desert_rat (at) nvbell (dot) net.
Finally, there are other, general bike shops in the Reno area ... please check out the Bikes page in the Reno Pages for further info:
BURNING MAN'S COMMUNITY BIKES PROGRAM
Once again, Burning Man is running the Community Bike program, offering a fleet of community bicycles available for anyone who needs a one-way ride. Community Bikes are easy to spot because they are painted BRIGHT GREEN, with no visible brand and/or the words "YELLOW BIKE" painted on the frame.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when using a Community Bike:
- Community Bikes are for temporary use by anyone without immediate access to their own bike. This is not YOUR loaner bike for the week. Bike rides are only a one-way, temporary guarantee.
- If a Community Bike breaks while you're using it, use Radical Self-Reliance to get it repaired for the next person. Check with Playa Info at Center Camp for a repair camp if you can't Do-It-Yourself (DIY).
- NEVER LOCK A COMMUNITY BIKE. The bike camp team will cut any locks from community bikes. Don't bring a Community Bike into your tent or RV, and don't take it home when you leave the playa.
- Community Bikes are meant for short trips. Grab a community bike, make your trek, and then drop it off where you found it, or leave it in an obvious public place. Do not keep a community bike in your camp.
- Community Bikes should be treated with respect, as if it was your own. Be nice to the bike. Don't trash it, vandalize it or part it out! It's a shared community resource. And don't forget personal hygiene ... pants are required while riding a community bike.
We heart the Community Bike program. Let's keep it working. Here's a blog post about it, if you want to share it with your friends:
DON'T WANT YOUR BIKE TO GET STOLEN? OK THEN ...
If you don't want your bike stolen on the playa, then always lock it up wherever you leave it. Rocket science, right? The unfortunate reality is that bicycles get stolen (or "recklessly borrowed") because they're unlocked. This has been the case for years and years. The only bikes that should never be locked are GREEN Community Bikes.
Here's a handy tip: you can always sharpie your name and camp address on the frame of your bike, and maybe some kind soul will find your bike and have the presence of mind to return it to you ("stealing" tends to be of a spontaneous and ultimately temporary nature more often than not). We'd guess the odds of that happening are actually pretty good: the great majority of Burners are good peeps.
Burning Man is not responsible if your bike gets stolen. We're supposed to say that, I think. Either way, we're not.
BIKE REPAIR ON PLAYA
The key concept when it comes to bike repair on playa is? Self-reliance. You should bring everything you need to service your own bike, including basic tools, a bike pump and extra innertubes or a patch kit.
There is at least one bike repair camp on playa, but (and maybe this is petty), we're not going to tell you where they are, lest they become your first resort and get swamped. They should be your *last* resort. Anyway, they provide NO parts, ONLY tools. If you really need 'em, you can find 'em.
So, but again: self-reliance. Key concept.
GOT A BIG THEME CAMP? PROVIDE BIKE RACKS!
If your theme camp is planning on attracting the masses, do everybody a favor and provide some bike racks! Strewn bikes can present a public safety hazard, considering how hard it is for Rangers and emergency service personnel to respond quickly to a situation when they have to wend their way through a thicket of tossed bikes. Information about building simple and effective bike racks can be found on Burningman.com:
DISPOSING OF YOUR BIKE AFTER THE EVENT
The absolute least cool thing you can do with your bike at the end of the event is to abandon it on the playa. Way. WAY Uncool. Our hardworking crews are forced to round up all the abandoned bikes at the end of the event and dispose of them. Lots of bikes. And that sucks.
If you really don't want that bike anymore, that's cool, but please ... recycle it in Reno, Sparks, or Wadsworth, as part of the 2011 Recycling Project. Wait, you can do that? Yes! And not to mention all of them bikes will be donated to the Kiwanis or American Legion Bike Programs in Reno and Fernley. Nice. Beats ditching them on the playa, right? Same result, only with postive Karma. OK, so where? Here:
Whole Foods Market 6139 South Virginia Street, Reno, 775-852-8023
Save Mart Supermarket
525 Keystone Ave, Reno, 775-786-2150
195 West Plumb Ln, Reno (back of store), 775-786-0138
565 East Prater Way, Sparks, 775-359-9450
9750 Pyramid Lake Hwy, Sparks, 775-425-2700
1299 Washeim Street, State Route 447, Wadsworth, 775-575-0707
Ok, and when? August 26 - September 7 ... recycling centers are open 24 hours.
And may we just add ... big props to people in the community who help make programs like these happen.
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Soundtrack for this JRS: MSTRKRFT