E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

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E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Elliot » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:13 pm

.
Proposed 2013 ePlaya Bicycle Fleet.

Not a Registered theme camp, but a tiny camp with a theme nonetheless -- a utilitarian theme.

In 2012 I stepped up my bicycle service two notches. I kept regular daily repair hours, which were posted on a sign. And we served cold beverages to customers. Both seemed successful. But over half of my loaner bicycle fleet was lost.

In past years most of the loaners went out to people I knew, and friends of theirs. But this year I had less affiliation with other camps and more loaners went to total strangers –- and few of those came back. For 2013 I need to reel this phenomenon back in.

So maybe we should try it as the “ePlaya bicycle pool”. ePlaya members have a good record of bringing loaners back. Let’s see if we can match the fabulous return record of the late great Terminal City!

The loaners are all in good condition. Many have cushy saddle and extra tall handlebar for comfort. I have a few extra-tall bicycles for tall people – most bicycles seem to be sized for youths. When I buy new inner-tubes I get only the extra-thick puncture-resistant ones. Rebuilding bicycles to this standard takes time and money, so I would rather get my own bicycles back than collect random replacements at the end of the week. (Although I certainly accept such donations -– that’s how the fleet grows.)

The number of bicycles available is uncertain this early, but figure 15 to 20. All are painted my colors for easy recognition. The loan period is for the whole week (unless you choose to bring it back earlier).

Borrowers must provide their own lights, and are responsible for always locking the bicycle. I have some locks available, but you may prefer to bring your own that you are familiar with.

This service is intended for those who are not able to provide a bicycle for themselves because of travel distance and transportation restrictions. It is not intended as a mere convenience for those who could manage to bring their own bicycle if they really tried. ePlaya members are welcome to borrow additional bicycles for their immediate camp-mates on the same basis.

Any interest?

Elliot
:D
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby graidawg » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:26 pm

this Elliot is why we love you, most people having had there loving made and improved bicycles stolen woudl respond "fuck you lot i'm not doing this anymore". you however simply revise the plan.

it was great to meet you this year, you are a wonderful man.
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby JStep » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:37 pm

Awesome work Elliot!!!

YOU ROCK! :D :D :D
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:43 pm

Elliot, I wish I had found you on playa this year: I remembered one of your posts saying you take bicycle donations at the end of the week but I couldn't remember enough to find you. Something about a bus, maybe? I wound up donating my bicycle elsewhere.

I probably won't need to take you up on your very kind offer, but thank you for making it! Do you think you'll be taking bike donations at the end of the event next year?
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Elliot » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:51 pm

I've had such great experience with loaning out bicycles since 2006, that I am not the least bit inclined to give it up. We just need to weed out the "tourists" who showed up when I opened the fleet to all comers this year.

I've told this story before somewhere around here, but it's been a while, so...:
My first year I was invited to join a camp, and since it was known that I played with bicycles it was suggested I might bring a couple extra. No sooner was I unloading when some lady walking by saw the row of bicycles and asked if she could borrow one for an hour, to find her friends' camp. I'd brought more than "a couple" extra, so I told her she was welcome to borrow it as long as she had a use for it -- all week if she liked.
A few days later I figured I would never see that bicycle again, and I think I even forgot all about it.
At the end of the week the lady returned with the bicycle in flawless condition -- and gloriously happy to have had the use of the bicycle all week.
And that's the concept I will continue to operate on; no worries.

And yes, I always happily accept surplus bicycles to add to the fleet, or to use for other smile-generating purposes. In 2012 I actually had to stop accepting them for lack of cargo space, but next year I'll have more space again. There will still be a limit, though -- No bicycles in my bed! :lol:
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Drawingablank » Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:08 pm

This sounds awesome. I found this year a bit tougher since we were without bicycles.
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Bob » Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:30 pm

Any numbnut can log on to this BBS, hope you're aware. I'd expect frequent eplaya users to be more aware of what goes on at the event than others, but shit happens.

What about welding something garish, stupid & ugly on them that aids quick identification? I helped assemble some of DPW's yellow bikes the first year they got funded, and it didn't make sense to me to rely solely on the brand & model and repainting them a distinctive shade of green for quickly IDing them. Granted, I'm sure they and their benefactor assumed there'd be some amount of attrition & depreciation, but they made it pretty easy for bike-grabbers to grab cruisers that blended in with the hundreds of other cruisers out there.

Unless you think you can rely on random donations from people in your circle, establishing yourself among the pool of people salvaging from the pile of moop bikes in Center Camp should help if you expect to sustain this from year to year. Talk it up with the theme camp people and hang out at the end of the event to help stack & sort the moop bikes. Somebody has to do it.
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Elliot » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:06 pm

Hey Bob: Sure, I'll still lose some bicycles -- that's acceptable. (Not philosophically acceptable, but pragmatically acceptable.) But losses have been trivial in previous years, so I figure I can get back to that with the ePlaya crowd.

I ask borrowers to lock these bicycles, so the paint is only for convenience.

A couple of years ago I was in contact with Travis [edit, name corrected] who offered me access to the Big Pile. But there is really no need, because I receive all I can carry right in my camp. Many of my donors are my repair customers, who return at the end of the week, having seen my sign that includes the phrase " Unwanted Bicycles Accepted".

Now.... If I had access to the Big Pile, I would be tempted to cherry pick. I'm always looking for tall frames, for long-legged people to ride. Then I would feel guilty about cherrypicking. That said, I might volunteer to stack and sort a bit, since I'm always looking for ways to stay on Playa longer. I'm now doing both Perimeter and Ice -- might as well add Stack & Sort! :lol:
Last edited by Elliot on Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Nipple » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:30 pm

I've met the guy that headed up The Yellow Bike program this year, and he's one of the nicest people ever.

I'd be willing to guess that he'd love the help in whatever capacity next year. (The assumption that he's doing again next year is entirely mine.)
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Elliot » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:42 pm

Nipple wrote:I've met the guy that headed up The Yellow Bike program this year, and he's one of the nicest people ever.

I'd be willing to guess that he'd love the help in whatever capacity next year. (The assumption that he's doing again next year is entirely mine.)

I know Tomcat. He asked me to help repair the Yellow Bikes this year but I didn't have time. (But I repaired several of them at my own camp.) Next year I expect to do more of my Perimeter shifts pre-event, so I will have more time during event week. Then post-event -- yeah, I ought to help Tomcat with rounding up the Yellow Bikes; thanks for pointing that out! (Of course, I ought to work a couple of "strike" shifts with GP&E also, but I'm trying to do different things.)
So much Fun Stuff! :D
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Nipple » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:48 pm

Off topic: Perimeter was one of my favorite things to do out there ever.

I totally get why people want to be outside the fence, and "fall out" sometimes.
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Bob » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:39 pm

I cherrypicked a nice old Centurion one year. A large-frame '60s Peugeot road bike w/ 27" wheels used to be my ride of choice out there, until the dunes became a permanent fixture.
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Elliot » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:01 pm

Nipple wrote:Off topic: Perimeter was one of my favorite things to do out there ever.

I love it too. I'm a Perimeter Scout Driver for the rest of my life, for sure.

Bob wrote:I cherrypicked a nice old Centurion one year. A large-frame '60s Peugeot road bike w/ 27" wheels used to be my ride of choice out there, until the dunes became a permanent fixture.

A couple of my Loaners are old road bikes that I converted to 26" mountain bike wheels. Tall frame, wide tires, BMX handlebar, rock-n-roll. :D

(Centurion? Schwinn? There are certain pieces of Schwinn hardware I'm always looking for, to use in Kinetic Sculpture Racing. So... cherrypicking is kosher at that point?)

Anyroad, we can discuss technical aspects also here.
Many burners apparently ride a bicycle only that one week a year, and struggle with the leaned-forward riding position. The solution is a BMX handlebar, and a wide cushy saddle to carry the weight comfortably. BMX handlebars lack the wider diameter section in the center, but what'cha do is cut the same section out of the old handlebar and use as a sleeve. Longer cables (if any) must be installed, but you can get a universal cable kit at K-Mart for $7,-.

(BMX = "stump jumper". Young boys ride them. 20" tires.)

Wide cushy saddle -- same store (and others), around twenty bucks.

:D
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Patsh » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:04 pm

Yay, Elliot!! :D

Seeing first hand this year, how many of your original bikes, loaned to strangers, didn't get returned, it sounds like ePlayans are the way to go! (Yay, ePlayans!!!)
You did put time and energy (and bucks) into making the loaners reliable, and that should have been respected.
Looked like most of the 'unwanted' bikes brought by at the end were in need of repair and various parts.

This plan sounds perfect...
Yay, Elliot!!!! :mrgreen:
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Elliot » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:15 pm

:D
I don't have a photo, but the sign Triken made for me says something like:


ELLIOT’S BICYCLE SERVICE

Open 2 PM to 5 PM

REPAIRS
LOANERS

COLD BEER
CHILLED CHARDONNAY

UNWANTED BICYCLES ACCEPTED
UNWANTED ACQUAINTANCES RECYCLED


But the hours tended to stretch from 1 PM towards 6 PM! Good times.
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby shroom » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:26 am

wonderful idea!
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby CornMan » Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:35 am

Maybe some didn't get returned because they got stolen.
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby some seeing eye » Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:06 am

I would love to connect with this opportunity on my next trip to the playa. A great service in support of ePlaya values. Thanks Elliot!

