August 3rd, 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.


 

 

This month we’re interviewing Amy from Denver Food Rescue about how they are using the sustainable method of bicycle power to save good produce from grocery stores, farmers markets, and distributors that would otherwise be thrown away. They then redistribute it to people in their community who need it most by partnering with those communities to create a range of programs. Amy tells us more about this process and the programs that are helping to not just feed the hungry but to increase their health equity.

 

 

Your tagline is to ‘Decrease food waste. Increase health equity.’ Can you tell us more about what this means?

 

AMY:  Well, 30-50% of edible food in the US ends up in the landfill. A lot of what goes to waste from grocery stores is fresh fruits and vegetables. Due to their short shelf life it can be a challenge for traditional food banks or pantries to transport and store them. Historically food banks offer mostly nonperishable (boxed, packaged, canned) items. These foods are often high in calories but low in nutrients in addition to being high in sugar, additives, salt, and other by products of highly processed foods. These foods fill bellies but don’t really nourish minds and bodies.

For people experiencing poverty, purchasing fresh foods is a challenge due to their higher costs and families must often choose to pay the bills over buying healthy food for their families. Also many low income neighborhoods around the country lack full service grocery stores which contributes to barriers to accessing healthful food. When you add up all of these barriers there is a system that creates a health gap between people, particularly low-income people and people of color and they disproportionally experience a higher rate of diet related illnesses.

There is no blanket solution to improve the health of our communities. While getting some of these otherwise wasted fruits and veggies into the homes of those who need it is important, it is also important to create a sustainable system of health which includes education around healthy eating and job opportunities that allow people to afford the cost of healthier food, which is really the root cause of hunger.

 

 

How does your organization increase access to food for those who need it?

 

AMY:  We increase access by addressing identified barriers to access. In Denver we found that pantries were not usually located directly in the communities where they were needed most. This creates a transportation barrier that could be avoided if they were more strategically placed.

In addition to location barriers traditional pantries are frequently in more affluent neighborhoods, they require IDs, proof of income, and might not be culturally competent which creates stigma and less participation. That’s why we do direct distribution (from food donor to food recipient) and have all of our grocery programs led by residents of the neighborhoods themselves at existing community organizations! This increases participation, decreases stigma, and involves everyone in the process. Instead of an older nonprofit white savior top down model. We are all in this together to solve this problem.

In 2017 we rescued and redistributed over 500,000 lbs of food – over 75% of it whole produce. 99% was perishable foods. Out of 36,000 people that utilized our programs, 80% didn’t access other no cost food services.

 

 

What about the rest of your formula for healthy equality?

 

AMY:   Creating access to the education each person needs to make informed health decisions is a big one. It is important for both food insecure people as well as food secure folks to understand the current system and pressure to eat foods that contribute to diet related illness. For example some of our programs have cooking and nutrition classes that go along with our food at distributions.

We have Fresh Food Connect, a program developed in partnership with Denver Urban Gardens and Groundwork Denver that picks up and redistributions local gardeners extra produce to food insecure areas. We are able to employ community members to do these pick ups. Another program we are just starting in partnership with a business called Copia will allow us to employ folks with barriers to employment to do prepared food rescue pick ups!

 

 

Why use bicycles to deliver the food?

 

AMY:  Glad you asked! We use bikes to deliver food for a few reasons. For one it’s much cheaper, which makes it so that we can afford to do more quick, direct deliveries. This enables us to deliver more healthy food like fresh produce rather than canned foods, etc. Also, some of the communities we partner with are some of the most polluted in the country. In 2016 we saved an estimated 8 tons of CO2 emissions by biking! And also biking is more fun! It makes volunteer solicitations and outreach easier because people are looking for a fun way to volunteer (and is a great work out at the same time!).

 

 

What are some ways people can get involved with your organization in the Denver area or in others like it in their own area?

 

AMY:  Education and awareness are still the most important. If you are interested in anti-hunger work, healthy food access, or reducing food waste try to find out what systems are in place that are either not addressing the root cause of these problems or actively harming smaller independent food rescue and pantry groups. There are smaller food rescue groups similar to us all over the country, find yours and volunteer! If one doesn’t exist, create your own with help of the Food Rescue Alliance, which is set up to help people begin community centered food rescue and re-distribution in their own community.

 

August 2nd, 2018

Our “Cities By Bike” Series explores some of our favorite places by bike through the eyes of a local.

Roll along with us as we follow them through their favorite neighborhoods, sharing the must-visit sites, restaurants, happy hours, and more.

Our guide in New York City is Jackson Isaacson. Jackson is a digital strategist at Endeavor, but more importantly a coffee and whiskey enthusiast and adventurer who is always looking for his next favorite thing. Follow along as he shows us some of his favorite places to ride to around the city. If you just can’t get enough Jack, or want to know more about him, check out his instagram @JackIsaac.


 

Pebble Beach across the Brooklyn Bridge

 

 

The best part of warmer months is the parks. One of my first apartments in NYC was in FiDi near the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge, and my go-to hangover cure became a large cold brew coffee and a crisp ride on the footpath of the bridge to Dumbo. Pier 1 and Pier 2 were the first parts of the park to open, right around the time I moved, and I feel like it’s a brand new part of New York that I’ve been a part of from the beginning.

