Bikes on the playa

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and getting to/from the event - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues.
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Bikes on the playa

Postby The Hustler » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:00 pm

I heard from lots of Burners about the effect of the playa dust.

But, I never heard from bike people, cyclist, engineers or anyone who can really give me a good answer.

Is the dust more corrosive than winter salt in northern climates? I was a bike messenger in NYC for a year and had plenty of salt all over me and my bike. I grew up in Connecticut and was covered with the stuff on more than one occasion. Add sea water to the mix and it's a rust-o-rama.

The bike is dented, scuffed and scratched but it's very well maintained. I don't go to bike shops to have anything fixed, I do it myself.

As much as I'd love another bike (really a sweet cyclocross or single speed MTB) I don't have the room at home and I'd rather spend my limited funds on some gear and saving for the 1,800 drive.

So, will a week in the desert do irreparable harm to my well-worn bike?
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"Playa dust might be the cleanest, most corrosive filth you'll ever love," Savannah said.


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Postby AntiM » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:07 pm

Not if you clean it posthaste. Playa dust cleans off differently than salt, it doesn't dissolve the same way, it sticks. Somehow it gets into crevices you never knew existed, it digs down into plastic on a seemingly molecular level. But if it is already a beaten bike, it will simply have a new level of beat.

Invest in a good lock you can open when you're drunk.
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Re: Bikes on the playa

Postby unjonharley » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:12 pm

Super Evil Brian wrote:I heard from lots of Burners about the effect of the playa dust.

But, I never heard from bike people, cyclist, engineers or anyone who can really give me a good answer.

Is the dust more corrosive than winter salt in northern climates? I was a bike messenger in NYC for a year and had plenty of salt all over me and my bike. I grew up in Connecticut and was covered with the stuff on more than one occasion. Add sea water to the mix and it's a rust-o-rama.

The bike is dented, scuffed and scratched but it's very well maintained. I don't go to bike shops to have anything fixed, I do it myself.

As much as I'd love another bike (really a sweet cyclocross or single speed MTB) I don't have the room at home and I'd rather spend my limited funds on some gear and saving for the 1,800 drive.

So, will a week in the desert do irreparable harm to my well-worn bike?


Just give it a bath and check the bearings. If it's an old friend bring a good lock, Bikes seem to wander off by there self.. Or pick up a cheap cleaned bike in Gerlach on the way in.. The farmers around there fix 'em up for BM..

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Re: Bikes on the playa

Postby The Hustler » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:26 pm

unjonharley wrote:
Super Evil Brian wrote:I heard from lots of Burners about the effect of the playa dust.

But, I never heard from bike people, cyclist, engineers or anyone who can really give me a good answer.

Is the dust more corrosive than winter salt in northern climates? I was a bike messenger in NYC for a year and had plenty of salt all over me and my bike. I grew up in Connecticut and was covered with the stuff on more than one occasion. Add sea water to the mix and it's a rust-o-rama.

The bike is dented, scuffed and scratched but it's very well maintained. I don't go to bike shops to have anything fixed, I do it myself.

As much as I'd love another bike (really a sweet cyclocross or single speed MTB) I don't have the room at home and I'd rather spend my limited funds on some gear and saving for the 1,800 drive.

So, will a week in the desert do irreparable harm to my well-worn bike?


Just give it a bath and check the bearings. If it's an old friend bring a good lock, Bikes seem to wander off by there self.. Or pick up a cheap cleaned bike in Gerlach on the way in.. The farmers around there fix 'em up for BM..


First off, thanks for moving this to the proper place. I had a "genius moment" and posted it errantly.

I have a good lock I can open in the dark during a blizzard holding a double rush and a radio while dodging taxis, taking photos and generally being awesome. No worries. I thought about getting a long cable with crimped (not clamped) ends to lock the bike to the tow hooks/loops of the car. I imagine bikes are stolen for transportation or some asshole's idea of "fun," and not for profit like in NYC.

The bike is worn but it's not a piece of junk. Bearings are all sealed and I keep a close eye on things. I always have a few extra tubes, patches, tools and a pump. I'll add Tri-Flow (or something better for dust) to the bag also.

I don't drink or do drugs (really, I've never been intoxicated) so I don't have that excuse for doing stupid shit.

I may try to find a suitable cruiser and put some big MTB tires and a low-ish gear on it. I can use the thing in the woods also. As long as it's not ugly, I really hate ugly bikes like the cheap department store "mountain" bikes.

It gives me fucking agita.

Thanks for the good replies.
"I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway."
Jesus fuckhole, what the fuck was that?
"Playa dust might be the cleanest, most corrosive filth you'll ever love," Savannah said.


Danger is funny

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Postby The Hustler » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:28 pm

AntiM wrote:Not if you clean it posthaste. Playa dust cleans off differently than salt, it doesn't dissolve the same way, it sticks. Somehow it gets into crevices you never knew existed, it digs down into plastic on a seemingly molecular level. But if it is already a beaten bike, it will simply have a new level of beat.

