April 24th, 2017

We’re excited to introduce our new Free Ship To Store program in partnership with more than 70 bike stores across the country.

Now customers can purchase a bicycle online from PUBLIC, choose a local bike store to assemble the bike, and pick up their 100% assembled PUBLIC bike from their chosen store.

Shipping and assembly to local stores is free.

You can search by zip code for our Partner Stores. If you don’t see your favorite local bike shop listed, feel free to email  dealers@publicbikes.com with your recommendation.

Since our founding in 2010, PUBLIC has been on the forefront of new ways to deliver a well-designed bicycle to customers.

We are still one of the few bicycle companies that ships a bike, 99% assembled Ready to Ride, direct to any door in the continental USA. We have also operated our own stores and pop-up showrooms in several cities.

And now, with our Free Ship to Store program offering free shipping and assembly with select bike shop partners around the country, we will be able to reach thousands of new customers.

Even if you already own a PUBLIC bike, or are happy with your current bike, please let your friends and family know that they can now avoid any shipping and assembly costs ($135 savings) by purchasing a PUBLIC bike online and choosing a Store Pick-Up location where available.

April 4th, 2017

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

We’re taking part too. Follow our Instagram Story (@publicbikes) each Thursday as we bike-courier food from a restaurant to shelter in San Francisco, CA.

san francisco yellow bike projectMobile Bike Shop at Civic Center Plaza in SF offering bike repairs. Photo by Mary Kay Chin.

In Volume 6 of #DoPublicGood, we interview Nathan Woody, Executive Director of The San Francisco Yellow Bike Project (SFYBP) in San Francisco, California. SFYPB works to empower the community through the bicycle, by refurbishing bikes for the young and young at heart and offering Earn-A-Bike programs. Read on for our full Q&A with Nathan to learn more about the inspiring work done by SFYPB.

PUBLIC: Please describe what your project is all about?
Nathan: The San Francisco Yellow Bike Project is a grassroots, pop-up, do-it-yourself, community-building machine that brings dead bikes back to life and puts more city dwellers on two wheels. It’s a healthy revolution for San Francisco.

We offer community shop nights, access to inexpensive bike parts and refurbished bicycles, bike swaps for kids, and other programming that lowers to barriers to riding and creates a sense of community around the bike.

san francisco yellow bike projectPaddy showing volunteer, Lauren how to level a bike saddle. Photo by Nathan Woody.

PUBLIC: Talk to us about your Earn-A-Bike Program?
Nathan: Our Earn-a-Bike program is a way for people with limited financial means to acquire a bicycle. The participant pays a low sliding scale program fee then refurbishes the bicycle themselves, learning some mechanical skills along the way. In some cases volunteers complete administrative tasks or other non-mechanical jobs that Yellow Bike needs to have done. The only catch, with our tiny shop, is that participants take the bike with them from the shop after the program fee is paid.

PUBLIC: Please describe the Kids Program?
Nathan: A couple of times each year we gather up 10-20 kids’ bikes and get them fixed up and ready for their next owner. Working with a partner organization (like a school or neighborhood center) we identify a group of kids with bikes they’ve outgrown or non-functional bicycles and hold a Kids’ Bike Swap for them. They bring their old bike and swap it for a new-to-them bike that fits. Those without a bike to swap can pay $0-$40 on a sliding scale to pick one up that works for them. We have no other program that provides more excitement and hope for the future, and it’s one of our volunteers’ favorite programs–it brings smiles galore to everyone who participates, kids and volunteers.

san francisco yellow bike projectHoward, learning to ride at a Tenderloin Kids’ Bike Swap with a bike he received from SFYBP. Photo Mary Kay Chin.

PUBLIC: Can you highlight a few examples of people your program has helped?
Nathan: We have helped people who range from kids from the Tenderloin to SF City Supervisors Eric Mar and Jane Kim, and treat everyone with equal respect. We have helped people with $0 in their pockets to get their bike up and running. We have helped people with a functional bike find a community where they are welcomed and a part of something that allows them to give back. We have helped empower countless shop users with our DIY approach to bike repair that demystifies the machine and creates access to tools and knowledge.

Specifically Howard comes to mind. He was 5 years old and came to a Tenderloin bike swap with nothing. He left having learned how to ride without training wheels on his new-to-him bike. Or perhaps Ellis, a neighbor who became a shop user, who became a volunteer, who became a key holder, until eventually we all just became “yellow bike fam”, his bicycling community. Or Mia, a Swiss traveler that bought a bike, strapped her backpack to it, and a couple days later, rode to Los Angeles.

PUBLIC: In your words, why is the bicycle able to change lives?
Nathan: The bicycle is a perfect form of transportation for humans. Efficient, affordable, and reliable, bicycles are very much the ultimate utilitarian vehicle. It is a social medium, a therapist, a political statement, an environmental protest or celebration, a personal trainer, a dear friend, an emergency vehicle, and so much more. The bicycle changes lives because it provides freedom to people that use it. I understand that the bicycle doesn’t “suit” everyone, and that’s ok. The people it does suit are rewarded in many ways and the world is better as a result.

san francisco yellow bike projectCore SFYBP volunteer, Rezz picking up donated bikes and moving them into storage. Photo by Nathan Woody.

