December 7th, 2016

bicycle wheel wreath

We’re so excited to share this incredibly clever holiday DIY Bicycle Wheel Wreath from Maren at Larch & Loon. Not only is it bike-themed (but, of course!), it’s easy and quick to assemble with beautiful results. Happy crafting!

From Larch & Loon

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I LOVE the holidays. My favorite traditions include decorating the tree, drinking eggnog lattes and watching Love Actually on repeat. I always love this time of the year for crafting because nobody can judge you for covering everything with glitter!

This year, I decided to focus my holiday crafting attention on creating a bicycle wheel wreath. It’s super easy to make and adds a unique touch to your holiday home. I created two different versions, one a more traditional style and one that’s a little funky!

Ready to create your own? All you’ll need is a bike wheel, some garland and a big red bow.

bicycle wheel wreath

Step 1: Make some hot cocoa and start blasting All I Want For Christmas to get in the mood.

Step 2: Use a glue gun to attach the greenery. Warning: You will use a crap ton of glue sticks!

Step 3: Add some pretty little pinecones and berries to dress it up.

Step 4: Attach your bow. Mine came with wire on the back so I just wrapped that around the wheel.

bicycle wheel wreath

Cute, huh? The reindeer approve.

For the next one, I wanted to try something a little edgier so I used gold leaf paint and some florals I picked up at the local craft store.

bicycle wheel wreath

Step 1: Paint the wheel gold. I used quick dry spray paint so I wouldn’t have to wait too long to start decorating.

Step 2: Lay out the greenery pieces and choose the shape you want to create. I ended up trimming a lot of pieces off mine since they were so bushy, but it’s all personal preference.

Step 3: Attach the greenery with glue or wire. I found that the glue didn’t stick quite as well after the wheel was painted so wire came in handy here.

Step 4: Hang your beautiful new wreath near your stockings with care!

bicycle wheel wreath

I hope this inspires you to break out the glue gun and get crafty this holiday season. Enjoy!


larch loonMaren and Dustin from Larch & Loon are here to inspire you to get outside, to be adventurous and discover all the Pacific Northwest has to offer. On their blog you’ll find all things Cascadia – from climbing and hiking to brewing and biking (and in this case, wreath making!)

December 7th, 2016

All PUBLIC retail stores in San Francisco, Santa Monica, and Seattle are hosting special events, offering treats, and in-store only deals for customers shopping for holiday gifts for themselves and their loved ones.

Every weekend in December, each of our PUBLIC stores are brewing up either hot spiced cider or hot cocoa to keep you warm! Whether you’re out for a bike ride -or- looking for a bike to go on a ride, we’ve got a warm cuppa deliciousness for you here in the shop. There’s chocolate bars (oh so delicious chocolate bars…) for the first 10 people who take our bikes out on a test spin on the December 10th & 11th, and then again on the December 17th & 18th. Rumor has it there’s plenty of candy canes, too.

Click on links below for individual store activities, along with holiday hours:

PUBLIC Seattle
501 E. Pine Street
(206) 973-2434

Seattle Store Hours
Monday – Saturday: 11:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am – 6:00pm
Dec. 24: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Dec. 25: Closed Christmas Day

PUBLIC Santa Monica
2714 Main Street
(424) 221-5209

Santa Monica Store Hours
Monday – Saturday: 11:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am – 6:00pm
Dec. 24: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Dec. 25: Closed Christmas Day

PUBLIC San Francisco
549 Hayes Street
(415) 688-4000

SF Store Hours
Monday – Saturday: 11:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am – 6:00pm
Dec. 24: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Dec. 25: Closed Christmas Day

sf-hero

November 22nd, 2016

Last month we introduced our new series, The #DoPublicGood Project, to highlight people or organizations that do good by bike. After we featured the Supermarket Street Sweep, we received several recommendations of other groups doing good in the world by bicycle. Here are a few:

Cycling Without Age

cykling-uden-alder-hugo-tove-else-foto-ole-kassow-1600x703

Bicycles are great, but many older citizens don’t have the strength or stamina to ride. Copenhagen’s Ole Kassow of Cycling Without Age saw an opportunity. In 2012, he broke out a trishaw and began giving free rides to nursing home residents. It gives them a chance to converse, tell stories and share their lives. His program has grown into an international organization with affiliates in dozens of countries.

