Cycling TO Burning Man

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and getting to/from the event - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues.
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johncrewe1
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Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by johncrewe1 » Fri May 08, 2015 4:17 pm

I'm starting the Pan American cycle from alaska at the end of May and we've got burning man tickets. This is our first BM, so could use some advice.

Is it possible to cycle to BM and survive if you had someone bring the water you need?

Is the corrosion so bad that even after a good post BM clean a bike wouldn't be up to another 10000 miles in South America?

If the answer to the two questions above is no, is anyone willing to give 2 brits a ride from somewhere and a place to store there nice bike?

Peace.

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Sham
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Sham » Fri May 08, 2015 4:37 pm

Welcome to eplaya!
You will need a car full of supplies for a week in Burning Man. Tent, sleeping bags, food, water and a big list of survival thingies.
The idea of riding a bike along the 120 mile 2 lane stretch of highway 447 is downright dangerous. There are all sorts of mutated vehicles with bikes and other eclectic things tied on the roofs. You really don't want to riding a bike for at least 6 hours on a road with that traffic.

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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by digital » Fri May 08, 2015 4:55 pm

It is possible; but, as Sham said, all sorts of dangerous. 99/100 should not even attempt it.

That said, two years ago a few of us went to Frog Pond (one of the natural hot spring near the event) before gate opened and met a female cyclist from Canada. She rode her bicycle all the way from Alberta (I think) to Burning Man. It was amazing and we were all blown away. She did not have enough water nor any camping supplies for the week so we helped her out as much as we could. This however is not something to bank on. Thankfully, she had a contact inside who apparently had supplies but I am not sure if she found them. I hope so.

So, yes, it is technically possible. Probably not a good idea though. If you decide to do it make sure you have someone on the inside ready with gear, food and water.

Good luck on your journey.

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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by [jim] » Fri May 08, 2015 5:37 pm

If you are planning on riding to burning man from the south, and returning on the same path, be sure to buy a couple of fore-n-aft-facing gopros, so your relatives/heirs will be able to prosecute the driver who ran you off the road.

take a look at the 447 with google maps streetview, and take a look at the shoulder. Oh, that's right, there isn't one!

There will be 20,000 vehicles (give or take) going north on that road from 10am Sunday until sometime tuesday/wednesday (this is my guess based on 27,000 vehicle passes and 'most' arriving the first couple of days). These drivers will not be laid-back, kind folk who will give you a lot of room when they pass you, or will patiently idle behind you as you trundle up one of the many 'no-pass' grades. They will be of the ilk which will pass as close as possible, to 'pay you back' for slowing them down. If the drivers don't get you, the falling debris (as mentioned above) may whack you as some poorly-packed burner vehicle comes flying past you.

On the other hand, you might be able to get a ride into black rock city in a police vehicle. Once the police see you holding up traffic on the 447, more than likely they'll remove you from the road. if you're lucky, they'll bring you into black rock city. Maybe tell them you've 'got a ride home', because they'll just dump you in fernley if they think you're going to try to ride out of burning man on your bicycles.

I've not arrived from the other roads, but I assume they are much less dangerous. Oh, and you'll probably drink all your water on the ride into black rock city. Unless you want to 'up the ante' and bike at night when its cooler.

More helpful(?) opinions:

See if you can store your bikes at a hotel in Reno (for free?) and take a burner shuttle into black rock city.

You can buy all your use-n-toss burner goods at wal-mart. You won't want to be re-using anything from the playa for your next 10,000miles. if you can't be separated from the bicycles (which I totally understand), buy some tarp/twine (or plastic sheeting from the paint section of wal-mart) and wrap your precious steeds. This will make it easier to toss your bikes into the back of a pickup or box truck, if you hook up with some transportation. Don't unwrap the bikes until you're off playa. If you can possibly manage it, wrap everything you'll be using on the rest of your trip in water/dust proof material, and only use disposable clothes and so on when at black rock city. Unless of course, you've got a bunch of gear due for an upgrade, and exposing them to the playa might be just the perfect way to hasten their demise.

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Captain Goddammit » Fri May 08, 2015 6:11 pm

Burning Man is NOT a thing you do on a bicycle. You'll either get killed on the road or die of dehydration or be a mooch the whole week. So those are the main obstacles.
To overcome them, I concur with Jim, the best way to make it work is to rent a storage locker or arrange with a hotel to store your bike and come in on the Burner Express or any other means, and obtain all your supplies while you're there in Reno. Maybe you can even bring your bike, but just don't ride it in.

