Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and mutant vehicles - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues. For ride and RV shares, please go to the year-specific Share Resources board.

Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby mrMAKdaddy » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:06 am

Hey Guys & Gals

I hope you are well.

I am planning on attending Burning Man 2014 from the UK, however I use a wheelchair all of the time and cannot walk at all. I was just wondering if anyone could provide me with some advice on the best way to get around Burning Man. It would be much appreciated as I can only anticipate what it will be like from reading other comments and not having actually been to the event making it quite difficult to decide what would be the best way to get around.

Handcycle?
Mobility Scooter?
Any other methods?

I am attending with 6 friends which are all happy to help me out but I dont want to be a massive burden on them so if I could get around the festival by myself that would be a massive bonus. I am quite an active wheelchair user and have been to many festivals however none quite as intense as Burning Man.

Furthermore any general advice on the festival for a wheelchair user would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Danny :D :D :D
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:34 am

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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:42 am

Or.....

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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:07 am

I suppose all your friends are also English, so that there isn't a car/van that you can use. that's what I did. You might be better off with mobility camp, as I don't think you'll be able to bring two chairs and that it might be hard to rent one. I don't know how you thought you could get hold of a mobility scooter. One thing about a scooter, is it wont fit in the porta-pottys. So, that's probably a non-starter unless you can walk two or three steps each way...
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby mrMAKdaddy » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:17 pm

Cheers FIGJAM the link is really useful, I will definitely get in contact with the mobility camp, I am not sure where I could get one of those powered chairs though as I need to travel with my manual chair.

Thanks thecryptofishist your comments and suggestions are much appreciated. Yes my friends are coming with me from the UK so unfortunately a Van/Car is not a option. With regards to the mobility scooter I was thinking of buying one once I arrived in the USA and taking this along with my manual chair to the festival, this way I could use my manual chair when going to the porta-pottys, however like you say taking two chairs may not be possible.

Would it not be possible to just use my manual chair/handcycle or is the terrain too difficult?

Any help at all and all suggestions/comments are warmly welcomed as I am really looking forward to this trip and just want to be as prepared as possible.

Once Again thanks for your help!

Danny
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:28 pm

The terrain is fairly flat. But there are ruts left over from previous years. And soft spots where you can get caught. People are very willing to push you out, many volunteer without being asked. If you don't want motorized chair, than bully for you. I'm coming from the next state over, so it is a different animal. You might end up covering less ground. But the burn has it's charms at any radius. You might want to think about making your camp a neighborhood hang out. Have a mini bar that you open three times during the week. Invite the neighbors over. Of course, that depends on your and your friends' temperaments.
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby mrMAKdaddy » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:37 pm

Thanks again for this information thecryptofishist I really do appreciate it! Creating a neighbourhood hangout sounds like a good idea, me and all of my friends are easy to get along with and are not shy so I cant see this being an issue.

Are you using a Car/Van to get around again this year?
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:41 pm

I'm not going this year. But I used one in '11, '12 and '13.
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby Bless » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:03 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:I'm not going this year. But I used one in '11, '12 and '13.


Why aren't you going this year, Fishy?
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:10 pm

My village broke up in a really nasty way. Broke my heart and left a nasty taste in my mouth. I did my best in '13, but there are other things I can do with my time and money, things that are closer to my heart.
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Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri


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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby Verve » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:06 pm

Fishy, :( :( :cry: I am bummed you will not be attending this year. After reading so much, as a newcomer, you are one of the people I so looked forward to meeting. Damn, double damn. Verve
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:14 pm

Thank you, that's very touching.

There are all sorts of wonderful people at the burn and on this board. Eric and Tamarakay are highly recommended.
As are dozens of others.
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Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri


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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby Verve » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:35 pm

Thank you, that's very touching.

There are all sorts of wonderful people at the burn and on this board. Eric and Tamarakay are highly recommended.
As are dozens of others.


