Getting Around The Playa
We're gonna need a bigger boat.
There are lots of ways to get around the Playa. You should walk, you can catch an art car, you can bike, you can trike, you can hop! But all things considered you probably want to have a bicycle at Burning Man. It isn't essential, but it is nice. And the Playa is incredibly flat and is an amazing surface to ride on.
Walking The Playa
Walking Black Rock City is by far the best way to get caught up in the immediacy of it all. Biking is beautiful but walking, even just to the porto, is serendipity. We highly recommend that everyone try and take a good long walk at least once at Burning Man. Just remember to stay lit! Traditionally the Melons walk together to the Man and Temple Burns.
A lot of camps build art cars that roam the playa day and night playing music, giving out treats and just looking cool. And you can generally jump on one of these art cars and join the party. Some cars have a destination and don't stop until they get there, others make frequent stops as they roam the playa. Be prepared for either adventure when you get on board. They are a nice way to save your legs if you're tired from walking or biking during the week!
The Best Playa Bike
Not all bikes are equal on the the Playa though. The truth of it is that the Black Rock Desert dust is a bitch on gears in the long run. The size of the pot holes on the Black Rock City streets can be surprising. So do not bring a fancy bike. For the average Melon the best bike to bring is a big basic cruiser. Trust us. For more information, here is the official Burning Man word on bicycles.
Getting A Bicycle On The Playa
Once you've decided to bite the bicycle bullet, there are a number of ways you can get a two-wheeled steed on the playa:
Bring your bike
Simple and easy. Just be careful of law enforcement officers when driving a bike in - LEOs like to pull over vehicles with obstructed plates.
Ship your bike
The Melons offer a limited amount of bicycle shipping. And there are number of regional bike shipping services if you look.
Buy a bike
Some Burner Express Bus stops even allow you to buy a bike on your way in. But you'll have to pay extra. And you'll have to figure out what to do with the bike after the event. Don't leave bikes on the playa!
Rent a bike
Some camps in Black Rock City fund themselves by renting bikes to Burners. Book your bikes early though, they get more expensive the longer you wait.
If you don't want to bring or ship or buy or rent, you can borrow. Black Rock City has its own "bike share" program, a fleet of green bicycles called "Yellow Bikes." They are famously hard to pin down though. And it is considered gauche to try and claim a Yellow Bike as your personal vehicle. How do you know if you found a Yellow Bike? It has something like this on it:
Decorating Your Bicycle
There are tens of thousands of bicycles on the Playa so you need to make sure you can find yours and that it can be seen. So light your bike! Be creative. Think el-wires, baskets, headlights, bike flags, fur. Some find using lots of one color also makes your bike easiest to find when you walk away from it then try to find it again amid hundreds of dusty bikes.
Oh, and you'll want a shitty lock. When you go places with your bike, other people might not be sober and think it is theirs. A shitty lock keeping the wheels from moving will help them realize your bike isn't theirs.
Maintaining Your Bicycle
Not everyone knows much about bicycles. But on the Playa there are a few simple tricks that are good to know. COMING SOON:
Putting on and taking off your pedals
Loosening your handlebar
Adjusting your seat
Fixing a "Playa Fixie"
Other Forms Of Transportation On The Playa
There are, to be clear, yet more ways of getting around the Black Rock Desert - here is an official roundup - but sadly the Melons can't really help you with getting, maintaining or charging them. So if you bring a Segway, you're probably going to have to deal with your Segway yourself. If you bring an Art Car though...