The bikes of Burning Man

Editor’s note: Freelance writer Scott Lunt spends his cycling time piecing together impromptu loop rides and running occasional errands. Soaking in the Tucson sun since 1994, he can be found two-wheeling around town on his Bacchetta Giro 20 recumbent.


Want to deck out your bike for the next Cyclovia Tucson? Tired of blending in with all the spandex during El Tour de Tucson? Take a cue from the imaginative participants at Burning Man.

Burning Man is an annual festival celebrating art, self expression and community held in the Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada. The event covers a large area on an ancient dry lake bed called a playa, and most people get around by pedaling. Because of the soft lake bed most people ride mountain bikes or beach cruisers, but you also see three and four-wheel vehicles rolling across the playa like contraptions in a Dr. Seuss story.

Attendees — called Burners — are expected to participate in the event rather than just gawk, and one of the ways they do this is by decorating their bikes. Colorful, faux fur is a favorite decorating material but you’ll also see cutesy stuffed animals, freaky baby doll heads, elegant parasols and much more.

My wife and I just returned from the 2012 event and I took the opportunity to photograph some of the more creative ways that Burners transform their rides, below.

4 comments
Janet
Janet

The bikes at Burning Man were the inspiration that made Terry Nordbrock and me start the first decorate Your Bike station at Cyclovia a few years ago! Another important lesson from Burning Man: creative silliness and beauty is NOT just for kids....

Martha Retallick
Martha Retallick

Okay, Tucson, let's kick it up. Bike decoration for the next Cyclovia. And you're welcome to demonstrate your decorating skills at our November 3 Bike to Beer!