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A PUBLIC Stand: No on Gridlock, No on Prop L

September 12th, 2014

Even in a progressive city like San Francisco where we’re headquartered, we’re still fighting this outdated mindset that wider roads, more parking garages, and free parking is good for our city. Despite numerous studies and real world examples from all around the world that the opposite is true, it is all too easy for well funded groups to bait the public with misguided promises of free parking and more parking garages as a way to ease traffic congestion. This trickery has been proven wrong for decades.

A good example of this is an upcoming ballot measure in San Francisco called Prop L. We find this proposition so narrow-minded that we’re hosting a fundraising event to support the No on Gridlock, No on Prop L campaign. Please join us and make a donation to support the opposition if you are in the Bay Area.

No on Gridlock, No on Prop L Fundraiser
Tuesday, Sept. 16 from 6-8pm.
Hosted by PUBLIC Bikes
549 Hayes

Suggested $20-$100 donation

And for non-residents of San Francisco, this proposition and its potential effect is a reminder that we all need to be vigilant and take a stand for our communities, not for our cars. The battle over our public spaces waging in San Francisco leading up to November election is happening in some shape or form in other cities.

Congestion and its effect on quality of life is an issue in almost every US city. Many people think wider roads, free parking, and more parking garages will ease traffic congestion, when in fact it just worsens the situation for all of us by encouraging more cars on our already congested roads.

Wired’s article, “What’s Up With That: Building Bigger Roads Actually Makes Traffic Worse,” does an excellent job summarizing the concept of “induced demand, which is economist-speak for when increasing the supply of something (like roads) makes people want that thing even more.” And this article “Why Free Parking Is Bad For Everyone” also demystifies terribly wrong assumptions. These are must-read articles.

On this November’s ballot San Francisco voters will be asked to weigh in on Proposition L. We at PUBLIC are encouraging our customers and fans to vote No on Gridlock, No on Prop L. You can read background on Proposition L here.

Our friends at Tranform wrote an excellent analysis of why voters should reject Proposition L, which is a radical effort to reverse San Francisco’s environmental and transportation priorities.

You can also watch this short video by San Francisco League of Conservation Voters outlining the key arguments against Proposition L.

What are we doing about this at PUBLIC? We’re opening our Hayes Valley for a No on Gridlock, No on Prop L fundraiser to raise money to educate voters.

If you’re in the Bay Area, we invite you to 549 Hayes on Tuesday night, Sept 16 from 6-8pm. Learn more about our event here and invite your friends. If you can’t attend, we encourage you to make a donation.

Our vision for communities, including our very own San Francisco, is to support efforts to make our neighborhoods more people-friendly. Efforts to build more parking garages, widen road, reduce bike lanes, and provide more free parking, are simply antithetical to what we stand for at PUBLIC.

At its core, we need to recognize that when we get in our cars, we’re not just stuck in traffic – we are traffic. So why would we want to create more gridlock by encouraging more people to drive and circle around looking for free parking?

We hope you’ll join us in encouraging rational, smart transportation policies in your city. And if you’re in San Francisco, we invite you to join us at our No on Gridlock event and vote No on Prop L this November. There are a few other transportation-related ballot measures to understand.

Limited Edition Colors 2014 – A Tasty Bunch.

September 9th, 2014

We’ve always been hot on edible and lickable color here at PUBLIC. So we’re really excited to announce the arrival of our new limited edition colors – a crop of colors so tasty that we’ve given nearly all of them food and drink-related names:

The PUBLIC C1 step-though in juicy Raspberry and fresh Mint for $299 (List $449).
The PUBLIC V1 diamond frame in an intense green we’re calling Matcha for $299 (List $449).
The PUBLIC V7 diamond frame in a bluish-grey hue we’ve dubbed Earl Grey for $479 (List $649).
And the PUBLIC C7 step-through in yummy Peach and our bestsellers, Turquoise and Orange for $479 (List $649).

We’ve only ordered these bikes in small amounts. If you like to be the only person in your town sporting a bike in this hue, we highly recommend you snap it up. In the past these limited colors have sold out quickly.

Resources For Biking With Kids

September 3rd, 2014

As Summer fades and Fall begins, parents around the nation are readying their children for the first day of school. There are many ways to get your children to school and of course we think parents who are willing and able to bike their children to school are doing such a cool thing. Starting the day off with a bike ride shows your child that biking is a feasible and safe means of transportation. Plus, it’s a great way to create a fun shared experience with your child while squeezing in a bit of exercise.

That said, biking with your kids might at first seem overwhelming. How do I convert my bike to accomodate a child? What safety items will I need? What rules of the road should I follow? Here are 3 resources (and one little extra from us) for those considering biking with their children:

Resource #1: SF Bike Coalition’s Family Bike Guide

This thorough guide by the SFBC on biking with your family is sure to answer any and all of your biking + kid-related questions.

