March 7th, 2018

#DoPublicGood is a project highlighting people or organizations that do good by bike. Each month we’ll be shining a spotlight on those who enrich communities all over through their two-wheeled advocacy. You can read our past #DoPublicGood profiles here.

If you have a nominee for #DoPublicGood, please let us know in the comments and if selected we’ll send you both a PUBLIC gift certificate.


Ken Martin, Mike’s Bikes CEO, with Mike & Debbe, Bicycle Warehouse Owners, in Lesotho visiting Tumi, owner of a Mike’s Bikes Sister Shop.


This month we are proud to spotlight our partner, Mikes Bike’s, and their Africa Projects which help put bicycles directly in the hands of people in developing Africa. So far over 26,000 bikes have shipped, and the changes these bikes make in their communities and in the lives of the owners is profound.

We interviewed Ken Martin, CEO of Mike’s Bikes, who had just gotten back from delivering a shipment of bikes to Zimbabwe. Read below to hear him tell more about the Africa Projects and how you can get involved.


Please describe what the Africa Projects are all about.

We wanted a way for us to do a bike donation program that was cost effective and sustainable. Many of the bike donation programs give their bikes away for free, but for us it was key to create a sustainable program that taught the value of the bike.

We went through a few iterations of the projects to land where we are now, with four main distribution centers in Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho. Instead of handing out the bikes for free, our distribution partners in Africa sell them for the cost of shipping and import duty to local shops and business people who then sell the bikes into their local communities at affordable prices, using the capital to keep their shops running, hire local workers, and promote cycling. This helps with the long-term value and impact of the bicycles.


Mechanics all around Southern Africa are learning valuable skills in bicycle maintenance.


Tell us more about the local shops you sell to and how they help benefit the community.

When we began the program, we were helping to set up “Sister Shops” that would keep the bikes running after they were delivered to Africa. We quickly noticed that this was key in keeping the program sustainable. We were setting them up to function beyond our initial donations. They were using the tools we gave them to operate their own small business which then helped them provide for their family and give back to the community.


Tumi’s Bicycle Shop was initially set up as a “Sister Shop” but over the years has evolved into a bustling business in Maseru, and is looking at setting up a pump track next.


We decided to broaden our model and distribute to more shops and business people who could spread the value of the bike across Africa. We support them in developing their own individual business models in order to best service the area in which they live.

For example, in Roma, Lesotho they built a pump track and rent their bikes out to kids who want to ride. If a kid can’t afford to rent a bike, they can earn free rentals by working in the community garden, which then provides fresh produce for people in the area.

Another example is a woman named Aggie, who doesn’t run a shop but acts as an independent businesswoman who specializes in soft goods. Her bike is her only mode of transportation, and she uses it every day, rain or shine, to navigate her huge network of suppliers and customers. We are one of the distributors where she is able to get her supplies.


Can you highlight a personal story from one of your visits?

There are so many. The best are stories are when we get to see the passion the African people have for bikes.

The Lesotho Sky is a hardcore mountain bike stage race in Lesotho that top riders from over 21 countries come to compete in. Years ago, a 15-year-old named Mekke showed up with an old, beat-to-hell hybrid bike with bald tires, and wanted to ride. Although he couldn’t pay the entrance fee, ride organizers Christian and Darol let him ride because of the sheer devotion he showed for the sport. He didn’t win, but he didn’t come in last either. He became friends with Christian and Darol, our distribution partner outside Maseru, and he’s now working at the new bike shop there. Even without supplies, Mekke wanted to ride. Now with our program he gets to work every day doing what he loves, spreading his passion for bikes.


How can people get involved?

Donate your old bike and gear!

In Northern California, you can bring used bikes to any of our twelve Mike’s Bikes locations.

In Southern California, you can bring your used bikes to any Bicycle Warehouse or bring your used apparel and gear to one of Kit Up Africa’s drop off points, run by Adam Austin.

Full sustainability is the goal, but until we get there, the projects cost money to operate.  You can support our efforts monetarily by donating online.


Boitshepo Lesele racing in Botswana in apparel donated through Adam Austin’s program in Los Angeles.