Every year something new is added to the park, from sports and recreation fields to a pop-up public pool. My favorite spots are the cafe tables and tiered seating tucked away throughout that offer a perfect view of downtown Manhattan with an intimate vibe that’s increasingly difficult to find in the city. My ideal day in the park starts with a cold brew and reading on Pebble Beach in Dumbo, a brisk ride down the waterfront bike path to Ample Hills for a scoop of my favorite ice cream (Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, obviously), and a short ride to Pilot for a cocktail and some oysters aboard their schooner.

 

Fort Defiance in Red Hook, Brooklyn

 

 

Not every brunch is going to be memorable. If you do it right, half of them won’t be (hello, bottomless bellinis). But Fort Defiance is worth going out of the way to visit. Tucked away in Red Hook, Brooklyn, it’s not a spot most will stumble upon accidentally. It may not look like anything special, and that’s part of the charm. Modestly decorated but thoroughly inviting, their menu is seasonal and seemingly inspired by the south and feels like comfort food in the best way. Rounding out a solid Brunch/Lunch/Dinner spot is a robust cocktail menu with perfect pairings for any time of day. My pick? The Bourbon Milk Punch. Head over on Thursdays for a special weekly celebration of all things Tiki for their Sunken Harbor Club.

Getting there is becoming increasingly difficult by public transit – the nearest subway is a solid 12+ blocks, and the Ikea ferry stopped running to Red Hook in 2017 – but it’s the perfect distance for working up an appetite on an easy bike ride from my apartment in Soho.

 

South Street Seaport in Manhattan

 

 

One of New York’s literal oldest neighborhoods, South Street Seaport initially drew me in with its overt charm and historic architecture. When I moved into an office-turned-apartment on the corner of William and Fulton in 2014, I immediately began exploring the neighborhood. The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy was still very evident, and precious few restaurants, bars, and shops had reopened in the area. Since then, the city and countless groups have invested in the revitalization of the Seaport, and it’s finally poised to be the next destination neighborhood in the city. With a fresh crop of new spots to eat, drink, shop, and even see rooftop concerts from bands like Kings of Leon, there’s never a shortage of things to do in the area, and it helps that it’s just a breezy bike ride downtown, nestled at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. My picks: Jack’s Coffee for a cold brew, V Bar for Brunch, Fresh Salt for Happy Hour, and Cowgirl Seahorse for margaritas and anything in between!

 

El Luchador in Manhattan

 

 

If you know me, you know I’m always in the mood for a taco. And yes, Taco Tuesday is my favorite holiday. I think it’s half because of the ingredients and flavors and half because they’re inherently unpretentious. Name one person you’ve ever seen look poised whilst eating a taco, I’ll wait. Nothing? It’s because no one does. Tacos are a great equalizer, because everyone looks the same eating them (except the weirdos who eat them with a fork. Don’t sit next to those creeps). While New York has no shortage of great taco spots, and everyone will always have a differing opinion on whose are best, one of my personal favorites is El Luchador on South Street. Located on an unassuming corner that apparently used to be a horse stable, they’ve set up shop with a renovated Airstream trailer, bulb lights, and just enough tables and chairs to make it feel intimate while still somehow always having just *one* table left for you. No frills, no nonsense, they serve up slow-braised meats and fresh ingredients made from scratch every day, which is the only way to truly make good tacos. Pro-tip: crispy fish tacos and a lime Jarritos, every time.

 

 

July 6th, 2018

Our “Cities By Bike” Series explores some of our favorite places by bike through the eyes of a local.

Roll along with us as we follow them through their favorite neighborhoods, sharing the must-visit sites, restaurants, happy hours, and more.

Our guide in Portland, OR is Lauren Hartmann. Lauren is a freelance stylist and writer, but most importantly a mom and wife. Together with her husband, Craig, she let us in on some of her favorite spots to get around by bike in her town. If you want to know more about Lauren and all the little things she does, check out her blog at LaurenHartmann.com or follow her on Instagram @thelittlethingswedo.


When PUBLIC Bikes reached out about teaming up to create a bike-friendly city guide of Portland, I was so excited! I love getting to play tour guide, and doing it on a bike added an extra layer of fun. Biking is a huge part of the culture in Portland and our city puts a lot of effort into making sure that riding can be safe and fun for everyone…even novices like myself. So follow along as I share some of our favorite things to see, do, and most importantly EAT in our fair city!

 

Lauren’s Blush C7i & Craig’s Steel Blue V7

 

Portland weather can be a bit unpredictable, so I would highly recommend bringing an extra layer for your ride. A jean jacket, or a lightweight anorak that you can toss in your bag would be ideal because the weather here can turn on a dime. And don’t forget your sunglasses for when the sun peeks out from behind the clouds!

My husband and I have been Oregonians all our lives (OK, I moved here at age six, but still…), so it’s been fun to see our city grow and change over the years. One of the pitfalls to all the growth and influx of cool, new spots though is the ever-growing traffic. Getting around town in a car can be kind of a bear and there are fewer and fewer places to park in the city, so biking is a wonderful way to see (and eat your way through!) the city while saving time sitting in traffic.

 

SE Portland Bike Tour

When it comes to Portland, each area of town has its own unique vibe and offerings, but SE will be my forever favorite part of town, so we’ll be focusing our tour here.

