Why Bike to Coachella?
You’ve heard the horror stories about getting to Coachella. Hours of driving through traffic. The 30+ minute walk to get to the entrance of the festival from the Uber & taxi drop off area. Waiting for a ride at the end when everyone else is also leaving is a mess that could take hours. Not being able to find parking in time for your favorite band. All that worry is gone when you ride your bike to Coachella.
Coachella is nestled in a dessert oasis of Southern California. The roads are big, but they’re not meant for the huge influx of cars during Coachella. Riding your bicycle is a great way to have a fun time on your way to and from the festival! With the wind blowing in your hair, the light breeze will cool you down from that Coachella Valley Heat.
If you’re within 5 miles or so of the festival grounds, your bike ride will take less than 30 minutes. Check Google Maps to see how long a bike ride will generally take from where you’re staying. A lot of the streets have bike lanes or don’t allow cars during the festival, but for the streets with cars, there’s usually a large enough shoulder to ride safely far from the cars.
You can see the official rules on the Coachella 2019 website, but essentially you can bike in from any direction and find a color path and park in the designated parking on whichever color path you find. They should ALL have one designated bike parking somewhere along the path. More on bike parking below.
Make sure you have your bike lights! This is an important one, as it gets pretty dark over there on your ride home! More info below, and some headlight hacks.
They explicitly don’t allow motorized scooters, but they also mentioned no JUMP bikes, so I’m not sure if they just don’t want anything electric. Be wary if you plan to take your e-bike, but worst case you may have to find a pole to park just outside the path entrance.
Remember to protect yourself against the elements. Walking in the heat can be exhausting, but when you’re biking you may not notice the heat, so wear sunscreen! It’s also a good idea to bring a head wrap or bandana for your face in case there’s any extra dust.
In the past, I believe the event had no official bike parking. It seems that way from reading a few sources around the web, but in looking at some old maps, perhaps people were just unable to find the official parking. As you saw in the map above, there is bike parking along every color entrance path (but maybe not green?).
Bike theft at Coachella seems very opportunistic from what I’ve heard, so that means that even a cable lock should keep your bike safe as long as it isn’t super nice. Either way, I prefer a U-lock that’s small for total peace of mind. I write about how to keep your bike safe, so check out some of those posts if you’re interested in keeping your wheels, seat, and lights safe!
There are also stories of people locking their bikes to moveable objects or fences. Don’t do that! Your bike may be impounded and taken to a bike graveyard. It may be difficult to find without calling a few places. It should be easy to find parking if you just follow the signs and follow the rules.
If you plan to bike home after the last artist, this is a very important accessory you’ll need to get home after dark. I’d recommend these easy to use and carry bike lights, but you can also go for the cheapest ones I’ve found. If you’re bringing your own bike, check out my post on locking bike lights.
A front light hack is to just use a headlamp that’s useful for other uses too! You may already have one! Here’s a very functional and cheap one or the popular brand name one. But make sure you have a rear bike light too. If you have a helmet, they have lights you can attach to your helmet for a functional lighting system.
Take a Bus to Extend Your Range
If you’re farther than 10 or so miles and don’t think you can ride that far, try taking your bike on a bus to extend your range. The Sun Line has routes that can take you all over Coachella Valley and all the buses have bike racks. There may be other bus companies as well that do this.
Camping with a Bicycle
A bicycle is also nice to have when you’re in the car camping area! Once you get set-up, you definitely don’t want to move your car. You want it to live there the entire weekend. Bring a bicycle so you can explore the rest of the campgrounds and areas outside of the festival. Bring a rack bag (pannier) or basket that can go on your bike so you can easily go to the General Store for something quick.
Where to Get a Bicycle
Unless you live in the area, you’re going to have to either bring your own bicycle to Coachella or rent one there. Here are some different options. The terrain is mostly flat, so you can get a single speed beach cruiser if you so desire!
Put Your Bikes on a Bike Rack
If you’re within driving distance, this is convenient and simple. No need to mess with renting. I have the Bones 2 rack that can fit on any car (no need for a hitch). I’ve put it on Mustangs, Sedans, SUVs, Vans, it works for everything. But there are plenty of other bike racks if you’re interested. I’ve been dreaming of buying the way too pricey Thule one day…
In my research, I found a company that sells bike seats to make a bike that’s usually for only one person work for two! I thought it would be good to mention, since they’ve written a few posts about how they’ve biked to Coachella in past years. If you get one of these, you can bring half has many bikes!
Rent a Bike
If you don’t have your own bike to bring or are coming from too far to bring them, you can always rent! I believe many of them offer delivery, sometimes free. Here are a few suggestions I found on Google in no particular order:
Buy a Cheap One
I’d also recommend checking out the local Craigslist or thrift store for a bike that may be cheaper than renting for the entire 3 days. Just make sure you dispose of it properly (maybe donating to a local bike shop or thrift shop on your way out).
Most of all, biking to Coachella should be increasing your fun level. Get out of the cars and buses and experience Coachella Valley. I hope all the bicycle research I’ve done helps you. If you find anything different than written here, send me a message or comment below and I’ll update it. And if you bike to other festivals and events, I’m looking for people to help write for an article like this in the future!
Have fun at Coachella & happy biking!