February 14th, 2018


At PUBLIC, we offer two different types of multi-geared bikes. The first type is known as an “internal gear hub”. With an internal gear hub, the chain and gearing system are encased in a sealed mechanism so you don’t have to fret about the chain falling off. The internal hub keeps the chain on and the grime out. Also, an internal gear hub allows you to shift while coasting, back pedaling, or even at a complete stand still. That’s a handy feature if you are hitting a lot of red lights or are stuck in stop and go traffic. If you see an “i” in any of our models, that means they have one of these fancy internal gear hubs like our PUBLIC C7i, D8i, and M8i bikes.

The second type is an external drive system called a “derailleur”. With an exterior derailleur, you can see the chain on the outside of the gears and is most likely the type of gearing you had on your very first bike. Our PUBLIC C7, V7, and R24 bikes have this type of gearing.

Depending on where you live and how you ride, an internal gear hub or external derailleur might be better for you. We asked our PUBLIC team members to share their top reasons for riding an internal gear hub.


Here is what they said:

1. “Being able to shift while not pedaling can make starting from a dead stop, like at a stop light, very handy.”

– Brian Popplewell, Community Engagement Manager

This makes the internal gear hub much more user friendly and welcoming to new riders back on their bike for the first time in years. It’s the only drive system that allows you to change gears while coasting or from a stand still, which is a much more practical option for those commuting in terrains with a consistency of stop and go traffic.


PUBLIC D8i | 8-Speed | Diamond Frame


2. “All the gears are internal and are not exposed to the elements of the road such as debris and dirt.”

– Tom Jensen, Facilities Manager

Not only does this lead to fewer maintenance requirements, but it keeps your bike looking great. An additional benefit is no more grease stains from gears on your clothes, which is ideal for the work commuter.


PUBLIC C7i | 7-Speed | Step-Through


3. “SUPER low maintenance.”

– Lizzy Allbut, Procurement Manager/Bike Buyer

There is less need for maintenance thanks to the protection of the internal gear hub leading to less wear and tear. There are no misalignment issues when shifting, meaning no “crunching” of the gears. Tune ups are as easy as aligning two dots, meaning you can do minor adjustments yourself, no mechanical experience required!


PUBLIC M8i | 8-Speed | Mixte Frame


4. “Beautiful bikes like PUBLIC are that much more beautiful without a derailleur.”

– Ken Martin, CEO

Mid-century modern meets the bicycle, with the internal hub keeping the lines clean. The internal hub makes the rear of the bike look as streamlined as the rest of the bike by hiding the gears, cables, etc. The perfect choice for those who want function and fashion.





October 23rd, 2017

If you have a bike, you have the makings for a great costume. We found some hilarious and creative examples of people who incorporated their bikes into their Halloween costumes with total success.

Turn your bicycle into your spirt animal.

Even Skeletons Ride PUBLIC.

Inspired by the 2014 Burning Man theme Caravansary, we had an artist friend of ours transform a PUBLIC bike into a desert-worthy camel.


You’ve heard of the Headless Horseman, right? Change up the myth by transforming into the Headless Biker.

3…2…1…blast off on your rocket-powered bike. Transportation to and from your Halloween destinations is a breeze.

All you need is a red hoodie, a front basket and a cardboard cut-out of your favorite alien.

If you loved the Neverending Story, then this is the bike costume for you.

Transform your bike into a four speed: Walk, trot, cantor or gallop.

A grey suit, bow tie and red bike are all that’s required for this classic Pee Wee Herman costume.

Make a political statement like these Latvian cyclists. Erect a bamboo structure in the shape of a car and wear it while you ride to demonstrate how much more space cars take up versus bikes.

Eschew candy in favor of pac-bites and make sure you go everywhere in a maze-like fashion on your Pac Bike.

October 18th, 2017

We’ve taken our popular, single-speed, diamond-frame PUBLIC V1 and sleeked it up to create the lightest weight PUBLIC bike to date, the new PUBLIC V-Lite.

The PUBLIC V-Lite comes in Deep Navy, Sage, and Deep Pink colors. This bike is available for pre-order now and will be ready to ship to customers during the first week of November.

For this no-frills commuter bike we swapped in a lighter-weight saddle and handlebars and nixed the fender, chain guard and kickstand altogether. This bike is perfect for riding on mostly flat or moderate terrain and if you need to carry a bike up a flight of stairs.

