TURNING TRASH INTO TRANSPORT
Getting a bike to Burning Man is hard enough. Transporting a hunk of metal and rubber coated in corrosive alkaline dust HOME from Burning Man and figuring out what to do with it when you get there is an even bigger challenge. Stars And Bikes takes this problem and turns it into a solution.
There are an estimated 30,000 bicycles in Black Rock City and a surprising number of these are purchased just days ahead of the festival and disposed of immediately following the event. Many are simply abandoned on the Playa. After all, it's hard to resell a Burner bike without putting a lot of work into cleaning and regreasing the entire bike.
THOUSANDS of abandoned bikes are collected, sorted, processed for lost and found, held for a reasonable period, transported off of the Playa, and finally donated or scrapped in Reno. This is a tremendous headache and cost.
Almost all of these bikes still have a potentially useful life ahead of them. That's where Stars And Bikes comes in! Our bike drop makes it super easy to put these bikes back into circulation for years to come.
In 2016 Stars And Bikes shipped more than 300 bicycles from Burning Man to a bike shop in The Gambia. In 2017 we shipped 1000 bicycles to Africa!
In West Africa the cost of a car is out of reach for most people. Public transit is a hodgepodge of private vehicles that operate on their own schedule. In Banjul, the Gambia's capital, most people walk. But in a sprawling city of 1.5 million, it's not always affordable to live and work in the same neighborhood. On Gambia's developing infrastructure, bicycles dramatically increase the ability to gain access to a far flung job or the market where groceries can be purchased affordably.
In Banjul, bicycles change lives. At the bike shop in Serekunda Market, donated Burning Man bikes get people to work!
The bikes we ship to Gambia provide jobs to local mechanics. More employees are hired to sell the bikes in the Serekunda Market. This is not charity. The bike shop is a sustainable business. The bikes are freely given during Burning Man, but apart from paying wages at the bike shop, sales must also cover the shipping costs so we can repeat the process: collect more bikes, ship them to Africa, employ shop staff, and put more people on bikes in a community that desperately needs reliable transportation.
Donate Your Bike!
Stars And Bikes operates a BIKE DROP on the last ring road of Black Rock City. Burners circling the city on their way out of town pass Stars And Bikes camp at the 5:30 spoke road. Burners can leave their used up bicycles at the camp. We sort and load the bikes onto a trailer or into a shipping container. The trailer bikes will be refurbished and returned to Burning Man next year as rentals. This pays for the camp. The container bikes are towed to port and shipped straight to Africa.
Stars And Bikes and Re-Cycle, Inc share no official affiliations with Burning Man, Black Rock City, LLC, or the US Military (but we do appreciate journalistc integrity).