Invest in a good lock you can open when you're drunk.


A new level of beat, that's pretty god damn awesome. I'm proud of every dent and paint chip, I earned them.
"I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway."
Jesus fuckhole, what the fuck was that?
"Playa dust might be the cleanest, most corrosive filth you'll ever love," Savannah said.


Danger is funny

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Postby AntiM » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:30 pm

The playa has the ability to fuck your senses and min up, then there's dehydration and the night... even sober, it can be an altered universe. Or not.

Head light and tail light at a minimum, plus as many other blinkies you care to add. I'm a fan of battery operated LED strings.
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Postby bud buddah » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:07 pm

I brought my old mountain bike out to the playa last year, and it's still doing fine. But one thing that you should consider is that you may REALLY want a cruiser on the playa. After being there, I do . I really wanted to sit up and look around. You will do a lot of riding. My neck was killing me after a couple of days of riding around and trying to look around while riding my mountain bike. I never have this problem around town or on the hills, but on the playa I really wanted something that I could sit back on and look around. So if you can find a cruiser, go for it.
JR

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Postby Elderberry » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:11 pm

AntiM wrote:

Invest in a good lock you can open when you're drunk.


LMAO! Great advice, classically said.

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Postby unjonharley » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:28 pm

bud buddah wrote:I brought my old mountain bike out to the playa last year, and it's still doing fine. But one thing that you should consider is that you may REALLY want a cruiser on the playa. After being there, I do . I really wanted to sit up and look around. You will do a lot of riding. My neck was killing me after a couple of days of riding around and trying to look around while riding my mountain bike. I never have this problem around town or on the hills, but on the playa I really wanted something that I could sit back on and look around. So if you can find a cruiser, go for it.
JR


I still say a trike is best on the playa.. You can poke along and stop or crain your neck without falling on your head..

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Postby Elorrum » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:17 pm

unjonharley wrote:
bud buddah wrote:I brought my old mountain bike out to the playa last year, and it's still doing fine. But one thing that you should consider is that you may REALLY want a cruiser on the playa. After being there, I do . I really wanted to sit up and look around. You will do a lot of riding. My neck was killing me after a couple of days of riding around and trying to look around while riding my mountain bike. I never have this problem around town or on the hills, but on the playa I really wanted something that I could sit back on and look around. So if you can find a cruiser, go for it.
JR


I still say a trike is best on the playa.. You can poke along and stop or crain your neck without falling on your head..

TRIKES ROCK! perfect for being able to come to an abrupt stop, sit and look around, swivel through dust piles, chat, and one thing I found last year also... you can stand up on the pedals if you need to see over something. also more comfortable and stable on the bumpety bumps, which made night riding less stressful.

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Postby FIGJAM » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:32 pm

Image
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Postby unjonharley » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:02 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Image


Screw you FIGJAM.. If I see you with that on the playa.. your going to lose it.. :wink:

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Postby ibdave » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:10 pm

unjonharley wrote:
FIGJAM wrote:Image


Screw you FIGJAM.. If I see you with that on the playa.. your going to lose it.. :wink:


only if I don't see it 1st...... 8) 8) 8)
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Postby AntiM » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:15 pm

I have a trike, but usually MyLarry is pedaling me around on the two seat four wheeler, which has a canopy, a cooler, a deck and a misting system.
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Postby FIGJAM » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:35 pm

It's a palmer ind. joyrider.

I need to put some springs between the seat and frame.

If you can find me, you can use it. :)
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Postby TomServo » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:01 pm

After 1 week on the playa, the bearings in the Head Tube were nearly gone. Im blaming most of it on the force put on the bearings, by the rake of the front forks....but Im sure playa dust didn't help. Rent a shitty bike in Gerlach...Don't bring your nice one! Unless you dont mind replacing bearings.

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Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:32 pm

A friend of mine used to work in a San Francisco bike shop and the policy there was not to do clean-up on bikes that had been to the event. The labor made the service as expensive a new bike. If you do your own maintenance then all you have to worry about is how you pay yourself. If that's in gear that you're getting instead of a new bike, then you decide if it's worth it.
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Postby Thecatman » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:06 pm

The bike I've been using since 2007 was a road find.
It's a womans bikebutit has seved me well.
It was purple when I found it but I spray painted it green for the Green Man theme. I put a basket on the handle bars, light(s), a cat eyes licence plate and shes all mine
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Postby AntiM » Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:00 am

Larry brings sets of bearings for the Rhoadescar with him and has had to do it on the playa. Our brakes suck too, I know he has to tinker with them a lot.
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Postby teardropper » Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:25 pm

I just looked on Craig's List and found a couple (yeah, our bikes match) of old beach cruisers for $40 each. I use a dry lube on the chain for the playa. Oil really amplifies the already sticky nature of the dust. I also bring a spray can of chain cleaner and a good lint free rag and clean when needed. And reapply the dry lube. At home I high pressure spray every thing then apply a good coat of oil. If you don't you'll rust your chain. Then reverse the process before going down to the desert and reapply the dry lube.