The PUBLIC V-Lite might be our nothing-but-the-basics commuter bike, but it still sports the same high-quality, low-maintenance single-speed drive train that’s built to withstand the daily grind.

Puncture-resistant commuter bike tires deliver our signature smooth ride, even on rough city streets, and strong dual-pivot caliper brakes let you ride hard and stop on a dime in any traffic jam.

You also won’t find a simpler delivery option than our Assembly Partner program that delivers a fully built and mechanic-tuned bike to a shop near you at no additional cost, zero hassle. You’ll be out riding in minutes.

Make sure to also explore our other diamond-frame commuter bikes.

October 16th, 2017

PUBLIC is proud to partner with Mike's Bikes. For Bay Area and Northern California residents, you now have more options for in-store purchase at all 12 Mike’s Bikes retail locations or buy online to pick up your assembled bike in San Francisco, Berkeley, Pleasanton, Walnut Creek, Los Gatos, Palo Alto, San Jose, Petaluma, San Rafael, Sausalito, Sacramento and Folsom.

PUBLIC bikes will now be available for fully assembled home or office delivery through the Mike’s Bikes Direct delivery program in most Northern California neighborhoods.

Customers living far from a Mike’s Bikes retail location will still be able to purchase PUBLIC bikes online, and have them shipped either “Ready to Ride” direct to their door, or to PUBLIC’s bike shop Assembly Partners across the continental US.

June 21st, 2017

Since our founding in 2010, we have celebrated the message of inclusion, accessibility, and community, and have worked to reclaim our urban environment to make all feel welcome riding, walking, and being a part of public spaces.

This year we partnered with Lambda Legal to design a special edition bike for their West Coast Liberty Awards in Hollywood. Lambda Legal is a national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and those with HIV through impact legislation, education, and public policy work. What started in 1973 as a group of volunteer lawyers has grown into a national organization fighting against discrimination in employment, healthcare, insurance, parenting, immigration, police and criminal justice, and more.  Our colorful bike was auctioned to raise funds to support the work of this impactful 503(c)3 nonprofit.

PUBLIC is proud to celebrate the LGBTQ community this month, and every month. We’ll be riding in our hometown of San Francisco’s Pride Parade with the SF Bicycle Coalition’s Pride Parade Contingent on June 25th. We’ve loved seeing PUBLIC bikes at Pride events around the country over the years — let us know how you rode this year.


May 17th, 2017

Happy bike-to-work month! By now, you’ve probably experienced some of the ups and downs of a weekly cycling commute. On one hand, your calves are bulging with new muscles, and there’s nothing like the exhilaration you get bypassing stubborn highway traffic. On the other hand, you’ve had enough sweat-stained shirts for a lifetime—not to mention the day that it rained! To become a real commuting pro, you’ll need to do some hardcore strategizing and invest in the right gear to stay fresh and get to the office in one piece. Join us as we run through all the essentials you’ll need for your regular workday ride for your best work commute ever!

Image courtesy of Modernize.

Safety First!

Running late to a meeting? Don’t let safe cycling practices bite the dust! For starters, you should always wear a helmet and light-colored clothing (or a safety vest for extra protection!) to make yourself more visible to motorists—those are no-brainers. Other tips for safer commutes? Pick low-traffic streets with wide lanes wherever possible, and avoid the impulse to hug the right curb while you ride. In fact, try to stay in the middle of the lane, if you can. Study up on the most common cycling collisions and how to avoid them. Don’t forget about safety accessories, such as front and back lights, mirrors, bells and reflectors. Practice what you preach, too, and hold yourself accountable to the rules of the road. Just because you’re not behind the wheel doesn’t mean that you should text or use your phone while you ride! Need more information? The League of American Bicyclists has an extensive library of safe riding courses and videos, plus a directory of local class offerings, to get you up-to-speed on all the rules in no time.

Avoid Transportation Hiccups

Whether it’s a surprise piece of glass or a sudden hail storm, cycling’s a little more unpredictable than driving. Anyone bicycling to and from work should have some backups in place to keep the process running smoothly. For instance, keep spare tubes and tire levers with you in case of flats—and learn how to change a tire by yourself. It’s not a bad idea to bring along a miniature pump and a traveling tool kit with a multi-tool and wrench, either. That will allow you to make adjustments and address emergency repairs on the fly. Still, you should always have some form of backup transportation, whether that’s a bus pass or a friend you can call up for a ride. If you’re serious about full-time commuting, you may even want to consider a second bike, just in case you have to take your main ride into the shop for a few days.