I saw a photo of half of the abandoned or lost bikes at the end of the event from this year. It's really an outrage.

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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Bob » Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:48 am

The funny part is DPW having to put up yet another orange fence to contain that pile of moop.
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Elliot » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:02 am

Zeke Chaparral wrote:Maybe some didn't get returned because they got stolen.

Ya know.... Two or three years ago, at the beginning of the week, a fellow brought in a bicycle that had been damaged beyond repair in a mishap on the way to BRC. I sent him out with a loaner. A couple of days later he arrived on foot and apologized profusely for having lost the loaner, having failed to lock it. I lent him another one -- and a lock. Those he brought back at the end of the week.

If the fellas who failed to return my loaners in 2012 had come back on foot and apologized similarly, I'd have been perfectly happy. Stuff happens, and I may have forgotten to mention the need for locking. But they never showed up. No note under the windshield wiper of my bus, nothing. That stinks.
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Elliot » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:12 am

Bob wrote:The funny part is DPW having to put up yet another orange fence to contain that pile of moop.

Actually.... As my row of donated bicycles grew on Monday, several people asked if they might pick themselves a replacement for one they had lost. Of course, they all left with the freshly-donated bicycle of their choice. Then I had to return the rest to some semblance of neatness. So I'm thinking that if the Big Pile were open to such scrounging, that Pile would become an unmanageable mess. So the fence is probably a good idea for that reason.
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby TT120 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:17 am

Elliot, I have experience fixing bikes. If you need any help in that regard, I'd be happy to help. I can bring my own tools.
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Elliot » Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:49 am

TT120 wrote:Elliot, I have experience fixing bikes. If you need any help in that regard, I'd be happy to help. I can bring my own tools.

Wondermuss! Few people are capable of even minor maintenance these days, which is a shame.
Now, do you mean on Playa, or during the winter?

On Playa you would certainly be welcome to join in during "business hours". I almost always have customers waiting their turn. Over the years, several mechanics have joined in for a while -- one even ran back to his camp and fetched a professional bicycle repair stand. Guest mechanics are always a big hit, increasing the cheerfulness of the "shop".

When it comes to overhauling loaners during the rest of the year, I don't really need help since I'm retired and I have 11 months to prepare the fleet. And I work rather irregular hours here in my barn, and I live at least two hours from Rancho Cordova. But thanks for offering!

As for where I will be in BRC 2013, I do not know yet. But I will put it in my signature when the event draws close. And I will make sure to notify the folks who have requested a loaner bicycle, and you.
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:07 am

Elliot wrote:As for where I will be in BRC 2013, I do not know yet.

How remiss! I've already put down my deposit and have a nice esplanade frontage camp!
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby TT120 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:18 am

Excellent! Count me in. I don't have any special professional bike tools like stands but I can get er done. I have a chain tool and tire irons though. I can true rims, swap stuff out, and fix flats.
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Elliot » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:26 am

TT120 wrote:Excellent! Count me in. I don't have any special professional bike tools like stands but I can get er done. I have a chain tool and tire irons though. I can true rims, swap stuff out, and fix flats.

Wondermuss! We may also have my buddy Peter, who is a good mechanic. He missed 2012.
As for tire levers, they are rarely needed. I'll show you the technique for taking tires off and on with bare hands. Impresses people to no end. :mrgreen:
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby unjonharley » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:30 am

I'm ordering a the book, Bicycle Repair for Dummies..

Will carry tools on the ride to do small repair on the playa.. Maybe add a rack/strecher to bring wounded bikes back to base..
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby TT120 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:34 am

Actually Elliot, I was going to show YOU how to remove tires from rims without tools but it seems you already know the trick. I have tire spoons for my motorcycles tires and they work on bike tires too. No worries.

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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:37 am

I did 2 or 3 repairs while you on your PGE shifts! 8)
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Re: E-Playa Bicycle Fleet?

Postby Elliot » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:36 am

TT120 wrote:Actually Elliot, I was going to show YOU how to remove tires from rims without tools...

Hah!

TT120 wrote:Drunken test rides are always fun!

Try riding this beast drunk. (The bicycle, the bicycle!) Absolutely hilarious.

Image

I ought to return it to this configuration. It's a tricycle now.

(photo by Marc Merlin, bicycle by Elliot Naess, model Miss Gina -- who rode it in Critical Tits.)
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