PUBLIC: How can people get involved with San Francisco Yellow Bike? Are you looking for volunteers?
Nathan: SFYBP is always looking for more people with time and energy to support our cause!. We’ve made it 6 years in SF as a 100% volunteer-run, donation-based organization thanks to the dedication of our community and volunteers. We are seeking all levels and kinds of involvement, everything from non-profit administration down to fixing flats and teaching kids how to ride. One piece of our core mission is education through volunteerism, so if anyone wants to learn bike repair in a low-stakes environment they should come to our community shop nights, currently 6-9 pm Monday. Wednesday and Thursday evenings (and consider becoming a regular shop night volunteer!). To provide help on the administrative level, please email our Executive Director, Nathan Woody at Nathan@sfyellowbike.org

san francisco yellow bike projectMia, a traveler from Switzerland, bought a bike from SFYBP and headed to LA on it the next day. Photo by Nathan Woody.

PUBLIC: Anything else you’d like to add?
Nathan: SFYBP was founded in 2011 as a response to the SF Board of Supervisors’ goal of reaching 20% bicycle transportation mode share by the year 2020. In a city suffering from social justice inequality and wealth stratification, SFYBP exists to serve all those that want our help. We do not judge by gender or race or socioeconomic status. We help people that respect our shop, our tools and our time. We help, we help others, we help others help, we help others help others.

April 1st, 2017

april fools public safety bubble ball

Imagine a world where you didn’t have to worry about the dangers of cars passing you too closely or car doors opening up into your lane while riding your bike. Well, imagine no more.

This dream is now a reality thanks to our new PUBLIC Bubble, otherwise known as Pubble.

april fools public safety bubble ball pubble

Pubble is designed to protect you from preventable injuries due to lack of vision by city officials to invest in infrastructure to make bicycling more accessible and safer. Researchers at Trump University found that the durability and stiffness of the Pubble is “just terrific” and “tremendous in every way.” Their conclusion found that Pubble reduced the risk of injury tenfold – better than any helmet but not as effective as green separated bike lanes.

april fools public safety bubble ball pubble

The Pubble is truly a category leader in the Next Generation Prophylactic space, keeping you safe from unwanted contact with pavement, cars, or even people who might otherwise be attracted to you. Always inflated, the air-o-dynamic Pubble is crafted of incredibly strong “wonder” fabric that simultaneously adjusts the level of breathability and warmth based on its surroundings.

The fabric membranes will open up to allow surplus warmth to exit when you are vigorously biking and will close when you are just cruising. Thus, when wearing it, if you want to hop off your bike at any time and join in a vigorous game of Bubble Ball or just roll around to your heart’s content, rest assured you won’t overheat.

april fools public safety bubble pubble

The ergonomic design of the Pubble allows for a wide range for motion. You will never feel uncomfortable or claustrophobic. The interior cavity of the Pubble is large enough for ample movement and includes ingenious pockets for you to keep your valuables and snacks close by. Think of Pubble as your inflatable safety vest. And when you’re riding your bike wearing a San Francisco Giants hat to Dodgers stadium, or vice versa, you’ll feel extra protection too.

april fools public safety bubble ball pubble

Since we only plan to produce a few hundred Pubbles, and we imagine that the folks in Montana might be especially anxious to scoop them up (because this Montana elected official is ignorant), make sure you preorder yours starting on April Fools Day for only $89. Last year’s PUBLIC Unicycle sold out in just a few days!

And for an extra $20, you can add a Fishbowl design to your Pubble.

april fools public safety bubble ball pubble

Also stay tuned for the our patented Kids’ version coming soon!

april fools public safety bubble ball pubble

Don’t forget to check out all our commuter bikes and city bikes that are compatible with the Pubble. Remember…When you Bike In A Bubble & You’re In Trouble, You Can Count On Pubble.

March 17th, 2017

Written by PUBLIC founder, Rob Forbes

biking in paris

By Pline, CC BY-SA 3.0 via wikimedia.

“We are leading a more global fight against the monopoly held by cars in our city and in our lives,” declares Hidalgo. “We want to create a peaceful city, free from the hegemony of private cars, to give public transit, bicycles, and pedestrians their rightful places. Reducing car traffic will help make Paris more pleasant and more full of life.”
– Anne Hidalgo, Major of Paris, France

I just returned from Paris having not been there for almost ten years. I went to see the sights, check-in on the Parisian biking scene and see how the Velib city bike sharing program was holding up. When Velib launched in 2007 it was radical and exciting.  It became a model for many cities to follow and was one of my biggest inspirations for PUBLIC bikes.

biking in paris

In the ten years since its launch, the Velib system has done nothing but improve. In my opinion, it leads the modern world in age, reach, efficiency and elegance. When you’re biking around Paris you see people of all ages and backgrounds using the Velib bikes in all corners of the city. The amount and diversity of riders in Paris is also likely because the bike lanes there are more extensive and respected there.

biking in paris

Major of Paris, Anne Hidalgo. By I. Rcsmit, CC BY-SA 3.0 via wikimedia.

The Velib bikes themselves, as well as the stations they are housed in, are kept in great shape.  The bikes are neutral in color which keeps them from becoming an eyesore.  When you are in Paris you want to look at the public spaces, architecture, parks, fashionable Parisians, not at the bikes.

biking in Paris

A PUBLIC Bike spotted on Rue De Rivoli in Paris, France.

Like fashion and architecture, why does Paris pull off the city bike system so well when other cities can’t get it right?

There are numerous cultural and historic reasons.  Paris is blessed with an amazing urban design and a democratic public consciousness that dates back to the 19th century when Napoleon III gave Baron Hausmann the nod to redesign the city. Paris is respected internationally for its layout like no other modern city.  It enforces strict building codes and constraints that help keep capitalist developers in check.  Parisians are lovers of beauty and fiercely protective of their “look and feel.”

biking in paris

That said, in the late 20th century, Paris suffered mightily from the influx of cars and suburban commuters that brought a surge of traffic and pollution to the city. Thus, in 2007 Paris embarked on various campaigns to take back the city. It implemented bike lanes to help improve traffic congestion, continued the growth of its elegant and cheap Metro, reserved parking for e-cars, built special taxi-only lanes and so on.

hidalgo

Major of Paris, Anne Hidalgo. By Von Inès Dieleman via wikimedia.

The city even closed some major central thoroughfares to improve the pedestrian flow and rallied behind other initiatives such as the “reconquest of the Seine” led by mayor Anne Hidalgo, the first woman elected mayor of Paris. Hidalgo was elected in 2014 and has earned broad respect across political lines despite her Socialist background. She’s doing for Paris what Michael Bloomberg and Janette Sadik-Khan did for New York .

biking in paris

Today, France is undergoing much of the same political uncertainty that we’re facing in the USA, and it has a major election coming up in April.  But seeing the positive social change that is taking place in Paris reminds us that acting locally may be the best solution to this uncertainty. Mayors make a difference.

March 16th, 2017

Written by Lauren Pezzullo

You’re a bicyclist, so you know the sight of a jumbled tangle of bikes all too well. Whether you live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment or a spacious house in the suburbs, you still want a bike storage solution that leaves as much room as possible—but one that’s also functional, and easy to get in and out. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the most creative and efficient bike storage options. Some are available to purchase, and some are a relatively simple DIY, so no matter what your budget or skill level, you’ll be able to find your bike’s perfect new home.

 

1. MICHELANGELO TWO-BIKE GRAVITY STAND
creative bike storage

If you’re not handy with power tools, or even if you’d just prefer to leave the screws and bolts to the pros, we totally get it. And you’re in luck, because the Michelangelo 2 Bike Gravity Storage Rack is here to your rescue. The ultimate in sleek design and efficiency, this two-bike stand makes the most of vertical space by stacking bikes in the most compact way. It’s perfect for small spaces (crowded family home? roommates?), and the curves of this sturdy steel-tubed stand are Scandinavian-chic, so it’ll look right at home next to your BILLY bookshelf. Plus, you don’t have to drill holes on your wall—just lean it against the wall and leave the rest to gravity.

 
2. DESIGNER-WORTHY DIY HANGING PERCH

creative bike storage

Image via Buzzfeed

Your bike is your baby, and you want to show it off in the most eye-catching way possible, right? That’s why this custom-made DIY tutorial is perfect for you. Using a handsaw, cut a series of solid wooden triangles, according to the measurements here. Measure, drill, and cut out a smaller triangle shape within your first triangles. Stack your new hollowed-out triangles together, affix with wood glue, and clamp to dry. Add brackets, hang on the wall—close to a window, so that sunlight will illuminate it like a spotlight—and step back to admire your masterpiece. Our favorite part about this one is how the hollowed-out triangle functions as a cubby hole, perfect for stashing your lock or riding gloves.

 

3. HUNTING TROPHY HANGING RACK DIY

creative bike storage

Image via Mini Penny Blog.

Move over, taxidermy, we bikers have come to take all your trophy racks! But seriously, what a simple and stylish way to mount your favorite specimen. Thanks to this easy and handy tutorial, you can hang your bike flush against the wall—no more ducking the wheels overhead!—for a decent price at your local hardware store.

 

4. DIY BIKE STAND

creative bike storage

Image via Instructables.

This one’s certainly not the prettiest of the lot, but it does the job well. If you’re on a budget—or eco-minded—round up some scrap wood for this simple tutorial. By constructing an I-shaped wedge stand, you’ve got a custom-fit standing rack to slide your front wheel into. Since it’s not a hanging rack, this one is best for those who have a little room to spare. It’s also easy and cheap—or free.

Now what are you waiting for—crank up the speed on your DIY project or bike-rack purchase, and get back out on the road to ride!


About the Writer
Lauren Pezzullo is a writer, editor, and musicophile who’s passionate about vegetarianism and sustainable eating. As an editor for Modernize, she writes about energy-efficient living in the home. She’s currently writing her debut novel.

March 7th, 2017

In honor of International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017 we are saluting women who ride in different ways, in different places and for different reasons. Whether these women are riding their bikes in high heels or clip-in shoes, leisurely rolling to the the farmers market or drafting each other along California Highway 1 during the AIDS/Lifecycle, they all opted to ride a bike, their way.

Read on for photos of each woman, their answer to the question “I ride because…” and a fun fact or two about each of them (aka, one of them is a chef for the animals at the Oakland Zoo in Oakland, CA!).

women who ride international women's day

FUN FACTS ABOUT TIFFINY: I’m a high school art teacher who loves to bake. I started baking through Bon Appétit’s dessert cookbook almost three years ago. I think I’ll finish when I’m 95 years old! Just in time to open my own bakery. 😉

women who ride international women's day

FUN FACTS ABOUT VICKY & RACHEL: We are the creative duo behind the Instagram account @webikeforbeer and one of our life goals is to be contestants on the Amazing Race together.

women who ride international women's day
FUN FACTS ABOUT TDo: I joined AIDS/Lifecycle as a roadie because I wanted to put energy and time into helping others. While volunteering, I saw so many cyclists having so much fun so I participated in ALC as a cyclist the following year and have done that for the past 4 years. This year, I’m a co-captain of SWAT’s ALC team (She Wolf Attack Team). (Before ALC, the last time I rode a bike was when I was 11 years old.) That was the start. Cycling has become to mean so much more to me since then. It has shown me what I’m capable of, been my therapist, my personal trainer and my yoga on wheels.

Extra fun fact: At 5’0″ I somehow got a scholarship to play college basketball!

women who ride international women's day

FUN FACTS ABOUT HEATHER: I come from a long line of family who have worked in the National Park Service. One of the places I lived when I was little was Petrified Forest. While I lived there they found the oldest known remains of a dinosaur! Between both of my grandfathers, father and a few uncles, my family has helped to educate people about the importance of national parks from Washington DC, to Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, North Cascades and many more!

international womens day bike rider

FUN FACTS ABOUT JENN: A few years ago I started Field Day Creative, a floral design company here in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia. I use local, seasonal blooms when possible, pulling inspiration from my surroundings and the natural variations in plants to create floral designs that emulate freshly gathered flowers from the garden.

women who ride international women's day

FUN FACTS ABOUT VERONICA: When I bike I feel born again when the fresh wind hits my face 😊 + I get to see more of this beautiful world 🌎. Also, I’m obsessed with my bike, I take it almost everywhere I go ♀️🙈.

international women's day bike rider

FUN FACTS ABOUT MARI: I once sold weed to Snoop Dog.

women who ride international women's day

FUN FACTS ABOUT ANNA: The higher the heels the safer I feel, even when I’m cycling! 😉👠 Biking helps me escape from the real world and dream. The the joy it brings makes me stronger, more powerful and happier! And when I’m happy I can conquer the world!

FUN FACTS ABOUT MONICA: I sent a friend to the hospital while playing a casual game of catch before a softball game. And I had 11 stitches put in my chin about year ago due to a bike accident. I still ride that bike, though, and I still ride every day! (Note from PUBLIC: Monica was featured in our post about bike couriers here.)

women who ride international women's day

FUN FACTS ABOUT BECKY SUE: I created Baking The Goods, a space to share my recipes, writing, and photography with food motivated friends who like a bit of sass with their sweets. (Note from PUBLIC: Check out one of Becky Sue’s recipes on our blog here.)

women who ride international women's day

FUN FACTS ABOUT MANDY: I learned how to ride a bike without training wheels at 4 years old from watching my mom try to teach my older brother. It is the first memory I have of feeling accomplished, independent, and proud to be a girl!

women who ride international women's day

FUN FACTS ABOUT STACY: I’m the Zoo Chef (for the animals) at the Oakland Zoo in Oakland, CA.

women who ride international women's day

FUN FACTS ABOUT CHELSY: I’m an identical twin.

women who ride international women's day

FUN FACTS ABOUT PAMELA: I’ve been a vegetarian for over 20 yrs. (Note from PUBLIC: Pamela is also a photographer who took all the photography for our post on bike couriers here.)

women who ride international women's day

FUN FACTS ABOUT MAE: Riding around city streets or cruising along the beaches of the California coast – I’m always reminded to focus on the present moment. The sounds and smells, the feeling of the wind in my hair makes me feel grateful for being alive.

women who ride international women's day

FUN FACTS ABOUT MICHELE: I LOVE GLITTER!

women who ride international women's day

FUN FACTS ABOUT CINDY: If you name 10 ice cream shops in San Francisco, I’ve been to 9 of them. (Note from PUBLIC: Cindy is chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party and a leader with one of the city’s largest affordable housing developers).

women who ride international women's day

FUN FACTS ABOUT ANNE: I’m an Episcopal priest in Philadelphia, PA. And, I am also an avid Argentine tango dancer.

international women's day bike riders

FUN FACTS ABOUT JULIE: She’s PUBLIC’s Retail Operations Manager, a meticulous crafter and maker of insanely (like, blow your mind) delicious Furikake Chex Mix.

international women's day

FUN FACTS ABOUT GABI: I’ve only lived in 3 states (CT, TX, and MA), but I’ve moved over 15 times! Yet, I’m still somehow a last-minute packer, through and through. Also, for me biking is exercise AND fun all rolled into one, and I’m so thankful to have my handy bike to help me zoom around town.

February 28th, 2017

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

We’re taking part too. Follow our Instagram Story (@publicbikes) each Thursday as we bike-courier food from a restaurant to shelter in San Francisco, CA.

do good by bike

In Volume 5 of #DoPublicGood, we interview Cindy Ahola, Vice President of Operations at Good Karma Bikes in San Jose, California. Good Karma Bikes is aptly named, it’s a full-service, second-hand bike shop whose proceeds support under-resourced youth, low-income families and the homeless. Read on for our full Q&A with Cindy to learn more about the inspiring work done by Good Karma Bikes.

good karma bikes

“We believe bicycles provide an ability to make a living, to be independent, and to make contributions to your world.”
– Cindy Ahola

PUBLIC: Please describe what Good Karma Bikes is all about?
Cindy: Good Karma Bikes is a nonprofit social enterprise. We are a full-service, second-hand bike shop that’s open to the public. Our revenue supports programs serving low income families, homeless individuals, and under-resourced young people, with a special focus on the support and education of former foster youth.

We started in 2009 as a mobile operation fixing bikes for free at shelters, soup kitchens and encampments. In 2013, the social enterprise was born and the sale of bicycles supported expanded free services for our clients. In 2014, we recognized a common factor among the clients we were serving — many of them had been in the foster care system. It was then we knew we had to add a new focus: prevention.

We serve and enhance our community by offering safe, reliable transportation with refurbished bicycles kept from the landfill. Today, not only do we continue to provide the same services we established at the very beginning, but we also work toward preventing the very issues our current clients confront; homelessness, incarceration, insufficient education and more.

good karma bikes

PUBLIC: Talk to us about your College Outreach & Opportunity Program?
Cindy: 70% of California inmates are wards of court or were in foster care, and nationally 50% of the homeless population spent time in foster care.* In our two-year program, former foster youth move from feeling disenfranchised and vulnerable to becoming self-sufficient, confident, and productive members of society.

Youth receive intensive two-year case management, both in-house and with our partners. As part of this program, youth are stably housed, trained in bike mechanics and retail, work in our shop, attend life skills seminars, prepare for and attend college, volunteer in the community, and become mentors to new youth entering the program.

PUBLIC: Please describe how your Bike Voucher Program works?
Cindy: Good Karma Bikes has several programs whereby low-income individuals can acquire a bicycle at low or no cost. Our most popular program is our Work-To-Earn Bicycle Program. Any individual can volunteer for six hours at Good Karma Bikes and earn a $100 bicycle. While they work, the bicycle fitting their needs is refurbished by another volunteer. Upon completion of required hours, they can ride away on their “new” bicycle. We’re proud of the fact that so many continue on to volunteer, even after they’ve earned their bicycle.

do good by bike

PUBLIC: Can you highlight a few examples of people your program has helped?
Cindy: Many of our Work-To-Earn volunteers and Free Repair Clinic clients are low-income and homeless individuals who have jobs and rely on bicycles as their primary transportation. A missed day of work can mean the difference between keeping that job and losing it. Having a reliable mode of transportation each day means one more day of success. A volunteer recently shared how important it was for him to know he could “get up and go to a job and be something each day.”

Some of our Work-To-Earn volunteers feel they don’t add value to the world. As a volunteer, they can learn basic repairs and fix others’ bikes. Many tell us how glad they are to learn a useful skill and how good they feel doing something for others.

One of our program youth began two years ago shy, overweight, knew little about and rarely rode a bicycle. Less than one year in the program, he’d overhauled and upgraded his bike to the envy of all in the shop. He rode everywhere (even 20 miles to school), talked to people at red lights, lost weight, mentored new mechanics, and inspired his family and friends to ride. He even won Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition’s Commuter of the Year in 2016**. He’s since graduated the program and is in school full-time. This young man changed the course of his life with a bicycle.

We are privileged to work alongside so many people as they change their lives and the lives of others.

do good by bike

PUBLIC: In your words, why is the bicycle able to change lives?
Cindy: In order to survive in this world, you have to have transportation. We believe bicycles provide an ability to make a living — to be independent and to make contributions to your world.

good karma bikes

PUBLIC: How can people get involved with Good Karma Bikes?
Cindy: All of our bicycles are donated. If you would like to donate a bicycle, we will gladly take yours and provide a complete overhaul and warranty for its new owner. Check our website for information and shop hours

We rely heavily on our amazing team of volunteers to make all this magic happen. And you don’t even need to be a bike mechanic! We can teach you that. Or come in and help us behind the scenes. If you’re interested in volunteering, email volunteer@goodkarmabikes.org.

Of course, we’d love to say hi and tell you more in person! Visit our shop at 460 Lincoln Avenue in San Jose or email us at goodkarma@goodkarmabikes.org.


* California Senate Office of Research, December 2011 Policy Matters “State survey of California prisoners: What percentage of the state’s polled prison inmates Were once foster care children?”

*Foster Focus Online Magazine “Foster Care and Homelessness” By Shalita O’Neale.

**Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. Connecting Our Communities, “Meet Silicon Valley’s 2016 Bicycle Commuters of the Year” by Carlos V., May 11, 2016

February 16th, 2017

mardi gras by bike

The city of New Orleans, Louisiana, knows how to throw a good party. From Jazzfest to French Quarter Fest and dozens of smaller festivals in-between, people from all over the world flock to New Orleans to take part in these vibrant celebrations.

The most popular and well attended of all the festivals in New Orleans is Mardi Gras, attracting over one million people each year. Mardi Gras falls on Shrove or Fat Tuesday and while that day is reserved for the largest amount of celebrating, the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras, known as Carnival, are filled with organized parades, eclectic costumes and general revelry.

mardi gras by bike

“Mardi Gras brings out so much creativity” says Marin Tockman, owner of New Orleans-based bike shop, Dashing Bicycles. “The float ideas are always so fun and so witty. Larger parades will have decorated bikes (think unicorns or sea monsters) in-between the larger floats and thousands of people can see how creative people are incorporating bikes into the parading fun.”

mardi gras by bike

Tockman offers some advice for folks looking to dress up their bikes. “Keep it simple so it’s safe to ride, but add some fun fringe, sparkly fabric or even beads to your handlebars or helmet. Make sure to leave room for a cup holder and add wheel lights to brighten up our streets while you bike at night.”

mardi gras by bike

Not only do bikes get dressed up for parades, but with the heavy tourist traffic during Carnival they become a superior means of navigating the city. “Riding a bike during Mardi Gras is the thing to do!” says Tockman. “Zip to any parade, amazing restaurant or live show in any corner of the city, hassle-free.” If you choose to get around NOLA on a bike during Mardi Gras you won’t be alone. Says Tockman, “So many people choose to bike that sometimes when biking to a parade feels like a festival in and of itself, with everyone dressed up and having fun along the way.”

mardi gras by bike

With so much to see and do during Carnival how do you decide which events to partake in? Tockman offers the following insider tips on what to do and see by bike during the five days leading up to Mardi Gras, and on Mardi Gras itself:

THURSDAY Bike to Muses. It’s an all-female super Krewe parade that heads down St. Charles, featuring the city’s best high school marching bands.

FRIDAY Check out Morpheus, a parade that rolls uptown. And there is always tons of great live music shows along Frenchmen Street.

SATURDAY Head to Endymion in the afternoon for the amazing floats. Or check out the local walking parades that happen, like the 9th Ward Marching.

SUNDAY Hit up some family parades along the St Charles route, especially Bacchus. Beware of the Box of Wine parade, the revelers take in copious amounts of wine beforehand.

MONDAY Rest and finish your costume ‘cause there’s only one day left till Mardi Gras! It’s a good night to catch a few throws or music in the French Quarter.

TUESDAY The big day is here! Mardi Gras rolls out early and lasts all night, so make sure to fuel up beforehand. First things first, catch the Bone Boys waking up the neighborhoods with their cast iron pans. Then head to Zulu, the largest African American Super Krewe parade for phenomenally well-dressed folks. By late morning, head to the French Quarter and take part in the St. Ann Parade which finds thousands of people meandering through the beautiful streets following battling marching bands to the river.

Says Tockman, “While the whole week is pretty nonstop, it’s some of the most fun you can ever have, especially if you make time to cruise through it all with a bike.”


All photos by Akasha Rabut of Akasha Rabut Photography.
PUBLIC bikes pictured: PUBLIC V1 and PUBLIC C7.

January 31st, 2017

Bike Flower Couriers

What’s something that can elicit almost as many “Ooohs and Aaahs” as a puppy or baby? Spotting a bike flower courier whose front basket and messenger backpack are overflowing with beautiful bouquets. As Valentine’s Day approaches we’ve been seeing more and more of these petal pushers spinning through the city. So in partnership with BloomThat (responsible for the gorgeous blooms pictured) and with the help of photographer (and biker!) Pamela of Pamela Palma Photography we hopped on our bikes and followed a few bike flower couriers as they pedaled (and posed) with flowers around San Francisco. Read on to learn about each of the bike couriers and see more photos.


BIKE COURIER 1: MONICA
Bike Flower Couriers
PUBLIC: Tell us a little about you. Who you are? Where you’re from?
MONICA: I’m a bay area native. Born and raised in the east bay
Bike Flower Couriers
PUBLIC:How did you become a bike courier?
MONICA: Pedal Express in Oakland was hiring and I happened to be looking for a job.
PUBLIC: What’s the best part about being a bike courier?
MONICA: Having better knowledge of the streets is pretty tight.
Bike Flower Couriers
PUBLIC: What’s the worst part of the job?
MONICA: Dealing with the diverse forms of traffic on the road is rough. Between ride sharing, public transportation and lost drivers, you have to be on your toes all the time.
PUBLIC: Any tips for navigating city traffic by bike?
MONICA: Always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t hesitate to be vocal and ring your bell to make sure cars know you’re there.
Bike Flower Couriers
PUBLIC: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever carried via bike?
MONICA: The craziest thing I’ve carried was really the distance I had to go with the order. I had to pick up a package in the Diamond Heights neighborhood of San Francisco and drop it off miles away in Daly City. It felt like that job took forever.
Bike Flower Couriers
PUBLIC: What’s the best reaction you’ve received from couriering flowers by bike?
MONICA: Ladies love it, and so do people with kids. Flower deliveries are usually the most appreciated of deliveries.
PUBLIC: What’s the best way to carry flowers on a bike?
MONICA: Definitely by a mess {messenger} bag. You can just expand those things and stuff it full and even put some flowers in the side pockets of the bag.


BIKE COURIER 2: SAM
Bike Flower Couriers
PUBLIC: Tell us a little about you. Who you are? Where you’re from?
SAM: I’m Sam Spicer. I’m from Portland, OR and I now live in San Francisco.
PUBLIC: How did you become a bike courier?
SAM: I became a courier back in Portland. Most of my dudes were already working as couriers. I had an opportunity to try it and, of course, fell in love with it.
Bike Flower Couriers
PUBLIC: What’s the best part about being a bike courier?
SAM: The best part about being a bike courier is that it’s the best excuse for looking super weird talking to yourself from a far on the bike. But really your just talking into the radio.
PUBLIC: What’s the worst part of the job?
SAM: Worst part of the job is finding the bathroom during a busy, busy day.
Bike Flower Couriers
PUBLIC: Any tips for navigating city traffic by bike?
SAM: Stay loose and ride smart. Always ride like no one sees you.
PUBLIC: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever carried via bike?
SAM: Two things stick out in memory. Up in Portland I had to deliver a 6 foot roll of carpet. That was awkward. Then recently with TCB I had to pick up a pillow up in the Haight district of San Francisco that was going to the Mission District. At pick up, I found out that it was a smiley face kid’s pillow that was taco themed.
Bike Flower Couriers
PUBLIC: What’s the best reaction you’ve received from couriering flowers by bike?
SAM: All the smiles are really the best ones
PUBLIC: What’s the best way to carry flowers on a bike?
SAM: Whatever is comfortable for you. Bag, rack, etc. Depends on how many in the end!


BIKE COURIER 3: ANTONIO
Bike Flower Couriers
PUBLIC: Tell us a little about you. Who you are? Where you’re from?
ANTONIO: My name is Antonio. I’m from the sucka-free city, 415 {San Francisco area code}.
PUBLIC: How did you become a bike courier?
Bike Flower Couriers
ANTONIO: I first noticed bike messengers when I got an internship at Pedal Revolution on 21st and South Van Ness in San Francisco. I loved the idea of riding a bike for a living; how you can make ends meet and be free from an office job or the regular 9-5 routine. I fell in love with the whole bike culture and I learned to ride everywhere I go. Before that I was a knucklehead (still kinda am) without much determination or direction. But now you will never see me without my bike, and I can truly say it saved my life.
PUBLIC: What’s the best part about being a bike courier?
Bike Flower Couriers
ANTONIO: Riding your bike everywhere. Riding through the city and not being tied down and stuck indoors.
PUBLIC: What’s the worst part of the job?
ANTONIO: Rainy days
PUBLIC: Any tips for navigating city traffic by bike?
ANTONIO: Make sure your brakes are on point. Always stay aware of your surroundings and watch out for doors opening . AT NIGHT USE LIGHTS.
PUBLIC: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever carried via bike?
ANTONIO: I helped a good friend of mine move out of her apartment on Hyde and Turk in San Francisco to a place way out on 2nd Ave and Anza. Lots of hills and lots of weight (clothes and plates and stuff like that). Lol.
Bike Flower Couriers
PUBLIC: What’s the best reaction you’ve received from couriering flowers by bike?
ANTONIO: I always get lots of ooooohs and aahhhhhs when I deliver flowers. People are happy to get flowers 99.99999% of the time. You always get smiles.
PUBLIC: What’s the best way to carry flowers on a bike?
ANTONIO: Fat stack on the front rack every time.


BIKE COURIER 4: IAN

Bike Flower Couriers
PUBLIC: Tell us a little about you. Who you are? Where you’re from?
IAN: Ian McDonnell, Tucson Arizona.
Bike Flower Couriers
PUBLIC: How did you become a bike courier?
IAN: Just another job.
PUBLIC: What’s the best part about being a bike courier?
IAN: Free elevator rides.
Bike Flower Couriers
PUBLIC: What’s the worst part of the job?
IAN: Taking BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).
PUBLIC: Any tips for navigating city traffic by bike?
IAN: Always hold the lane and take lefts early. Don’t get pinned in the right lane, especially parallel to right turning cars. Stay 3 feet away from parked cars. Watch out for doors opening.
Bike Flower Couriers
PUBLIC: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever carried via bike?
IAN: A freshly removed mouth’s worth of gold teeth.
Bike Flower Couriers
PUBLIC: What’s the best reaction you’ve received from couriering flowers by bike?
IAN: One time a lady freaked out because the flowers were sent by someone she had a restraining order against.
PUBLIC: What’s the best way to carry flowers on a bike?
IAN: Securely.


All photography by Pamela Palma Photography . Big thanks to BloomThat for providing the blooms and to all the couriers who took part in this post!

January 29th, 2017

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

We’re taking part too. Follow our Instagram Story (@publicbikes) each Thursday as we bike-courier food from a restaurant to shelter in San Francisco, CA.

new standard cycles

In partnership with Blessings in a Book Bag, a nonprofit that provides services to children in need, SBC refurbishes bicycles and distributes them to kids every holiday season.