Give Yourself Extra Time

One of the major pros of a cycling commute is the chill vibe, so don’t kill it by rushing around at the last minute! You never know what you’ll encounter on a bicycle: a flat, a detour, or a brush with an unexpected pothole will all add time to your commute. And if you take your time, you won’t feel tempted to run lights or engage in other unsafe cycling practices to get there faster. Some cyclists even plan on arriving to work early, before the regular 9 to 5 crew shows up. You’d be surprised how much more relaxed you are with a more leisurely commute, and you may even get a lot more work done before the hustle and bustle of the day gets underway!

Stay Dry, Stay Cool

If you’re planning on commuting to work regularly, you may want to do something to contain the sweat—you don’t want to be the smelly one in the office! If you’re lucky enough to have access to an in-office shower, consider investing in a super absorbent chamois towel. It’s a lot more space-efficient than a big bath towel. No shower? No worries! A spare change of clothes, plus a washcloth and soap (or even a package of baby wipes), does a pretty keen job of keeping you fresh. Of course, it’s a lot harder to come in looking decent when it’s just rained, especially if you don’t have the right gear. A waterproof cycling backpack, plus a padded waterproof case for your laptop and phone, keeps your spare duds dry during a sudden downpour. We keep a hairdryer at our office to use after particularly wet rides. If your bike has the eyelets for fenders, they’re your best bet against splashback, so make sure to install them—unless you like the feel of that dirt trail on your back!

It’s Not All About the Gear

Now that cycling everywhere has gotten more popular, there are plenty of tricked-out accessories you can use for your ride. There’s the practical kind, such as cell phone mounts and panniers, to the downright ridiculous (looking at you, bicycle banana holder!). But you should really avoid the “must have” lists and settle on the items that work best for you. Some people can’t stand padded bike shorts, while others wouldn’t dream of riding without them. Some commuters like baskets or racks and panniers, and some prefer to carry everything in a shoulder bag or knapsack. It may take a little trial and error, but you’ll figure out what you need. It’s about the quality of the ride, not the fanciness of the gear.

But a Few Cool Accessories Are Nice

That being said, there’s nothing like the right tool for the job. Since there are some pretty cool accessories out there, there’s no harm in trying out a few if you want, right? Some of the standouts include USB-charging bike lights, a U-lock clamp bracket, and bicycle chain chargers that capture the kinetic energy from your ride and use it to charge your phone and devices. We also think sustainable bike lights that run off 100 percent solar power just like solar panels are pretty cool. And with plenty of patterned bags, helmets, and hats, there are tons of ways to personalize your ride. After all, just because you’re commuting to work doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun along the way!



About the Writer

Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner.  She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full time for Modernize, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.

May 16th, 2017

We’re happy to announce the winner of our Play Day Giveaway is Genisa C. from Boise, Idaho.

Genisa is a stay at home mom to a young daughter. She wrote to us: “We love being outdoors and exploring together, typically with our local branch of Hike It Baby. I’m excited to win this because we live in the City of Trees and there is a huge bike culture here. It will be awesome to show my daughter our city from a new perspective!”

Genisa won $2,700 worth of prizes, including an adult PUBLIC bike bike and a PUBLIC kids bike, plus a lifetime of kids shoes from our partners See Kai Run and a cool teepee and $500 Gift Credit towards party stationery or personalized kids’ stationery from Minted.

Over the years, we can’t wait to see Genisa’s daughter grow up riding a PUBLIC bike with her mom, playing in her new Minted teepee, and running around in her See Kai Run shoes.

Read about our other past giveaway winners. And sign up on our email list at the bottom of our homepage to receive news about our next giveaway!

May 16th, 2017

#DoPublicGood is a project highlighting people or organizations that do good by bike. Each month we’ll be shining a spotlight on those who enrich their community through their two-wheeled advocacy. You can read our past #DoPublicGood profiles here.

