February 5th, 2016

sean-conroe

Our PUBLIC Seattle Store Manager Sean Conroe is a cool guy. So cool that even Seattle Magazine profiled him a few years ago in a “Love Thy Neighbor” feature for his innovative urban agriculture work.

We’re now lucking to have him leading our Seattle team. If you’re a local Seattle organization or company seeking to collaborate with us, stop by our Seattle store and introduce yourself to Sean.

PUBLIC: Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Western NY and spent 5 years in Las Vegas before moving up to Seattle. I’ve been here in the Emerald City for 12 years — time flies! Prior to PUBLIC, I worked to launch Pronto, Seattle’s bike share system with 500 bikes around the city. When not riding bikes, I’m often seeking out new adventures in the Pacific Northwest.

PUBLIC: What do you like best about Seattle?
Summer time? But honestly, what isn’t there to like about this town? From coffee to creativity to culture, Seattle has got it all.

PUBLIC: Tell us some fact or background about yourself that might surprise people.
I started an urban farming non-profit in 2009 that worked to connect people, place + produce using underutilized urban spaces right here in the city. Within a year, we had 2 farms up and running, and grew over 1,000 lbs. of food which right right back into the neighborhoods it was grown.

PUBLIC: What’s your experience riding bikes in Seattle?
I started Streets + Beats, a fundraising bike ride for the urban farming organization, and lead that for ~4 years which was a fully supported bike ride ranging from 50-75 miles. Aside from organizing that ride, I also worked with the American Diabetes Association to execute the Tour De Cure. On my own time, the 11 of the 12 years I lived here were car-free, which meant I walked, biked and used our public transit system the entire time. I got to know the city pretty well for which streets to avoid the hills!

PUBLIC: What are your favorite routes or places to visit by bicycle in Seattle?
The Elliott Bay trail through the Olympic Sculpture Park into Magnolia is one of the most enjoyable — especially during summer where you can hop off at one point and forage all the wild blackberries you want before riding down to Golden Gardens and enjoying a bon fire with friends.

PUBLIC: What are you looking forward to in leading the new PUBLIC Seattle store?
Bikes to me offer a sense of empowerment and freedom, and I’m thrilled be a part of the decision making process for folks looking to ride, wether recreationally or for commuting.

February 3rd, 2016

With the advent of cars decades ago as the dominant means of transportation, city planners and developers reshaped our public and private spaces to accommodate the storage of these personal vehicles.

By making it easy to find free or subsidized low cost parking, many cities simply encouraged more people to own and drive cars which simply resulted in more congestion and environmental problems.

Since cars take up so much space, people have always tried to find ways to store them vertically to reduce their ground-level footprint. This series of photos, “Vertical Parking“, shows how cities have attempted to accommodate the car through the decades.

The photo below is in New York City in ~1920.

An elevator parking lot, where the cars are hoisted up on individual platforms to save space, early 1920s. (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


This one below is in Chicago in ~1941.

A vertical parking lot structure in Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, c. 1941. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)


If we spent as much effort and resources trying to house people, instead of cars, think about how different cities would be?

In contrast, a few cities like Amsterdam face an entirely different dilemma – how to accommodate the shortage of bike parking spots?

BikeParking-CentraalStation_0Photo credit: Poom!/flickr

In the article, “Amsterdam mulls underwater bike garage as available parking for cyclists dwindles,” Amsterdam is even exploring ways to go vertical but in a different direction than up.

Most cities have more available parking than people think. For example, it’s estimated in San Francisco alone, where people complain about lack of car parking all the time, that San Francisco has enough street parking space to fill the entire California coastline.

The problem is multi-faceted, but there many steps cities can do to improve parking and create better spaces for people. However, we think the biggest bang for taxpayer buck is for cities to be less obsessed about accommodating the car, but more focused on making other transportation options more accessible and safer to a wider number of people.

Not everyone is going to bike, walk, or take transit. But by making those transportation choices safer and easier for more people, it means less people driving and looking for parking. And hopefully, as more cities are successful in shifting people’s choices on how they get around, it will create a new set of good problems – like how to accommodate more bikes, more pedestrians, and more public transit riders.

