Next week thousands of people will be boarding planes and squeezing into cars crowded with camping gear bound for one location: Black Rock City. This attraction to one of the most inhospitable, creative and challenging places on earth baffles some and inspires others. Why spend so much time and energy on one week in the desert?
Kayden Kleinhans invested that and more in his preparation for Burning Man. Bicycling for 49 weeks, through 15 countries, Kayden’s journey started last year at AfrikaBurn, where he collected songs, remembrances and dreams from members of that community at their Temple in a leather-bound journal. His mission: deliver this precious cargo from their Temple in Tankwa Karoo, South Africa to our Temple in Black Rock City on a humble bicycle.
Yes, he is on a bicycle (its name is Little Ms. Sunshine).
Yes, there’s an ocean separating both Burns (a plane helped springboard him over the Atlantic Ocean to Buenos Aires, Argentina).
And yes, he is alive to share his story.
As he peddled into Death Valley, California three weeks ago, he sent this update, “With less than 1000 km left to go, wild horses couldn’t stop the journal and its magical contents from making it to the playa.”
Given his dedication to cycling up the Americas solo with his gear, fighting heat, cold, injuries and loneliness to complete his mission, it’s difficult to believe that Kayden has never set foot in Black Rock City. 2013 will be Kayden’s first year at Burning Man.
The call of home, that commitment to principles of radical self-reliance to leaving no trace resonate whether or not he felt chalky playa dust between his fingers. As the Founder of the Global Wheeling Initiative, a South African-registered NGO highlighting climate change, he hopes to draw attention to these concerns through his journey, one of several he’s made bicycling across continents. His onboard computer and carbon calculator calculates the amount of CO2, which would have been emitted, if he was traveling in an average-sized America 2008 model car.
Kayden calls his journey, “a double edged project that was not only carrying the prized cargo but also drawing a comparison between the motor vehicle and the bicycle as a means of transport.”
49 weeks of cycling, 20,000 carbon free kilometers and 3 tons of CO2 saved with Little Ms. Sunshine later, he peddled into Reno a few days ago.
You have the opportunity to join him in this project. He invites Burner bicyclists to participate in the final leg of his journey to Burning Man. His invitation:
Reno to BRC by bicycle, 3 days and 2 nights “SELF SUPPORTED” bike ride covering 125 miles. Guided by Kayden Kleinhans on his final leg of the AfrikaBurns to Burning Man by Bicycle Project.
This will be an exercise in self-reliance and all required food and water for the 3 day expedition will have to be carried by the cyclist. Bring camping/survival equipment, a bike in good working order and a positive “Can Do” attitude.
Your Burn starts when we roll out of Reno on the morning of the 21st! You should have your ticket to Burning Man squared away ahead of time. Due to arrive at BRC on the afternoon of the 23rd. Arrangements for early access will have to be made prior to arrival through the necessary channels. Do not apply if you are not capable of completing the journey on your own accord.
Meeting point is the Anabella’s Zen Art Sanctuary, 12245 Spruce Lane, South Reno.
Up for the challenge? Write to Kayden and meet him in Reno with your bicycle.
[Editor’s Note: Cycling on Route 447 is very difficult and dangerous, and this undertaking should not be taken lightly. There is a 20 mile stretch of 447 where the shoulders were washed away by flash floods this year, and NDOT is doing work to repair them … in some cases, the shoulders are soft or non-existent, and the road is reduced to a single lane. Please be careful out there!]
Only one week remains until he cycles down Gate Road, finally completes his journey and enters Black Rock City to deliver the journal to the Temple.
Thousands of Burners will follow his bicycle tracks in vehicles of all sizes from all over the world. Where are you traveling from? Tell us how you’re coming home.
Snapshots from the US leg of his journey: