Looking for an Alternate Reality (also: motorcycles at BRC)

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Looking for an Alternate Reality (also: motorcycles at BRC)

Postby SkilletHead » Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:09 am

So, with a little luck I'll be a virgin burner in 09. I'm a 22 year old student and bartender in Atlanta, GA, USA, studying Real Estate, with a good helping of Film and Philosophy on the side. I've known about burning man for years and always wanted to go, but the chance might have finally presented itself for 2009.

I believe that many people have lost touch with the country as a whole and become too self absorbed, and have been planning a sixteen thousand mile motorcycle trip across the continental USA to try to experience it the way it used to be experienced. Something in the back of my brain made me think burning man, and a week later after countless hours of research to see if I could do it, here I am.

I would take a semester off of school and start the trip going up the east coast, across the northern border, detour through Colorado and hit burning man about 2/3 of the way.

Aside from the normal advice for new burners, I was wondering how people who take their motorcycles in deal with it? I will have most the camping supplies already on the bike, but will not have room for a cooler, 10 gallons of water, food, and the like to last a week. Do people on bikes join a theme camp or a convoy and pay some gas money in exchange for a lift for their water and gear? This presents the problem of storage (playa dust could DESTROY the bike's carbs in a week and could leave me stranded, even with the cover) and the problem of riding a 600 cc 1986 Yamaha radian in the windy conditions that are present on the playa.

The other option would be to rent a u-haul, buy everything locally, park the bike in the u-haul, camp in the u-haul, and clean it out and pay a dump (not the locals, unless there are some willing) to take the trash before returning it. This would present the problem of cost (which isn't major), and the problem that the bike could be impounded by BRC DMV regardless, because while it is my means of transportation home, it is not my means of transportation to the event. That could again, destroy the carbeurators and could leave me stranded if it was stored outside the van.

Either way, I'm trying to avoid having to bring the tools to do a carb clean and tune on the playa.

So, for all those brave souls who have taken their bike to BRC, how did you do it? Or would I be better off doing the bike trip over the summer and flying back for Burning Man later?
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Postby jkisha » Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:15 am

Hey SkittleHead, welcome to eplaya.

Another option might be to just leave your bike in Reno and take the bio-bus to BM. They make a stop at a strip mall for you to pick up your supplies too.

If you can take one cooler, you could actually use some of your melted ice to drink--just be careful that nothing perishable leaks into the cooler. We don't drink our cooler water, but use it for showers. Just a thought.

I'm sure there will be many other ideas to follow.

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Postby dragonpilot » Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:54 pm

jkisha's BioBus idea is a good one...this is what lots of folks do who fly in to Reno.

Your idea about the U-haul is OK, but wouldn't you rather rent an RV. Prolly the RV is more costly, but do a price comparison and see if for the extra money it might be worth it.

The other thing is you have almost 10 months to get a plan together. Try to join a theme camp and explain your logistics challenges...maybe they'll help ya out.

Try to hook up with local Burners in your area or somewhere nearby. Amazing what people will do to help a fellow Burner...even if it's your first time.

Good luck, Dragon
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Postby jkisha » Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:23 pm

If you are going to rent a vehicle, you might want to rent a cargo van from enterprise. They are pretty reasonable; don't know if they have and enterprise in reno, but check prices--renting form the airport is way more expensive than if they have a local office. I doubt you'd need a uhaul for stuff for one person. Oh and DO NOT tell them you are taking the rental to BM or they might not rent to you. (though the requirements in reno might be less strict than they are here in L.A.)

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Postby Sail Man » Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:47 am

Skillethead, not sure I understand. Why would DMV impound your bike? Your not planning to ride it on the playa?
Rent the U-haul, follow previous advice and don't tell them ur going to the burn. Don't open the cab up during a dust storm. Plan on detailing it after the burn. Dump ur garbage at the dump in Fernley. Cost me less then 10$ this past burn.

If your journey is covering all them thar miles, have you considered a trailor for the bike?
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Postby AntiM » Tue Oct 21, 2008 12:45 pm

Sail Man wrote:Skillethead, not sure I understand. Why would DMV impound your bike? Your not planning to ride it on the playa?
Rent the U-haul, follow previous advice and don't tell them ur going to the burn. Don't open the cab up during a dust storm. Plan on detailing it after the burn. Dump ur garbage at the dump in Fernley. Cost me less then 10$ this past burn.

