Learn to ride a bicycle at Burning Man



We get a few requests about renting adult tricycles or tandems every year from people that have never had the chance to learn to ride a bike. We are not yet able to affordably deliver trikes or tandems to the Playa, but we have another solution to try: bicycle riding!

The Playa is the PERFECT place to learn and Hammer And Cyclery is the perfect camp to make it happen. The Playa is flat, soft, and wide open. Plenty of space to avoid obstacles. A riding surface that doesn't provide much resistance. The dust isn't fun to fall on, but of all the things to hit on your way down from a bicycle seat, it's not too bad.

And, as a bicycle camp, Hammer And Cyclery has tons of different sizes and styles to choose from for your first ride. We offer Learn-to-Ride clinics Tuesday thru Friday at noon. Here's how we do it:

Find a bike that is too small for the new rider, a bike where the rider's feet can comfortably touch the ground while the rider's butt is on the bike seat. Then we walk. Just walk. Nothing to worry about but walking. The rider is sitting on the seat while his/her feet are using the ground to move himself or herself and the bike forward. No big deal.

Sometimes this is all it takes. Two minutes of this and some people start to pick up their feet and they're off. If not, we go a little faster. It's not about trying to coast or balance or worry about anything. We were walking, not let's walk a little faster. The faster the better, but there's no hurry, no pressure. A little bit faster and the rider starts to skip or hop or trot or something where both feet end up off of the ground for a moment. More weight ends up on the seat of the bike. Balance is just something that your body does while it's waiting for the next foot to come down on the ground. Bam! That's riding a bike.

If the new rider needs more than this (and they often do), then there is all of the running along side them and holding onto the bike seat. Maybe giving them a little push as you run along side. Very quickly this turns into moral support rather than actual holding the bike from falling over.

One caveat. I definitely recommend trying to figure out the great machine that is the bicycle before coming to Burning Man because, even if we can teach you to ride a bike, new riders are inefficient and can quickly run themselves ragged trying to get to the next art piece on a bicycle, especially when that art piece is beyond the horizon.







Hammer And Cyclery and Re-Cycle, Inc share no official affiliations with Burning Man or Black Rock City, LLC.

2014





Burning Man on bikes

In Burning Man's own words, "having a bicycle at Burning Man is crucial." But what kind of bike to bring? How do we park bikes at our theme camp? Do I always need to lock my bike? Yes. ...


Bicycle survival guide for Burning Man

Bicycle travel is the most practical way to get around. The Playa is not like a soft sandy beach. It is more akin to a well trodden dirt road and it makes for a surprisingly good cycling surface. ...


On-Playa bike repair

Somebody you know is going to have a problem with their bike. Bring some basic tools and become familiar with some common problems that can arise in one of the most punishing environments your bicycle will ever endure. ...


Learn to ride a bicycle

This is your chance to taste the freedom that bike riders have been enjoying for more than a hundred years. ...


A tube change on the Playa

So your bike has a flat tire. You're out on the Playa, hundreds of yards from anyone that can help. Don't worry, you can handle this. ...


Burning Man Yellow Bikes

A Yellow Bike is a bicycle that has been given to the public. Anyone can grab an unoccupied Yellow Bike, take it to their destination of choice, and leave the bike in an obvious place for the next rider. ...


Cleaning your bike after Burning Man

Mix up a solution of water and vinegar (half and half) and use a spray bottle to apply the mixture to your Playa bike (and anything else you want to use next year...or next week, like your lock). ...





HAMMER AND CYCLERY
4:00 and Ceremony
Open Daily 10am-6pm
Saturday Aug 26 - Monday Sept 4

Cutter@HammerAndCyclery.com