May is Bike Month and for #DoPublicGood we’re celebrating the people who standing up for bike safety across the country. Last week we participated in a street action that we think could be replicated in many other cities to call attention to the need for more protected bicycle lanes.

A group of volunteer safe street activists in San Francisco showed up to form a human protected bicycle lane on the popular Valencia Street commuter route. Ever since the City of San Francisco installed bicycle lanes on both sides of Valencia Street in 1999, the street was generally viewed as a bicycle-friendly route, even featuring timed “green wave” traffic signals that allowed bicyclists to keep rolling through green lights as long as they averaged ~13mph bike-riding speed.

But especially with the rise of car share services like Uber and Lyft, which has transformed every bicycle lane or even street into a pick-up and drop-off location, many streets like Valencia Street have become notoriously unsafe for anyone traveling along the corridor. With many popular restaurants, bars, and shops on Valencia Street, it’s very typical for bicyclists to be forced to weave in and out of the bicycle lane because of cars temporarily blocking the bike lanes. Valencia Street, once considered a poster child for a bike-friendly street, is now considered a bicycling safety problem – and really, a problem for vehicular drivers too.

Many cities have been slow to respond with regulations and enforcement to respond to the rising problem of blocked streets and bicycle lanes, especially resulting from ride share cars stopping and going. This is why volunteer advocates are organizing to highlight these issues – and to pressure city officials to take action to make streets safer, including advocating for protected bicycle lanes. You can read about how “Safety Vigilantes Strike Again on Valencia” on Streetsblog.

Even in places like Omaha or Wichita, safe street advocates are resorting to gluing plungers to demonstrate the need and effectiveness of protected bicycle lanes.

If you live or work in San Francisco, the next human protected bike lane action is planned for Thursday, May 25 from 5-7pm. Sign up here receive communication.

If you’re fed up with lack of action in your city for protected bike lanes, maybe you can organize a small group of like-minded people to form your own guerrilla street group similar to SFMTrA. All you might need are some plungers, glue, cones, signs and passionate people.

May 9th, 2017

Since 2013, PUBLIC has been proud to work with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants to provide fleets of custom PUBLIC bikes for Kimpton’s 64 boutique hotels in 33 cities around the world. Every Kimpton hotel guest can use a custom PUBLIC bike for free to explore surrounding neighborhoods.

We worked closely with Kimpton Hotel Born in Denver on a handful of special custom bikes to elevate their unique design sophistication.

We partnered with Denver-based marketing, strategy and design firm Ellen Bruss Design on these customized Kimpton Hotel Born bikes. The Born hotel bikes are based on PUBLIC’s popular 7-speed commuter bike PUBLIC V7.

We’re really proud of this collaboration and excited to share a few photos of the final products.

About the Kimpton Hotel Born collaboration, Creative Director Ellen Bruss said, “When we started working on the brand, one of the first expressions of it was a custom bike using the plaid that is part of the design palette. At that point, we didn’t know if we could do a custom bike. PUBLIC made the dream become a reality. We hadn’t ever worked on a custom bike before. The PUBLIC team was very helpful with explaining what we could do and what we couldn’t do. They guided us on how much to wrap, since wear and tear are a big issue. They also helped figure out ways we could push the boundaries. They customized the cables and stripes to fit our design, and they took on the charge of having a custom Hotel Born name plate fabricated for the front of the basket.”

Bruss continued: “As far as the EBD design process goes, it began with picking the right bike for the audience and also finding one that the base colors were something we could match our palette to. The wrap crossovers were a challenge since the plaid pattern is complicated. And getting the scale right was important so we did numerous versions of that. We couldn’t have done it without a really collaborative, can-do PUBLIC team.”

Most of PUBLIC’s customers are individuals happily riding their PUBLIC bikes, but we love working with companies and organizations on corporate fleet bikes or custom fleet bikes. We’ve worked with companies ranging from Clif Bar, SF Shipyard and Bay Meadows, and many other corporate customers.

Let us know if you’d like to work with us on fleet bikes for your company or organization.

When you visit Kimpton Born Hotel, as Ellen Bruss noted, “the customized bikes will be front and center, one of the first brand expressions you’ll see when you get to the hotel. Guests will be able to use them to go out and explore the neighborhood.”