JRS VOLUME #16; ISSUE #27
Burning Man Update: The Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 16, Issue #27
July 27, 2012
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 PLAYA
+ GOT A BIG THEME CAMP? PROVIDE BIKE RACKS!
+ DISPOSING OF YOUR BIKE AFTER THE EVENT
CONNECT WITH BURNING MAN:
+ Burning Man on your favorite social networks
Black Rock City is a vast open space with incredible things to see, experience and participate in. Let's just say you're really really going to want to have a bike to get around and explore, cuz like we said: VAST. Burning Man is very much a bike culture ... in fact, Black Rock City has more bikes per capita than any city in the WORLD. Cool, huh? OK then, onward ...
Here are four KEY PIECES OF INFORMATION FOR 2012:
#1: This year is going to be one of the DUSTIEST we've seen in like, ever. There is a thick layer of loose dust on top of the playa just waiting to get kicked up. So, this is NOT the year to bring a bike with narrow tires ... you're going to want one with FAT tires to push through the heavy spots. Yes, really.
#2: While we normally recommend single-speed bikes so you don't need to deal with gearing malfunctions in the alkaline dust, you might consider bringing a geared bike this year so you can shift into low when you hit the deep stuff.
#3: LIGHT YOUR BIKE. There are gonna be around 60,000 people out there. If you can't be seen in the dark, people are going to run into you. And that's a great way to ruin your Burn (let's face it, the medical tent is kind of a downer). Plus creative lighting makes it easier for YOU to find your bike amongst hoards of parked bikes.
#4: Unless you're hoping to get it stolen, LOCK YOUR BIKE. Whether it happens by accident or intentionally, walking out of some fabulous theme camp to find your bike missing sucks, especially when your friends still have theirs and you're stuck walking.
So yes, this is us, loving you up with the beta to make your biking at the Burn better. Get a bike, get it playa ready, reuse or dispose of it properly after the event, and have fun out there!
The Man burns in 37 days, people!
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 or road bike tires can make for some tough travel. They're just not playa-friendly.
Your bike should be in good enough shape to survive and ride smoothly, but 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.
Many participants (this Rabbit included) have a dedicated "playa bike" that's used exclusively for Burning Man ... just sayin'.
The best information about bikes at Burning Man -- including recommended bikes, how to maintain them, how to be safe and keep them 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 come on, 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 others 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 there that still have bikes, and we'd like to let you know about them again...
Black Rock Bicycles
7875 North Virginia Street, Unit B -- 775-972-3336
Black Rock Bicycles is highly recommended as a transportation headquarters for rentals as well as sales of bikes for the playa. Having a bicycle -- especially a reliable, comfortable, and stylish one, with fat tires and a soft seat! -- is a large part of the Burning Man experience and tradition, and is pretty much an essential to one's overall enjoyment in Black Rock City. Located in Reno just a few hours from the playa, they offer rentals as well as sell new/used bikes at affordable prices, which have been professionally cared for by experienced bike mechanics (who also happen to be fellow Burners). Black Rock Bikes also has everything you may need to be able to set your bike apart from the rest, including lighting supplies, baskets, bells, locks, and many other items needed to have fun and be safe on the playa. This year, they still have plenty of bikes for sell or rent, will have extended hours, and have moved to a new location. Please check out their website for reservati ons, pick-up arrangements, and for other details here: www.blackrockbicycles.com
Reno Bike Project
541 East Fourth Street -- 775-323-4488
A community bike shop operated by Burners near downtown Reno, this is a great place to get a well-cared-for and very affordable recycled bike for life on the playa. They also repair bikes and carry lighting and accessories, such as baskets, racks, bells, and backup supplies. They also will take and recycle your bike back after 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-8pm around Burning Man time. Call ahead though for possible after-hours appointment and to see if they still have bikes, as they go fast!
A Few Final Notes on Bikes in Reno:
The very popular Rats Bikes of Reno, which offers rentals exclusively to long-distance Burners, has been out of bikes all summer. Yep, he's out. However, if you are looking for a real good bike rental for Black Rock City in 2013, AND you live outside of the United States or really far away from BRC (like 1000 miles), remember to send Rat an email early in 2013 at nv_desert_rat (at) nvbell (dot) net.
Also, the world famous Kiwanis Bike Program in Reno is also out of bikes -- they take really good care of Burners with fixed-up recycled bikes so ... they ran out weeks ago. For 2013, best to contact Kiwanis in the spring (not now!) to get one for sure here kiwanis_bikes (at) sbcglobal (dot) net.
You can potentially get a Kiwanis bike during Burning Man at the very popular Save Mart Supermarket in Reno. BUT ... you can only get one in-person and only while they last ... so don't bother trying to reserve a bike before-hand. Go here for the store's location and to find out what else is going on that pit-stop:
Finally, there are other, general bike shops in the Reno area ... please check out the Bikes page in the Preparation - Reno Pages for further info:
BURNING MAN'S COMMUNITY BIKES PROGRAM
Once again, Burning Man's Community Bike program is 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, 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 leave 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. And that sucks.
If you really don't want that bike anymore, that's ok, but please recycle it in Reno, Wadsworth, or Cedarville, as part of the Exodus Trash and Recycling Network. Wait, what ... you can do that? Yes! And not to mention all of those bikes will be donated to Bike Programs in the region in support of kids in-need. Nice. Beats ditching them on the playa, right? Same result, only with positive Karma. OK, so where and when? Here:
THE BURNING MAN EXODUS TRASH AND RECYCLING NETWORK (EXTRA!)
Saturday, September 1 through Wednesday, September 5, 2012 -- OPEN 24 HOURS!
There are several convenient 24-hour trash and recycling centers along all Exodus routes following Burning Man. Recycling is free and trash disposal is approximately $3 per 35-gallon trash bag.
Accepted Recyclables: Bicycles, plastics (SPI 1-5), glass, all metals, paper, cardboard, plastic bags, household (rechargeable and disposable) batteries, and non-perishable food and water. Please have your recyclables as clean as possible, and sorted and de-bagged before depositing into the appropriate containers. Please deposit trash separately into appropriate dumpsters. Human and other hazardous waste is NOT permitted.
To the SOUTH, EAST, and WEST:
1299 Washeim Street, State Route 447, Wadsworth, NV, 775-575-0707
Save Mart Supermarkets
525 Keystone Avenue, Reno, NV, 775-786-2150
195 West Plumb Lane, Reno, NV, 775-786-0138 (back of store)
565 East Prater Way, Sparks, NV, 775-359-9060
9750 Pyramid Lake Highway, Sparks, NV, 775-425-2700
Whole Foods Market
6139 South Virginia Street, Reno, NV, 775-852-8023
And to the NORTH:
The Cedarville Collective (at Rabbit Traxx)
580 Patterson Street, Cedarville, CA, 530-279-2022
EXTRA proceeds from recyclables, and proceeds beyond expenses for garbage disposal, will be donated to help support new Black Rock Solar installations and other local community programs in the region. Non-perishable food and water will be donated to local Food Banks. Bicycles will be donated to local bike programs in support of kids. Your participation and care are very much appreciated in the sixth year of this multi-community project!
)'( Leave No Trace On and Off the Playa )'(
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Soundtrack for this JRS: Thom Yorke, The Antlers