In Volume 4 of #DoPublicGood, we interview John Bennett, executive director of the Savannah Bicycle Campaign in Savannah, Georgia and founder of New Standard Cycles (NSC). NSC is an inspiring program that refurbishes donated bikes and, with the help of a local nonprofit, gives those bikes to people in the community to whom a bike could change their lives. They also offer bicycle repair classes and bicycle repair options for those who can’t afford it. Read on for our full Q&A with John and more pictures of the incredible work NSC does.

new standard cycles

New Standard Cycles volunteers sort parts and prepare them for reuse.

“Our nonprofit partners know their clients and recognize that bicycles can be life changing for them.”
– John Bennett

PUBLIC: Please tell us a little about where you work and what you do.
John: I am executive director of the Savannah Bicycle Campaign, a nonprofit bicycle advocacy organization founded in 2008 in Savannah, Ga. I’ve served in this position for about three and a half years. I was one of the organization’s co-founders. In my job I work with government officials to improve and expand our bicycle infrastructure network, provide education programs for children and adults, and organize events to encourage people to make bicycling a healthy part of their daily lives.

new standard cycles

Jen Colestock of SBC’s New Standard Cycles program introduces recently arrived refugees to their new bicycles. The recipients, who are chosen by Lutheran Services of Georgia’s refugee services office, use the bikes to start new jobs and new lives in our country.

PUBLIC: What does New Standard Cycles do?
John: Our program accepts donated bicycles, which are then refurbished by volunteers. We have established partnerships with nonprofit organizations and they identify recipients, for whom a bike can be the deciding factor in getting and keeping a job, going to school, remaining in a treatment program, or staying out of jail. Our nonprofit partners know their clients and recognize that bicycles can be life changing for them. Along with each bike, we also provide lights, a lock, a helmet, and a reflective vest. We also do a holiday bike drive, which provides bikes to children in underserved communities. Finally, we offer bicycle repair classes through a program called the Society of Important Cycling Knowledge (SICK). The goal is to teach people to handle basic bike repairs and maintenance tasks to keep their bikes running safely and smoothly in a friendly and fun environment.

new standard cycles

Savannah has the highest bicycle commuting rate in Georgia and SBC works to encourage more people to ride to work and other destinations.

PUBLIC: How did the idea for New Standard Cycles come about?
John: New Standard Cycles is based on a program operated by our friends at Bike Athens in Athens, Ga. We took their model and adapted it to Savannah. We have the highest rate of bicycle commuting in Georgia and many households that do not have access to motor vehicles. This is a city where thousands of people travel to work and other important destinations by bicycle every day. The building in which we are located began its life as a Standard Oil gas station in 1925, so the name New Standard Cycles is meant to acknowledge that history, but also reinforce the idea that bicycles can provide a new standard of mobility and economic empowerment for people in need.

PUBLIC: What do the people who receive donated bikes from NSC use them for
John: Our first bike went to a client, identified by Lutheran Services of Georgia’s refugee relocation service, who had served as a translator for the U.S. military in Afghanistan. He and his daughter were relocated to Savannah and he was hired at a hotel. Commuting to work by bike is faster and more flexible than taking public transit, so the bike we gave him allows him a viable way to get to his job, but also allows him to spend more time with his daughter before and after his shift. A more recent recipient was referred by Emmaus House, an organization that provides meals and other service to homeless people. She had recently moved out of a homeless camp into a more stable housing situation and was entering a job training program. The bike she received from us came along at just the right time for her. And this is what makes our relationships with other local nonprofits so effective. They watch for those precise moments when having safe, affordable, and dependable transportation can make all the difference in the world for someone who’s striving for a better life.

new standard cycles

SBC offers education programs for children, including bicycle rodeos and safe cycling programs at Girl Scout Camp.

PUBLIC: To date, how many adult and kids bikes have you given out?
John: At this point we refurbish about 100 bikes per year. We also provide minor repairs for people who cannot afford to have their bikes serviced at local bike shops.

PUBLIC: How can people get involved in NSC?
John: We have weekly volunteer sessions, which are managed by professional mechanic. Our volunteers are a mix of people who are capable bike mechanics and those who want to become more competent in maintaining their own bikes. They learn while serving others. We welcome anyone who wants to make life better for their fellow citizens.

new standard cycles

SBC organizes casual, family friendly rides to encourage people to explore Savannah by bike.

PUBLIC: Anything else you’d like to add?
John: Savannah has great potential as a cycling community. We have level terrain, a mild climate (except for July and August), a beautiful natural environment, and historic and cultural resources that attract tens of millions of visitors to our city every year. Savannah’s original city plan, developed by Gen. James Oglethorpe in 1733, has proved durable and sensible guide and is being used as a model by cities around the globe today. Although Oglethorpe predated bicycles by more than century, his city plan creates calm, beautiful, bikeable streets. Unfortunately, parts of his historic plan were obliterated to make way for automobiles. Working with our community partners, we aim to restore and expand the Oglethorpe Plan to ensure that people of all ages and abilities can live comfortably in Savannah without a car.