The urbanist writer Lewis Mumford once wrote, “The right to have access to every building in the city by private motorcar in an age when everyone possesses such a vehicle is the right to destroy the city.” Instead of focusing on creating more space for cars, which has destroyed the character of many neighborhoods and cities, let’s focus on building beautiful, enlightened cities for people.

February 1st, 2016

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internal-gear-hub-vs-external-derailleur

We offer two types of gearing on our bikes. The first type is called an “internal gear hub.” An internal gear hub is where the chain and gearing system are encased in a sealed mechanism. You can’t see the chain, thus it can’t fall off and dirt and grime can’t get inside. An internal gear hub is also the only type of gearing that allows you to shift when you’re at a complete stop or coasting. That’s a handy feature if you’re in a lot of stop and go traffic. Our PUBLIC C7i, D8i and M7i bikes have this type of gearing.

The second type is called an “external derailleur.” It’s the kind where you can see the chain on the outside of the gears and is most likely the type of gearing you had on your very first bike. Our PUBLIC C7V7R16 and R24 bikes have this type of gearing.

Depending on where you live and how you ride, internal gear hub or external gearing might be better for you. We asked our PUBLIC team members to advise on when an internal gear hub might be the right choice and their advice is below.

Our customer service department, aka Justin says an internal gear hub could be the best choice for you for 3 reasons:
1. Internal hubs are easier to maintain than derailleurs. Internal hubs only really require the rider to maintain proper tension in order to achieve smoother shifting and the occasional lubrication. Derailleurs and cassettes require frequent cleaning and lubrication to maintain smooth shifting. Derailleurs and cassettes also experience more frequent wear and tear due to the chain flexing and twisting in between gears.

2. I find that the one of the biggest advantage of the internal gear hub versus external gearing is the overall reliability of the hub. All moving parts and the gears are completed sealed within the hub protecting you from dirt, water, debris and other road elements that would likely affect an external shifting mechanism. The shifting is quite smooth from one gear to the next, unlike the clunky gear shifting you may experience with a derailleur. Derailleurs are prone to being being or damaged due to elements of the road, while internal hubs are quite difficult to damage. Plus, they have a 2 year warranty unlike Shimano derailleurs.

3. I find that the internal hubs are much more user friendly and welcoming to riders getting back on bikes. It’s the only drive system that allows you to changes gears while coasting or from a stand still. A much more practical option for those commuting in terrains with a consistency of stop and go traffics.

Our Store Operations Manger, Juls thinks an internal gear hub might be right for you if:
1. You can do minor tune ups yourself, no mechanical experience required. It is just a matter of lining up 2 dots in a window!

2. If you’re a parent, an internal hub is great for pairing with a Yepp Maxi seat. Parents don’t have to worry about rogue snacks or toys falling into the gears. Plus, because you can change gears whether you’re stopped or coasting it can be an easier ride if you have a lot of stops and starts on your route.

 

January 28th, 2016

Written by PUBLIC’s Founder, Rob Forbes.
LA Bike-Friendly
Los Angeles is perpetually slammed by urbanists for being a sprawling, car-centric culture—earmarked by freeways, congestion and poor public transportation. This is an oversimplification. LA was built around the car, but there are amazing new transportation developments taking place.

I grew up in Los Angeles right next to the Pasadena Freeway, and I am well aware of the changes that have evolved in recent decades. In many communities there has been a sea change of sorts—a move away from the car and a focus on a lifestyle that supports sustainable transportation.

bike-friendly LA

If you live in parts of the West Side of Los Angeles or have visited recently you can’t help but notice the huge proliferation of all types of bike riders — from weekend road warriors to daily commuters to surfers on cruiser bikes. There are miles of bike lanes along the beach, and a slew of bike rental shops and city bikes for rent.

What I don’t understand is why no one acknowledges that in these parts of the West Side Los Angeles region there appear to be more bike lanes and bike riders than almost anywhere else in California (other than perhaps sections of San Francisco and some college towns). In my opinion, the Santa Monica and Venice areas may be among the best life/work set-ups in California for someone not wishing to commute by car.

Santa Monica just launched a new bike sharing program. And soon there will be a LA Metro line providing train service to Santa Monica. When this Santa Monica station opens, you’ll be able to take your bike on a fast train from downtown LA to within a few blocks from the ocean. Just think – you’ll never be “stuck” in highway traffic if you choose a more accessible, fast public transit option.

