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Getting Ready for the Playa

July 30th, 2014
Bike Arch at Black Rock City. Image via Flickr from Fabrice Florin.

Bike Arch at Black Rock City. Image via Flickr from Fabrice Florin.

San Francisco is the birthplace of PUBLIC Bikes. We take a lot of inspiration from the cultural and social diversity of this city that continues to innovate and transform itself.

It’s no surprise that San Francisco is also the birthplace of Burning Man, which has since become a worldwide cultural event celebrating art, music, community, and creative self-expression.

Several PUBLIC employees are regular Burners. In fact, one of our regular bike builders has already left for the entire month to help prepare Black Rock City.

The focal point of Burning Man is the building of the temporary Black Rock City where 65,000+ participants are expected to gather in the Nevada desert. Burning Man takes place before Labor Day weekend, which means thousands of people from around the world, especially in the Bay Area, are preparing their camps and art projects in August in anticipation for the Burn.

One of the essential items to bring to Burning Man is your own “Playa Bike” or “Burner Bike.”

Big Burner Bike. Image by Mack Reed via Flickr.

Big Burner Bike. Image by Mack Reed via Flickr.

Burner Bikes

People go to Burning Man for different reasons, but one of the best parts is to experience what it’s like to live in a city where the primary mode of transportation is by bicycle.

Black Rock City is essentially a bicycle paradise. The landscape is perfectly flat, spans for miles and motorized vehicular transportation in any form other than an art car is prohibited (with the exception of arriving and leaving Black Rock City).

Burner Art Bikes. Images by Thomas Kriese, Joel and Ian Kennedy via Flickr.

Burner Art Bikes. Images by Thomas Kriese, Joel and Ian Kennedy via Flickr.

Thus, two-wheeled transport is essential with the bicycle being the primary way to get around the city. Imagine living in a city of 65,000+ people where almost everyone moves by bicycle or foot. One of the best articles about this topic is “The Bike Culture of Black Rock City” by Matthew Roth.

And for many participants, the bicycle also becomes a vehicle of creative, artistic, and individual expression. We’ve rounded up a selection of fun, quirky, and inspiring art bikes in a Facebook album so check them out.

Creative Burner Bike. Image by Lara604 via Flicker.

Creative Burner Bike. Image by Lara604 via Flicker.


Playa Products: Incredibell Disco Bell, SpokeLits and Trieste Coffee Cup Holder

Playa Bike Recommended Picks
If you’re heading to the desert later this August we’ve rounded up a few playa-perfect products that are sure to make your trip that much brighter, colorful and safe. We think our Disco Bell that offers an LED light show of red, yellow and green upon every ring is totally techno-ready. Our SpokLits come in either Disco or Green, effortlessly attach to the spokes of any bike, and create a LED light display upon revolution.

Other gear to consider: our Trieste Coffee Cup Holder (you can put any cylindrical vessel inside it), colorful Spring Clip Rear Racks and baskets for holding anything you might pick up along the way and, of course, bike wash (because you won’t be the only thing needing a good scrub down when you get home).

Check out our complete collection of fun Burner recommended products here.

New 2014 Special Edition Bikes

July 29th, 2014

Introducing Our New 2014 Special Edition Bikes

Bikes, like people, have personalities and at PUBLIC we love the idea of taking a bike and making it feel special. The same way earrings and shoes can make an outfit, bike accessories like bells and fenders add character and individuality to a set of wheels.

Each of our new Special Edition models is outfitted with individual touches like polished silver fenders and brass bells, handmade leather saddles and grips from Brooks of England. Built atop our durable, lightweight steel frames for a distinctive (and durable) ride. Starting at only $549.

The PUBLIC C1 Amelie edition is a classic single-speed city bike with European chic. This timeless ride is dressed up with a Brooks B67s Aged SaddleBrooks Plump Leather Grips in honey and a classic PUBLIC Brass Bell. Toss a bouquet of fresh flowers or bread into the Peterboro Original Front Basket and breeze down any boulevard with an effortless je ne sais quoiRetail price is $549 (list price $741).


The PUBLIC V1 Harrison edition gets its moniker from being one of the best bike routes in San Francisco’s Mission District and the home address of PUBLIC’s original warehouse on Harrison Street. Accessorized for the street-smart urban rider, this low-maintenance high function single-speed ride features the bulletproof Brooks B17 Saddle in black, our cargo-ready new Porteur Front Rack in silver, Black Cork Grips and aPUBLIC Brass BellRetail price is $549 (list price $750).

View all our Special Edition Bikes here.

