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Bikes at Burning Man Part Two: Let’s go ride at night!

August 9, 2009

If you’ve read this blog with any regularity, you’ve figured out that Art Predator is way pro-bike. So it stands to reason that Art Predator would push bikes for Burning Man.

But having a bike at Burning Man isn’t a choice–it’s a requirement to fully appreciate the Burning Man experience.

Black Rock City is BIG. Like really BIG. Heck, it’s got a population of 50,000 people! To house that many people takes a space so big that unless you have a bike, you don’t stand a chance of getting around and seeing much of the art or making it across the playa to check out some giant flashing thing or to figure out what’s burning or just to get from the rave at 2 o’clock and the Esplanade back to your camp at 5:50 and Genome so you can stock up on liquids or get more batteries for your headlight.

Lights. That’s another topic I’ve been blathering about here for months. On the streets of a regular city, it might be illegal, adn it might be dangerous but you will probably make it home wthout a light on your bike.

At Burning Man, unless you have your own art car, having a bike and having it lit well is absolutely a matter of having a good time and a bad one.

To that end, get out your bike, get it in shape and you too! Take it out for a spin a time or two every day and night from now until Burning Man! Make sure the lights work–and you do too.

To light us up, we’ve got rechargeable headlights on our bikes, Monkeylectric LED lights on the spokes of a tire, and “sparks” on our valves. Last night, on the Animal Fair Ride, I left my headlight charging at home (I know, duh!) With these lights and riding close to the Big Monkey with his charged headlight I was able to ride home fine since my wheels gave off lots of light (and looked really cool too!)

At Burning Man, lights on your bike take on a whole new meaning. If you can’t see, you just might run into that couple making out under the moon and the stars. Or an art project. Or just about anything you can imagine.

And you’ll lose track of your friends which is really tricky under the best of circumstances. If your lights on your bike (and YOU!) are distinct, unique, it will be a lot easier for your friends to keep track of you and vice versa.

On the Burning Moms list, a big question is about babes and bikes. Yes, you can bring kids to Burning Man and your kids can ride!

We brought a trailer in 2005 and 2007 when our son was 22 months (almost 2) and 46 months (almost 4). When he was younger, we bundled him up and he slept through the night as we adventured around the playa. At almost 4, he slept for awhile, but mostly loved traveling in the trailer and jumping out to dance with us or explore various art pieces.  The trailer also allowed us to have a small cooler in the back and extra clothes made for extra padding for him. We’re hoping he’s going to fit in it for one more year.

In the past, our son rode in a seat behind mine. He can still fit there, but this year we’re going to bring his trailabike which attaches to the Big Monkey’s. We will also bring a two wheeler for him ride to the portapotties and around camp. We will have a lot of bike options depending on who’s going where when and how!

In addition to lots of info on this site about bikes for Burning Man, here are some important links and info to get you going on the Playa.


WHAT KIND OF BIKE SHOULD YOU BRING? The ideal bicycle is a funky beach cruiser with fat tires, or a mountain bike. It must be in good shape enough to survive and ride smoothly, but not so nice that you’re gonna worry about the toll the Playa takes. More here:


WHERE CAN I BUY A BIKE in RENO? Black Rock Bicycles at 7550 Hillview Dr (775- 972-3336) is the only bike outfit in Reno primarily catering to Burners.  Brand new  durable cruisers for women and men, for rent or purchase.  To make  rental arrangements, visit  To buy a  bike or bike-accessories (lock, bell, lights, basket, rack), Black  Rock Bicycles has also teamed up with two local Save Mart supermarkets  to sell new cruisers at the stores, now and through the week of  Burning Man.  You can also find Black Rock Bicycles for purchase at  Prism Magic Clothing.  Locations:

Save Mart Supermarket
525 Keystone Avenue, Reno, 775-786-2150
195 West Plumb Lane, Reno, 775-786-0138

Prism Magic Clothing
2161 Pyramid Way, Sparks, 775-356-5577


COMMUNITY BIKES Share and share alike:


LOCK YOUR BIKE.  Bicycles get “borrowed” when they’re unlocked. Sharpie your name and camp address  on the frame of your bike, and maybe some kind soul will find your  bike and return it to you.


BIKE REPAIR ON PLAYA 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; they provide NO parts, ONLY tools. Bring a spare innertube or 3 to share. One year I got 2 flats. I had one spare. Love those guys forever who saved my bike and my burn for a cold beer.


PROVIDE BIKE RACKS in YOUR CAMP!  Strewn bikes can present a public safety hazard. Here’s how to build simple bike rack


DISPOSING OF YOUR BIKE AT THE END OF THE EVENT Recycle it in Reno by donating it to the Kiwanis Bike
Program for Kids in Reno:

Whole Foods Market
6139 South Virginia Street, Reno

Save Mart Supermarket
Reno: 525 Keystone Ave (back), 775-786-2150; 195 West Plumb Ln (back), 775-786-0138
Sparks: 565 East Prater Way, 775-359-9450: 9750 Pyramid Lake Hwy, 775-425-2700

Well, that’s a lot of where what and when for bikes! Got any other questions? Throw em at me! If I can’t answer them, I bet the Big Moneky can!

Oh, and, like KCRW, this is my summer subscription drive! Please subscribe! I take gifts, also–wine, chocolate, books, goodies, money…If you love it, I bet I will too!

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 29, 2009 9:57 am

    nice story.thanks

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