June 22nd, 2016

Napa Valley Vine Trail 1

Image by Tubay Yabut Photography.

Napa Valley is known for world-class wine and food.

The region is a popular tourist destination, but most people explore Napa Valley by car even though the beautiful scenery and weather is perfect for biking.

Thankfully, the amazing Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition is a grassroots organization working to fund, construct, and support “47 safe and scenic miles of level, paved, family-friendly, pet-friendly, free-access Class I trail, stretching from Vallejo’s Ferry to Calistoga.”

This Vine Trail would connect many Napa Valley communities from Vallejo to Calistoga and allow both residents and tourists to follow Highway 29 and existing Wine Train tracks.

Napa Valley Vine Trail 2

Image by Tubay Yabut Photography.

PUBLIC was proud to support the Vine Trail by providing 80+ customized Green PUBLIC V7 bikes to winners of a 2015 Vine Trail auction package.

Napa Valley Vine Trail 3

Image by Tubay Yabut Photography.

On June 1, many of these winners went on a preview guided ride from Kennedy Park in Napa to Yountville on their customized PUBLIC bikes where they also enjoyed a delicious lunch by chef Michael Chiarello at Bottega Ristorante.

Take a look at some photos from their ride.

Napa Valley Vine Trail

Image by Tubay Yabut Photography.

Napa Valley Vine Trail

Image by Tubay Yabut Photography.

Napa Vally Vine Trail -02

Image by Tubay Yabut Photography.

We interviewed Philip Sales, Executive Director of Napa Valley Vine Trail, to learn more about the Napa Valley Vine Trail:

Right now, what kinds of people bike in Napa Valley and what kind of infrastructure are they riding on? And once Napa Valley Vine Trail is completed, what changes do you anticipate seeing?

I cycled the Napa Valley on the very first “Backroads” Bike Tour of Napa Valley in 1981. My friend Tom Hale had just started “Backroads”. At that time Highway 29, which connects the Valley, was busy but nothing like the traffic we have today. Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail (a county road, not a trail!) are still the only north-south routes for most cyclists but traffic speeds are fast and there are inadequate shoulders in many places. Coupled with the facts that we have 3 million tourists unfamiliar with the area and distracted drivers, these routes are not for the faint of heart. You really need to be a confident and experienced cyclist. Sadly, there have been several fatalities involving cyclists on both the Silverado Trail and SR29, most recently last week where an experienced cyclist was killed.

The 47-mile Vine Trail is a game changer and a transformational project. Being a separate trail, wide enough for both pedestrians and cyclists, the Vine Trail it will provide a safe alternative for locals and visitors. The first 12.5- mile phase from Kennedy Park in Napa to Yountville provides a corridor which connects communities, downtown, retail, hotels and schools. Over 18,000 students from K-12 and the Napa Community College attend schools within half a mile of the new trail. We want this trail to be a place you would feel comfortable sending your kids to school on.

Our next phase of the Vine Trail, for which we assisted the Napa Valley Transportation Authority secure a $6.1 million grant, will connect the cities of Calistoga and St Helena with Bothe Napa State Park. Over 1.5 million tourists visit that upper part of Napa Valley. We believe that this next project will provide a safe alternative to driving in that very constrained and busy corridor.

napa valley vine trail

To make the Napa Valley Vine Trail a reality, it requires cooperation between the public, private, and nonprofit sector. Why do you think people from different sectors are drawn to this project and what are the major opportunities and challenges when a project involves so many players to implement?

The Vine Trail is a unique public-private partnership. Public agencies are often strapped by budget constraints and lack of staff. Our role is not just to be merely an advocate but a true partner and make this project a success for everyone. We have had great support from all the cities, the two counties (Napa and Solano) Agriculture, the Wine industry and the Tourism industry. Our Board has representatives from over thirty organizations ranging from the Arts to the Sherriff’s office. Our Board understands that this is a transformational project and a legacy we can leave for the future residents and visitors to the beautiful Napa Valley.

The Vine Trail Coalition not only provides philanthropic funds, but we have assisted agencies with grant writing (we have raised over $12 million in federal and state grants in the past four years). We can move faster as a nimble organization consisting of 1.5 full time staff. We also do a lot of the planning. I am a licensed Landscape Architect and have been involved in trail and park planning for over forty years. I prepared the original feasibility study in 2008 and so have been intimately involved in the project since day one. We supervise engineering, prepare feasibility studies, negotiate right of way easements from willing property owners, developed an interpretive signage program, which we will be unveiling in July, celebrating Napa Valley heritage, culture and history. We are involved in developing programs for Health, Arts and Education on the Vine Trail. Most recently, as the Vine Trail Coalition, we took on a major construction project with the city of Napa of half a mile of the trail including installing an 83- foot long prefabricated bridge. We completed that project in sixty- five days in time for the preview ride. We did so because our primary public sector partner, the Napa Valley Transportation Authority was not able to. We now own a bridge which we will soon be giving to the City of Napa.