Resource #2: Safekids.org

The website has a great bike safety guide with tips that range from how to properly fit your child with a helmet to helpful road rule reminders.

Resource #3: Momentum Magazine’s Family Biking Articles

Momentum Magazine offers this compendium of family biking articles with loads of ideas for  transporting kids by bike and making family biking a part of your everyday routine.

Resource #4: JUST FOR FUN, OUR PUBLIC VIMEO ON A FAMILY WHO BIKES

We created a short video about a local family who has built biking into their everyday lifestyle. Give it a watch and get inspired.

 

Do you suffer from “Bicycle Face”?

August 29th, 2014

For women in the late 19th century, bikes symbolized more than two-wheeled transportation. They were instruments of change, allowing women more mobility and redefining the Victorian notions of femininity. This radical idea of women freely moving about, and in pants no less, did not jive with the traditional notion that the woman’s place was in the home.

As a result, doctors of the era took to diagnosing females in particular with the condition bicycle face, “characterized as including bulging eyes, and a tightened jawbone.” This article from Vox entitled “The 19th-century health scare that told women to worry about ‘bicycle face” does a great job of discussing the false malady and exploring the real reason behind why doctors were diagnosing this.

To the 21st century woman who bikes, wears pants and makes funny faces that don’t “freeze” (thankfully) while cycling, this myth about bicycle face is just plain ridiculous. As the Vox article describes, men viewed bikes as just another toy, women during the early 19th century saw them as a tool. A way to cycle out of their conventional roles and gain equality.

Vox also references this incredible (incredible because of it’s hilarity) “List of 41 Don’ts For Women on Bicycles.” There are so many “good” ones on this list it’s definitely worth a read. If you don’t have the time, here are some highlights:

#2: Don’t faint on the road.
#8: Don’t boast of your long rides.
#10: Don’t wear loud hued leggings.
#22: Don’t chew gum. Exercise your jaws in private.
and #41: Don’t appear to be up on “records” and “record smashing.” That is sporty.

 

Traffic Jams In All Forms

August 28th, 2014

Take a look at these eerie images of cars abandoned in a Belgium forest. These amazing, haunting images by Rosanne de Lange were actually taken at one of the biggest car cemeteries in the world – the Chatillion Car Graveyard in Belgium.

As discussed on this blog, “According to an urban legend these cars were left behind by US soldiers from World War II, who could not ship them back to the US so they decided to hide them in a forest until they could come back and retrieve them. The locals disagree and say that it’s simply an old car dump of vehicles made after the WWII”.

Click on the above images to share them via Facebook.

Traffic has been in the news a lot lately, including the 8+ hours to get to the playa of Burning Man’s Black Rock City to thousands of concert goers missing a Paul McCartney concert at the last event at Candlestick Park due to the Big Jam.

We’ve written about traffic before on our blog. More bicycles, better public transit, and improved walkable neighborhoods helps. But most importantly, we need to recognize that when we get in our cars, we’re not just stuck in traffic – we are traffic. Feel free to share this image out on Facebook.

Congestion and its effect on quality of life is an issue in almost every US city. We’re not going to solve this problem by building wider roads, at the expense of walkable, livable neighborhoods, or encouraging more cars on our already congested roads.

Even in a progressive city like San Francisco, there are people who are determined to reverse the city’s efforts to reduce car congestion and prioritize transit and walkable neighborhoods. In this November’s ballot San Francisco voters will be asked to weigh in on Proposition L. We at PUBLIC are encouraging our customers and fans to vote No on Gridlock (No on Prop L). Learn more here.

 

Robin Williams: A Reflection

August 22nd, 2014

 

With Robin Williams’ passing this past month, the San Francisco Bay Area lost one of its best ambassadors to the world at large and also to the world of biking. I had the privilege of meeting him a few times and knowing him a little.  I am not unusual in this regard.

Robin was a very accessible person, especially to those with a love for bikes.  Many local bike shop owners and bike related charities were also acquaintances of his. He rode the same Marin County routes like Paradise Loop that Bay Area riders frequent. He loved bikes on a number of levels and his obsession was as legendary as his humor.

Robin gave me a tour of his 50+ bike collection at his 60th birthday party. He housed his bike collection in a big garage in Napa and it was filled with amazing road bikes dating back several decades.  In this garage he was “a kid in a candy store.”

Robin had a few bikes by the celebrated Italian bike builder Dario Pegoretti, a bike builder we both respected and admired.  I saw the two of them at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in 2008. The header image and the shot below are ones I took of Robin with Dario at the Portland show.

