The deep, fine, poofy dust that was prevalent on the playa in 2017 wrecked havoc on the crank bearings of most beach cruisers and cheaper mountain bikes. The more expensive bikes with sealed bottom bracket bearings weren’t as affected by this phenomenon.
At the Bike Gods bike repair we replaced crank bearings at an unprecedented rate from previous years. We even brought in extra bearings from Reno twice until the bike shop there was sold out of bearings. So if you rode a bike at Burning Man in 2017 with a “one piece crank” you’ll probably need to service or replace the bearings. This video shows you how.
The bearings and grease are available at your bike shop. Please support your Local Bike Shop.
The Ottolock, an ultra-light bike lock from Otto Design Works. Lighter weight and way more secure than a cable lock but more expensive too.
The Ottolock comes in different colors and different lengths.
At 2017 Burning Man 3,754 bikes were abandoned at Black Rock City by participants.
The following link is an interesting article on how the Yellow Bike Program handled the crisis.
If you bend your wheel at Burning Man all is not lost. Check out this playa bike hack that should get you through the week.
From John “Halcyon” Styn on the Burning Man Journal “You need a bike. And you need to lock it. Or you need to borrow a Yellow Bike, and follow the rules. You can’t park in the street and (if you borrow a Yellow Bike) you need to wear pants.
Burning Man is not a utopia It is a self-correcting system.”
“Having a bicycle at Burning Man is crucial, if not essential, to your overall enjoyment and experience within Black Rock City. Given the rapid growth and expansion of the city in recent years, a pedal-powered means of navigation is a prudent, high-priority item when you’re packing.” ~ Burningman.org
The optimum playa bike is a single speed beach cruiser. This bicycle is characterized by:
- Fat tires. To easily glide over the sand and soft spots.
- Single speed drive train. No derailleurs to get bent in transport or cables to get gunked up with playa grit.
- Coaster brake. No cable brake maintenance issues.
- Saddle. A wide, cushy, sprung bike seat.
- Kickstand. To park your bike easily.
- Lights. The more lights the better – but at least a headlight and tail light.
- Lock. Every bike needs a lock at the burn.
- Comfortable upright riding position.
- Reliable. Make sure the bicycle is in good workable order.
Keep it simple!
brought to you by
Black Rock Community Transit (BRCT) is a collectively run organization within DPW that builds hundreds of bicycles every year and deploys them for free use around Black Rock City. Get on our bikes and ride!
Our vision is that each Black Rock City citizen is empowered to rely on bicycling as a reliable, pleasurable and realistic mode of everyday transportation. Furthermore, we want those citizens to:
1. Take this behavior back to their hometown, and
2. Become agents of change within their communities.
You will see lots of tall bikes at Burning Man. Because they are so much fun!
The correct riding position can make all the difference between enjoying your pedaling time at Burning Man or a painful experience.
This short video shows how to adjust a playa bike for the most comfortable and efficient riding position. The example bike is a beach cruiser (probably the most commonly found bike on the playa) but the recommendations are applicable to all bikes.
- The saddle should be level
- Saddle height adjust so that when your downstroke leg is extended all the way down your knee is just slightly bent.
- Handlebars height adjusted to preference and comfort using the stem adjustment.
- Handlebar angle adjusted so that wrists are comfortable and not bent.
A flat tire is the most common bike problem at Burning Man so these tools are the bare minimum.
Here’s a minimal list of tools to perform routine bicycle maintenance in a burning man camp.
- Bicycle tire floor pump
- Spanner wrenches – metric
- Allen wrenches – metric
- Pedal wrench
- Water pump pliers
- Needle nose pliers
- Crescent wrench
- Pedal wrench
- Side cutters
- Tire levers – 3 or more plastic levers
- Tubes: usually 26″ x 1.75-2.5 covers a range of cruiser and mtb tires, schrader valve
- Lube – wax based or dry lube
- Shop rags for chain
- Spare bike locks
- Camp bike rack .. see this article from Burning Man Bike Rack Construction Manual
- Hand cleaner
In bigger camps someone will usually lose their bike. Consider bringing a spare camp bike.
Allen wrenches, side cutter, open end/box end wrench set, pedal wrench