If your journey is covering all them thar miles, have you considered a trailor for the bike?


If he rides the bike in, it is transportation. Like a car or any other vehicle, it must be driven/ridden to the camp and parked for the duration of the event. If he trailers or otherwise carries the bike in, it is an unlicensed vehicle and subject to being impounded.

If renting a vehicle, find a safe place in Reno (i.e. make burner friends online now) and store the bike there. If biking in, make contacts now and plan to camp with folks who can reliably be counted on to haul in your share of the food, water and shade. The bike will survive a week sitting on the playa, many do.
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Postby SkilletHead » Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:55 pm

Sail Man wrote:Why would DMV impound your bike?

The website seemed to suggest that ATVs, motorcycles, golf carts, etc. would be impounded regardless if they are used or not. This was my take after reading it a few times, but I could be wrong.

Part of the point of the motorcycle trip as a whole is to do it on as little money and equipment as possible and skip the touristey bullshit. I plan to spend most of the nights in state and national parks. The point being, RV is out, unless I can find a few people who want to get one together. I also don't want to bring along a motorcycle trailer. It seems to defeat the purpose of the trip.

AntiM wrote:The bike will survive a week sitting on the playa.

Maybe, maybe not. Its an old bike with 4 carbeurators that have to be tuned to each other and adjusted right. The playa dust could get into the jets and clog em or knock em out of whack. If I leave it in the driveway for too long even with fuel stabilizer it sometimes needs adjustments. I'm planning for the worst here. The playa is not a good place to be stuck at. I'll take a look at it soon and see if I could cover the carbs or stick cotton balls down in them or something.
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Postby gyre » Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:14 pm

Carbs should stay stable except for wear.
Most adjustment problems are engine or environment changes that change the mix.
Of course, the playa is at higher altitude.

You might be able to work out something to leave your bike on a truck, maybe leaving a crucial part with the gate or something.

I would think a wagon or larger vehicle would be much more practical for such a long trip.
If it must be a bike, I would definitely consider a trailer.
http://www.aerobourne.com/motorcycletrailerindex9.htm

I have a custom made that any small car can pull and a one-wheel trailer that is light enough for one person to carry.
This trailer weighs 250 pounds.
http://www.trailex.com/viewprod.cfm?id= ... &cat_id=88
One here at 170 pounds.
http://www.motorcycletrailer.com/

I've never seen this type of trailer before.
My one-wheel has a swiveling wheel and 2 mounting points.
http://www.n-line.com/trailers.htm
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Postby Box Burner » Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:09 pm

Maybe I am missing something here. Doesn't your bike have air filters for the carbs? Take extra filters. Drive in to the event throw a tarp over it and stake it down. At the end of the event drive out , Stop in Gerlack or Empire and change the filters then drive home.
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Postby ygmir » Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:14 pm

Box Burner wrote:Maybe I am missing something here. Doesn't your bike have air filters for the carbs? Take extra filters. Drive in to the event throw a tarp over it and stake it down. At the end of the event drive out , Stop in Gerlack or Empire and change the filters then drive home.


my questions, too........and you can buy foam primary air filters to put over the stock ones, and, how about a big zip lock motorcycle bag.......
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Postby Box Burner » Sat Oct 25, 2008 1:13 pm

Gee... bodybags for motorcycles. hehehee
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Postby ygmir » Sat Oct 25, 2008 1:14 pm

a multi purpose item............
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Re: Looking for an Alternate Reality (also: motorcycles at B

Postby madmatt » Sun Oct 26, 2008 11:31 am

"..planning a sixteen thousand mile motorcycle trip across the continental USA...burning man..."

Awesome!!! I've met several people who incorporated long motorcyle trips into going to burning man. We had a biker in our camp 2 years aog and she was fine. Her bike was fine. No problems other than riding a motorcycle when overly tired, on the way back home (solution - don't leave burning man until Monday, so you can experience the sat and sun big burns, and still get plenty of rest). They were very positive about it.

"how people who take their motorcycles in deal with it? ....I will have most the camping supplies already on the bike, but will not have room for a cooler, etc."

Search online here, as well as all over the internet for camps where you can join up, pay some dues and have your food and water and shade taken care of.