CicLavia is the largest open streets event in North America and it’s changing how residents think about transportation and healthy living. You can keep up with the latest in transportation-related news by reading Streetsblog LA.

Just take a look at a few lists of the top “US Cities To Ride” here and here and you’ll find no mention of Los Angeles anywhere. Perhaps this is because we focus on LA’s insatiable appetite for freeways, and simply do not see what’s really going on there in terms of alterative transportation.

In any case, this fuels us even more to prove that the Los Angeles region is thinking differently about transportation with the opening of our PUBLIC Santa Monica shop at 2714 Main Street. We’re super excited to be opening up on Main Street to help grow this already booming bike community.

January 19th, 2016

Wander By Bicycle
Riding a bicycle allows you to feel more connected to the city you’re riding in. You simply see the world differently from behind a handlebar. When on a bike it’s a cinch to stop whenever and wherever you want. If you see a cool cafe or mural you just pull over. No need to worry about parking or traffic.

There’s nothing better than to explore a new city by bicycle. As you plan your 2016 journeys, here’s a few articles to inspire your wanderlust.

And if you’re looking for tips and information on where to explore by bike in places in select cities, we recommend Bikeabout. Its handy, curated bike guides in North America are created by locals and provide plenty of inspiration.

You might even consider staying at a Kimpton Hotel where all 63+ properties provide free custom PUBLIC bikes for guests to wander beyond their hotel walls.

Make 2016 the year you wander by bike. We’ve got the bikes to help you do it.

BONUS: Here are a few routes recommended by PUBLIC Employees.

From Shaun in LOS ANGELES: I always first recommend our 22 mile long beach bike path. It stretches all the way from Will Rogers Beach (near Santa Monica) to Torrance. If you were to ride the whole path, you’d pass through Playa Del Rey, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo.

If you want to get a “local” feel of the City, then riding along Santa Monica’s first green bike lane through the streets is another great option. It passes through Main Street and then connects to Venice and into Marina Del Rey (recommendation to ride through Abbot Kinney blvd and connect to the Marina via Marvin Braude Bike Path, which takes you along the inlet)

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Marvin Braude Bike Trail / The Strand. Image via Wikipedia.

From Nicole in SAN FRANCISCO: Bike from the city of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge to the waterfront town of Sausalito and then take the ferry back. Sure, it’s a popular route, but it’s popular for a reason. The views of the water and the city are unparalleled and Sausalito is a sweet place to visit.

Wander By Bicycle san francisco bike travel

View of Golden Gate Bridge from Sausalito. Image via Wikipedia.

From Sean in SEATTLE:  A fun casual ride on relatively flat land is the Elliott Bay Trail (Terminal 91 Bike Path), which takes you along the waterfront and through SAM’s (Seattle Art Museum) Outdoor Sculpture Park and Myrtle Edwards Park, and winds up at Smith Cove Park & the Elliott Bay Marina. You’ll get great city views of the skyline and Ferris Wheel (and Mt. Rainier when visible!) can be seen here.

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Elliot Bay Trail. Image via Wikipedia.

From Gen in PORTLAND: The Waterfront Loop in the heart of the city is popular for river views. Also worth noting is the Tilikum Crossing (just opened in Fall). It’s the first major bridge in the US that bans cars.

Wander By Bicycle portland bike travel

Waterfront Park. Image via Wikipedia.

January 19th, 2016

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We’re happy to announce that the winner of our PUBLIC + Betabrand Giveaway is Eric G. from New Orleans, LA. Cue the wild applause! Eric joins the annals of our many past contest winners.

This NOLA resident is an avid cyclist already covering over 100 miles weekly between trips back and forth to pick up his daughter from school, biking to work and running errands. Eric notes, “Since Hurricane Katrina the city has installed over 100 miles in bicycle infrastructure so it makes my over 100 miles in bicycle commuting every week a lot safer.”

Thanks to his daily commuting and occupation as a pedicab driver in New Orleans, Eric knows the city well. “New Orleans is 8th in the nation for bicycle commuting and has a Silver Level ranking as a bicycle friendly community, according to the League of American Bicyclists. Surrounded by the most unique architecture, age-old Live Oak trees, and the waters of Bayou St. John, make cycling in my city a breath taking experience. I consider myself spoiled to both ride a bicycle and drive a pedicab for a living in New Orleans.”

