If you’re heading to the playa this year, you’re going to want a bike, but the man burns in less than 2 months and many of the bike rental places have already run out.
There are three main sources I know personally for renting bikes for Burning Man. The Kiwanis Club of Reno Sparks, Da Rat and Black Rock Bicycles.
People love Kiwanis because it’s cheap — 30-50 dollars a bike — and at the end, the bike you ride goes to a kid in the local community. I just checked the Kiwanis site and they are no longer taking orders for burner bikes for 2011, but if you like the idea of supporting bikes for kids, keep the website bookmarked for next time.
Da Rat Bikes for Out of Towners
Da Rat, also in Reno, only rents to people coming from far away, like international distance, I’m not talking Oklahama or New York City. He also keeps a small stock of bike locks and other gear he lends for free. Those along with the bikes are first come first served. You can e-mail him at nv_desert_rat(at)nvbell(dot)net for more information. Check soon, because he tends to run out quickly as well.
Black Rock City Bikes
I rented from them my first burn and loved it. The owner, Randy Robison, usually has bikes available for rent up to the day Burning Man begins and through the week as well, but I highly suggest reserving now through his website. Last year, he ran out early. Black Rock City Bikes are more expensive than the other rental options, but they are excellent quality. Smooth ride. Big tractor seat to protect your butt on the playa. They don’t often break.
(If your bike breaks, though, there are places on playa where you can have them fixed for free. The locations and places change yearly, so you’ll have to find that out when you arrive. But you know, radical self reliance and all.)
Since that first year, Randy has given us bikes for free because he knows I write about him in my Burning Man articles.
You can also buy a bike at Walmart or K-Mart in Reno. If you decide not to hold onto the bike after the burn, don’t leave it on the playa. Donate it to the Kiwanis club.
The San Francisco Bike Coalition gives tips for the type of bike you’ll need and where to find them in San Francisco.
Once you have your bike, check out this handy manual of how to care for your bike on and off the playa from Playa Cycles.