Our biggest challenge is that the Vine Trail crosses through thirteen different public jurisdictions (cities, town, counties, special districts, State Parks, Caltrans and Napa College), each with their own set of rules, philosophies and budgetary challenges. As the Vine Trail Coalition we do not own any of the trail and so we have to encourage the different entities to work together. In Napa Valley, the Vine Trail connects tall the jurisdictions like no other project. It is important to see the Vine Trail as a single “brand” and an identity which unites. We have prepared a Trail Maintenance White Paper which we hope to get everyone on the same page.

To address budgetary issues, the Vine Trail Coalition has set up a Maintenance fund endowment of $1.3 million which will help fund maintenance and long term repairs. Our goal is to grow that fund to $7.5 million by the time the 47 miles are complete. This is a totally unique approach. I am unaware of any other trail organization which has done this.

What are the next key milestones in 2016 to move this Napa Valley Vine Trail project forward?

We are thrilled to have received the $6.1 million grant to construct the 9- mile Vine Trail from Calistoga to St Helena. It was the largest single grant awarded in the nine Bay Area counties and a testament of how visionary this project is and how we can deliver what we say we can. The goal is to complete this section by 2020.

We are also working with property owners to close the gap between St Helena and Yountville. We hope to have some exciting news on this later this year.

Through our partner at Solano county transportation Authority and city of Vallejo we are applying for grant funds to complete the Vine Trail between the City of Vallejo and the City of American Canyon. The City of American Canyon is constructing a quarter mile section of the Vine Trail this summer.

How can someone living in Napa Valley or outside Napa Valley support this effort?

The Vine Trail has to raise $2.5 million in private funding for the Calistoga to St Helena phase of this project and $800,000 towards the connection of American Canyon and Vallejo phase. If people would like to become one of our funding partners you can contact us at (707) 252 3547 or through our web site at vinetrail.org. We appreciate all donations. Also like us on Facebook and keep up to date with our progress.

June 14th, 2016

adventure hoteling caravan outpost public bikes

Ever heard of “adventure hoteling”? If not, we’d like to introduce you to one of the places we’re most excited to visit this summer, Caravan Outpost in Ojai, CA. It’s an “adventure hotel” experience with all the amenities you’d get from a 5-star hotel, without any of the pretense. Just a restful, well-curated environment with thoughtful touches to make your vacation unique. Their motto “No Room and Bored” and their colorful, eclectic Instagram account will make you add this spot to your travel bucket list, stat.

adventure hoteling caravan outpost public bikes

Plus, you’ll be able to ride PUBLIC bikes during your stay at Caravan Outpost. Riding around Ojai is just one of the many ways Caravan Outpost makes “Make Magic Moments” for its guests. Continue reading for our interview that includes all the details on this special place.

SPECIAL OFFER: Valid until end of 2016, you can get 10% off your stay at Caravan Outpost by using promo code PUBLICXCARAVAN16.

adventure hoteling caravan outpost public bikes

What’s the vision for Caravan Outpost and who are the people behind Caravan Outpost?

The Caravan Outpost mission is really simple; Make Magic Moments for the people who come here.

Think of Caravan Outpost as a handcrafted adventure hotel. We’re easy to book and stay, like a traditional hotel, but you’re not going to have a traditional hotel experience here. We call that our ‘No Room and Bored’ policy. At Caravan Outpost we have PUBLIC bikes, the fire-pit, our vintage tin shed lobby, Surf lessons, Yoga, Hiking, Pop up dinners and events – many other things to do. We work hard at guest experience, because even in the early stages of the business, the people who are coming here are creative and eclectic – they want more. Our guests are starving for an authentic lodging experience and want to taste something different in travel. If the average hotel is fast food, we’re geared more like a farm-to-table place to treat like your own home. Better ingredients make a better travel experience.

Who’s behind our company? First and foremost, the community who is helping us create it. One of our maxims is that the ‘Guest is the star’. Our investors and clientele are film industry types, artists, musicians, designers, chefs and professional athletes who want to extend a certain lifestyle and point of view into travel. The founding group is some of the leading people in the Outdoor and Fashion business, joined with one of the oldest and most community centered families in Ojai.

adventure hoteling caravan outpost public bikes

When is Caravan Outpost open to the public? What can people expect when they stay at Caravan Outpost?