As has been touched on, even if you do have someone arranged to bring your supplies, it's all too common at BM to never find that person when you get there.
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Token
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Token » Fri May 08, 2015 7:22 pm

And yes, the alkali dust will forever infest your bike and it will get fucked.

Any moisture that later hits it will corrode moving parts.

You'll even find the nasty alkali talk inside your tires.

Unless you are ready to scrap the bike after BM, don't bring it.

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some seeing eye
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by some seeing eye » Fri May 08, 2015 7:30 pm

You can search this board for people who have attempted and private message them. Seattle, Olympia, Portland, Eugene to the North have many camps among them you can reach out to on their respective Faceplant groups, including bike touring ones which may have burners, or contact camps in last year's or this, coming from those cities http://burningman.org/culture/history/b ... p-archive/. There are some dangerous blind curves on 447 South of Cedarville. Leaving (or arriving) BM, 447 from Gerlach to I80, as others have mentioned is a no go for bikes.

Generally this board is populated by very prepared and experienced participants who bring a lot of stuff in larger vehicles. You are not them, but you don't want to be the Rainbow Gathering hippie who believes they can show up with no preparation.

If you loop out of the above cities to Burning Man by car, it would be easier to continue South on 101/1 to the Bay Area which is an epic route. Or you could get to Arcata or the Bay Area and loop out of there with a camp and their transportation.

I lose my appetite at BM with the altitude gain to 4000 ft and don't need to bring much food. Others are different. If you have been pumping out the miles, you may need to maintain caloric uptake more than most on playa. No predicting, but prepare for that.

Bikes get stolen at Burning Man, and the prefered tires are mt bike to super fat, so your bikes will likely not go very well on the playa which is clay dust the consistency of talcum powder with dust dunes. I have found that the hardened steel, like the crank axle are the most prone to corrosion by the alkaline salt clay.

Frankly I think it is awesome you are doing the trip and many camps would likely enjoy adventurers like yourselves to join and contribute.
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Popeye » Sat May 09, 2015 2:50 am

I met a lady who made the trip (solo!!) from Anchorage to Reno last year. She stored her bike in Reno and found a junker for the Playa, took the bus in. She was adamant that the playa would have eaten her good bike.
I remember passing one single cyclist with a trailer and a group of two on the way from Reno. Assume they where going to the burn.
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johncrewe1
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by johncrewe1 » Sat May 09, 2015 3:31 am

Thanks for all the advice.

My main concern would be shitting up my bike. We'll be carrying everything else we need to live, and a weeks worth of food isn't a problem. We could also try to arrive early to avoid traffic, would highway 34 be better traffic wise? I think I could get a friend to bring some water, and I'm guessing folk could spare us a little if we were really short. I still think it would be a really cool thing to do, and it seems people have done it before.

If I were to try and get a ride from the bay area, whats the best way to go about that?

Thanks again.

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some seeing eye
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by some seeing eye » Sat May 09, 2015 6:54 am

Most of 34 is not paved. There are discussions of 34 on ePlaya. Find a camp, there are threads for that, then find a ride with members of your camp. It would be a good idea to find various online Burning Man packing lists, then adjust.
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat May 09, 2015 7:01 am

So your plan is to be that guy holding up about a thousand others on that narrow and extremely crowded road, then mooch supplies off others when you get there.
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Elderberry » Sat May 09, 2015 7:01 am

You will definitely shit up your bike. No ifs ands or buts about it. I had/have a rather expensive bike that I hardly ever used so decided to take it to Burning Man. Each year, after the burn, it goes to the bike shop to be cleaned and overhauled. Now it's my official playa bike, but it will never be the same as it was; but considering I will only use it on the playa, I don't care--at least I'm using it for something.