I have been in touch with a few people, Tamarakay among them, alas poor Eric you are now added to my hit list. Fishy, your intelligence, sarcastic wit, sometimes snark, but many times empathic point of view has been interesting for me to follow, I will look forward to meeting you on the Playa in the future, till then Eplaya. V
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby tamarakay » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:38 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:Thank you, that's very touching.

There are all sorts of wonderful people at the burn and on this board. Eric and Tamarakay are highly recommended.
As are dozens of others.


:oops: g'awwww
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby Eric » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:48 am

Verve wrote:alas poor Eric you are now added to my hit list.


Don't believe a thing she says. I'm pure evil. (wait, can I hide my moderator colors for just one post?)
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby AntiM » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:59 am

[media]
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby Canoe » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:37 am

Eric wrote:(wait, can I hide my moderator colors for just one post?)

I thought the Red balanced out the Green...
Odd. No bears to watch in the dump. Oh well, lets go across the road & pick blueberries.
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:49 am

Eric wrote:
Verve wrote:alas poor Eric you are now added to my hit list.


Don't believe a thing she says. I'm pure evil. (wait, can I hide my moderator colors for just one post?)

He paid me off for spreading misinformation. Don't know why he then spoiled it, but I'm sure his evil plans are very baroque. And Byzantine, as well.
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Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri


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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby Savannah » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:41 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:
Eric wrote:
Verve wrote:alas poor Eric you are now added to my hit list.


Don't believe a thing she says. I'm pure evil. (wait, can I hide my moderator colors for just one post?)

He paid me off for spreading misinformation. Don't know why he then spoiled it, but I'm sure his evil plans are very baroque. And Byzantine, as well.


Heeeeeee. :lol:
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby Eric » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:08 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:He paid me off for spreading misinformation. Don't know why he then spoiled it, but I'm sure his evil plans are very baroque. And Byzantine, as well.


Way more Byzantine - baroque always looked to me like Louis XIV had gone on a bad acid trip, then described his vision to his court artists, who brought it to terrifying life with way too much plaster and gold paint. I can just see Louis shaking his fist at his artists screaming "More putti!!", with flecks of drool rolling down his chin. Okay, I may have a thing against baroque... :shock:
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:11 pm

Eric wrote:
theCryptofishist wrote:He paid me off for spreading misinformation. Don't know why he then spoiled it, but I'm sure his evil plans are very baroque. And Byzantine, as well.


Way more Byzantine - baroque always looked to me like Louis XIV had gone on a bad acid trip, then described his vision to his court artists, who brought it to terrifying life with way too much plaster and gold paint. I can just see Louis shaking his fist at his artists screaming "More putti!!", with flecks of drool rolling down his chin. Okay, I may have a thing against baroque... :shock:

And I may have something against the Sun King.


But he did look good in tights.


When he was young.


In court portraits, where the painters might have exaggerated his calves.
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Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri


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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby Verve » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:55 pm

Don't believe a thing she says. I'm pure evil.

Oh Eric, I don't believe that anymore than I believe that "pickles are pure evil" :twisted:

MrMAKdaddy, I'm sorry for getting your thread off track.
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby Skywater » Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:49 pm

I think this question was answered quite thoroughly, but I'll throw in my two cents for what it's worth.

I definitely remember that some people were using wheelchairs (I only noticed motorized ones) this past time. I noticed a wheelchair user dancing at Robot Heart in the Deep Playa, which is quite a distance from where the themed camps are located.

I imagine the Deep Playa would be easier to ride across because there are fewer ruts than where the camps are. The ruts around the themed camp streets accumulate over the course of the week, and there are fewer earlier in the week. There are also intermittent spots in the Deep Playa where the dust accumulates and that might slow you down for just a sec as you power through depending on wheels and the amount of power. I'm pretty shrimpy, and occasionally when I was riding on my bike, I'd hit one of these dust buildups, would have to stop peddling, and then restart while my stronger friends were able to peddle through it. I agree with Fishy that the culture of BM is such that people are super helpful in general and approach each other freely, and that if you got stuck, it would not be long at all before someone would help.

