Free Bikes at The Burn!


There is however a fleet of 1,000 bikes available for use through the Community Yellow Bike Program at Burning Man.  These bikes are single speed Huffy “Cranbrook” models {Mens & Womens} that are actually painted green.  There are 1,000 adult bikes for public use but there are no children’s bikes available.

“Ballyhoo Betty” runs the Black Rock City Yellow Bike program and when I asked why the bikes are Green she said…

“Naming of the program – yellow bike is a relatively worldwide term for community oriented bike programs. The bikes here are green for a number of reasons: it was a cheap color the year the program started, they’re easier to spot on the playa horizon than Yellow, etc.”

Yellow Bikes & Three Simple Rules


They are the Yellow Bikes. They are free, community bikes for all citizens of Black Rock City to enjoy. The rules are simple:

1.)  Don’t steal them.

2.)  Ride them, and then leave them in an open area for the next person to use.  No saving or reserving a Yellow Bike.

3.)  Wear pants while riding them.

Sounds simple, right? You’d be surprised. Every year, we encounter a great deal of confusion about the Yellow Bike Program and protocol, so we’re here to set the record straight. Let’s take one of those at a time:
  1. No stealing: In addition to the physical removal of a Yellow Bike from Black Rock City, theft also includes locking and decorating a community bike. Once you place a lock on it, or decorate it beyond recognition, you’ve just rendered it inaccessible to the rest of the community.
  2. Ride them and leave them: If a Yellow Bike helped you get to where you’re going, you may not want to give it away just yet. After all, there’s a whole lot of cool shit to see out there and only so much you can cover in a week on foot. Unfortunately, if you hold onto a Yellow Bike, you are once again removing it from communal use. “Leaving it for the next person” means placing the bike unchained in a highly visible area, such as the side of a street or a bike rack. Don’t hide them in your camp.
  3. Wear Pants: I hope this needs no explanation.
So now that you understand the culture of the Yellow Bikes that we’re trying to promote, what can you do if you…
  • Stumble upon a broken Yellow Bike? Fix it. (Remember Radical Self-Reliance?) If you’re not mechanically inclined, you can take it to one of the bike repair theme camps, or drop it off at the Yellow Bike shop (5:30 & A). If none of these seem like viable options to you, or whatever state of mind you’re in, then flip the broken Yellow Bike upside down and leave it on the side of the road. This helps our staff find the ones that need a little help.
  • See someone decorating, locking or in some other way violating a Yellow Bike? Be proactive and explain to them how their actions are damaging the community. Often times, people truly are unaware that they’re behavior is shitty. Other times, they are completely aware, but being called out by a fellow burner can be more effective than you may think.
  • Want to get rid of your camps’ bikes on your way out of Burning Man? DON’T LEAVE THEM BEHIND! There is a common misunderstanding that by piling them up and leaving them for us to clean, you’re donating to our program. This is incorrect. You are actually MOOPing and this is no different than leaving your trash behind. Until our storage is at capacity, we will accept donations of undecorated and unpainted (just the factory paint job it came with) 26” Huffy Cranbrook bikes. If you’re planning on donating your Cranbrook to us, please make a backup plan for taking your bike with you in case our storage is maxed out by the time you get to us. (More info can be found in our note about Handling Bikes at the End of the Event)