A miracle comes in the unusual form of 5000 dusty, abandoned bicycles in Black Rock Desert, Nevada. Volunteers of the Burning Man festival are helping to refurbish the bicycles to help the victims of natural disasters that ravaged Puerto Rico, Texas, and Florida.
Burning Man, an organization that focuses on facilitating and extending culture, hosts the Burning Man event once a year. Over ten thousand people participate in the event which gathers people together from around the world to create Black Rock City, a temporary city dedicated to art, creativity, and expression.
Cheap bicycles, a common way to navigate the festival, are often left for clean-up crews and volunteers to take care of. The core tenant of the festival is ‘leave no trace,’ so having the beater bikes scattered across the desert is not what the festival aims for.
Burning Man organizers took to social media to show the overwhelming amount of bicycles left behind, begging participants to come back for the salvageable bikes and donate them to charitable causes. One Burning Man employee, Logan Mirto, took a picture of the abandoned bicycles, captioning the photo, “Please don’t leave your bikes at Burning Man.”
According to BBC, Burning Man contractor Matthew Rockwell decided to take matters into his own hands and salvage as many as 500 bikes which he plans on taking to Houston. Without the means to recover their submerged vehicles and a shortage of rental cars, this could be life-changing to many victims in Texas.
Meg Kiihne, who lives four hours from the Black Rock Desert, saw the photos and collected 110 bikes herself. With the help of some friends, she was able to rent a truck after setting up a GoFundMe page.
Now Kiihne’s focus is on rehabilitating the bikes in the hopes to get them to the Caribbean as soon as possible. Within 48 hours of the social media controversy, several volunteers like Kiihne took action and all bikes have now been claimed.
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