The Burning Man event has a huge bike problem: last year there were over 4,000 bikes abandoned at the end of the event. Apparently there are lot of people who buy cheap bikes on the way in and assume they are doing someone a favor by “donating” it to the event, or expecting to find a charitable group there who wants a bike. As a result, the Burning Man organization ends up with a huge mess to clean up because it is very difficult to dispose of the extra bikes. Someone has to pick them up from all over the event, load them onto trailers and haul them back to Reno or beyond. A typical flatbed trailer can typically haul 40 bikes. That’s 1,000 round unnecessary trips for those stuck with cleanup!
Karma Love Camp is trying to help alleviate the bike problem. Each year we take bike donations (for really good, quality bikes only) and invest a LOT of work to make it possible to reuse a bike the next year. To this end, we offer a special service for some of our camp members. We’ll sell you one of these reconditioned bikes and have it waiting for you in camp. At the end of the event, you can donate it back, or take it away (bikes are usually too trashed to recycle after their second burn). If you are going to be purchasing a bike anyway, why not help camp with fundraising and help Burning Man by using recycled bike that won’t be a burden to them.
If interested in helping even more, hang around after Burning Man is over to assist with cleaning up the camp gear, taking inventory, repacking and servicing the bikes for next time. Each bike has to be inspected, have decorations removed, pressure washed, repaired, lubed, inventoried, and stacked for storage. It takes 4-6 days after the event to get everything done, but the good news is: starting the Wednesday after the event the service road is open to everyone, which has a 20 mph speed limit, smooth as pavement, and no lines. When that road opens, it is only a 35 minute drive between camp and Gerlach, where we have land to work on our projects.
RESERVING A BIKE
We won’t offer a bike unless we are certain it works. After being in storage so long, a bike exposed to the desert can fail from just sitting around in spite of excessive cleaning. As the event nears, we feel more confident about the bikes we test. At this time, the conservative estimate is: there are 25 womens’ bikes and eight mens’ bikes available to camp members. Single-speed standard bikes are $80. Multi-speed bikes with front shocks, or the cooler cruiser-type bikes are $120. They are allocated in the following order:
- Dorm residents taking the Burner Express Bus.
- Burner Express Bus Riders.
- Dorm residents carpooling.
- All those carpooling.
- Everyone else.
If you are interested in securing a bike through camp, make your desire known in your camp application or soon after. If you are on the waiting list, let us know if you make other arrangements. With our program, your bike will be waiting in camp for you when you arrive.