Halfway Is Not Enough

July 24th, 2014
Bike-able Bridges

Images courtesy of Rob Forbes, The Botster and Ipv Delft

PUBLIC is headquartered on both sides of the San Francisco Bay, with a new flagship store and design studio in Hayes Valley, SF, and a distribution center and office in Jack London Square, Oakland. I often enjoy taking the ferry across the bay to our Oakland office, but sometimes the best choice is to drive across the Bay Bridge.

Every time I sit in bridge traffic returning to San Francisco from the East Bay, I have two conflicting emotions. First, how majestic, elegant, and inspirational the new bridge is aesthetically –and second, how unfortunate, even cruel it is that even after spending $6.5 billion on the modern new eastern span that opened last fall, a person still can’t ride a bike across the bridge from the San Francisco to the East Bay. For those unfamiliar, you can only ride half way across!

Riding the bike lanes on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, you’re treated to a gorgeous, expansive view with incredible vistas that are a treat for tourists and locals alike. But there are no definite plans to complete the bike connection on the existing western span to San Francisco, which is an opportunity unfulfilled. Take Copenhagen, it’s already awash in bike-able bridges and it’s now considering creating the 2nd largest bike bridge in the world.

Bay Bridge Lights Image Courtesy of Greg Del Savio

We have made some world-class bridge designs in the Bay Area, the Golden Gate Bridge at the top of the list. It gets over 10 million visitors every year, and the bike ride across it is epic and loved by locals and tourists alike. The recent Bay Lights project on the west span of the Bay Bridge rivals any urban lighting you’ll see in Copenhagen or anywhere else in Europe.

The vision behind these grand works casts a shadow for cyclists with the halfway solution of the new Bay Bridge redo, and makes us realize that we are still playing catch up to many European cities when it comes to comprehensive progressive transportation solutions. At PUBLIC we sincerely hope there will enough public pressure on politicians and government executives who make transportation planning and funding decisions to eventually make the Bay Bridge fully open to bikes and pedestrians, not just cars.

PUBLIC Talk: Amy Wibowo on Traveling with Bicycle

July 22nd, 2014

A few years ago Amy Wibowo didn’t even know how to ride a bicycle. But she became motivated to learn when she moved to San Francisco and acquired a pale green Limited Edition PUBLIC Bike that she named Peppermint Patty.

In the last few years, she’s taken Peppermint Patty with her on bike trips to Finland, Copenhagen, Provence, Paris, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and other parts of the Bay Area.

Have you ever wanted to travel with a bicycle but been to worried that it would be too complicated for you, or that you don’t have enough expertise? That’s why we’ve invited Amy to share her story & hopefully inspire some of you to consider incorporating a bicycle into your travels.

We’ll have drinks and snacks to share. Come meet Amy and the PUBLIC gang as we dream up our next vacation.

Learn more about Amy and her blog here.

WHAT: PUBLIC Talk: Amy Wibowo on Traveling with Bicycle
WHERE: PUBLIC Bikes, 549 Hayes Street (between Octavia and Laguna)
WHEN: Wednesday, August 13 from 6pm-8pm

$299 Single Speeds Are Back For School

July 18th, 2014

We’ve had a hard time keeping these new models in stock this season, but right now the PUBLIC V1 and the PUBLIC C1 are back in stock for just $299. The diamond frame PUBLIC V1 comes in Royal Blue and Red. And the step through, Dutch-style PUBLIC C1 comes in Cream and Turquoise.

These wheels are ideal for the graduate heading off to college. The single gear is calibrated for flat or moderately hilly terrain, so getting from classroom to dorm room, with a cafe stop in between, is a piece of cake. Plus, they are built with a durable high-quality steel frame at price point that won’t break the Top Ramen budget.

To help protect your bike and your college minded coconut, a bike lock, helmet and a way to carry around the laptop and books will be necessary. Check out our selection of gear essentials like our new Porteur Front Rack and handy baskets for all the extras you’ll need to really put those wheels to work.

PUBLIC D8i Contest Winner Andrew Stone

July 15th, 2014


We held a contest recently upon the release of our new PUBLIC D8i and gave away this premium commuter bike loaded with all the bells and whistles. Well friends, we’ve picked our winner.

Drum roll, please.

And the lucky winner of this loaded set of wheels is Andrew Stone of Salt Lake City!

Congrats, Andrew! He joins a growing group of lucky past PUBLIC contest winners, including Lisa, Stan, Manuel, Mark & Lauren.

We asked Andrew to share a bit about himself and here’s what we learned. Andrew moved to Salt Late City in the 90′s and has been bike commuting ever since. The city of Salt Lake has improved greatly over the years he has been riding there, making big strides in accommodating both bike commuters and recreational cyclists.

Andrew not only work commutes daily via bike, but he and his family bike to Farmers Markets, local festivals and events whenever they can. He also runs this website 365 Things To Do in Salt Lake City.

We’re happy our contest winner is already a biking regular and Andrew has assured us winning this bike will take his riding to the next level of style and fun.

