JRS VOLUME #17; ISSUE #26
Burning Man Update: The Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 17, Issue #26 BIKES
July 10, 2013
BIKES: THE ESSENTIAL PLAYA ACCESSORY:
+ WHAT KIND OF BIKE SHOULD YOU BRING TO BURNING MAN?
+ LIGHT YOUR BIKE, OR DIE
+ WHERE CAN I GET A BIKE CLOSE TO BURNING MAN?
+ BURNING MAN'S COMMUNITY BIKES PROGRAM
+ DON'T WANT YOUR BIKE TO GET STOLEN? OK THEN ...
+ 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. 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-oriented culture ... in fact, Black Rock City has more bikes per capita than any city in the WORLD. Cool, huh? OK then, onward ...
Here are THREE KEY PIECES OF INFORMATION FOR 2013:
#1: LIGHT YOUR BIKE. There's gonna be 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 the hoards of parked bikes.
#2: Unless you're hoping someone steals it, LOCK YOUR BIKE. Whether it happens by accident or intention, walking out of a theme camp to find your bike missing sucks, especially when your friends still have theirs and you're stuck walking.
#3: LABEL YOUR BIKE. Mark your bike with some identifying information, like your camp name and address, so if it does go missing, a thoughtful participant can reunite you with your beloved wheels.
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 52 days!
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 having it destroyed, or doing some serious cleaning and restoration work on it after the event. Or you're just 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 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.
If you fail to light your bike, and you hear somebody screaming "DARKWAD!!" they're probably talking to you.
So please, if you take just *one* thing away from this JRS, it's this: light your bike. Or die.
WHERE CAN I GET A BIKE CLOSE TO BURNING MAN?
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 in the region that still have bikes...
Black Rock Bicycles
Located in northern Reno just a few hours from the playa, Black Rock Bicycles has cruisers for rent, and affordable new and used cruisers for purchase. They come highly recommended, and they always sell out, so reserve early. They also have bike supplies (lighting, baskets, bells, locks, etc.). And, to help make the journey to the playa easier, customers can ship their supplies to them 30 days prior to Burning Man, have them stored without charge, and pick the supplies up along with their bike on their way to the playa. They'll also ship your supplies back to you after the Burn for the cost of the shipping (items must be boxed and ready to ship). Check out their website for contact information, reservations, and questions at www.blackrockbicycles.com
Burner Bikes LLC
Barrie and Randy in Gerlach (just 8 miles from Burning Man) are renting very affordable used mountain bikes or cruisers in good condition again this year. You can reserve a bike and coordinate with them now for a pick-up time in Gerlach on your way to the playa. They also have bike baskets and locks available for sale, and you will be able to return your bike to them in Gerlach after Burning Man. Best to reserve one now while they last! To do so, and for further information, email them at randy (at) gbis (dot) com. You can also call them at 775-686-8200 or 775-557-2290, but it's best to email them first.
Kiwanis Bike Program
145 Catron Drive, Reno
Located in a new spot in north Reno, our good friends at the Kiwanis Bike Program have quality and affordable used bicycles still available for purchase. All funds support repairs and donation of bikes, as well as bicycling education, for at-risk kids in the Reno area. And if you return your bike to Kiwanis on your way home from the playa, they’ll refurbish and reuse it for kids! You can also store your bike with them until next year's Burn. Pretty awesome people, right? NOTE: Due to the enormous demand for their bikes and support for their program, they are unable to take bike reservations. You can, however, get one at their shop while supplies last. Hours will be 9am-9pm during Burning Man. More info at www.kiwanisbikes.org. If you have any questions, email them at kiwanis_bikes (at) sbcglobal (dot) net.
Reno Bike Project
541 East Fourth Street -- 775-323-4488
Reno Bike Project is a great place to get a well-cared-for and very affordable recycled bike, and to support an invaluable community program. They also repair bikes and carry lighting and accessories, such as el-wire kits, baskets, racks, bells, and backup supplies. They'll also take back and recycle your bike after Burning Man. All purchases go to support this non-profit community bike shop and its mission to make Reno and the world a more bike-friendly place. 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. More info at renobikeproject.com
Rat's Bikes - Did you rent a bike from Rat's Bikes?
We have previously recommended Ray "Rat" Leslie of Reno-Sparks, Nevada, who rented bikes for the playa exclusively to those travelling from overseas. Unfortunately, we've received several reports he has taken reservations but is no longer responding to inquiries. We have made repeated attempts to contact him without success and thus we can no longer recommend him for playa bikes. If you have already made a bike rental arrangement with Rat and have not heard back from him, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, as we may be able to point you in another direction for a bike in the Reno-Sparks area.
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.
The only way this program works is if everybody adheres to the guidelines, which are:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- NEVER LOCK A COMMUNITY BIKE. Burning Man's bike 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 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:
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Soundtrack for this JRS: Tennis, Atoms For Peace