Burning Man’s Yellow Bike Program Returns!

Burning Mans Yellow Bikes (photo credit: Danger Ranger)
Burning Man’s Yellow Bikes (photo credit: Danger Ranger)

Thanks to a generous donation from an anonymous benefactor, the Burning Man Project is able to offer a Yellow Community Bike program during Burning Man.  Yep, a fleet of over 1,000 bikes are made available for participants to borrow for one-time, one-way, no-guarantees use. These bikes are painted green (ironically), say “Yellow Bike” on them, and can be found spread throughout Black Rock City.

The system works if and only if everybody adheres to the guidelines for Community Bike use. Which are:

  • Community Bikes are for temporary use by anyone without immediate access to their own bike. This is not YOUR loaner bike for the week. Bike rides are only a one-way, temporary guarantee.
  • If a Community Bike breaks while you’re using it, use Radical Self-Reliance to get it repaired for the next person. Check with Playa Info at Center Camp for a repair camp if you can’t Do-It-Yourself (DIY).
  • NEVER LOCK A COMMUNITY BIKE. The bike camp team will cut any locks from community bikes. Don’t bring a Community Bike into your tent or RV, and don’t take it home when you leave the playa.
  • Community Bikes are meant for short trips. Grab a community bike, make your trek, and then drop it off where you found it, or leave it in an obvious public place. Do not keep a community bike in your camp.
  • Community Bikes should be treated with respect, as if it was your own. Be nice to the bike. Don’t trash it, vandalize it or part it out! It’s a shared community resource. And don’t forget personal hygiene … pants are required while riding a community bike.

It requires community cooperation to keep this resource alive for all to enjoy.  So spread the word!

For more information about bikes at Burning Man, see the Bikes page in our Survival Guide.

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase

Will Chase is Burning Man's former Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He was the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Burning Man Journal, and content manager for Burning Man’s web properties. He also oversaw the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social media presence. Will first attended Burning Man in 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art HQ) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004 until he transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009.

9 Comments on “Burning Man’s Yellow Bike Program Returns!

  • art predator says:

    wow this is soooo awesome! i’d love to give that donor a big hug and a kiss! as a bicycle advocate who is always struggling to get bike between the legs of those who’d like to ride, our Burner community is so fortunate to be blessed with this program!

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  • Will Foster says:

    This idea rocks!

    Wish I was goin!

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  • Neuracnu says:


    Damn right! There’s a whole fleet of battery operated angle grinders that are always hungry.

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  • Dono says:

    WOW, what a lovely thing…..a great big fucking MAHALO for that, you beautiful nameless one, look how much effective good was just spread so quickly !!!! , I know every lovely burner would do the same if they could !!!!!!! EVOLUTION- fuck YEAH!

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  • Tee says:

    Oh, please, please, please…I hope these precious bicycles are revered as the wonderful gift they are to the degree that there will be bicycles for borrowing in 2010. I can’t make it this year; it just occurred to me half an hour ago that I should attend to celebrate the shaking off of my ego and making the right choice from the Being of my Higher Self. That Self (at age 46) stopped driving a gas-guzzling van (gave it away) and rides only a huge Cadillac of a cruiser bicycle. Heavy to transport, but a breeze to ride and a joy to look at with its message of Peace and Buddha on the handlebars. It has been an integral part of my transformation. I simply must attend Burning Man next year. Alas and alack that it’s too late this year. :(

    Pink bicycles would be a lovely touch, I think. ;)

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  • LeafyBranch says:

    Is there a way for folks to get involved with maintenance, distribution or whatever,etc etc? Community bikes should be everywhere.

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  • Doug McLaren says:

    LeafyBranch — google for “yellow bike {whatever city you live in}” … not all cities have such a program, but many do. (Austin, where I live, does.)

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