Every year, tens of thousands of free-minded people migrate to the desert in northern Nevada to partake in a week-long festival known as Burning Man. After the dusty event came to an end this year, over 5,000 bicycles were abandoned. Ordinarily, this would be considered an environmental waste, as a Burning Man mantra is to “leave no trace.” Fortunately, the bicycles aren’t headed to the landfill. Rather, they are being refurbished and distributed to areas which were ravaged by Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria.
The discovery of thousands of bicycles was disheartening to some, but has since provided hope to those who seek to “do good.” So far, over 100 bikes have been cleaned up and refurbished and are en route to Reno and Florida. There, they are being received by distribution programs who will give them to territories in the Caribbean which were slammed by the natural disasters.
Meg Kiihne of California launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $10,500 for the goal. So far, over $4,500 has been raised. According to the crowdfunded creator, the bikes will provide valuable transportation to thousands who have been affected by the weather disasters.
Kiihne added that their distribution partner intends on opening bike repair maintenance hubs in afflicted regions. This will create dozens of jobs for people who are recovering in a devastated economy.
According to GoodNewsNetwork, Kiihne got the idea for the project after seeing the photo (above) of lonely “Burner bikes.” Their abandonment seemed like a huge waste but also a great opportunity, so she got to work.
“As I have told every reporter since, I didn’t think very long about the next steps,” said Kiihne. “As someone who has worked as a live event director/producer and has had the vision for years of getting more bikes to more lower-income communities, I honestly didn’t think much. I reacted on what I knew was needed and could be done.”
You can help out by donating to the GoFundMe campaign.