The gates crack open on the place July 1. What you can expect is a great Airstream to stay in, cool people and warm weather. Our lobby area has all the traditional expectations of a hotel – WIFI, Organic pastries and great coffee in a community gathering space. A secondary expectation is simply that you will connect into our community – and find like-minded people who share your passion for art, music, food and the outdoors as a frame around your life experience.

adventure hoteling caravan outpost public bikes

What makes Caravan Outpost a special place and guest experience?

People, Products and Plants. We have amenities, clean bedrooms and all the things you would expect at any hotel – that’s not the hard part. The hard part is getting a good audience of authentic and artistic people to the same place and sharing something special with them. We offer personal care, attention to the details that matter to you and a place for you to get that feeling of a perfect day in Ojai – however you want to define that. Additionally, we make a really great looking apparel line that is augmented with vintage and Maker driven products. It’s a totally different spin on travel and apparel, but we’ve had visits from Italian Vogue, One Kings Lane, Escape Brooklyn, etc and these people are buying and loving the product side of our brand – and the hotel piece. Last, but certainly not least, the entire Caravan Outpost environment is a gorgeously appointed Botanical Garden, right in the middle of downtown Ojai. We have thousands of plants, several palms and exotic plant rarities for people to see, experience and learn about. One of our founders is a plant expert, and you can immediately see that special influence at the Outpost.

adventure hoteling caravan outpost public bikes

For someone who has never stayed in an Airstream, why should they consider Caravan Outpost for a relaxing, destination trip? Why stay in an Airstream over other options?

Why do anything different? Why not accept the status quo and do things the same old way? Being unique is a choice that our guests have already made – we’re just enabling a piece of who they already are, by bringing them a unique place to gather. We love Airstreams and think they are a fantastically comfortable, iconic space to live and stay in – but Caravan Outpost is not about Airstreams, it’s about the people who gather and enjoy our space.

Why Ojai and your specific location?

Ojai is our initial location, because we are rooted in the local community here and believe it to be a very special place. It’s so easy to create magic in this town, because so many good and wonderful people are already walking the streets, celebrating all the city has to offer. We believe Ojai is the American Mediterranean, and that no one is really telling that story of climate, food, wine and life in a unique valley that has a one-of-a-kind vibe to it. The history of Ojai has long been as a getaway from Hollywood and LA for the famous. One day in town and you get why people come here to center-up and find peace. Another key component is the sun. We are working our way to the most sustainable business we can create and solar is a big part of the picture. We’re not 100% off the grid, but we do have several Airstreams running on solar, skylights in restrooms, bathrooms and storage areas. Our partner Goal Zero has provided some amazing and compact solar panel products for our guest to demo, which is a baby step – but we’re working our way to being as solar powered as is possible.

adventure hoteling caravan outpost public bikes

Why are you offering PUBLIC bikes at Caravan Outpost?

The answer goes back to our star – the guests at Caravan Outpost. There is no way we are putting our guests on anything other than what we believe are beautifully built bikes. PUBLIC and Caravan Outpost are such a good fit because we are both design driven – and both are created for people who appreciate a considered product. Public bikes have been a hit from the second we opened the boxes and the biggest problem we have right now is that we don’t have enough of them!

June 9th, 2016

best bike gear roundup for biking dads fathers day
As much as we love our fathers, let’s admit it—occasionally, they wear embarrassing things and use questionable biking gear. To reconcile the men that we love with the way they deserve to look, feel, and bike around town, we’ve compiled the 10 best bike gear gifts for biking dads. This Father’s Day, send your dad pedaling down the street in style—no cringing required.
best bike gift trinity bicycle helmet
1. To avoid the cost factor inherent in some sporty, ventilated helmets, the Giro Trinity Road Helmet offers a sleek alternative in black or titanium. These dark tones make the head look streamlined. With an in-mold shell, your dad will be protected against the open road.


2. For the dad who appreciates a fine piece of craftsmanship, the handcrafted Spurcycle Black Bell makes a sound much larger than it looks. Designed to fit any handlebar and crafted out of premium brass and steel, this stunning bell should please any design aficionado.  


best bike gear cycle hand pump

3. Traveling cyclists will appreciate the Crank Brothers Sterling Short Pump with Gauge. Unlike most mini pumps, this compact device comes with a pressure gauge. That way, when your father is far down the open road, he won’t have to worry about overinflating and popping his own tires.


best bike gear ortlieb pannier bicycle bag

4. Many bicycle lovers often dream of and save up for their ideal pair of panniers. You might make your dad’s day with the Ortlieb Back Roller Plus Waterproof Panniers, which would enable him to go camping with 40 liters of packing space. The durable, waterproof fabric will ensure all his gear stays safe in even the most rugged terrain.


