Monday, March 28, 2011

Playa Bike Bling

The first thing I got for my trip to Black Rock City (BRC) was a bicycle. It seems to be on the top of every Burner’s “Must Have” list. So, that was my first Burning Man supply item. And then, I learn I need to trick it out.

This is my first trip to Burning Man and this bike thing had me stumped. “Can’t I just write my name on it?” Apparently not. Even the Burning Man Survival Guide says, “… decorate your Bike and the more lights, the better.”

With no city lights in BRC, being seen after dark and seeing others is an issue. So I now have front lights that go bright to BRIGHT and a rear lights that flash white & red lights in 4 different combinations. I got LED spoke lights that turn the spinning wheels into light discs.

The lights take care of the night but not the daylight hours. I want to be able to spot my Huffy Beach Cruiser easily among the plethora of bikes on the Playa. I’m SURE I won’t have the ONLY green Huffy on the Playa.

I got my Craig’s List bike checked out for Playa-worthiness. The brakes work, the handle bar is now perpendicular to the wheel and frame. I replace the old sticky plastic seat. Who or what sat on that thing to get it that sticky? On second thought, I’d rather NOT know…. And I had a basket mounted up front.

I still have months to ponder a carrier over the back wheel & fender. Yeah! The bike has its original shiny chrome fenders! Cool! I have a bell and the lights I mentioned earlier. Still: not enough Playa Bling. I’m an artist. It should not be this difficult.

I took a virtual stroll through the 2010 Burning Man Year Book looking specifically at bicycles. They pretty much run the gamut from Ho-Hum Boring to Holy Crap Cool! Then it hit me: my art is recycled junk. I didn’t have to look any further than my studio, my own artwork!

I’d made a shower screen from tin can lids. I made a room divider from Tomato Juice cans. I use soda can tabs in my artwork. There must be a way to incorporate some of these materials.

I experimented with chainmail inserted in the frame opening. The attaching wire was more prominent than the chainmail itself. Reject.

I experimented with jump rings and soda can tabs attached to the handlebars and frame. It was not very visible and very boring. Reject.

And then I spotted the basket. There was the perfect place! I am proficient using an ice pick to poke holes in tin lids and make jump rings from scrap wire: the idea is to recycle. I embellished the lids with soda can tabs. I used a couple hundred tin can lids and even more tab tops. I attached tin can lids to the basket in a design pleasing only to me.

I took my newly decorated bike for a test spin. I thought I’d be jangling and clanging all over the place. I was surprised! It sounded more like falling rain. I was reminded of the Apache Burden Basket: they have leather fringes with a tin cone at the end of each fringe. They, too, sound like falling rain. I cannot sneak up on anyone day or night!

Now I’m rethinking that back carrier. Can I incorporate more tin can lids on the back of the bike? Hmmmm… You can never have enough bling!

While I’m obsessing about Burning Man, I‘m also offering a couple of special deals on my artwork. I have pricing for most budgets – check them out here: Contact me if you see something you like and please visit the rest of my website while you are there. Take a look at my artwork. And, while you’re checking things out at, sign up for my Newsletter. Add some spice to your reading life….

Contact me if you want to buy one of my pieces or if you have any questions about a specific piece. My contact information is on my website or you can leave a comment on this blog site for me to contact you (include your contact info!). You can e-mail me at or you can telephone me on my studio phone 760-992-3157. You can call me. I won’t mind!

Thank you for listening,

Jerry L. Hanson

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