A huge thanks to all our participants in this contest and stay tuned for the next PUBLIC giveaway!

Grand Opening in Hayes Valley Party Recap

July 15th, 2014

Last weekend we celebrated the Grand Opening of our new store at 549 Hayes Street in San Francisco and we really felt the love! So many people came out to help us celebrate and Karl the fog even complied by heading elsewhere and gracing us with a sunny afternoon.

We took silly photos in the photo booth provided by Say Ya!, indulged in delicious food from local eateries Souvla and Local Gai, boogied to the tunes of Curious Quail and had some very lucky winners in our awesome raffle thanks to donations from Rickshaw Bagworks, Timbuk2, Patxi’s, Sean, Papabubble and Brooks England. We raised money through the raffle to support the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

If you took part in the photo booth, download your pictures from Say Ya! here. And if you share them out via social media we’d greatly appreciate if you tag @publicbikes.

We’ve also created an album with party pics, so head here to check it out.

Again, here’s the list of awesome friends of PUBLIC:

Say Ya! Photobooth

Souvla – San Francisco

Local Gai : @Local Gai

Curious Quail

Rickshaw Bagworks

Patxi’s Hayes Valley

Emile Lafaurie for Sean


Papabubble San Francisco

Liberté, Égalité and Beautiful Design

July 15th, 2014

France has a lot of reasons to celebrate in July with the Tour de France cycling all over its countryside and Bastille Day marking the start of the French Revolution.

We’ve got a French connection here at PUBLIC in the form of our PUBLIC M7i, our mixte bike. In French “mixte” implies “mixed gender” and the mixte frame illustrates this perfectly by falling somewhere in between a step through bike and a diamond frame bike. The mixte has a French and European heritage that we’ve blogged about before, and has been a best selling bike for PUBLIC since we launched.

In the spirit of all things liberté, égalité and beautifully designed, we’re excited to announce the launch of our front cargo rack, the PUBLIC Porteur Front Rack.

Like the mixte, this elegant and functional rack has French roots, as the style was pioneered by french newspaper delivery couriers (like the gentleman above).

We designed our PUBLIC porteur-style rack for function and versatility as it’s simple to strap boxes and awkwardly shaped items to it that wouldn’t easily fit in a side bag or backpack. Add a crate atop the front rack and Fido can ride proudly with you, or it allows you to keep your eyes on your laptop bag or a six pack. This style of rack is popular amongst bike courier set because they look sharp and are seriously handy. But until now you could not find one with this capacity and quality at this price. Load yours up today at the special introductory price of $99 (list price $129).

Custom Company PUBLIC Bikes

July 11th, 2014

We’ve been designing unique company bikes since the beginning of PUBLIC, and we take pride in these projects. Working with a client to customize color and design produces a product that’s an elegant fit for their brand and ours. Our first client was Hotel Healdsburg and since then we’ve been lucky enough to work with larger well known companies like Clif Bar and lululemon.

Check out our eclectic list of clients both big and small.  Recent additions to the list include apartments like Lex on Orange and Nema SF who offer our customized bikes to their tenants, Indian Springs Resort, the Frisk winery and  Mojo, a Clif Bar division.  Our recent lululemon event was a total kick and a unique collaboration that benefits employees and their communities.

If you’re interested in partnering with PUBLIC for your business head here for more information or drop us a line via this inquiry form.

Travel In The World’s Most Bike Friendly Cities.

July 8th, 2014

When traveling, biking is a superior way of getting around (no pricey cab fares or metros to navigate) that’s only getting better. Cities around the world are making it easier than ever to hop on two wheels and explore with improved bike infrastructure and convenient bike share programs. We have several perspectives listed below.

Click on the colorful grid above for the definitive list of 25 Bike Friendly Cities across the globe from Copenhaganize; Amsterdam (Netherlands), Copenhagen (Denmark), Utrecht (Netherlands), Seville (Spain) and Bordeaux (France) receive the highest ranking, and less obvious cities like Budapest (Hungary) and Tokyo (Japan) make the list.

What makes these cities truly bike friendly are the ample dedicated bike lanes, some that go for miles, bike share programs that are well used by the community and a hard core commitment to building out better bike infrastructure in the future.

Bike sharing is really coming around and for travelers this is an awesome perk. Momentum Magazine lists it’s top cities for bike share and the ones in the US that get nods are New York, Miami and Chicago. Lonely Planet highlights cities around the globe with significant bike share programs and the likes of London (England), Paris (France), Montreal (Canada) and Hangzhou (China) top the list.

So, as this travel blog with it’s own list of top 10 bicycle friendly cities quotes, “The next time you find yourself in a bike-friendly city, skip the car rental and let your legs do the driving.”

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