best bike gear bicycle multi-tool

5. Put your mind at ease knowing that your dad can handle any setback on the road with the Crank Brothers Multi Tool 10. This strong “Swiss Army knife” for bikers should tackle most mechanical issues along the way.


best bike gear fortified bicycle theft proof light set

6. If Dad’s forgetful (and, well, who among us an hasn’t neglected to take their lights off their bike and had them swiped?) then this is the light set for him. The Fortified Theft Proof Aviator Headlight & Afterburner Taillight Set can be locked to a bike with an allen key. Weather-proof and lightweight, these lights can be ignored—until your dad needs them.


best bike gear brooks bicycle leather saddle

7. For the father who could use an upgraded seat, the Brooks B17 Bike Saddle will stay with him for years. As he breaks in the leather and it becomes more comfortable, he’ll always think of you when he takes off on a cushy trip.


best bike gear coffee cup bicycle bottle holder

8. The dad who loves both coffee and biking will adore the PUBLIC Trieste Coffee Cup Holder. Now, he can travel along with his favorite cup of java—or taste something new on a spur-of-the-moment adventure. No special mug required and works great for both hot and cold beverages.


best bike gear smartphone handlebar bicycle holder

9. For the dad who isn’t ashamed to ask for directions, the Nite Ize HandleBand Smartphone Holder will allow him to securely hold his phone against his handlebars. As he follows his route on a map, he can continue to touch and use his phone with the open design of this case. Special dad bonus: The aluminum backing contains a bottle opener.


best bike gear république special edition roadster bike

10. To all-out splurge on your dad, buy him a brand new bike! The PUBLIC V7 Special Edition Bike, The Republique. It’s a gorgeous roadster outfitted with the premium Brooks B17 Leather Saddle and PUBLIC Porteur Front Rack. Upgrades that might even inspire an out-of-practice cyclist to get back in the saddle again.  

June 3rd, 2016

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We partnered with GOOD and Nutcase on a giveaway of two customized PUBLIC x GOOD bikes, along with Nutcase helmets and bells, to celebrate the launch of our new PUBLIC Santa Monica store.

Our two winners are Kaitlin H. from Los Angeles and Scott H. from West Linn, OR.

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Kaitlin lives in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles and works as a Civil Engineer for LA County. She love taking her dog to Griffith Park and enjoying the live music scene. She bikes occasionally. As she describes, “my bike is kind of falling apart, so this new PUBLIC bike is coming at a great time.” Her most memorable rides have been during CicLAvia and a brewery bike crawl with friends in Torrance. She looks forward to combining biking and using the Metro to get around LA.

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Scott owns a landscaping company. His family lives right next to a big park so for fun he joins his wife and daughter on rides with their PUBLIC bikes. They love vacationing in Bend and also seeing live music. Their family loves the outdoors so Scott looks forward to taking his new bike on trips.

May 27th, 2016

On Friday, May 20, Los Angeles debuted a game-changing new public transit station. The new Metro Expo rail station in downtown Santa Monica is located just a few walking blocks from the beach.

For the first time in 63 years, you can now take rail service from downtown Los Angeles to the beach. Once again, LA is proving that it doesn’t deserve such a bad rap when it comes to transportation.

The local elected Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, featured in the above video, points out all the obvious reasons why this new rail extension will be a success.

And from first-hand account, it already is a huge success. PUBLIC’s Santa Monica retail store is located at 2714 Main St only a 15 minute bike ride from the Santa Monica Metro station.

To celebrate the new Metro Expo Line Grand Opening this past weekend, PUBLIC Bikes Santa Monica partnered with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Sustainable Streets, Breeze Bike Share, and the Santa Monica Bike Center for a city-wide Santa Monica Bike + Train Tour.

What exactly is a “Bike + Train Tour” you might ask?

We took 50 participants, via Breeze Bike Share bikes, on a bike ride to Bergamot Station (led by Certified League Cycling Instructors!) to experience the brand new Expo Line. It was a great way to show people how easy it is to ride a bike – whether their personal one or a Breeze Bike Share bike – to connect with rail serve.

We started out checking in registered participants at our PUBLIC Santa Monica store throughout the day. Each participant got a free helmet and goodie bag.

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Once everyone was set up, we showed them how to unlock and use Breeze Bike Share bikes, which are located all over Santa Monica, including a station just a few blocks from PUBLIC Bikes Santa Monica. There are convenient Breeze Bike Share stations at each of the three new metro stops in Santa Monica so it’s easy to connect bikes with rail service.

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We then started riding through town to showcase some of the great bicycle infrastructure, including this two-way protected bike lane that runs through the middle of Pico Blvd.

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We rode along the green bike lane on Michigan Ave.