 

But first, coffee: at Water Avenue

 

 

Start your ride off with the most important meal of the day: coffee. While the options for a great morning latte are plentiful in Portland, ​Water Avenue​ will always have my heart. The baristas are friendly, always happy to talk shop, and their single origin espresso can’t be beat. I fell even more in love with them when I was pregnant and switched to decaf for a bit (I know!). Their decaf is literally the only decaf worth consuming and even though my husband roasts his own coffee beans at home, he would always make a special trip to pick up my decaf beans. That’s true love, people. They also serve breakfast and lunch so you can grab a bite to enjoy alongside your morning brew. Their egg sandwich is truly out of this world and my husband loves their baked goods…honestly you really can’t go wrong with any of it.

 

Stop for a sip at House Spirits Distillery

 

 

Just a few blocks from Water Avenue Coffee, you’ll find another one of our favorites: House Spirits​. While Portland is known for its beer, I decided that there are plenty of guides devoted to that, so I’m focusing on spirits, because I’m much more of a cocktail girl myself. At this stop you can take a tour of the distillery and enjoy a tasting of House Spirits offerings as well as a cocktail tasting (you know I was here for that!). They no longer have their delicious gin available on location (you may have heard of it…Aviation gin…as in the brand that was just snapped up by Mr. Ryan Reynolds himself), but they still make it and their White Dog Whiskey and Volstead Vodka are definitely well-loved at our house. My favorite from the tasting was the Rhubarb & Rose cocktail. Two thumbs up!

 

Act like kids at OMSI

 

 

If you’ve got kids along on your ride, OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) is a super fun stop, but there’s still plenty to offer grownups as well. Indulge your inner science nerd as you peruse all the cool exhibits, or better yet plan your trip around one of their ​OMSI After Dark events​, where they have adult-centric science themes (think: the science of beer brewing)once the museum closes down for the day.

 

Go by train! Oregon Rail Heritage Museum

 

 

We didn’t stop at the Oregon Rail Heritage Museum on our outing, but it’s super fun with kids and right up the way from OMSI, so I wanted to include it for good measure. If you’ve got a railroad enthusiast in your life, this place will be their jam. You can tour the locomotives and train paraphernalia in the museum and on Saturdays they do a 45 minute round trip train ride along the Willamette River and Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge (another great bike ride for next time!). We did this for my son’s birthday and it was a total hit, even for the adults! Also, the pale, pistachio green doors make for a nice Instagram backdrop. Just sayin’.

 

Cruise across Tilikum Crossing + See the sights from the Aerial Tram

 

 

Across the street from the Rail museum is ​Tilikum Crossing​: Bridge of the People. It’s the largest car-free bridge in the U.S. Utilized by the Portland Streetcar, MAX, buses, pedestrians and cyclists it’s a great place to transfer around to other parts of town, but it’s also just a handful of blocks from the ​Aerial Tram​ where you can get a 360 degree aerial view of Portland in all its glory. You can park your bike at the bottom (bike parking abounds) and take the tram up to OHSU (Portland’s world-renowned teaching hospital) where the views are stunning and you can take them in as you stroll through their zen healing garden.

 

Delicious Allergy-Friendly Eats at Bollywood Theater + Eb & Bean

 

Once you take in all the sites from the tram, you can head back across the Tilikum Bridge  and over to SE Division (my favorite street in Portland!) for some delicious eats. Honestly, there are SO many tasty things to eat on Division so you’ll be able to find anything you’ve got a hankering for (other spots we love there: ​Pok Pok​, ​Salt & Straw​, Stella Taco​, ​Lauretta Jeans​), but ​Bollywood Theater​ and ​Eb & Bean​ are my favorites. Bollywood Theater has delicious Indian street food and there are plenty of vegan offerings (this is one place that vegans and non-vegans alike can love…all my allergy friends and I choose this spot for our meet ups, because there’s something for everyone). Try the Vada Pav AKA, the “Poor Man’s Burger of Mumbai” or the Kati Roll! After your meal you can head next door to ​Eb & Bean​ to enjoy some froyo for dessert. As someone who can’t do much dairy (tummy troubles), Eb & Bean is a godsend – so many delicious dairy-free options. They also have a ton of vegan and gluten-free topping options and pretty much everything is local down to the cookie dough bite toppings!
This loop is perfect for locals OR tourists wanting to see the sights (and eat delicious things!) by bike. Hope you enjoy!

 

 

May 31st, 2018

Our “Cities By Bike” Series explores some of our favorite places by bike through the eyes of a local.

Roll along with us as we follow them through their favorite neighborhoods, sharing the must-visit sites, restaurants, happy hours, and more.

Our guide in Austin, TX is Natalie Paramore. Natalie is a longtime Austin resident who spends her days as a freelance writer, photographer, and public relations consultant. In her free time she loves to find the best food around and shares it on her blog, NatalieParamore.com, and social channels, @NatalieParamore. Her passion for all things beautiful and delicious make her the perfect person to show us around Austin!


Welcome to Austin! We may be known for our breakfast tacos, live music and our generally cool vibe but there are still a few things to discover about our town. In the past few years Austin has become even more bike friendly, adding lots of bike lanes, not to mention it’s a great way to skip the traffic and see more of the town! I teamed up with PUBLIC Bikes to hit a few of my favorite, local spots in town!

 

 

It’s no secret that Austin summers are HOT so keep that in mind when you’re planning to head out on your bike and tour the town. Here are a few things I, and any local would, suggest taking with you:

  • WATER. The biggest bottle you can find that’ll fit on your bike or in your backpack.
  • SUNSCREEN. It’s important and you’ll get sweaty so reapply!
  • SUNGLASSES AND/OR HAT. You’ll need these no matter what time of day!
  • TOWEL OR FACE WIPE. You might want to towel off or freshen up after your ride.