Regarding transportation from the Bay area, especially since you are traveling light, you might want to check this out: http://burningman.org/event/preparation ... r-express/
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Elliot » Sat May 09, 2015 8:22 am

You cannot arrive early to avoid traffic. It is not allowed. Only those who have a legitimate function during setup may apply for a permit to arrive early. And I join the chorus regarding the dangerous roads/traffic and the damage to your road-bike. The Burner Express bus system was "made for you". :D

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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by trilobyte » Sat May 09, 2015 12:27 pm

You would be a hazard to yourself and others on such a long stretch of highway that has no room for both vehicle and bike traffic to coexist safely. Your best bet would be to find a hotel in Reno that would be able to securely store your bikes for the duration of the event, then bike there, catch their shuttle to the airport so you can get to Burning Man (and back) via Burner Express bus, and then back again at the end so you can rejoin your bike and resume your ride.

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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Navi_Keef » Mon May 11, 2015 7:06 am

this guy did it....
[media]

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon May 11, 2015 7:47 am

That guy in the video is mildly entertaining but didn't do shit to make Burning Man happen, he was a spectator who probably took more than he provided.
Hell I KNOW he did, he explained right in the video how he printed stickers and kept a blog so people could support him. He's a professional fucking bum. If people followed his model, there would be no Burning Man. Just Rainbow Festivals.
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by ygmir » Mon May 11, 2015 7:53 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:That guy in the video is mildly entertaining but didn't do shit to make Burning Man happen, he was a spectator who probably took more than he provided.
Hell I KNOW he did, he explained right in the video how he printed stickers and kept a blog so people could support him. He's a professional fucking bum. If people followed his model, there would be no Burning Man. Just Rainbow Festivals.
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Dr Dilemma
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Dr Dilemma » Mon May 11, 2015 12:36 pm

johncrewe1 wrote:Thanks for all the advice.

My main concern would be shitting up my bike. We'll be carrying everything else we need to live, and a weeks worth of food isn't a problem. We could also try to arrive early to avoid traffic, would highway 34 be better traffic wise? I think I could get a friend to bring some water, and I'm guessing folk could spare us a little if we were really short. I still think it would be a really cool thing to do, and it seems people have done it before.

If I were to try and get a ride from the bay area, whats the best way to go about that?

Thanks again.
Some other folks have pointed out that you have to have a special pass as part of a theme camp, art installation or mutant vehicle in order to be allowed in early, but honestly even if you had one it wouldn't help all that much. There are a LOT of folks coming out for early arrival these days and I'd venture that the steady stream of cars able to go the speed limit because the road hasn't become snarled with gate open traffic yet would arguably be MORE dangerous.

Every year people get it in their heads they are going to ride a bike all the way to the burn and it's always a VERY bad idea. It's particularly troubling that your main concerns seem to be around ruining a bike and not around how horrifically dangerous driving a bike the last stretch. To reiterate what other folks have already said, the road out there has absolutely NO shoulder for VERY long stretches, has curves and hills which would mean you might not be seen, has large cumbersome vehicles driving down it, has a large number of vehicles driving down it, yes for several days if not weeks before the event, there really isn't any "alternate route"... Basically anyone who has driven down that road will tell you that you are fucking crazy for even contemplating trying to drive a bike down it, period, full stop. On top of that, the people who have attempted this have sorted out having ALL their supplies brought out for them. Sounds like you are thinking and guessing you could and hoping that someone could "spare you a little" ... These are all huge red flags. Every year people come out to the burn woefully unprepared with no real means of keeping themselves alive for the week. You don't want to be That Person. It’s bad enough when someone shows up in a car with no (or inadequate) food / water / shelter / supplies … they at least can drive themselves home when they can’t take it anymore. Assuming you do somehow manage to make it out to the burn it would be even more unlikely you’d survive back out.

Please listen to folks here and don’t even attempt to come out on a bike. Bike out to Reno and take the bus in WITH ENOUGH SUPPLIES if you want to say you’ve had a bike adventure. Trust us on this one man!

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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Dr. Pyro » Mon May 11, 2015 12:48 pm

I say, let him bike on in. The Darwinian Theory at work.

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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Navi_Keef » Mon May 11, 2015 1:37 pm

Dr Dilemma wrote: It's particularly troubling that your main concerns seem to be around ruining a bike and not around how horrifically dangerous driving a bike the last stretch. To reiterate what other folks have already said, the road out there has absolutely NO shoulder for VERY long stretches, has curves and hills which would mean you might not be seen, has large cumbersome vehicles driving down it, has a large number of vehicles driving down it, yes for several days if not weeks before the event, there really isn't any "alternate route"... Basically anyone who has driven down that road will tell you that you are fucking crazy for even contemplating trying to drive a bike down it, period, full stop.