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We dropped off our Breeze Bike Share bikes at the new Bergamot/26th Street Metro station to head west to the new downtown Santa Monica Metro station.

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The new Metro line to the beach is so successful that during peak times, it will likely be packed with riders wanting to avoid having to drive. The good news is that with high ridership, Metro will need to add capacity and frequency to accommodate more people making the switch to rail service.

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One of the only downsides we noticed with the new Metro line is the train car capacity to handle bicycles. When the train is not full, it’s easy to bring your bike onto the train. But when it’s full, there aren’t any train cars dedicated to bike parking.

Until this happens, it will be a challenge to bring your own bicycle on the train to the beach on a busy, crowded weekend day. This is unfortunate given that one of the main advantages of rail service to Santa Monica is the opportunity to bring your own bicycle – possibly your own PUBLIC bike! – on the train and then riding your bike along the beach or elsewhere in the westside of Los Angeles County.

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The beautiful new downtown Santa Monica Metro station is located just a few blocks from the beach. And it’s just a 15 minute bus ride or Breeze Bike ride away from our PUBLIC Bikes Santa Monica store at 2714 Main Street.

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We even spotted a PUBLIC bike parked at the Santa Monica metro station.

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Outside the Santa Monica Metro station is an all-way pedestrian scramble intersection that allows large numbers of pedestrians to safely cross the main intersection next to the station.

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And there are new wide sidewalks and protected bike lanes that allow people to safely and comfortably connect from the beach or downtown to the Metro Station.

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Our successful Bike + Train tour reminded us of some very important lessons about public transit, bike share and urban planning. The key is to make things easy and accessible to a wide array of people. We saw lots of potential in terms of the “last mile” connection between this new Metro station, bike share, and bus lines to assist people to get to where they want to go.

It was exciting to see how many people will be taking advantage of this game-changing transit extension. When you ride a bike, it usually means “One Less Car” on the road.

With this Metro extension, everyday literally thousands of cars will be removed from Los Angeles streets because people have a convenient option to get to the beach, downtown Santa Monica, or some nearby destination.

Los Angeles, you just got a lot cooler – and greener.

May 25th, 2016

san diego by bike locals guide

Memorial Day is right around the corner and many of us are busy planning escapes for the long weekend. There are so many places to enjoy by bike in the United States and the coastal city of San Diego, California with it’s mild climate, beachside bike lanes and delicious spots to refuel is among the top of the bunch. So we asked two San Diego locals, Vicky and Rachel of @webikeforbeer to give us the inside scoop on how to see San Diego by bike in one day.

Even if you don’t live in San Diego, we hope this post inspires you to make the most of the long weekend on two wheels. Have you been meaning to get on your bike and go for a ride within your own city? Now’s the time! And if you’re from San Diego, what spots to you like to see in San Diego by bike? Add your favorite places to visit in San Diego by bike to the comments.

Our “See San Diego By Bike” ride starts at a free public parking lot in the Mission Beach area of San Diego and heads north, ending at Windandsea Beach. Here’s the Google Maps Route of the ride.

And in case you’re wondering, Vicky rides a PUBLIC C1 in Cream equipped with a PUBLIC Rear Rack in Cream, Brooks B67s Saddle in Honey, PUBLIC Bell in Cream and a Peterboro Original Basket in Honey. Rachel rides a PUBLIC C1 in Mint, fitted with a PUBLIC Rear Rack in Mint, PUBLIC Bell in Mint and PUBLIC Trieste Coffee Cup Holder.

san diego by bike locals guide

Joy Ride: Belmont Park, Amusement Park
From the parking lot we hop on our bikes and head to our first stop Belmont Park. This park is called a landmark by locals for a reason. It opened in 1925 and has all the classical “ol time” amusement park games and rides. We highly recommend treating yourself to an ice-cream cone (good ride fuel!) and taking a spin on some of the historic rides, like the wooden roller coaster “The Giant Dipper.”

san diego by bike locals guide

Caffeine Fix: Better Buzz Coffee – 3745 Mission Blvd
Hop back on your bike and continue north on Ocean Front Walk to Better Buzz Coffee. Treat yourself to “The Best Drink Ever” and if you’re feeling peckish you can’t go wrong with a brimming Acai bowls. Powered up with antioxidants and caffeine, it’s time to get back on the bike for more scenic views.

san diego by bike locals guide

Beach Cruise: Mission Beach Ride
Head back to Ocean Front Walk and continue north. Take in the Mission Beach scenery and feel right at home with plenty of other cyclists. Pry your eyes away from the beach for a few minutes and make sure to take in the picturesque beachfront homes that line the coast.