Last year in a visit to his local bike shop, Dashing Bicycles, Eric purchased a PUBLIC M7 that he commutes with daily. His wife, however, doesn’t have a bike and this giveaway will allow her to commute alongside Eric. Eric says, “I look forward to both of us commuting more by bicycle and taking weekend trips to the Lake Front, City Park, and the French Quarter. We’re super excited about gearing up with Betabrand’s Bike to Work collection to improve comfortability and visibility on our pair of PUBLIC Bikes!”

Congratulations again Eric and many happy trails!

Sign up for our e-newsletter to hear about our next giveaway!

January 12th, 2016

reinventing the underpass in Toronto

Underpass Park in Toronto, Canada

What comes to mind when we write “freeway underpass?” It’s likely that whatever you pictured didn’t involve thoughtfully composed landscaping, actively used pathways or cool art installations. This article by Alissa Walker explores how cities across the country are reinventing the underpass, perhaps one of the most neglected of city spaces.

reinventing the underpass in Miami

Rendering of The Underline in Miami, Florida

Reinventing public space into something that’s actually usable for the public is near to our hearts. Examples we’ve written about before are projects like PROXY in San Francisco and the High Line in New York City, two urban areas that were reinvented from parking lots and derelict elevated railway lines, respectively, as spaces for people to hang-out, play and enjoy.

Inspired by Alissa’s article, we set out to find a few more examples of reclaimed underpass space in cities near PUBLIC Stores. If you’ve been to an underpass park or live near one, drop us a line with a photo and we’ll add your city to this list!

1. Burnside Skatepark in Portland, Oregon
reinventing the underpass in Portland
Once a renegade spot for illegal skateboarding, Burnside Skatepark was getting so much use it eventually won favor from the community and became city approved.

2. I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Park in Seattle, Washington
reinventing the underpass in Seattle
Cool story. The I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Park in Seattle was built by a team of volunteers and includes over 2 acres of bike track and walking paths. It’s part of a larger 7.5 acre park.

3. SoMa West Skate and Dog Park in San Francisco, California.
reinventing the underpass in San Francisco
The SoMa West Skate and Dog Park in San Francisco includes a sanctioned space for skaters to shred and a little artificial turn for letting city dogs run around.

4. Proposed Wildlife Overpass in Los Angeles, California.
reinventing the underpass in Los Angeles

Ok, so not an underpass, but worth mentioning. This proposed 165-foot-wide, 200-foot-long overpass would allow large carnivores like wildcats and bobcats a means of getting from one set of mountains to the other without ending up as roadkill.

SUBMITTED BY OUR READERS
Christine writes: “San Jose just finished a public art project under two underpasses in downtown.”

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Art display under Highway 87 in San Jose, Photo by San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs.

SM writes: “New Orleans has a skate park called Parasite built under the freeway. It was built by Tulane City Center, a LLC ran by Tulane Faculty, Tulane School of Architecture Students and community member/organizations.”

January 1st, 2016

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After three great years we’re saying goodbye to our Oakland Warehouse and adjoining store with our biggest moving sale ever. We don’t want to move everything so that’s where you and your friends come into the picture.

When we launched PUBLIC just six years ago, we started with a small 5,000 square feet warehouse in the Mission neighborhood in San Francisco. And then three years later, we grew into a 16,000 square feet warehouse in Oakland. And thanks to all of our customers spreading the good word about PUBLIC, we’ve outgrown our current space and will be moving into a 35,000 square feet warehouse south of Oakland.

Our Oakland Warehouse & Store Moving Sale will take place at 205 Alice Street, in the Jack London Square neighborhood, on Sunday, February 21 from 10am-2pm. Included in this sale will be test ride bikes, sample bikes, remaining 2015 bike models, and bikes with slight cosmetic blemishes.

We’ll have 100+ bikes to sell. A handful of them will be for sale as low as $199, but most bikes will be priced 30-50% below full list price. The sale features a variety of PUBLIC bikes in all sizes, colors, models. We promise these bikes will go quickly, usually in the first hours. Come early to get your first pick.

Please share with your friends!