 

S. 1st Austin Bike Tour

As a longtime resident of 78704, I have seen how much this area has changed over the last decade. South Congress is still a cool place during the week but on the weekends it’s crawling with tourists. Just a hop, skip and short bike ride away is my favorite street: S. 1st! You might have already heard of the popular Elizabeth Street Café and Primo’s breakfast tacos stand but there are a few gems that still have that local vibe!

 

Guac + Margs at Fresa’s

 

 

Start your ride off by fueling up at Fresa’s on S. 1st. They have a great patio and bike parking. Depending on the time of day, you can grab breakfast tacos in the morning, guac and tacos for lunch or margaritas and homemade ice creams in the afternoon!

 

Take a Spin on Lady Bird Lake

 

 

Take off down S. 1st towards the river and take a spin around Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail. Cross the S. 1st bridge for a great spot to take an Instagram photo then loop back around and head towards S. 1st

 

Art for the People

 

 

Stop at Art for The People and check out their unique gallery and

unique artisan marketplace for a truly #KeepAustinWeird experience.

 

Take a Digital Postcard at The Greeting from Austin Mural

 

 

Just across the street is the famous Greetings from Austin mural and no trip to Austin would be complete without getting a photo here!

 

Happy Hour at Lenoir

 

 

Finally, take off down S. 1st a few more blocks to Lenoir. Cool off in their shady garden, grab a glass of rosé and listen to some live music. They have a great wine selection and healthy-ish happy hour snacks.

 

Whether you’re a local or coming for a visit to Austin, hope you can hop on a bike this summer and tour the town!

 

 

May 31st, 2018

Our Commuter Diaries series is written by Anita Vandyke. Anita runs a successful Instagram account (@rocket_science) about zero waste living. She is currently writing her first book A Zero Waste Lifestyle: a thirty day guide to be published in July 2018. For more information about the author please visit www.anitavandyke.com.

Check out Commuter Diaries: Vol 1 to see how Anita chose the right bike and accessories and Commuter Diaries: Vol 2 to learn Anita’s tips & tricks for commuting to work.


Dear Commuter Diary,

Weekends are jam-packed with grocery shopping, brunches and catching up with friends! Nothing is better than summer in the city, but having a PUBLIC bike makes it infinitely easier to fit everything into the weekend.

 

Here is how I use my PUBLIC bike on the weekend:

1. Grocery shopping

 

The detachable PUBLIC Wire Basket makes it a great shopping basket for all your goodies! The basket is such a handy tool that can fit all my grocery needs whilst also being functional, stylish and practical. It is perfect for going to the farmer’s market or going to the bulk store!

 

 

2. Carrying my bags around

 

There’s no need to be pack-horse and manually carry everything around. That’s the great thing about having a PUBLIC bike, you can fit everything you need for the weekend on the back of your bike without hurting your shoulders. The basket is roomy enough to fit all your needs!

 

 

3. Going on a picnic

 

San Francisco is filled with great parks and hikes! Having a PUBLIC bike makes it easy for me to access hidden picnic spots and allows me to carry everything I need with ease and style. I have a seven-speed PUBLIC C7 Bike, which allows me to climb the hills of San Francisco and glide through the parks! I never have to worry about parking, because I can easily park my bike anywhere.

 

 

4. Traveling to BBQ’s

 

I love riding my PUBLIC bike to my friend’s houses and not have to search for parking. I usually just park straight outside their home or find a local bike rack to park my bike. Don’t forget to get yourself a sturdy lock! I can go straight from the grocery store to the BBQ with food, snacks and drinks!

 

 

5. Enjoying the sunshine and get some exercise

 

Many us don’t get enough exercise or Vitamin D as we spend much of our lives indoors. Having a PUBLIC bike allows me to get the exercise I need as part of my commute. This is great form of incidental exercise and also allows me to enjoy the Californian sunshine!

 

 

My PUBLIC bike has transformed my weekends, I no longer have to worry about parking my car, carrying heavy loads or accessing hidden picnic spots! It’s made my weekend commute around the city much more enjoyable and less stressful! Besides walking, biking has the lowest environmental impact for any means of transport. I love knowing that I am living a more eco-friendly life, without compromising on efficiency or style. To transform your weekend commute, why don’t you check out a PUBLIC bike today and see how easy and fun it is!

 

 

May 25th, 2018

Our Commuter Diaries series is written by Anita Vandyke. Anita runs a successful Instagram account (@rocket_science) about zero waste living. She is currently writing her first book A Zero Waste Lifestyle: a thirty day guide to be published in July 2018. For more information about the author please visit www.anitavandyke.com.

Check out Commuter Diaries: Vol 1 to see how Anita chose the right bike and accessories.


Dear Commuter Diary,

I have to be honest, I never enjoyed my daily commute to work. It’s always seems like just a means to an end, not a journey that would spark joy. However, after a week of riding with my new PUBLIC bike, I am thrilled to say that my journey to work is one that I now love!

 

Tips and tricks on how to enjoy your commute to work:

 

1. Work it out

 

Riding my bike to work is a great work out, I get fresh air and exercise and it is a great form of active transport! Trust me, you’ll get buns of steel after climbing the hills of the San Francisco. The easiest way to make your commute easier is to get a multi-speed bike. My bike is the seven speed PUBLIC C7 Bike.