I wonder whether others can speak about this - there might also be a way to get special permission to use a car (perhaps a rental car if you are all coming from afar?). One member at our camp broke his foot putting up our shade structure and had to get stitches. He went to Reno for care and then, like a total boss, returned for the rest of the week. Because crutches were not feasible for transportation, he got special permission to drive his car or be driven in it by someone else. If this is possible for non-emergency situations, it might be a handy option for longer journeys into the Deep Playa. I don't know whom you'd ask about this special permission or whether you'd want this, but it may be an option. Maybe the DOA people would have answers?
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:58 pm

Skywater wrote:I imagine the Deep Playa would be easier to ride across because there are fewer ruts than where the camps are. The ruts around the themed camp streets accumulate over the course of the week, and there are fewer earlier in the week. There are also intermittent spots in the Deep Playa where the dust accumulates and that might slow you down for just a sec as you power through depending on wheels and the amount of power. I'm pretty shrimpy, and occasionally when I was riding on my bike, I'd hit one of these dust buildups, would have to stop peddling, and then restart while my stronger friends were able to peddle through it.

The ruts can be left from previous years. In 08 and 09 I really wasn't able to go far without total washboarding. (okay, my grammar there is dubious. I admit it.) And the drift spots were enough to trap me. It's driving in sand. I don't know how you were able to get your bike started again, but I suspect that cheating by pushing off with a foot may have been involved.

Skywater wrote:I wonder whether others can speak about this - there might also be a way to get special permission to use a car (perhaps a rental car if you are all coming from afar?). One member at our camp broke his foot putting up our shade structure and had to get stitches. He went to Reno for care and then, like a total boss, returned for the rest of the week. Because crutches were not feasible for transportation, he got special permission to drive his car or be driven in it by someone else. If this is possible for non-emergency situations, it might be a handy option for longer journeys into the Deep Playa. I don't know whom you'd ask about this special permission or whether you'd want this, but it may be an option. Maybe the DOA people would have answers?

This would involve having a DMV placard from one's home state and a car suitable for driving. I need hand controls and a ramp... And I don't know if the bureaucratic hurdles could be jumped in the circumstances for the placard--although contacting the burningman organization directly might be worth an email. I don't know where one would rent a vehicle with hand controls and ramp/lift.
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby Skywater » Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:48 pm

Thank you for the valuable response, Fishy (and strangely enough, that is one of my nicknames in the default world). I thought it would be good to get the conversation going again, even if it was via my bad suggestions. Before I went to Burning Man, I found it really hard to imagine what I would need out there, and the more information I had, the better prepared I was. I also think sometimes bad contributions to a discussion can evoke responses with good information, and I hope my useless post and your meaningful response will help mrMAKdaddy and others who read this.

theCryptofishist wrote:The ruts can be left from previous years. In 08 and 09 I really wasn't able to go far without total washboarding. (okay, my grammar there is dubious. I admit it.) And the drift spots were enough to trap me. It's driving in sand. I don't know how you were able to get your bike started again, but I suspect that cheating by pushing off with a foot may have been involved.

"Drift spot" (or I guess "dust drift") is a much better way of putting it. And yes, I totally cheated. Other members in our camp were in amazing shape, and they didn't need to push off; they just powered through. I wasn't sure about the physics of whether having two wheels side by side or two wheels in line would make a difference, which is the reason I mentioned the drifts at all. I guess given visibility and a less dense spread of people, it might be better to not go out to the Deep Playa at night in a chair alone/without anyone in the group, but personally, I think it was great to soak in the night experience with others anyway. Also I didn't mean to suggest otherwise about the previous years' ruts. We got there a few days early and saw some there from 2012.

theCryptofishist wrote:This would involve having a DMV placard from one's home state and a car suitable for driving. I need hand controls and a ramp... And I don't know if the bureaucratic hurdles could be jumped in the circumstances for the placard--although contacting the burningman organization directly might be worth an email. I don't know where one would rent a vehicle with hand controls and ramp/lift.