World Bicycle Relief

power-kids-bikes

Can bicycle riding help lead to prosperity and economic relief? World Bicycle Relief provides locally made, specially created bicycles to entrepreneurs, students and medical workers all across Africa. The recipients can study to own, or work to own, their bicycle. Over time, they’ve built a thorough infrastructure of mechanics and repair facilities. Since 2005, the program has grown — in 2014 more than 50,000 bikes were distributed.

Denver Food Rescue

520998481

Did you know that more than 30 to 50 percent of edible food is wasted in the United States every day? Yet many people don’t get fresh fruits and vegetable needed to keep them healthy. Denver Food Rescue uses bikes to take food from grocers and farmer markets to No Cost Grocery Programs. Bicycles allow them to redistribute healthy food that otherwise gets wasted to needy folks in hard-to-access neighborhoods and towns.

Waterside Workshops

Marsalis Johnson, center, a former intern and now mechanic, assists a customer at Street Level Cycles a part of Waterside Workshops in Berkeley, California, February 20, 2015.

At Waterside Workshops, they wanted to help develop happy, productive youth, encourage healthy living and promote positive social change in the Bay Area. To meet these goals, they began offering classes, job training, and places for local youth to relax and get involved in fun activities. They provide a full city bike shop and repair area to the community — staffed by adult artists, teachers and mechanics, as well as local youth, learning side by side and building community.

November 22nd, 2016


elena-galvez

In a post-election blog post, we asked “Where is the Love?”

The answer can be found in everyday people whose work helps others or whose lives are inspirations for the simple joys of living or the dignity of hard work.

Here are a few people on bikes who inspired us when we heard their stories. Some of these stories are a few years old, but they are a testament to the power of the bicycle and their inspirational stories endure.

Elena Galvez

Even self-avowed bike enthusiasts often back out of their daily two-wheel commutes when they’re feeling tired or lazy. That’s not an option for Elena Galvez, who has commuted by bike for over four decades. Galvez wouldn’t think of abandoning her commuter bike; she refers to it as her companion. She believes that biking is the secret to a long and happy life, and at 90 years old, she clearly knows what she’s talking about!

Monica Busby

Getting back on a bike after recovering from cancer is no easy task, but riding across the country is another thing altogether. Monica Busby decided to do her part for the homeless population by riding from New Jersey to Oregon in support of the Fuller Foundation. Busby believes that she survived cancer for a reason — to bring hope to those with nowhere to call home.

Carl Georg Rasmussen

Carl Georg Rasmussen is no ordinary biker. He’s been racking up thousands of miles per year on his city bike for a long, long time, and at over 80, he shows no signs of quitting. Before he made a name for himself as an octogenarian biker, he built the revolutionary Leitra, a three-wheeled velomobile designed to provide comfort above and beyond what a typical urban bike can deliver. Whether he’s toying with Leitra designs or exploring the world by bike, his zest for life is even more evident now than it was when his velomobile first took the world by storm.

November 21st, 2016

biking baking apple pop tart
It wouldn’t be the holiday season without a delicious, homemade recipe. And in our world those recipes are made with goods we picked up fresh from the market on our bikes. Cue baker, biker extraordinaire Becky Sue Wilberding, creator of BakingTheGoods.com, who brings us a Fall-fabulous, homemade recipe crafted from produce she hauled home from the farmers market in our new PUBLIC Wooden Bicycle Crate. Becky shares her love of biking, her beautiful photography and a mouthwatering recipe for Maple Glazed Apple Cinnamon Pop Tarts (yum!) with us below.

biking baking apple pop tart

From Becky:
Around age 10, I became the proud owner of a 10 speed white Murray with a lavender and teal graphics package. I’d been pining for a multi-speed for months, and that moment when I first switched gears, I believed I could fly.

