Burning Man Bikes

You don't know the value of your bike and how it can change your week until it breaks or gets lost.  Take care of it and within your crew have basic repair tools.  Here is some info to make your bike experience better:

1) Bring a bike lock or a bike restraining system. Maybe a chain with a spring loaded clip, it doesn't have to lock, but it must make the bike hard to ride. Drunk people will "borrow" your bike and ride it 100 yds to a bathroom. When they are done at the bathroom they will not remember what the bike they rode on looked like. They will walk back and your bike is hopelessly lost in the darkness. Opulent Temple ends up with over 200 bikes to dispose of each year that were borrowed and left.

2) Put you name, playa address/camp name and home address on your bike. If we find it we will bring it back to you or put it very close to your address in BRC.  A magic marker is as fancy as you have to get.

3) Take extra tubes for your bike and an extra chain and the tools to make it happen.

4) Put a basket on your bike. You look very smart to all your friends.  Pro tip - run elastic bungee cord around the inside of the basket.  If you have a beer or tropical drink the bungee cord will hold it against the side keeping it from spilling.

5) Early in the party don't ride your bike as close to the dance floor as possible. The crowd will swell, people will trip over your bike, your bike will get moved to a location you can not find in the dark.  Sorry, refer to rule # 2.


My Burning Man Bike

6) When you get to a large camp with large numbers of bikes parked in front, consider parking your bike 200 feet away. When you decide to leave it is very easy to find as it will not be piled amongst 2000 other bikes.

7) Make your bike easily identifiable in the dark. Something large and bright or you will lose your bike in the crowd of bikes.

8) Before you put your bike down make solid references as to where it was. The Art car you parked next to will move. The bright bike you put yours next to will be gone. A good way to do this in open playa is to find 2 recognizable objects. Park between them. When looking for your bike walk the line between these two objects and you will find it. (Like put your bike between the Man and Thunderdome). When the night is over walk this line and you will find the bike.

9) Don't bring a nice bike. Someone with an expensive bikes looks like a weekender/spectator. Nice bikes will get stolen and destroyed by dust.

10) Cruisers are much nicer than mtn bikes. Your bike does not have to be fast. You have 7 days to get to where you are going.

11) Do not walk back to your camp on Saturday night without your bike and plan to go back and find it later. Your camp mates will be breaking down and will not let you leave as they will be packing.  They will also be a little bummed that you are exhausted from a night of dancing. You will never make it back to look for your bike as the BRC streets become clogged and friends will not want to fight traffic to find your bike.  Rule:  End of week, bring your bike home.

12) Put as many water bottle holders as possible on your bike. Fill them up. You might only need 1 bottle a day, but your bike is then loaded for the week. Re-use your bottled water bottles. If you forget to get the bottle holders, duct tape water to your bike.

13) Gift randomly from your bike.  Whenever heading across Playa, take a couple cold beers and give them to folks walking back from Deep Playa.

14) Get yourself a Nite Ize S-biner (see top of sidebar on right).  They work in a pinch as a lock and bike stand.  Many times when parking my bike for a just a few minutes, I will clip from my top tube to a friends top tube.  From a distance they looked locked together and unless you have done it a few times, it can be confusing to undo.  Just what is needed to stop a theft.  Also, when connecting to another bike, the bikes lean against each other forming an impromptu bike stand.

15) You can do all kinds of things to "light" your bike so you can find it in the dark.  To tell you the truth, there is no blinky light that will be bright enough to out shine all the other bikes piled amongst each other.  To make my bike stand out I coated the entire thing in DOT reflective tape.  It looks pretty dark in the pile but I also carry with me a small flashlight.  I can take that flashlight and slowly scan a pile of bikes and when the light reflects off the tape, it is amazingly bright.  This is by far the best thing I have done to find my bike in the dark.

16) Harbor Freight sells very short combination cable locks.  They are like 7 dollars and you can carry them without even noticing.  Best bike lock for my uses.