In 2008, responsibility for Black Rock Pedal Transportation (BRPT), the team that oversees bikes on the playa, was transferred from the Community Services Department to the Department of Public Works.
BRPT oversaw the third year of the Yellow Bike Project, which has grown a staggering 2,000% since its inception in 2006. In 2008, many of the previous year’s growing pains were eradicated. The Yellow Bike Repair Camp crew, who paint, build and repair the bikes, hit their stride by implementing a highly efficient production process. Learning from our experiences in 2008, the team will make this a more productive service next year.
The Yellow Bike fleet increased by around 20%, but the increase in bike availability had more to do with the participants than the additional bikes. It seems the message about proper use of Yellow Bikes is getting around, and as more people began to understand and participate in the program, it has become significantly more successful. For this to become a long-lasting project, this type of community responsibility needs to become as widely practiced as the Leave No Trace ethos.
BRPT are also responsible for overseeing the management of lost and found bikes on playa. The team’s relationship with Playa Info is closer than ever, as well as with other groups tied to bike issues. In 2008, we saw a large reduction in the quantity of bikes left on playa, a decrease in the reports of lost and stolen bikes, but no drastic increase in the number of bikes reunited with their owners. As with the Yellow Bike Program, the only way to improve our lost and found bike situation is through constant vigilance by the entire community.
To that end, here are some key things to remember:
- Take home YOUR bike and ONLY your bike. (Years of referring to bikes as MOOP, or abandoned, have given the community the wrong impression. Using the terms “lost” or “misplaced” is preferable, as this implies that the owner may wish to have it returned.)
- Lock your bike at all times (except for Yellow Bikes).
- Do not borrow a bike that is not yours (except for Yellow Bikes).
- Leave any bike that is not yours (except for Yellow Bikes) where it is. Either the owner will return, or BRPT will collect it and process it through lost and found.
BRPT makes donations of lost bikes to a variety of charities, mostly those that directly benefit children. In this way, Burning Man gives back to our real world communities. In fact, we are currently raising funds to ship a 40-foot container filled with 500 bikes to Ghana. To learn more about charitable bike donations, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.