I loved and cared for that bike like nothing I’d owned before. I stored it in the garage, hand washed it and added personal flair by precisely placing a Simpsons sticker on the headset and tricked out the wheels with color coordinated spoke beads.

My bike opened up a whole new world of adventures and excitement that I never knew existed. For the first time in my life, I was able to ride anywhere I wanted, on my own terms. Down the hill to my BFF’s. Through the woods and over the dips. To the supermarket to buy candy. Past my crush’s house (feeling mortified when he was outside playing basketball as I rolled by in excruciatingly slow motion). I cruised, I careened, I crashed. It was my first taste of independence, and boy was it sweet.

Sometime during Junior High, riding a bike became the international symbol of Nerd status, and my bike was buried in the garage behind the Pogoball and the Radio Flyer. I survived high school, went on to college and had more jobs than I care to remember. By then, I simply didn’t have the space in my life, or my apartment, for a bike.

Years later, well into my 20s, my husband surprised me with a sparkling electric blue vintage cruiser for my birthday. It had been so long since I’d ridden a bike, but that old adage rang true as muscle memory took over and I pedaled my way through the neighborhood.  I rode like the wind and felt myself lift off the ground, pedaling past the moon straight back to my childhood in one of those magical ET moments.  That vintage feeling of newfound freedom took over and I fell in love with biking again.

biking baking apple pop tart

I still get a twinge of nostalgia when I cruise around on my PUBLIC V7. This time of year, between the crisp weather and the saffron-colored harvest moon, those ET flashbacks are palpable.

To capture the spirit of the season, I rode my bike to my local farmer’s market and loaded up on seasonal goods.

biking baking recipe apple pop tart

There is no better Fall fruit than apples, and seeing them stacked high at the market inspired me to recreate another childhood treat, the Pop Tart.

biking baking recipe apple pop tart

These Maple Glazed Apple Cinnamon Pop Tarts are made with locally grown farmer’s market apples, transported home with love and care in my handy dandy, vintage-inspired PUBLIC Wooden Bicycle Crate. Quality ingredients, good old fashioned techniques and the combined love of biking and baked goods are what make these Maple Glazed Apple Cinnamon Pop Tarts so special.

We all deserve to feel like a kid again. So, let your inner-child out to play with a long, adventurous bike ride and a batch of Maple Glazed Apple Cinnamon Pop Tarts.

recipe biking baking apple pop tart

MAPLE GLAZED APPLE CINNAMON POP TARTS RECIPE

Download the PDF of the recipe here.

PIE DOUGH:
Chop the cold butter into 1/4″- 1/2″ cubes and place them in the fridge to firm up for a few minutes.

Cut in the butter by blending the flour mixture with either a pastry blender, two butter knives or by squishing it between your fingers. Be careful to not melt the butter.

Slowly pour the vodka or apple cider vinegar into the dough using a pastry blender or fork to combine until pea sized chunks form and the dough is just starting to come together.

Check the hydration level of the dough by gathering a small fistful. If it holds together, it’s ready. If it is dry or crumbly, slowly add ice cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Combine using a pastry blender or a fork. Test the dough again by pinching it occasionally.
*Be careful to add only as much water as it takes to combine the dough into a ball or disk.

Form the dough into two disks and wrap them in plastic. Chill the disks for at least 1-2 hours.

recipe biking baking apple pop tart
Once your pie dough has chilled, on a lightly-floured counter, roll one disk into a rectangular shape, 1/8″-1/4″ thick.

Using a ruler and a pizza cutter or knife, measure and cut the dough into 4” x 3” rectangles. Gather the dough scraps together, form a disk and re-roll. Then cut more rectangles.

Transfer the rectangles to a lined baking sheet, and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. You should have 24 rectangles

APPLE CINNAMON FILLING:
Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.

