Bike Info & Tips

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Notes on bikes if you are shipping a bike on the container: break it down and wrap it in cardboard to make a box take off the saddle & post, the handlebars (if you can, otherwise loosen and turn 90º so they are parallel to the bike), the pedals and the front wheel (often you will have to let the air out of the front tire to take the wheel out between the brake blocks). Put the wheel handlebars pedals and saddle in the void space between the frame and box up. You can pack clothes, costumes, blankets etc around the bike in the voids and to add protection to the bike

I will be bringing tools and a foot pump and can help you put your bike back together and get you going (I arrive Friday)

bring a lock for your bike, not that there is so much theft as people just jumping on a bike they think might be theirs or assuming the bike is abandoned... a lock indicates the bike belongs to someone... so it doesn't have to be a good lock, just a deterrent to someone considering cycling it away.

light your bike so it can be seen in the dark... at least a front and back light, if not el-wire, twinkies or other decorative lighting... BE SEEN (and as a KK'er, the bike can be an extension of your costume, so consider going over the top :) if you are leaving your bike lying somewhere at night, leave a blinkie turned on, so people don't trip on it etc.

If your bike has a kick stand, think about bringing a small block of wood with you to put under the kick stand so It doesn't sink into the ground, 6 inchs square 3/4" plywood should be good for this... if you cut/bash/hack a hollow in the middle, the kick stand won't slip off (a good smack with a hammer in the middle of the block will leave a decent hollow)

bike decorations and lights should be attached securely and tested to make sure they cannot get loose or get snagged in moving parts ditto for costumes while cycling, don't get your beautiful wing ribbons caught in your gears (ask Liana about tails :)

Playa can be hard to cycle on if the sand/dust is soft, so if you haven't chosen a bike, opt for wider/thicker wheels if you can

be careful not to over inflate your tires, especially if you pump at night... by day the tire air will expand in the heat... also softer tires, while wobblier, will get better traction in the sand/dust... Keep your bike in the shade if you can.

While chain lube is usually important, on the playa it will just attract more dust... and dust mixed with oil becomes grinding paste, not lube, and will wear your parts more than dry connections, so be prepared for a dry, squeaky bike...

I recommend gel saddle covers... you may do a lot of cycling, and if you are not used to it, your butt WILL suffer... and inner thigh muscles and calfs... it can be tough cycling on lumpy playa... the lake bed ripples make for a very bumpy ride sometimes and a gel saddle WILL help.

Put a basket/carrier on your bike, or something to carry basics so you don't have it on your back all the time.

Make sure you have water with you at all times and use it continually. I bring powdered gatorade and make a thin mix and have it with me all the time. I keep a canteen on my bike as backup to my belt hung flask.

Carry goggles and dust mask at all times... even if there is no dust storm, cycling amongst others can be very dusty, you may want to use the mask. You never know when a dust storm might pick up...

don't forget that when you head out on your bike, you may not return to your camp for hours (days:) so consider bringing your night winterwear and keeping with your bike... though I recommend returning to camp for costume change every evening...

that's all that comes to mind now


Tools you'll need:

The essential tools are a Philips screwdriver, a vise grip (which is also great for pulling rebar and cutting small bolts & wires), and a bike-pedal wrench. This is a thin wrench used to loosen the pedals. They usually come with a bike repair kit of any size. It is important to note that the pedal thread on one side (don't remember which) turns "the wrong way", so you don't loosen it by pedaling.

Unfortunately, lots of bikes require Allen wrenches to loosen bolts. An Allen wrench is basically a bent hexagonal rod. I always bring a set.