As far as gears, I've got a 5 speed deraillieur. Hardly ever get of the low gears most of the time. 'Cept when I turn on my Monkey lights and want them to look good.

I know some do bring good bikes. But they have to really go through them after to keep them good. I take some care, like I said, but wouldn't take a good bike out there. Really, get a cheap cruiser with the fattest tires you can find and a lock.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:53 am

FIGJAM wrote:It's a palmer ind. joyrider.

I need to put some springs between the seat and frame.

If you can find me, you can use it. :)


It's got pedals. Do they generate electricity for the motor or something?

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Postby dragonpilot » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:12 pm

Spritz everything you want cleaned post-Playa, including your bike, with a dilute solution of water and vinegar. The vinegar does a great job of removing the alkaline playa dust.

I even add a couple of ounces of vinegar to the washing machine when washing my playa clothes.
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Postby FIGJAM » Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:56 pm

Ugly Dougly wrote:
FIGJAM wrote:It's a palmer ind. joyrider.

I need to put some springs between the seat and frame.

If you can find me, you can use it. :)


It's got pedals. Do they generate electricity for the motor or something?



The motor runs the left wheel and the peddles run the right.

When I hit dunes I can peddle an have two wheel drive.

There's only about ten of pounds weight on that frount tire so traction isn't a problem.

It even has reverse! 8)
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Postby Freesponge » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:32 am

My bike is a 50's CCM and its been stored outside(northern canada) and its still in really good shape so I wouldn't worry a whole lot about your bike. The playa dust had no noticeable effect on its condition, its not like the dust is ultra corrosive, just a pain in the ass to clean if you don't use a pressure washer. Its a 3 speed with hub shift so all the gears work well.

I stuck a 12 volt battery on the rack and used it to power my bike lights but this year i'll be towing one of those kid carrier trailers but instead of children it will be beer.
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Postby ellorbito » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:51 pm

our bikes are playa only. I oil the chain and moving parts before we go and when we get back. The only problems I have ever had are leaky tires and weird squeaks. Go to goodwill or check craigslist for inexpensive playa bikes. We live in a huge apartment complex and found two bikes in the dumpster after some yahoos moved. All they needed were new tubes (3), for both. I find bikes like that all the time...but I actively look. Great gifts for camp mates and birgins.

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Postby teardropper » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:45 pm

Freesponge wrote: its not like the dust is ultra corrosive,


I think it is. Really does a number on an untreated chain. It's very alkaline, which ought to have the same affect as very acid in corrosiveness.

Note to anyone who knows more about chemistry than I do, which is about everyone, really: Is it corrosive?
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Postby teardropper » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:19 am

Freesponge wrote: but this year i'll be towing one of those kid carrier trailers


Have one of those trailers. My partner is in Fire Conclave and Critical Tits as a drummer. Hauls a big conga drum. Year before we hauled by the case strap, over the shoulder on the bike. Crazy hard. On the trailer, no problem. When campmates want to go to Arctica, they take the trailer and haul many bags without difficulty. These are a must for big chores around camp.
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Postby AntiM » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:23 am

teardropper wrote:
Freesponge wrote: but this year i'll be towing one of those kid carrier trailers


Have one of those trailers. My partner is in Fire Conclave and Critical Tits as a drummer. Hauls a big conga drum. Year before we hauled by the case strap, over the shoulder on the bike. Crazy hard. On the trailer, no problem. When campmates want to go to Arctica, they take the trailer and haul many bags without difficulty. These are a must for big chores around camp.


We have a deck on the four wheeled bike, but the garden cart is the base of the fuel station for the fire conclave. Damn handy, that garden cart. We use it as a platform while camp is going up and down for items we don't want down in the dust, moving other people's camps, moving piles of stuff hither and yon. One gentleman used it to take his batteries which ran his CPAP over the the solar charging camp.
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Postby Freesponge » Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:03 am

The alternative to the trailer was to bring a trike. However I didn't have issues with riding on the playa at all and I won't use the trike otherwise. I never even thought about uses other than hauling a cooler, hauling ice is actually a really good idea.
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Postby The Hustler » Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:31 pm

AntiM wrote:Larry brings sets of bearings for the Rhoadescar with him and has had to do it on the playa. Our brakes suck too, I know he has to tinker with them a lot.


What kind of brakes does it have?

Maybe investing in high-end ceramis or simply stainless steel sealed bearings will be better, if possible.

If I can help with bike stuff, let me know.

There is always a way to improve something. Maybe a human-powered jet engine? Or at least biodiesel-powered. Jet fuel is very close to kerosene, which isn't much different from diesel. Applying algebra, I think jet fuel might be sort of interchangeable with biodiesel ...

Back to the subject ...
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Jesus fuckhole, what the fuck was that?
"Playa dust might be the cleanest, most corrosive filth you'll ever love," Savannah said.


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