Peel the apples and grate them using a cheese grater.

recipe biking baking apple pop tart

Top 12 dough rectangles with about 1 ½ – 2 tablespoons of grated apple. Then top each with 1 heaping tablespoon of the brown sugar mixture, leaving about 1/2 “ of exposed dough all the way around.

recipe biking baking apple pop tart recipe biking baking apple pop tart

Lightly brush a small amount of cold water around the edges of the of the dough. Place another rectangle over the filling and gently seal the edges by pressing down the edges. Create a decorative crimp by pressing the edges of the tart together with the back of a fork.
Place the pop tarts back on a lined baking sheet, chill in the refrigerator or freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Whisk the egg in a small bowl.
Remove the chilled pop tarts from the refrigerator or freezer. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the pop tarts with the egg wash.

Bake until the pop tarts are golden brown, about 20 – 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.

Remove the pop tarts from the oven, and let stand to cool.

MAPLE GLAZE:
Sift the powdered sugar and cinnamon into a medium bowl. Whisk in the maple extract and 1 – 2 tablespoons of cream until the mixture runs off the whisk like slow molasses.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of glaze onto each pop tart, smoothing the glaze to the crimped edges with the back of the spoon or a small spatula.

Allow the glaze to set before serving (if you can wait that long!).

 


600-becky-circleBecky Sue Wilberding is the creator/brainchild of BakingTheGoods.com, an online pantry full of recipes and the saucy, often embarrassing real-life stories from which they were inspired. She’s a baker, recipe developer, stylist and photographer who documents every step of baking with mouth-watering visuals. Becky aims to first punch her readers in the tastebuds with stunning photos, then inspire them to make her recipes a part of their own little life adventures.

November 21st, 2016

PUBLIC has worked with several leading real estate firms and developers to support more bicycle-friendly, walkable communities. As more people move from the suburbs for denser urban living, the housing market is responding by offering bicycles amenities to meet consumer preferences for more varied mobility choices. Owning a car can feel like more of a liability and headache for many urban residents, especially when so many public transit, bicycle, walking, and ride share options are readily available.

We’re proud to work with Palisades, a Los Angeles-based real estate firm known for innovative design that enhance the built environment, to provide custom European-inspired bicycles for homeowners to enjoy their two newly debuted properties’ bike-friendly neighborhoods and live a true California lifestyle. In addition, these two properties, AIRE Santa Monica and The Liddel in Westwood, will feature amenities that include a designated bike room for tune ups and storage. Both of these properties encourage residents to make a connection with nature, the surrounding neighborhood and reduce their carbon footprint via their new step-through, Dutch-style PUBLIC bikes.

We encourage people to take a close look at these properties and why they’re making bicycles an important feature.

AIRE Santa Monica

AIRE Santa Monica is comprised of a boutique collection of 19 purposefully designed residences that capture the unique coastal lifestyle of Santa Monica. The intelligent, open-concept design envisioned by JFAK Architects accentuates light and space and enables an effortless connection between indoor and outdoor living. All residences include generous outdoor living spaces ranging up to 800 square feet, a rare offering in the Santa Monica condominium market.

The property boasts a spacious communal courtyard with casual lounging areas, peaceful water features and a green living wall. Conveniently and centrally located on 14th Street, residents will be able to easily take advantage of all Santa Monica has to offer including world-class dining, cultural, entertainment and shopping, all just a short stroll or bike ride away.