 

2. Wear a helmet

 

Dorky looking helmets is something I feared for a long time, but helmets are an important safety measure, especially for road riding. Choosing a stylish helmet makes the journey more fun!

 

3. Keep hydrated

 

I love that PUBLIC bikes have fun accessories which can store all your necessities such as your water bottle. Make sure you have one with you to keep hydrated. Staying hydrated will help you keep up the momentum throughout the day (plus, it’s great for your skin)!

 

4. Carry what you need

 

One of the great things about having a bike with a detachable basket is that I can carry what I need throughout a work day without looking like a pack horse! Save your shoulders and use your bike to store your backpack and other goodies! The detachable wire basket means I can just remove the basket and carry the whole thing into my work! So easy! It’s my favorite accessory in the PUBLIC range.

 

5. Choose a bike that suits your style

 

I love that I can wear dresses, blazers and coats with my step through PUBLIC bike. This step-through frame means that I don’t have to compromise my style for functionality – I can have both! I can look stylish, wear what I want and get to work still looking fresh. Also, the bike is based on Dutch design and looks super stylish! It suits my work and weekend aesthetic!

 

 

My PUBLIC bike has totally transformed my daily commute. I love that it looks so timelessly stylish and is a bike I can proudly show off for work or for the weekend! I get plenty of exercise, avoid traffic and I can carry all my needs for the day. Why didn’t I get a PUBLIC bike earlier?! This bike has totally transformed my daily commute, why not test one out today and see how great it is for yourself!

 

May 18th, 2018

Our Commuter Diaries series is written by Anita Vandyke. Anita runs a successful Instagram account (@rocket_science) about zero waste living. She is currently writing her first book A Zero Waste Lifestyle: a thirty day guide to be published in July 2018. For more information about the author please visit www.anitavandyke.com.


PUBLIC Bikes has a range of bikes for every rider, but how do you know which bike is the right one for you? Through this blog post, I want to show you how I picked the right bike and the appropriate accessories for my needs by asking myself three simple questions.

 

1. Where will you ride the bike?

 

This is the most important question. Will you be riding your bike just on the weekends? For your daily commute? Will you ride just on local roads or on highways? These questions will determine the type of PUBLIC bike that is best for you. For my bike, I’ll be using it to ride the hills of San Francisco as part of my daily commute. It’ll be my primary mode of transport. So, I needed a bike that was sturdy, and suitable for a range of terrains. This meant I needed a bike with different gear levels, so I could climb those hills with ease and grace! I chose the Step Through C7 bike which has seven speeds and easy step-through frame which is perfect for when I wear dresses to work or to a special event.

 

photo by Joi Ong

 

 

2. What will you bring along with you?

 

My PUBLIC bike will be my primary mode of transport, so I’ll be using it carry my backpack to work and using it do my zero waste grocery shopping at farmer’s markets and the bulk store. This mean I had to choose accessories that were suitable for my daily needs.

I chose the PUBLIC Rear Bike Rack which I can easily attach a basket, a pannier bag or other accessories.

I also the detachable PUBLIC Metal Bike Basket. This basket is an absolute game-changer and perfect for grocery shopping. You simply remove it from the bike and pop your groceries in and then once you’re done, it easily attaches onto the rear bike rack! Genius!

 

These handy attachments make it the perfect bike for my everyday needs!

 

3. What accessories do you need?

 

Remember, safety is of utmost importance! Make sure you deck out your new bike with the right lights, a bell and wear a helmet when you ride!

I chose the BikeSmart Wally USB Headlight, which is lightweight and easy to charge.

I also chose this extremely cute PUBLIC Brass Bicycle Bell, which is a great safety feature but also looks super stylish.

The streets of San Francisco are notorious for stolen bikes, so I made sure I bought a sturdy lock to ensure my prized bike is protected. The store associates helped me pick out the ABUS Ultra 410 Mini U-Lock.

 

photo by Joi Ong

 

Finally, don’t forget to buy a bike helmet for riding on the roads, it’s a key safety feature for any bike rider!

 

My PUBLIC bike is more than just a commuter bike, it’s a bike that is practical, stylish, comfortable and suits my daily needs. Also, for those who aren’t technically minded, PUBLIC Bikes provides a full-service, where you can have the bike assembled for you and you can pick it up from your local supplier! The service from start to finish was seamless, most importantly, the bike is a quality product which I know will last for years to come. I can’t wait to take the bike out for my first commuter ride!!

 

 

 

 

May 8th, 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.


 

Family riding the Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS

 

May is ALS Awareness Month, which gives us the opportunity to shine a light on an incredible event PUBLIC bikes has supported since 2013: The Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS.  

The ride was founded in 2005 to support The ALS Association’s efforts to advance the search for effective treatments and cures for the disease.  Since then, it has raised more than $6.1 million; becoming the largest ALS charity ride in the world.

We interviewed Cliff Whitlock, Team Challenge ALS Director, about the past, present, and future of an event that is helping so many people battle a devastating disease.


Can you start by telling us a little bit about ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)?

 

CLIFF:  Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and more recently known from the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, is a fatal, neurodegenerative illness that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.  Within an average of 2-5 years, people with ALS lose the ability to walk, move, speak, swallow, and eventually, to breathe – all while the mind and senses usually continue to function normally.