LET THIS BE SAID
to a cyclist this is the most annoying thing that can ever be said by auto drivers. cyclists know that roads are dangerous yet we still ride. we wont stop riding because it is "dangerous" and people implying that there is no shoulder to ride on, fuck i'm going to take my right to a lane as a cyclist. i live in one of the most dangerous cities for cyclist and have been hit, that hasnt and wont stop me from riding. no matter how many people tell me that a road is dangerous, it will not stop me from riding. shit i may even unload my bike at Gerlach to ride in from there now. 16 miles, meh thats about a hour ride. :roll:

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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by lucky420 » Mon May 11, 2015 2:14 pm

Oh fuck :lol:
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon May 11, 2015 2:54 pm

My sister was one of those self righteous bikers... until she GOT HIT.
The road bikers never learn any other way.
Fuck your right to be in the middle of the road screwing up everyone else's travel.
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Token
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Token » Mon May 11, 2015 2:56 pm

LET THIS BE SAID...
There is a difference when you get tagged by a truck legally driving 70Mph and whatever little incident you survived.

There is also a history of motor vehicle drivers dying on that particular road whilst trying to avoid hitting things.

The "fuck-all, I got my rights" attitude is perfectly fine if the only thing being gambled is your own life, but it ain't. And that conversation with kin of someone that was killed or maimed on account of "your rights" sucks some serious ass, like forever.

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Token
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Token » Mon May 11, 2015 2:59 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:... to walk through Compton or Oakland ...
Fuck Cap'n, what did Oakland ever do to you? Oakland a real nice place.

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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Navi_Keef » Mon May 11, 2015 3:03 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:My sister was one of those self righteous bikers... until she GOT HIT.
The road bikers never learn any other way.
Fuck your right to be in the middle of the road screwing up everyone else's travel.

which came first? the bike or the car? without bikers we would still be driving on dirt roads. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ ... -for-roads

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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Navi_Keef » Mon May 11, 2015 3:07 pm

also note**
that every danger listed above, is all driver negligence.........cant blame the biker for riding a bike, can only blame the driver for being a shitty one
Last edited by Navi_Keef on Mon May 11, 2015 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Token
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Token » Mon May 11, 2015 3:13 pm

Actually, the horses ass came first, drawing a cart.

Now STFU you self-righteous egomaniac and bring everyone a drink.

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digital
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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by digital » Mon May 11, 2015 3:15 pm

Navi_Keef wrote:also not that every danger listed above, is all driver negligence.........cant blame the biker for riding a bike, can only blame the driver for being a shitty one
Dude, seriously? It's driver negligence? How about it's stupidity, plain and simple, for a cyclist to use a one-lane highway with no shoulder during an event with 50K+ motorists traveling heavy?

One cyclist to another -- go take that attitude and fuck yourself. You deserve a Darwin Award if you plan on biking in just to fuck with motorists.

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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by Navi_Keef » Mon May 11, 2015 3:18 pm

digital wrote:
Navi_Keef wrote:also not that every danger listed above, is all driver negligence.........cant blame the biker for riding a bike, can only blame the driver for being a shitty one
Dude, seriously? It's driver negligence? How about it's stupidity, plain and simple, for a cyclist to use a one-lane highway with no shoulder during an event with 50K+ motorists traveling heavy?

One cyclist to another -- go take that attitude and fuck yourself. You deserve a Darwin Award if you plan on biking in just to fuck with motorists.

everyone is driving to burning man, it isnt like there isnt another lane on the other side of the double yellow line that isnt getting used. from BRC to Gerlach that should be the only traffic on that road shouldnt it? traffic going to burning man? not coming from...

also, how many vehicle passes were sold? i thought it was more than half of the amount of tickets sold.. so way less than 50k cars, right?

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Re: Cycling TO Burning Man

Post by digital » Mon May 11, 2015 3:22 pm

Navi_Keef wrote:also, how many vehicle passes were sold? i thought it was more than half of the amount of tickets sold.. so way less than 50k cars, right?
Sold to the public, yes. Plus the VPs that go to staff. Plus the vehicles that don't require one (think LEO). Plus the non-BM traffic. 50K is about right.

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