The Liddel

ProEXR File Description =Attributes= cameraAperture (float): 36.000000 cameraFNumber (float): 8.036487 cameraFarClip (float): 1000000015047466200000000000000.000000 cameraFarRange (float): 100000.000000 cameraFocalLength (float): 24.109461 cameraFov (float): 73.489655 cameraNearClip (float): 0.000000 cameraNearRange (float): 0.000000 cameraProjection (int): 0 cameraTargetDistance (float): 528.614746 cameraTransform (m44f) channels (chlist) compression (compression): Zip dataWindow (box2i): [0, 0, 4999, 3332] displayWindow (box2i): [0, 0, 4999, 3332] lineOrder (lineOrder): Increasing Y name (string): "" pixelAspectRatio (float): 1.000000 screenWindowCenter (v2f): [0.000000, 0.000000] screenWindowWidth (float): 1.000000 type (string): "scanlineimage" =Channels= A (half) B (half) G (half) MultiMatteElement1.B (half) MultiMatteElement1.G (half) MultiMatteElement1.R (half) MultiMatteElement2.B (half) MultiMatteElement2.G (half) MultiMatteElement2.R (half) MultiMatteElement3.B (half) MultiMatteElement3.G (half) MultiMatteElement3.R (half) R (half) VRayDenoiser.B (half) VRayDenoiser.G (half) VRayDenoiser.R (half) VRayLightdome.B (half) VRayLightdome.G (half) VRayLightdome.R (half) VRayLighties1.B (half) VRayLighties1.G (half) VRayLighties1.R (half) VRayLighties2.B (half) VRayLighties2.G (half) VRayLighties2.R (half) VRayLightlamp.B (half) VRayLightlamp.G (half) VRayLightlamp.R (half) VRayLightsoftbox.B (half) VRayLightsoftbox.G (half) VRayLightsoftbox.R (half) VRayReflection.B (half) VRayReflection.G (half) VRayReflection.R (half) VRayRefraction.B (half) VRayRefraction.G (half) VRayRefraction.R (half) VRayRefractionFilter.B (half) VRayRefractionFilter.G (half) VRayRefractionFilter.R (half) VRaySpecular.B (half) VRaySpecular.G (half) VRaySpecular.R (half) VRayWireColor.B (half) VRayWireColor.G (half) VRayWireColor.R (half) atmosphere.B (half) atmosphere.G (half) atmosphere.R (half) background.B (half) background.G (half) background.R (half) defocusAmount (half) diffuseFil

The newest addition to the Wilshire Corridor, The Liddel offers a boutique collection of 56 residences that provide an unexpected blend of classic sophistication and a refined contemporary aesthetic. Refreshingly modern shared amenity spaces are envisioned by renowned interior architect Jamie Bush, whose signature style offers a warm, authentic living environment.

The residences at The Liddel have been thoughtfully designed to provide a clean, open canvas that balances crisp, contemporary lines. Flexible floor plans within each residence type features generous living space. Select residences connect fluidly to private terraces and a variety of penthouses boast panoramic city views. With world-class amenities and one-of-a-kind communal spaces, including a magnificent rooftop with fireplace, lounge areas and BBQs, The Liddel offers an unrivaled lifestyle experience in one of Los Angeles’s most sought-after neighborhoods.

November 18th, 2016

Written by PUBLIC founder, Rob Forbes.

Despair, a tough word to parade around, has been a frequent emotion throughout this election process and outcome. Shock, fear, anger, and resentment have been in the air as well, felt in red, blue, and purple states alike. We all despair over an election where, for the first time, both major political party candidates had significantly low approval rankings.

Rural red small town America has voted its despair at the loss of jobs, declining prospects for the future, fear of foreigners, and other reasons. Blue urban America despairs at the roll back of progressive principles, women’s rights, the environment, and more. No one can be truly happy. For the victors, the gratification is that the others did not win. Indeed, where is the love?

What transcends despair? Many things come to mind: music, beauty, nature, food, pets, friends, to name a few.

Our suggestion – go ride a bike.

Ride 100 miles to burn off the stress.

Ride into a small town and have a coffee or beer with people you do not know.

Ride to the country, forest, or beach to get close to the power and beauty of nature.

Ride a bike to a National Park and see what wonders can he had when we take care of your environment.

Ride to lower your own carbon footprint.

Ride with your child on the backseat and try to feels like a kid again.

Ride to get away from the persistent media blitz.

Ride to feel the sensation of independence, freedom, and empowerment.