san diego by bike locals guide

Thirst Quencher: Amplified Ale Works – 4150 Mission Blvd
A good ride deserves a little refueling and that’s just what our next stop aims to assist with. From Ocean Front Walk, hang a right at Pacific Beach Drive and a left at Mission Blvd to arrive at Amplified Ale. With it’s rooftop bar that overlooks the beach, plus great selection of craft beers, Amplified Ale never disappoints. We highly recommend getting beer flight so you can try a few of the delicious local brews. Our favorites today included the Gold Record and the Electrocution IPA.

san diego by bike locals guide

Best Coast: Pacific Beach Ride
Head back to Ocean Front Walk via Pacific Beach drive and continue north. You’ll pass Pacific Beach and it’s a great place to take a break on your ride and watch the surfers and listen to the waves crash.

san diego by bike locals guideFresh Mex: Oscar’s Mexican Seafood – 746 Emerald Street
When you’re on the coast, you’ve got to try the seafood so our next stop is Oscars Mexican Seafood. It’s one of our staples. Follow the Google Maps Route for the play by play on how to get here. You can’t go wrong with ordering the fish tacos and ceviche. It’s always fresh and filling. Plus, their variety of hot sauces will satisfy everyone.

Get Local: Bird Rock Ride
When we head back out, we’ll make our way back to La Jolla Hermosa Ave and head north through Bird Rock. Bird Rock is the perfect little beach neighborhood nestled on the north end of Pacific Beach. Park your bike and wander the streets, stopping into one of many local businesses to get your shop on. Here’s where a bike basket comes in handy, because it easily holds your favorite purchases.

san diego by bike locals guide

The Happiest Hour: Beaumont’s – 5665 La Jolla Blvd
When you’re done wandering Bird Rock, it’s back on the bike traveling north again along La Jolla Hermosa Ave to Beaumont’s. Beaumont’s is our go-to for Californian cuisine and craft cocktails. Happy hour is everyday until 6:30 and they offer $1 off draft beers. Enjoy your dinner with live music at this local eatery.

san diego by bike locals guide

Ending With a View: Windansea Beach
From Beaumont’s we’ll start hugging the coast again, biking along Camino de la Costa to our last destination, Windandsea Beach.  If you’ve only got one day in San Diego, we highly recommend ending it with a bicycle ride out to Windansea Beach to catch the sunset. Views of the cliffs are breathtaking and there’s usually less of a crowd in the evenings.

May 19th, 2016

In the United States, we tend to be hard on ourselves about our rate of biking to work compared to Europe. However, we have reason to celebrate during this Bike to Work month. In America, the ranks of cycling commuters are only growing: our numbers rose about 60 percent throughout the aughts, from 488,000 bike commuters in the year 2000 to roughly 786,000 in 2008–2012, according to the US Census. More recently, biking to work has continued to trend upwards from 2006 to 2013 among workers of all income brackets.

bike to work bicycle commute

Although our patterns of bike commuting are looking rosy, we in the United States still have plenty to learn from Europe so that everyday people cycle as a matter of habit across the nation. Here’s how pedaling commuters get to work in style in the two cities with some of the highest rates of bicycling.

bike to work bicycle commute

Image via Wikimedia Commons

COPENHAGEN, Denmark

In Copenhagen, almost half of the population cycles to their school or office. We can glean some infrastructure lessons—as well as style tips—from Denmark’s bike to work culture.

bike to work bicycle commute

Image by Tony Webster via flickr

Infrastructure ingenuity

  • Only one percent of Copenhageners mention the environment as the reason they ride. Most of them do it because it’s the easiest way to scoot around town. Strong cycling infrastructure makes the choice obvious.
  • Traffic lights are coordinated for bicycles, not cars.
  • When it snows, bike lanes have priority for cleaning before roads. No wonder the majority of commuters still cycle through Copenhagen’s white winters.
  • City planners made bike lanes the most direct routes to the city center, according to the Guardian.
  • Footrests and railings allow riders to stop at a light without hopping off their seats. (Seattle recently added these—go Seattle!)
bike to work bicycle commute

Image by Bimbimbikes via Flickr

Cycling style

  • Copenhageners prefer bike baskets, storing their work supplies in a way that keeps the burden off their backs.
  • Personalizing the baskets with flowers and stickers gives cyclists a personal connection with their ride.
  • The baskets can be easily taken off the front handlebars, allowing for shopping and moving around.
  • Comfy saddles are standard. Brooks leather saddles can be seen around Copenhagen.
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By Jorge Royan via Wikimedia Commons

AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands

About 63 percent of Amsterdammers bike every day. Cycling to work is in their DNA. Here’s how it happened.