That is crazy regarding the DMV regulation, given how international the event is. What a bad policy. I also don't have answers about hand controls/ramps with rental cars, but I was throwing out the permit/placard idea with the idea that others in the camp might be interested in the possibility of driving places with mrMAKdaddy. In our relatively small camp (of 15 at our most populous and 8 at our smallest), it was easy to find someone to drive the pickup when our friend got injured (he could have theoretically driven with his left foot, but it's nice to do things together anyway), and luckily, we all had our licenses. As the week went on - and maybe this is against the spirit of Burning Man - it felt nice to avoid the hazards of nighttime biking/walking amid nighttime bikers as more people populated BRC. Naturally, all situations/necessary provisions are specific to the individual (and the group). I just thought I'd throw that idea out there because, depending on the group, and if the organization approves, it might be an interesting, additional option.

Thanks again, Fishy.
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby Canoe » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:50 pm

this might be a repost...
http://www.burningman.com/preparation/e ... chair.html

Black Rock City can only accommodate a small number of vehicles being driven. If you wish to bring your Mutant Vehicle to Black Rock City or require accommodation due to a disability, you must go through the DMV licensing process.

http://www.burningman.com/on_the_playa/ ... enses.html
Pre-register your vehicle through our online application form. All vehicles must be pre-registered through this form to be considered for on playa licensing.
The link for the online application form is currently for 2013, and closed. Disabled Persons Vehicle Application: Closed. Please contact dmv[at]burningman.com if you have accessibility needs.

My understanding, and I can't remember where I got this, so this may be incorrect, is that the authorized DMV licensed vehicle for accessibility needs, can be one your drive yourself, or that someone else drives to take you around. Examples have been posted on eplaya before.

http://nevadamagazine.com/issues/read/b ... lity_camp/
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby Token » Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:42 am

Let me try to game the thread drift ...

Electric trikes are approved without DMV process. Might be an option for the OP as they handle the terrain much better.

Since hand pedaling was mentioned could be something to look into.
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby Canoe » Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:36 am

If you haven't noticed yet, the footprint of BRC is rather large. The diameter of the main open circle art area is just under 1.5 km across. If you went around the outer road of camps, that's 7.3 km. And the depth of the camping area, from the inner Esplanade through to "L", is 900m. Esplanade itself is a little over 3 km long.

So where you camp vs. where you want to go, can also have an impact on what transportation you need when.
Like distance to the porta-potties, ice sources, centre camp cafe, The Man, Temple, etc..
Odd. No bears to watch in the dump. Oh well, lets go across the road & pick blueberries.
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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby GreyCoyote » Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:47 am

Here ya go. Not even a downpour would stop you in this one: :mrgreen:

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Re: Wheelchair user at Burning Man

Postby mrMAKdaddy » Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:13 pm

Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions all of the information that you have provided is greatly appreciated.

Skywater, Fishy and Canoe thanks for the information regarding using a vehicle and the DMV placard, however unfortunately I do not believe it will be an option to hire a car to use at BM as we are already hiring 2 RV's between us so will be struggling on money and doesn'y really make sense if we already have a way to get to the festival.

Could anyone recommend what wheels to use on my wheelchair whilst at BM would wider tyres with big tread be better or thinner tyres with less tread be better? Because I have realised whilst attending many festivals in the UK wider tyres are usually good if the weather is dry however if it rains and there is a lot of mud they just gather far too much mud and make it difficult to push, whereas thinner tyres tend to be a better all rounder for festivals I am not sure if this would be the same for the terrain described at BM with all the ruts and so forth. I also have an attachement for my wheelchair, which is a big wheel that attach's to the front of my chair and lifts the little caster wheels from the floor making ruts and so forth a little bit less of an issue unless they are huge, obviously.

Could any one maybe recommend any good mobility shops or website to check out for some equuipment that I may be able to rent or buy? in order to make the trip a little easier.

Thanks again Everyone
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