ALS is not contagious and does not discriminate – it affects men and women of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic status around the world. There is no known cause and no way to substantially slow the disease.

Every 90 minutes, someone is diagnosed with ALS. Every 90 minutes, someone loses their battle.

 

How did the ride come about as a way to help fight the disease?

 

CLIFF:  The ALS Association already had walks to help raise funds and awareness for the disease, but our volunteers wanted to broaden that outreach to a ride. Coming together with a small group of dedicated business leaders and cyclists, they created the first Wine Country Ride to Defeat ALS, now known as the Napa Valley Ride.

While growing rapidly from a few hundred participants to more than one thousand in 14 years, the event has kept its family-friendly environment and mission-oriented sense of purpose. All of our attendees are able to have fun and celebrate the lives of people with ALS while working hard to raise funds for care services, public policy, and research to end the disease.

Driving awareness is another big aspect of the ride that helps us fight the disease. The more people who participate and donate, the more funding and volunteers we get – which is huge. Every person makes a difference in our organization.

The Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS has become the largest charity ride for ALS in the world. Last year, we had 1,150 total participants who raised $960,000; advancing The ALS Association’s search for effective treatments and cures for the disease.

 

Team (S)miles at the starting line.

 

Tell us more about the event and what the full experience is like.

 

CLIFF:  It truly is one of the most beautiful rides in the world, and right during harvest season so the aromas and sites are in peak form. We’re proud to have a route for any level of rider: 12 miles, 28 miles, 38 miles (new route), 62 mile Lite,  62 mile Challenge, or 100 miles. Each distance offers a beautiful day riding past vineyards, with rest stops every 10-20 miles and SAG (support and gear) vehicles to help along the way.

The ride ends with an incredible festival with live music from Santa Rosa’s own Kingsborough Band, a well deserved beer or glass of wine, delicious BBQ, ice cream, smoothie bikes, etc…

Many participants form a team of friends and family or a group of coworkers, or even sign up to ride on their own and make friends on the route! We ask all of our participants to pay a registration fee and raise a minimum of $150 before the day of the ride. These funds are put to use right away for critical research and care services for people living with ALS and their families. Plus, you’ll earn a Napa Valley Ride beer or wine glass and a pair of branded socks!

In addition to this there are other levels of fundraising incentives which include a really wonderful jersey when you raise $750 or more, and bike shorts when you raise more than $3,000!

Overall, it’s a rejoiceful day of exercise, food, wine, and community.

 

What are some stories from the ride that stand out to you?

 

CLIFF:  One story happened just last year. Matt Chaney, who has lived with ALS for more than 17 years, gifted his recumbent bike to another person recently diagnosed with ALS in hopes that he would get to enjoy it as much as he had when he was still able to ride. This is just one example of how dedicated Matt is to the ALS community and he has said to me that he feels lucky to have lived so long and so well with ALS. Matt continues to be an inspiration for so many living with the disease that you can live a productive and meaningful life. He has been the Co-Chair for the Napa Valley Ride for several years and continues to lead the event as a top fundraiser every year since he has been a part of it. His dedication and generosity really showed itself in 2017, when he gave his bike that he had ridden for more than a decade with ALS to another one of our riders who is living with the disease.

 

Matt Chaney with other members of the ride committee.

 

Another story that comes to mind has been happening for nearly every year of the Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS, all of our riders have been greeted at the Finish Line by the incredible team Kay’s Angels. This team spends the majority of the day with Kay Thomas, who has been living with ALS for more than 17 years, at the finish line cheering people as the end their incredible ride and give them celebration beads. Knowing that you have ridden many miles to be greeted by someone living with the disease adds a beautiful sense of purpose to our event. For many of us, Kay represents our “Never Give Up” spirit that we have on the back of all of our jerseys. Kay and her husband Phil Thomas are as dedicated today as they ever were in their efforts to create a world without ALS.

 

What is the future of the rides? What do you hope is next?

 

CLIFF:  The future is that we create a world without ALS. Ultimately, to turn this ride into a celebration of the lives of people we have lost to ALS and the lives we hope to save. In order to do that though, we need to continue to grow as an event, include more people in our efforts, and raise more so we can do more.

I see events like the AIDS/LifeCycle and Bike MS as examples of peer to peer events that can power change. Sure, a large donor or corporation could come in and donate a million dollars to our organization and have a transformational impact, but when we have more than 1,000 participants riding together and more than 7,000 donors supporting them, that fires us all up at a grassroots level. To me, it’s a sign that people really care, and that they are willing to make the world a better place for those that are suffering at the hands of a devastating disease.

Because of those cycling events that I mentioned and many other fundraising events, there have been significant advancements and even treatments for AIDS and Multiple Sclerosis. My hope is that within the next few years, hopefully sooner, we will see more breakthroughs as a direct result of our efforts through the Ride. We’re seeing more genes discovered related to ALS than ever before.  In fact, there was a new one just discovered last month (KIF5A). The ALS Association Golden West Chapter is now serving more people than ever in our chapter’s history, and the awareness has never been higher with the viral Ice Bucket Challenge and the recent diagnosis of celebrities like former 49er Hall of Famer Dwight Clark or the passing of Dr. Stephen Hawking and Sam Shepard.

All of these efforts, together, are culminating into real results and I am incredibly excited by the future. The people living with ALS and their families are the most inspiring people I have ever met. They show me, and all of us, that when the odds are stacked against you, you can either do nothing or do something. Our riders and supporters choose to do something.