Ride to someplace local where love and care are being shown, like your pet’s shelter. Take home a rescue dog or cat.

Ride now to be a part of your community, like our Do Public Good Project.

Ride in the future to a national event like the Million Women March in DC.

There are many unknowns right now, but this remains a fact: If we stand still we will fall over.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
-Albert Einstein

October 31st, 2016

do public good

Image via Blog Spot

There’s a lot of good in this world and we want to make it known. Starting this month, we’re launching the #DoPublicGood project. Each month we’ll highlight people or organizations that do good by bike. And we’ll be taking part ourselves. Follow us on Snapchat (publicbikes) and every Thursday watch our story as we pick up donated food and bike it to a shelter in the Bay Area through Food Runners.

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.

do public good

Image by Jenny Oh Hatfield

For November we thought it fitting to highlight a very special Bay Area bike event that takes place just once a year around this time called Supermarket Street Sweep. It’s an “allycat” or urban bike race-style event where volunteers courier pounds of food from participating grocery stores via their bikes to a local food bank.

Supermarket Street Sweep is in its 11th year, and it almost went into extinction until the San Francisco Cycling Club decided to take up the reigns just a few months ago. (Kudos to you SFCC!)

One of Supermarket Street Sweep’s original founders, Jenny Oh Hatfield, explains the premise, “For our event, participants buy food from a list of participating shops and that food is directly donated to the SF & Marin Food Banks at the end of the event. Cyclists can compete in three categories: SPEED (bring back the required amount of food the fastest within the race’s time limit); CARGO (bring back the most food); TEAM (this is a new category and up to 5 people can work together to bring back the most food.) Racers carry back their hauls — via backpacks, panniers, cargo bikes and trailers — and all of the groceries are weighed by the food bank and our team of volunteers.”

do public good

Image by Jenny Oh Hatfield

You don’t have to be a hardcore cyclist to participate. Hatfield says that part of the fun is seeing the diverse group of riders that this event brings. “We get road racers, commuters and even kids who have a ton of fun helping such an important charity. We structure the format so if you wanted, you could spend the afternoon riding around with your friends and bring back as much food as you like to the food bank.”

do public good

Image by Jenny Oh Hatfield

And the amount of food people transport on two wheels for the event is incredible. In 2015 over a hundred racers took part and hauled more than 12,200 lbs of food. One racer alone carted over 1,000 lbs!

Registration is open for this year’s Supermarket Street Sweep that takes place on Saturday, December 3rd 2016. Stay up to date on announcements and prize previews on Instagram and Twitter (sfstreetsweep). If you’re not in the Bay Area, you can still get involved by visiting cranksgiving.org to find a similar event in your neighborhood.

October 17th, 2016

new public bike bag

It’s challenging to find just the right bag. Period. But it’s even more challenging to find just the right bike bag. That’s why we’re proud to introduce The PUBLIC Bag Collection. These bags are our solution to the problem of a day-to-night bike bag that, well, doesn’t look like a bike bag.

new public bike bike carryall bag new public single bike bag pannier

There are plenty of technical bags on the market that you can load up for bike camping or torrential downpours. And we’re thankful for them. But those bags aren’t the ones you want to take into a meeting or theatre or restaurant. They can be cumbersome, and frankly, uncomfortable to try and squeeze between seats at the movies or tuck between the bar and your barstool. After so many years of awkward bag encounters, we knew it was time to fix this.

new public bike bag single pannier tote bag new public bike bag tote single pannier

We partnered with our friends at Detours to learn from their expertise in bag design and manufacturing, and for the past year we’ve been prototyping, testing, tweaking, and riding these bags all over San Francisco and Seattle. With feedback from our riders, we’ve come up with what we believe are the best looking bike bags that don’t look like bike bags.