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Image by Apoikola via Wikimedia Commons

Infrastructure ingenuity

  • Dutch bike lanes are wide enough to allow for side-by-side biking, according to the BBC, allowing you to chat with your “bikepool” buddy.
  • Many cycling routes are offset from cars and the rest of the road, making commuters feel safe.
  • Bicyclists are treated as the first-class citizens they deserve to be. You’ll find signs that read: “Bike Street: Cars are guests.”
bike to work bicycle commute

Image by TCP via flickr.

Cycling style

  • Dutch children start biking as babies in cargo bikes, called bakfiets in Dutch.
  • Bikers don’t consider cycling a lifestyle choice. Rather, it’s a default mode. As such, their bikes aren’t consumer accessories to show off a subculture, but workaday vehicles, according to the BBC. In such a culture, cycling might seem more accessible to the rich and poor alike.
  • Sliding wheel locks allow for cyclists to quickly secure their bike and hop into the coffee shop on their ride to work.
  • Popular dynamo headlights are powered by pedaling—so you don’t have to remember to recharge them or replace the batteries.
  • Commuters bike to work in skirts and heels like it ain’t no thang, thanks to the predominance of Dutch-style step-through bikes. Seeing others do it all the time makes it seem natural… so why not start the trend in your city?

Increasing the number of bike commuters in the United States will have to be a joint effort between policymakers and the people on the streets. Start today to create the cycling culture you’d like to live in: Write a letter to your local representative to prioritize bike infrastructure. Then, slip on your high heeled shoes, put your laptop in your bike basket, and cycle to work with a smile. You might inspire someone else to do the same.

May 16th, 2016

Black Girls Do Bike

PUBLIC is proud to support Black Girls Do Bike and their efforts to promote healthier lifestyles. We interview founder Monica Garrison below. Also learn more about the upcoming June 10-12 Black Girls Do Bike’s first National Event in Atlanta.

PUBLIC Interview With Monica Garrison, founder of Black Girls Do Bike

Black Girls Do Bike Monica Garrison

What was the inspiration behind launching Black Girls Do Bike? Tell us about coming up with the name.

The inspiration came after re-discovering how much I enjoyed the simple act of riding my bike in the spring and summer of 2013. I was reaping the physical and mental benefits and my children were joining me and learning to survive without their electronic devices. In my travels I quickly realized that there were very few women who looked like me out riding.

BlackGirlsDoBike.com was an attempt to seek out like minded women who had a passion for cycling but also to inspire those bike-curious lady who were just an obstacle away from cycling regularly. I chose to state it in the affirmative, “Black girls do bike!” as if to say that each time a women of color takes a ride she is reaffirming this truth to herself and to others.

Tell us more how Black Girls Do Bike is currently structured across the country and how volunteer leaders communicate and support each other?

Each of our chapters is led by a lady volunteer who we affectionately call a Shero. Each Shero at some point reached out to me with a desire to encourage more women in their community to ride bicycles. They lead rides, moderate their city’s individual Facebook group pages, network with local bike shops and bike/ped organizations and seek to be an overall voice of positivity and encouragement.

Internally all of our Sheroes are part of a secret Facebook group that we use to support one another in this endeavor. We offer praise, advice, frustrations and suggestions for success. We also have a Shero only password protected website with all the need to know stuff.

Black Girls Do Bike

What has surprised you about the being recognized and involved as a voice in the national bicycle advocacy movement?

The funny thing is that 4 years ago I didn’t even own a bike and had never participated in an organized bike ride of any sort. What I had was a desire to ride and that has set me on a truly life changing journey. It has been such a whirlwind for the past couple of years to be at the helm of such an amazing organization.

Now I find myself mentioned as a voice in the national bike advocacy movement. I am much more comfortable being considered a voice in the national women’s advocacy movement. Either way we are busy in the work of empowering women with the help of bicycles.

Black Girls Do Bike

Tell us about your upcoming June 10-12 National Meetup “We Ride Together” in Atlanta? What do you hope to accomplish?

Our main goal is to make a mark on the Atlanta Tour De Cure by having a large presence and raising a lot of money for a great cause. Diabetes affects African American families and specifically AA women at disproportionately high rates so for many of us this is personal.

Black Girls Do Bike

We chose Atlanta as the spot for our first national meetup as our chapter there is our largest with more than 1200 supporters. The weekend will consist of three days of bike related events. REI CoOp has pitched in to help with the needs of our ladies who are traveling in from out of town and will need their bikes assembled.

Civil Bikes has offered our members discounted rates on bike related historic tours around the city. The weekend will end with a celebration in the form of a relaxed recovery ride along the Atlanta Beltline. We will end up at Piedmont Park with a luncheon and festivities to be held at the beautiful Magnolia Hall. We have more than 15 sponsors so our giveaways at this event will be epic.

