Why this burning enthusiasm for Burning Man?
Diane Taieb
62

I heard my own story in your beautiful article. I too went to BM for the first time in 2014 (and again ’15 and ‘16). I think you figured everything out. The moment in your story where you spoke of when you rode your bike towards the man and felt in another timestream was poignant for me. You see, a big thing for me at burningman was rediscovering how I loved bicycle riding. I do it so little in my daily life and forgot how wonderful it was. I remembered how I first learned riding at 8 years old and that it opened my world.

My whole life I’ve never been good enough at balancing to ride a bicycle with no hands. One hand yes, but zero hands, no. But that time I was riding back from the deep playa trash fence towards the man with the yellow dusty wind blowing directly at my back. The playa dirt was completely flat and hard in every direction, a perfect riding surface almost like it was designed for bicycles. Riding was effortless and surreal. The sound of the world became muffled and visibility reduced down to a few hundred yards or so. For some reason I decided to try riding with no hands again. But this time everytime I wobbled the wind would catch me and push me back upright. Over and over again it happened, while I kept pedaling to keep the bike speed up — a scary prospect for me since the higher speeds would make any crash more painful. It caught me tipping left and right. It was crazy. After about 100 yards of this I became more confident and was able to shift my weight in my seat more without fearing the balance shifts that would make me reach for the handlebars.

In the end I had ridden 200 yards with no hands, and no urgency to stop at the end. In that strange timestream I was taught the feeling of how I could bicycle with no hands.

Since then, I have been able to ride without hands.

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