 

Volunteers dressed as superheros.

 

How can people get involved in this year’s ride?

 

CLIFF:  Sign up to ride or volunteer! We’re offering all our PUBLIC friends 20% off registration when they use discount code DOGOOD

Register at:  www.NapaValleyRide.org

When: Saturday, September 22, 2018

Where: California Veterans Home in Yountville

Routes: 12-mi, 28-mi, 38-mi, 62-mi Lite, 62-mi Challenge, 100-mi, or Walk

 

May 7th, 2018

We are inspired daily here at PUBLIC by our incredible biking community. As Mother’s Day approaches, we reached out to a select part of that community, biking mothers.  We asked for their top tips when it comes to biking with children, why they bike with their kids, and what being a mother means to them. Their responses were helpful, heartfelt and inspiring.

A huge high five to all biking mothers out there. This post is for you.

And if you’re in need of gift ideas for the biking mom in your life, check out our handy Mother’s Day Gift Guide.


Naomi of Love Taza

Naomi Riding Image Credit: Naomi’s husband Josh / Naomi biking with her and her two year old son, Samson.

Naomi’s 20 Word (more or less) Bio:
Over 7 years ago, Naomi started Love Taza where she chronicles bits and pieces of her life with her family in New York City. She is the mother of three little ones ages four and under. Love Taza celebrates motherhood, family, travel, good food and life’s simple joys! And she rides a PUBLIC dutch bike step-through.

Top tip for biking with kids?
Involve them as much as possible and make it fun! You can try playing a game of “I spy” while riding, or let them choose which way to go.

Why do you bike with your kids?
I’ve always loved biking, so it felt natural to continue to do so after our first little one arrived. It’s our favorite form of transportation, especially in NYC where more bike lanes and trails continue to be added. I think my kids get extra excited when we take out our bikes because they get to be beside us while taking in their surroundings and seeing everything as we explore together.

What does motherhood mean to you?
I don’t know if I can do it justice in just a few sentences! I love and adore being a mother. It means a million different things… It means long days and nights of chaos and spit up and sacrifice and guilt and sometimes I think I’ve gone mad! But it also means joy and love and growth and adventure and having the chance to spend my days with the sweetest little ones by my side. And nothing has ever topped that for me. So far, motherhood has been nothing short of an absolute honor.


Jen of Pedal Adventures

Jen Biking Image Credit: Pedal Adventures / Jen biking with her son.

Jen’s 20 Word (more or less) Bio:
Mom of boys. Consultant. Wanderer. Cyclist. Navigating loss, managing fear, living with courage, and taking the road less traveled. Founder of the inspiring blog about biking, motherhood and more, Pedal Adventures.

Top tip for biking with kids?
Start early, incorporate it into your lifestyle, get them a good bike starting with a balance bike, bring snacks, and don’t force them to ride.

Why do you bike with your kids?
Cycling is my passion so it was easy to introduce it to my kids. I like that cycling provides options for transportation, health, and most of all fun.

What does motherhood mean to you?
Motherhood is a chance to share, grow, and continually work on my patience.

How do you find balance? Is there such a thing?
Balance for me is a combination of achievement and enjoyment. Daily I try to do things that bring me joy, happiness, and enjoyment while also achieving something. Somedays the scale tips more to enjoyment and some days it’s more about achievement but ultimately I feel best when I get both.


Kit of Vie Bikes

Kit Riding Image credit: Jake Donham / Kit’s Birthday treat to herself was riding her eldest child over the Golden Gate Bridge. Silly face was extra bonus.

Kit’s 20 Word (more or less) Bio:
Co-Founder of Vie Bikes, a new San Francisco company helping families get rolling with their kids. I’m the mother of two little people living the good life by bike in the hills of San Francisco. Prior to co-founding Vie, I worked at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Transportation Alternatives in New York City and the Metropolitan Planning Council in Chicago, and now enjoy riding on the bike lanes I made happen. I started this company because I get stopped constantly by people who really want to know about my family bike. I went to Harvard College and aim to have hobbies again when my kids turn 18.

What’s your top tip for biking with kids?
Find the right bike — usually an electric assist — and choose good routes. Vie offers a free Family Biking Map and sample routes.

Why do you bike with your kids?
It’s just so convenient and a great way to live. We get more places, faster, and feeling great. Our kids spend more time together, enjoying each other’s company, and less time fighting and being crazy than when they’re in a car or on public transportation. I remain grounded in myself, because I’m building me time in to my everyday life, and feeling good physically and emotionally. Life is just so much harder without a bike.

What does motherhood mean to you?
Everything. It’s an indescribable blessing every day, and an enormous responsibility. I love being a mom!

 


April 6th, 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.


 

 

In Vol. 9 of #DoPublicGood we’re highlighting Trips for Kids Marin, an organization whose mission is to provide transformative cycling experiences for underserved youth. Their programs build self-esteem, inspire healthy lifestyles and instill environmental values.

We interviewed Adam Smith, Trail Rides Program Manager at Trips for Kids Marin, about the organization’s 30th anniversary and how they have grown from a single chapter in Marin to one of the nation’s largest youth development bicycling organizations with over 75 chapters nationwide.


Tell us a little bit about how Trips for Kids Marin and its programs got started.