Black Girls Do Bike

Some of the main reasons people cite that they don’t bike is that they perceive it as an unsafe or inaccessible activity — dangerous public streets, not enough protected bicycle infrastructure, access to trails and bike paths is far and too infrequent. Are there other obstacles – perceived or real – that you think are specific to encourage more women of color to get on a bike?

I believe there are many points of overlap in terms of why people shy away from riding bikes. Many women of color are overweight or obese and those with negative body image issues are less likely to try a new form of exercise with people they don’t know or trust. Our offer to include riders of all levels in our groups rides, which are “no women left behind”, can help those who might not want to tackle new and unfamiliar activity on their own. A friendly Shero who is willing to accompany a new rider to the local bike shop and help her navigate decisions of what type of bike and accessories to purchase can be invaluable. Surprising many women did not learn to ride in childhood so they are even more apprehensive to start as an adult.

Black Girls Do Bike

What’s next for Black Girls Do Bike after the National Meetup? What other initiatives, events, and partnerships are you looking forward to?

We are also working on a process to have all of our leadership formerly become certified ride leaders by developing our own course or taking advantage of an education program already in place. We have been contacted by some big names in the cycling community who want to help us further the reach and mission of BGDB. So we plan to pursue those leads and form some strategic partnerships.

Black Girls Do Bike

I like the idea of having BGDB ladies from all over the country converge on different cycling events to increase our visibility. Events like NYC’s 5 Boro Bike Tour, Alabama’s Bo Bikes Bama, Maryland’s Seagull Century the Tour de Cure series and many more. If our national meet up this June does what it seeks to accomplish, we may make this a biennial event.

May 10th, 2016

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Maybe you’re on the hunt for just the right bike helmet, or perhaps you’re already rocking the one you love. Whatever the case may be, these four factors from the Snell Foundation should be taken into consideration whether you’re buying your first helmet and/or ensuring that the one you have fits properly.

1. FIT. Find a bike helmet that suits both the size and shape of your head. “A helmet should fit comfortably, sit level over the forehead and not have any ‘pressure points’ that would indicate it’s too snug or small,” writes Aaron Glick, a product and purchasing manager at PUBLIC Bikes. “The chin strap should be snug, but allow for a few fingers to fit in between the step and the chin, and allow one to breathe and open their mouth freely.”

bike helmet fit

2. COMFORT. Imagine wearing your bike helmet for hours, and ask yourself if you’d still be comfortable. Does it have enough ventilation? High-quality ventilation will increase the price of your helmet, but if it’ll encourage you to wear your helmet and bike more, it could be worth it. Do you feel any pinching? Better yet: Test drive your helmet for as long as possible, and see how it feels over time.

bike helmet bicycle

3. STYLE. If you look like a motorcycle cop in your helmet, you might not be as psyched about riding your bike. Pick a bike helmet that makes you smile so that you’ll want to wear it. Search for colors and patterns that suit your vibes or coordinate with your wardrobe.

4. SAFETY. The materials in your helmet deteriorate. Your sweat and hair oils erode at the glues and resins in your gear. To make sure your helmet is protecting you to its fullest, you should replace it every five years, according to the helmet safety nonprofit Snell Foundation. Check the age of your own helmet by looking for the manufacturing date, usually found on a sticker on the inside of your helmet.

Your pick of helmet is a personal choice. Just keep it fresh, and you’ll be good to pedal for five more years!

May 9th, 2016

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In honor of our first-ever PUBLIC SoCal store that opened earlier this year at 2714 Main Street in Santa Monica, we partnered with DAPPER DAY to give away a very special custom DAPPER DAY + PUBLIC Bike.

And we’re happier than the happiest place on earth to announce that the winner of the DAPPER DAY x PUBLIC Bikes Giveaway Contest is Alejandra from Los Angeles.

Alejandra says she “couldn’t be more excited” about her new bike. She used to spend her Sunday afternoons in college “biking down to Dockweiler Beach, exploring Manhattan Beach, making my way over to Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach, and enjoying the sunshine on my way back home.” And now with this new PUBLIC bike, she’ll be able to fill her Sunday afternoons with beach bound rides again.

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Some of Alejandra’s hobbies include sewing and crafting, and she loves dressing in vintage-inspired wear. We think her new Dapper Day + PUBLIC bike will compliment her vintage-style quite perfectly.

DAPPER DAY is a very big deal in her life. She says about the Dapper Day Expo held at Disneyland, “it brings so much creativity to a place rich in history and culture. Everyone is dressed ever-so sharp and sophisticated that it just leaves you in awe.”

Big thanks to all who entered and sign up for our e-newsletter to hear about our next giveaway!