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.
Yes you do need a bike at Burning Man! Black Rock City is about 7 square miles (if you overlaid it BRC would cover most of downtown San Francisco). To get around at Burning Man a good, workable bicycle is vital for your transportation needs.
Below: Black Rock City superimposed on Manhattan.
The best bike tires for Burning Man?
Type of Tire
The thing that you don’t want to happen, when you jump on your bike at the burn, is to auger into the sand and end up on your head!
So it is the width of your tire that is important on the playa and a 2″ width or greater works the best. A standard beach cruiser tire is 26″ diameter x 2.125″ wide and is perfect. The low profile cruiser tread pattern, that is pictured, is efficient too.
ALWAYS LOCK YOUR BIKE
Even though it is Burning Man …. bicycles have a way of disappearing on the playa if they are not locked. Even in your camp you’ll need to lock your bike. When you use the porta potties lock your bike. Anytime you stop – lock your bike.
The problem is not that there are malicious bike thieves afoot it is just inconsiderate people looking for a quick ride across the playa. So the lock that you bring to the burn doesn’t need to be able to withstand cutting or breaking – a pretty basic lock will work just fine at BRC. A combination lock is best so that you don’t have to keep track of keys. The “word” locks are cool because they’re easy to remember.
FOR AN EFFICIENT AND QUIET RIDE – LUBRICATE YOUR BIKE CHAIN
The Black Rock Desert playa is a harsh environment for bike chains. At Burning Man you will need to lubricate your chain for your bicycle to function properly.
For riding in the desert we recommend using a “wax based lube” or “dry lube” that you can purchase from a bike shop. This type of lube needs to be applied more frequently than oil based lubes. Depending on how much you ride the chain should be lubricated every day or two. Luckily it is easy and quick to do.
A couple of examples are:
In the spirit of Radical Self Reliance here’s how to fix a flat bike tire.
If you find yourself in need of a spare tube, some tools or a pump then you can head over to the Bike Gods DIY Repair and still fix it yourself fast! 24/7 – it’s lighted at night and under shade for the day.
Or another option is that you can always come by our BGs camp during bike mechanic hours (M-F 12-4) and we’ll be happy to help you fix it 🙂
Riding your bike at Burning Man can be a real pain-in-the-ass! Especially if you haven’t ridden a bike in a while. If this is the case you’ll wanna go with a big cushy cruiser type saddle. It’s the best for short trips and like the name implies, cruising around the playa.
Make sure that your saddle is in good shape and doesn’t have any rips or tears that will allow the vinyl to scrape you when you are riding. Also the ‘ol “duct tape” repair doesn’t work on saddles at BRC. It heats up in the sun and becomes a sticky mess.