 

ADAM:  Trips for Kids began 30 years ago in Marin county as the vision of Marilyn Price, a pioneering and passionate woman who wanted to help underserved, urban youth experience the transformative power of nature through a largely  unrecognized but impactful youth development tool, the bicycle. She began organizing group rides out of her garage and quickly realized that in order to affect a larger number of youth and have the positive impact she desired, she had to scale up and legitimize the operation. Two years later in 1988, Trips for Kids was founded as an official non-profit organization and began leading off-road, mountain bike rides that focused on immersing urban youth in the spectacular natural beauty found in Marin County and challenging them physically on the bike.  Marilyn knew that this was a powerful combination for positive youth development and with that, the Trail Rides program was born.

Since that first official ride in 1988, Trips for Kids Marin has taken more than 36,000 youth on trail rides around the Bay Area while currently working with an average 1,600 youth every year. Youth who attend the rides come from primarily low income, minority families and often have not ridden a bike in months or years and have rarely, if ever, explored their local natural spaces. Our Trail Ride program uses the bicycle to deliver an experience where riders practice new skills, explore nature and step beyond their comfort zone – this combination creates an impactful experience for our youth participants and leads to positive transformation during and after the ride.   We bring all of the equipment needed for the ride including the bikes, helmets, gloves, water bottles and trained Ride Leaders.

In every closing circle debrief we hear kids saying things like, “That was so much fun! My favorite part was seeing the ocean (or wildlife) and getting to ride a bike for the first time since I was young.” Sometimes we have kids who haven’t ridden a bike since immigrating to America, or who are seeing the ocean for the very first time. Always, there are smiles and laughs.  

We see the impact just one ride has on these kids, from the confidence they build over the course of the ride to the sense of accomplishment they feel by completing a typical 8-mile ride; the rides are great self-esteem builders. With some youth agencies we conduct rides on a recurring basis and the impact it has on those youth is even greater, due to the kids’ ability to practice and advance their skills and confidence. But even one magical ride through nature can be a transformative experience.         

 

 

How have you expanded your programs over the years?

 

ADAM:  In addition to the Trail Rides program,  we provide two after school programs that focus on different aspects of the bike. Our Earn-a-Bike  program teaches bike mechanic skills to kids in the San Rafael Canal Community, which is Marin’s lowest income neighborhood. The kids earn a bike by successfully mastering the skills of our 8-week curriculum, developing vocational skills useful for a career in mechanics, and learning lessons on the benefits of hard work and achievement.

Our Mobile Bike Workshop brings the fun (bikes and helmets!) to the kids at their school or organization and teaches safe riding skills over 10-12 week sessions. A new skill is practiced each week and the kids ride their bikes on the school grounds and in the local neighborhoods. We work with Marin elementary and middle schools to bring riding skills to those for whom transportation to open spaces is a barrier.  

All of our programs are supported by grants, individual donations and revenues from our Re-cyclery Bike Shop. Our Re-cyclery mechanics refurbish donated bikes, salvage quality parts and help our customers purchase low-cost bikes, parts, clothing and accessories that meet their riding style. We accept gently used cycling-related donations every day. Shopping in our store or donating are both great ways to support our youth programming.

 

 

What are the organization’s plans for the future?

 

ADAM:  Last year we created a new national non-profit called Trips for Kids National,  to provide resources for and better connect our national chapter network; it will also be devoted to expanding our easily replicable cycling activities with more entities nationwide. This was a critical step to allow Trips for Kids Marin to focus entirely on quality Bay Area programming and an expansion of our services locally.

Trips for Kids Marin is already developing new partnerships to create new and unique youth cycling programs. We recently partnered with the Girls Scouts of Northern California and Heart of Central California to offer a brand new hybrid program called Learn it, Fix it, Shred it! This program combines our Earn-a-Bike and Trail Rides activities to teach girls basic bike maintenance in the morning and take a trail ride in the afternoon, focused on safety, fun and learning. We hope this pilot program will become a new national partnership between Trips for Kids and Girl Scouts of the USA, and initiate the development of an official Scout biking badge, which doesn’t exist yet.    

 

 

How will you be celebrating your 30th anniversary?

 

ADAM:  I invite all your readers to our two celebratory events in Marin this year! We’ll be hosting a Family Bike Festival on Saturday, July 21 at China Camp State Park, which will be a day of biking, BBQ and music for the whole community. We’ll host a bike rodeo, lead free trail rides for the kids, hand out prizes, and chow down on BBQ while listening to a fun live band. It’s going to be a great time outdoors and you don’t even need a bike to participate. As always, we’ll bring our bike fleet for the kids to use!

Our 30th Anniversary Gala will be held Saturday October 19 at the Mill Valley Community Center and feature a pedal powered live band and much merriment throughout the evening. Tickets will be available in advance online (get on our mailing list, sign up to volunteer, become a sponsor, or make a donation at www.tripsforkidsmarin.org) and will serve as a fundraiser to ensure we can continue to provide our transformative programs to youth for another 30 years!

 

 

And how can people get involved in the programs?

 

ADAM:  If you’d like to join a Bay Area ride or donate your time and/or used cycling gear, or make a financial contribution please visit our website www.tripsforkidsmarin.org. Complete our volunteer application and our Volunteer Coordinator will be in touch with you shortly to discuss the best way you can be part of making a positive difference in the lives of young people through the power of riding a bike in nature.  

To start a Trips for Kids chapter and learn about our national chapter network’s activities visit www.tripsforkids.org.