Posted by: k8et | June 24, 2008

Art Bikes at Burning Man

Kendra invited me to post this and I collected the photos and wrote it up ages ago… Finally posting it now, in celebration of the art bike ride this week!!!


If you haven’t heard of Burning Man, it is a festival or a temporary city (called Black Rock City) built on a dry lake bed in the desert, and for one week out of the year it is the third largest city in Nevada.  About 50,000 people gather for a week of interactive art, music, performances, dancing, and more.  See the website for a better understanding of the event itself – I’ll be focusing on bikes since that’s what this blog is about.


Bikes are fairly crucial at Burning Man – without one, you don’t get very far or see very much. There would still be plenty within your area of the city, but you can’t truly appreciate the size and dynamics of different areas without one!

As vital as a bike is for transportation, at night, lighting it up is just as important so that you are easily seen by art cars, other bicyclists, and pedestrians.  Many people chose to decorate their bike so that it functions as art/self expression, as well as providing service and lighting the rider at night.  You see your usual set of tricycles, unicycles, high and low bikes, two seaters… But people get even more creative than that.Click to read more and for lots of photos….



(NOTE: all photos are by other people than myself, unless indicated. Click the photo to be taken to the photographer’s site.) 

 One of the easiest and most memorable art bikes in the past year was a group of people who created “Playaflies”


playaflies 2

 When traveling across the dark desert, they would bounce and dance and look like multicolored fireflies! The effect was great when it was a large group of them together.

There are free instructions for building playaflies for your own bike, and you can buy the lights for just $15.



An arch made of bike parts graced the main entrance to Center Camp – the social hub of the city – near the bike parking racks.



A jellyfish bike made with El-wire (electro-luminescent wire)



A tree bike –



A camel bike!



A fish bike



 The eyeball bikes are very easy to spot, and look amazing at night!



El wire and fake fur can transform any bike…



So can any visit to a craft store!


Fire art bike that caught a lot of attention!









Whether you are on the dark streets or a desert lakebed, I encourage you to be creative when lighting up your bike!  Many el-wire suppliers sell bike kits, and you can use the Burning Man resource guide for some good places to start, and if you mention Burning Man some will give you a discount! is a social networking site (free) popular among burners – here’s one tribe (discussion group) for art bikes at Burning Man.

Hope you enjoyed a peak into the bicycle lifestyle at Burning Man – feel free to holler if you have any questions about the event itself, I’ll be returning this year for the third time!  (You can also contact me through my blog, and my email is listed there at the bottom of the sidebar.) 


  1. Thanks so much for posting this, Katie! This is awesome! You rock!

  2. Great article, awesome Burning Man pictures.
    Just wanted to say, for EL wire supplies, there is also:

  3. Awesome!

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