"Playa dust could DESTROY the bike's carbs....problem of riding...windy conditions that are present on the playa...."
There is no riding on the playa for you - once you're in, you park for the duration. There is about 1.5 miles on a dirt road, and there the speed limit is like 3 mph.

Cover your bike using plastic painters plastic or even sheets, or just use clothe to cover up the sensitive parts of the bike. Go to a car wash and wash it in Reno, and you'll be totally fine.

"The other option would be to rent a u-haul etc."
Doesn't that sound like a big pain in the ass. My advice is when it's your first time, make it as easy as possible for yourself. Find people to camp with, give them money and help out a lot once you're there.

"the bike could be impounded by BRC DMV" - no it couldn't - because you CAN'T ride your motorcycle on the playa at all, unless it's a true mutant vehicle (it can't even look like a motorcycle anymore - very strict). Your motorcycle and any street legal vehicle is allowed to drive into and out of the event (not repeatedly, but at the beginner of your stay and the end).


There are public Yellow (green) bicycles you can use.

"Either way, I'm trying to avoid having to bring the tools to do a carb clean and tune on the playa." - your bike will survive just fine. If they are that sensitive, you can swathe the sensitive parts in fabric, not hard.

Go for it!!!!
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Postby SkilletHead » Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:59 am

madmatt, thank you. That's all good advice. I will probably have a cheap cover with me for the bike, and will put a t-shirt over the carbs, methinks. The big thing that I think some people didn't quite get, is that this a 20 year old motorcycle, and was never top of the line. Its a great bike, but not made for extreme conditions, and is apt to carb problems. (they're more complicated than carbeurators on cars. there are 4 of em- one for each cylinder -and they have to be adjusted to each other and to the engine to make sure they're all pulling an equal load. That is why they can get knocked out of whack easily)

And I was going to plan on coming in a day or two late and staying until Monday or Tuesday. I'll probably wait a little on finding a group for sure. I'm going to sell my boat at the beginning of next season, and that should give me the funds to do this trip, but to err on the side of caution, I'm going to make sure everything will work out before I sign up with a camp.
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Postby madmatt » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:28 am

SkilletHead wrote:... but to err on the side of caution, I'm going to make sure everything will work out before I sign up with a camp.


Good idea - also there are camps that are specifically meant for people who have to fly from overseas, that are kind of like participatory hostels. You don't have to do a lot formally to "be a part of the group"

see you out there!
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Postby Barbie » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:41 am

You have to be on "THE LIST" to come early and stay late-
Start working on getting on IT NOW... or soooooonnnn anyway...

first step is to fill out an application thur the BORG put your heart into this and you'll b e more likely to have the heads (HEEEhehee I typed HEad) of the departments interested in YOU !!!! If you can weld or are an electrication
all the better. Good luck on the early entry pass!!! and see ya in the DUST!!!
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motorcycle to reno

Postby VagabondingVal » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:24 pm

Hey skillet, i'm thinkin riding to Reno, find secure place to park bike for the week, then catch the bus or rideshare to the burn. Have you figured out what you'll do? Also, where will you go afterwards? My intentions are to ride east as far as my shadow will take me:) Does this interest you?
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Re: motorcycle to reno

Postby ygmir » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:34 pm

VagabondingVal wrote:Hey skillet, i'm thinkin riding to Reno, find secure place to park bike for the week, then catch the bus or rideshare to the burn. Have you figured out what you'll do? Also, where will you go afterwards? My intentions are to ride east as far as my shadow will take me:) Does this interest you?


he's probably gotten tired of waiting by now...........
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Postby VagabondingVal » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:31 pm

fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:06 pm

I wonder what ever happened! And WTF he didn't wanna bring any tools to work on his trouble-prone carburetors, on a 16,000 mile trip?
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Postby oneeyeddick » Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:39 pm

I am only half as interested as you.
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Re: Looking for an Alternate Reality (also: motorcycles at B

Postby Eddie » Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:26 pm

I'm curious as to how this worked out for you. I have an idea for riding out and bringing a moderate amount of supplies with me, still thinking a few ideas over though.
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Re: Looking for an Alternate Reality (also: motorcycles at B

Postby trilobyte » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:16 am

I'm moving this old thread to the Transportation board, as I think that's a better fit.
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