Over 5,000 bicycles that were abandoned at this year’s Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert are to be given new life benefitting victims of Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria.
The photo of the dusty bikes originally sparked controversy in light of the obvious betrayal of the Burning Man tenet “Leave No Trace” – but now, volunteers are refurbishing the bicycles for new homes across the country.
The workers who rounded up the bicycles in Black Rock Desert have already begun cleaning and prepping over 100 bikes for shipping from Reno to Florida. Next, the bikes will be given to distribution programs and organizations throughout Florida and the Caribbean.
The project’s GoFundMe page has already raised $3,800 of their $10,500 goal in order to pay for shipping and handling.
The crowdfunding campaign’s creator, Meg Kiihne, said the bikes will provide valuable transportation to those affected by the weather disasters.
Additionally, Kiihne says their distribution partner plans on opening bike repair maintenance hubs in the afflicted regions, creating dozens of jobs for the devastated economies.
Kiihne says she first got the idea for the project after seeing the photo of the lonely “Burner bikes”.
“As I have told every reporter since, I didn’t think very long about the next steps,” says 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.”