Crafted of comfortable cotton canvas, these bags are built to look good and hold your stuff. There are interior laptop sleeves and thoughtful pockets to keep you organized. Plus, reflective details to keep you seen and waxed cotton bottoms for added durability.

new public bike bag single pannier tote bags

The Tote and the Carryall bags feature generous haul handles so you can easily carry them when off the bike. In fact, we’ll place a bet that while you’re toting these babies around town no one will guess they can attach to your bike’s rear rack with a simple click. We didn’t just design these bags to fit perfectly onto our PUBLIC bike racks (which they do), we tested them on every other rack we could find.

new public bike bag double pannier new public bike bag handlebar bicycle bag

We think these bags will become your new best friend (next to your bike). The kind of item you always wished you had and now will wonder, how was I ever managing before?

We created a few videos so you could get to know the bags better. Check them out below and then let us know, #whatsinyourPUBLICbag

PUBLIC TOTE SINGLE PANNIER

Go Bananas: PUBLIC Tote Single Pannier from PUBLIC Bikes on Vimeo.

PUBLIC CARRYALL SINGLE PANNIER

The Bag For All Occasions: The PUBLIC Carryall Single Pannier from PUBLIC Bikes on Vimeo.

PUBLIC HANDLEBAR POUCH

Love Is In The Bag: PUBLIC Handlebar Pouch from PUBLIC Bikes on Vimeo.

PUBLIC URBAN DOUBLE PANNIER

Clowning Around: The PUBLIC Urban Double Pannier from PUBLIC Bikes on Vimeo.

October 14th, 2016

wright-cycle-co

Last year Pulitzer Prize author David McCullough published a book The Wright Brothers about Wilbur and Orville Wright. The book chronicles their extraordinary journey towards making their mark in aviation history.

Not as well known is that the Wright brother were actual bike mechanics who had their own company called Wright Cycle Company during the early bicycle boom. The money from their bicycle business – selling and repairing popular “safety bikes” like the Wright Cycle Company’s Van Cleves model that laid the foundation for our contemporary city bikes – helped fuel their other endeavors, including their aviation experiments.

1897-van-cleve-ad

Here’s an excerpt from McCullough’s The Wright Brothers:

“[By 1892 the Wright brothers] had also taken up bicy­cling, and as Wilbur reported, they had lately headed off on a ‘run’ to the south, down the Cincinnati Pike, stopping at the County Fair Grounds to pump around the track several times. From there they continued on to Miamisburg up and over numerous steep hills to see the famous prehis­toric Adena Miamisburg Mound, largest of Ohio’s famous conical-shaped reminders of a vanished Native American civilization dating back more than two thousand years. In all they covered thirty-one miles.

“Bicycles had become the sensation of the time, a craze everywhere. (These were no longer the ‘high wheelers’ of the 1870s and ’80s, but the so-called ‘safety bicycles,’ with two wheels the same size.) The bicycle was proclaimed a boon to all mankind, a thing of beauty, good for the spirits, good for health and vitality, indeed one’s whole outlook on life. Doctors enthusiastically approved. One Philadelphia physician, writing in The American Journal of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children, concluded from his observations that ‘for physical exercise for both men and women, the bicycle is one of the greatest inventions of the nineteenth century.’

bikeshop

“Voices were raised in protest. Bicycles were proclaimed morally haz­ardous. Until now children and youth were unable to stray very far from home on foot. Now, one magazine warned, fifteen minutes could put them miles away. Because of bicycles, it was said, young people were not spend­ing the time they should with books, and more seriously that suburban and country tours on bicycles were ‘not infrequently accompanied by seductions.’

“Such concerns had little effect. Everybody was riding bicycles, men, women, all ages and from all walks of life. Bicycling clubs sprouted on college campuses and in countless cities and towns, including [the Wright brothers home town of] Dayton, [Ohio]. … In the spring of 1893 Wilbur and Orville opened their own small bicycle business, the Wright Cycle Exchange, selling and repairing bicycles only a short walk from the house at 1005 West Third Street. In no time, such was business, they moved to larger quarters down the street to Number 1034 and renamed the enterprise the Wright Cycle Company.”

dh_snap-shots-january-5-1895-wright-cycle-ad_lores