Ideal bike

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Ideal bike

Postby Ivory Bill » Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:12 pm

So what should a guy look for in a bike? I've spent some time in the desert, but my rule for salt flats was always to stay away.
Bikes and vans fly by me in the dessert, but I'm alright standing out here in the hot sun
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Postby Sham » Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:23 pm

A cheap, used, reliable, brightly painted, highly decorated, well lit for night riding, mountain bike. Don't forget the lock. Bikes tend to be borrowed by citizens who don't want walk to their next stop. It's best to secure your bike, than to try to hunt down and kill the thief. :shock:

Did I mention not to forget the lock?
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Postby Ivory Bill » Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:30 pm

So you would recommended a beater mountain bike over a beater one speed, despite all the fancy gears and that?
Bikes and vans fly by me in the dessert, but I'm alright standing out here in the hot sun
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Postby oneeyeddick » Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:35 pm

Derailers on bikes with multiple gears can be problematic.

Beach cruisers with fat tires are the way to go.

Get a nice gel seat if you can.

If you listen to me you are taking advice from someone who hasn't ridden a bike out there in 6 years, so I actually suggest building a mutant vehicle.

That's the best way to roll.
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Postby LostinReno » Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:42 pm

oneeyeddick wrote:Derailers on bikes with multiple gears can be problematic.

Beach cruisers with fat tires are the way to go.

Get a nice gel seat if you can.

If you listen to me you are taking advice from someone who hasn't ridden a bike out there in 6 years, so I actually suggest building a mutant vehicle.

That's the best way to roll.


Nice gel seat is a MUST, you'll still get bike butt if you don't ride a lot though (Otter Pops work just as well as a bag of frozen peas, if you get my drift!). I brought my good mountain bike, covered it in fur, to cover up any "TREKiness" or any other major brand name about it. Locked it up when stopped, never had any derailer problems. Gave it a good bath when we got home and she still rides fine! Again, good bike lock is neccessary!
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Postby gyre » Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:19 pm

Hubgears are the way to go, but the old timey type survive if cared for.


You should bring a lock.
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Postby gyre » Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:00 pm

Wide and smooth tires are the way to go.
The Surly Big Dummy or anything with their large marge tires are the top.
The front fork can be added to other bikes.
I want to add that to my bike.

But those tires work in the worst conditions.
And I bet they are comfortable on the bumps.
I got beat to death on the roads this year.
Was it really worse or was it the heavier bike?
I don't know.

Conti has a reverse pattern tire that is nice.
There are more slicks now too.
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Postby Sham » Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:04 pm

I prefer a mountain bike because I can change gears on the open playa and fly like the wind. If the playa is hard packed, you can get up some pretty good speed. This is just what I like to use. Your transportation may vary.

I guess it really doen't matter what kind of bike you ride, as long as you lock it when it's parked---even in your private little camp!
Locks are your friend. :D
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Postby Elorrum » Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:09 pm

A one speed works fine, but a low gear is nice. I had a 3 speed internal hub last year and was very happy with the low gear. If you are used to actually using the gears on a ten speed or greater mountain bike, you might like the range. If the surface is hard, it's not an issue. When you hit soft dust and start fishtailing and worse, you will be happiest with big tires, low gears, and more weight forward handlebars like on a mountain bike. This thing ain't necessarily about ease though. If the bike is hard to ride, fake it with a little more style. I brought a chopper with big ape hanger bars and it wasn't that easy to ride, but when things were smooth, it was great, big springy leather seat was a great choice.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:04 pm

WAIT

Ivory said "salt flats". You guys are losing your edge.

Ant off-road bike that's cheap. Decorate the fuck out of it.
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Postby misfit » Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:43 am

>>>"salt flats"<<<
gypsum......

bring what you can afford to lose, and won't be upset if it gets trashed....
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Postby gyre » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:33 am

Not everyone finds a crap bike adequate.
And I hear 2007 was worse.

I know some that take their primary bike out and just clean it when they get back.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:27 am

My primary bike is a road bike and worth a fair amount of cash.

The roads this year had a lot of loose dust, and I don't think my road bike would have been up to the task.

I found a cheap off-road bike at Target and gave it away when I returned to Defaultia.
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Postby C.f.M. » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:31 am

I got a 1 speed "cruiser" offa Craigslist. $30. It was great. Not a problem withit.
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Postby justfred » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:36 am

Cheap beater beach cruiser - usually you can get one from a yard sale, grease the chain and coaster brake and make sure everything else is tight or loose, depending. "Tractor" seat, preferably with additional padding. Excessive decorations (we like to use colored silicone to create "bumps" all over). Night lighting of some sort is crucial - more important that others can see you.

Get a lock that's cheap and easy to open when you're wasted.

Personally I've got a low trike, which is awesome for the playa but nearly useless for anything else, and hard to store, so I wouldn't recommend it.
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Postby Elliot » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:59 am

:D
Lots of good advice there. Comfy saddle! Wide tires with minimal knobs.

Tall handlebars -- I put BMX bars on a lot of bikes. (You'll need longer cables.)

Best setup for gears -- in my humble personal opinion -- is rear gears only. This can be internal hub gears, og a derailer. But avoid a front derailer!

In my experience with my own fleet of loaner bikes, and the bike repair I do, it is the front derailer that gets people in trouble.

Many stores now carry inexpensive bikes with rear gears only -- mostly in the cruiser style. Way to go.