WHEN: Sunday, February 21 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
WHERE: PUBLIC Warehouse, 205 Alice Street (@ 2nd), Jack London District, Oakland
WHAT: New & Used Bikes Up to 50% Off, Special Deals on Gear

December 27th, 2015

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“The bicycle is an instrument of peace. It’s the most democratic means of transportation for all mankind.”
– Massimo Cirrus & Sara Zambotti

We love the bike for the simple pleasure it brings to us –– the smile it puts on our faces and the way it helps us connect with our local communities.

When reflecting on the true nature of the holidays and the crazy, often violent world we live in, two Italian radio hosts are encouraging us to reflect on the bike’s role in history and its humanitarian benefits.

The hosts, Massimo Cirrus and Sara Zambotti of the Rai Radio 2 network in Italy, are nominating the bicycle for the Nobel Peace Prize. “The bicycle is an instrument of peace,” they write on their blog. “It’s the most democratic means of transportation for all mankind; it does not cause wars and pollution; and it decreases car accidents.”

While the Nobel Peace Prize is generally given to individuals or organizations, think about the bike as a messenger of peace the next time you take a spin. The bicycle helps reduce our dependency on oil, it supports healthier lifestyles, and makes our cities more livable.

The bicycle was viewed as wheels of change – a liberating vehicle by early feminist leaders. Susan B. Anthony wrote: “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”

And the bicycle, as World Bicycle Relief admirably states, “helps people prosper” by closing the distance to schools, jobs, and sources of water and food. Watch the video below.

While we sometimes take for granted the bicycle as a democratic instrument of peace and empowerment, we also love that almost anyone can ride a bicycle – rich and poor, young and old, and yes, even Nobel Peace Prize winners. We rounded up a few examples below.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR, 1964 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

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Martin Luther King Jr riding a bike.

DESMOND TUTU, 1984 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Desmond Tutu riding to fight TB.

JIMMY CARTER, 2002 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

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Jimmy Carter riding a bicycle.

BARACK OBAMA, 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

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Barack Obama riding a bicycle.

November 30th, 2015

We asked a few of our favorite tastemakers, writers, and trendsetters who also happen to ride PUBLIC bikes to share their top bike apparel. Their responses range from vintage dresses to classy bike gloves and prove that you can really wear anything (even a wedding dress) while riding a bike!

A Beautiful Mess Shares Their Top Bike Apparel
Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman | @abeautifulmess
Elsie and Emma of A Beautiful Mess love to wear vintage or handmade dresses with tights or leggings when they ride their PUBLIC C7 bikes. They love this vintage inspired holiday-themed dress from Modcloth.

A Cup of Jo Shares Her Top Bike Apparel
Joanna Goddard | @joannagoddard
Joanna of A Cup of Jo likes wearing any loose dress (She’s sporting one from Madewell in this shot) because it’s easy to hop on and off her PUBLIC C7 step through bike in a dress. She also favors high waisted jeans because “you don’t have to worry about your jeans riding down when you’re riding!” She thinks Madewell makes the best high waisted jeans.

Jessica | @hapatime
Jessica of Hapatime loves wearing Converse sneakers when she goes for a spin on her PUBLIC V7 and also recommends sweater dresses because they keep you warm and cool at the same time during the crisp Fall weather.

Tablehopper Shares Her Top Bike Apparel
Marcia Gagliardi | @tablehopper

Marcia of tablehoppper rides her PUBLIC mixte everywhere and finds that a pair of white leather Giro LX cycling gloves is the perfect accessory. These gloves have a classic look to them, with just enough modern performance features. We’re excited that our favorite restaurant columnist was recently selected the winner of Time Out New York’s Win the Ultimate New York Life competition. Prepare to read insightful, fun dispatches from NYC next year from Marcia!


Emma Chapman | @emmaredvelvet
Though not recommended for daily riding, if you’re a bike lover who’s about to tie the knot you might consider getting a snap of you in your wedding gown while riding a bike. Risky, perhaps. But the result, beautiful. Emma of A Beautiful Mess proves it’s entirely possible with this gorgeous photo of her wearing her handmade wedding dress while riding her PUBLIC C7.

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Weylie | @weylie
It’s all about comfort and practicality for Weylie. When she’s riding her PUBLIC Bike she’s usually running errands or meeting up with friends, which is why causal outfits that suit the occasion are her go-to. Her go-to closed toe casual shoes are Nike.