That said, a single speed will serve you fine. Make sure the chain is not too tight. I saw I lot of single speed bikes this year with the chain much too tight. That makes the bike very hard to ride. (I blame them all on the 16 year old "technician" who assembles all the bikes at the Reno Wal-Mart. LOL) The chain will become tighter as dust gets into each link and takes up a tiny amount of space at each pin, so it needs to start out a little bit slack.

Again... Biggest problem for most normal folks is correct operation of a front derailer. Please do not take offense! The factories (merchandisers) are doing the public a grave disservice by stocking the stores with umpteen-gear bikes. It's a marketing stunt -- it looks like what Lance rides. But normal people have no need for brain surgery tools either.

Single gear is fine. But I like a few gears on the rear wheel for when you have to ride against a strong wind.

I put a detailed explanation of front derailer (mis)use on a thread some time ago. With schematics. Poke around and you'll find it.
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Postby Ivory Bill » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:10 pm

Thanks for the info.

It sounds like some of the ground is hard packed and others are loose sand, I mean gypsum. Is this correct.
Bikes and vans fly by me in the dessert, but I'm alright standing out here in the hot sun
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Postby Sham » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:20 pm

Ivory Bill wrote:Thanks for the info.

It sounds like some of the ground is hard packed and others are loose sand, I mean gypsum. Is this correct.

Some just refer to it as "playa dust", but when I am trying to clean it out of my art car, tent, clothes and everything else I own, I refer to as "this fucking shit"!
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Postby Elliot » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:45 pm

:D
Here is that old thread I mentioned, in case there is something useful to be gleaned there.

viewtopic.php?t=27895
:D
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Postby Elorrum » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:56 pm

None of it is so bad that nothing works. I didn't ride my bike at all 2008, just wasn't up to the task. Still had a fine time. I like riding, and wish for a nice packed surface. It's got to rain more for that. Another approach is the trike. You can sit and look around without having to deal with holding up a bike. If you hit a soft patch, you don't immediately tip over if your speed slows to nill. I haven't tried a trike yet, but just may this year. I've seen a couple of kits that bolt to the back of a regular bike.
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Postby Playa Tom » Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:35 pm

The ideal bike would be:
Cheap, the playa will tear up a good bike
Comfortable, Black Rock City is a big place and you will do a lot of riding
Well Lighted, Others will be able to see you and you will be able to see the sleeping hippy in the road
Locked, You don't need the best lock, but enough to keep the bike where you left it
Kickstand, A bike takes up a lot less space when upright, I put a tennis ball on the foot of the kickstand to keep it from sinking

Ride the bike several miles before you hit the playa to make sure it and you are capable.
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Postby LostinReno » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:15 pm

One of our campmates has a trike, lots of pro's and con's. The con's:
You only have one gear.
Once you hit the loose stuff you come to a halt and have to get off and drag the bike out.
Pro's
Makes a great bike rack for those of us with bikes that don't have a kick stand
They usually have a great big seat!
They usually have a basket, great for hauling stuff, ice, drinks, etc.
You can ride really inebriated without falling over. :wink:
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Postby justfred » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:46 pm

LostinReno wrote:One of our campmates has a trike, lots of pro's and con's. The con's:
You only have one gear.
Once you hit the loose stuff you come to a halt and have to get off and drag the bike out.
Pro's
Makes a great bike rack for those of us with bikes that don't have a kick stand
They usually have a great big seat!
They usually have a basket, great for hauling stuff, ice, drinks, etc.
You can ride really inebriated without falling over. :wink:


Actually my trike (Sun EZ-3 SX Recumbent Tadpole Tricycle - about $500 new, hard to find) has multi gears, and no basket - you're probably talking about the old school ones, the newer "tadpoles" are low to the ground. Still have to get out and pull when the going gets soft, though. And it's hell to get on the back of a car. But it does have a lounge seat and is well suited to riding inebriated. And lots of places to attach EL wire.
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go trikes

Postby Tiahaar » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:22 pm

seconded and thirded and whatever, trikes rock! trikes with wide tires rock harder! (and ride smoother)

but a single speed cruiser is a pretty good way to go. something that makes a nice difference? long crank arms! look for 170, 175, or even 180mm. also put a smaller front chainwheel on for lower gearing. you really don't need to go fast on the playa, just cruise 5-6mph, and the lower gear will really help in loose playa. its an easy change for a bike shop to do if you aren't into bike wrenching.

my newest playa trike creation at home, awaiting 2010 improvements
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Postby AntiM » Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:41 am

Elorrum wrote:... I've seen a couple of kits that bolt to the back of a regular bike.


Training wheels?
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Re: go trikes

Postby lambert13 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:48 am

Tiahaar wrote:my newest playa trike creation at home, awaiting 2010 improvements
Image


That is a very nice looking creation!
It's pointless to walk when it's past time to run.
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Re: go trikes

Postby C.f.M. » Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:30 am

lambert13 wrote:
Tiahaar wrote:my newest playa trike creation at home, awaiting 2010 improvements
Image


That is a very nice looking creation!


Yes. Want.

I never locked mine, either.
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Postby Elliot » Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:56 am

:D
Most fun to ride drunk you say? I nominate my Pear County Chopper -- when it was still a bike. Sure, it became foolproof when I turned it into a trike, but what's the fun in that?!

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Photo by Marc Merlin -- with the lovely and talented Miss Gina heading out for the CT Ride. 2007, I think.
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Postby Sage » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:13 pm

WANT!!!! (Does it come in fur?)
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Postby Sham » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:36 pm

Sage wrote:WANT!!!! (Does it come in fur?)

No, I am pretty sure that she only comes in fleshtone! :roll:
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