Read this excellent The Wall Street Journal article about Robin and Dario and you’ll learn about yet another legendary side of Robin Williams – his generosity and heart.

He even once gave a bike to Conan O’Brien to cheer him up. He was like that. Watch Conan tell his funny story.

Robin Williams was well known at Bay Area bikes shops for his patronage. He spread his good will around, exemplified by his generous contributions to non-profits and support for the arts in general. Trip for Kids, a San Rafael based charity that takes bike donations and gives the bikes to needy kids who cannot afford new bikes, was an organization that Robin continually supported.

We all know Robin Williams’ unique talents as an actor and comedian.  At heart he was an enthusiastic boy who loved bikes for the same reasons that we do – the freedom they bring, the jolt of a little friendly competition and rebellion, and a lot of smiling. As Jason Gay from The Wall Street Journal recounted, when asked “why he loved riding a bicycle so much. I’ll always remember his answer, because it was wonderful and true. He said it was the closest you can get to flying.”

I wouldn’t use the phrase Rest In Peace for Robin Williams.  He was too high energy for resting in peace. His spirit is perhaps on a bike somewhere, making those fortunate enough to be biking along side him buckle over in laughter.

Best,

Rob Forbes

Please send any personal comments to me here.

The Cool Spirit of Independent Bike Fashion

August 18th, 2014

Thankfully, the biker of today can solve the “what to wear when riding” problem in so many ways other than spandex and neon.  Today’s urban commuter gets to choose from a variety of independent brands that are creating both comfortable and good-looking bike apparel. The kind of stuff you feel good about wearing whether you’re heading into a business meeting or the grocery store.

We love the unique spirit of today’s independent bike apparel brands. Take Betabrand’s Discolab line of sparkly reversible threads. It’s a party on one side and hipster-cool on the other. Or Chrome Industries’s super stylish sneakers, some are SPD optional but you’d never know it by looking. If you’re into high-tech, yet functional apparel, you can’t get much more slick than the offerings from Mission Workshop. And Levi’s has even come out with a Commuter Line of jeans with a “utility waistband” designed for holding a U-lock.

PUBLIC Bikes on Hayes St is exited to be to be the pop-up shop host this Saturday and Sunday (Aug 23-24) for Iladora, another spirited independent bike-wear brand focused on female bike fashion. Iladora takes wardrobe staples like a draped tops and the pencil skirt and reinterprets them in high-tech fabrics with cuts that are flexible enough for riding. The result is clothing that makes for comfortable bike riding and still looks sharp when worn at work.

In honor of the Iladora Pop-Up Shop at PUBLIC Bikes, for this weekend only Iladora is offering 20% off all Iladora Apparel to both in-store and online shoppers. Online shoppers use the promo code PublicBikesSummerLove. This special promotion for PUBLIC customers ends Sunday, August 24.

Iladora Pop-Up Shop at PUBLIC Bikes. 549 Hayes Street, SF. Saturday and Sunday, August 23-24.

 

PUBLIC + Rudy’s Giveaway Contest

August 15th, 2014

PUBLIC Bikes is teaming up with Rudy’s Barbershop to launch the newest Rudy’s Barbershop location in Bellevue, WA with a pack of custom PUBLIC bikes to demo on-site.

To celebrate the Rudy’s x PUBLIC collaboration we’re giving away a new PUBLIC V7 city bike, valued at $649, along with The Dirty Birdie gift pack from Rudy’s valued at $83.

Entering the contest is easy. Anyone can do it and you’ll maximize your chances of winning by inviting a few of your friends along. Contest ends September 30, 2014.

And the next time you need a haircut, ride your PUBLIC bike to any Rudy’s location in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, or New York and you’ll get 10% off a trim and 15% off any products from Rudy’s if you show them your PUBLIC bike.

Bait Bikes, Twitter – Bike Thieves Beware

August 12th, 2014

Bike theft is an unfortunate fact of life all around the globe, but in the Bay Area even the police are using smart phones and social to nab thieves. And it’s paying off.

Officer Matt Friedman of San Francisco and his colleagues are on a mission to blunt bike theft and to do this he’s making bikes smarter, and then posting about it on Twitter.
 
Officer Friedman nabs bike thieves with “bait bikes”, high-value wheels embedded with gps tracking devices that are left outside with the intent of being stolen. Once the bike is stolen, the tracking device is triggered and the police are led right to the thief. This video from The New York Times article, “Police Use High Tech Lures to Reel In Bike Thieves,” even shows a bike thief stealing a bait bike and being apprehended.

After a bike thief is apprehended, Officer Friedman posts a photo of the bad guy to Twitter, using the handle @SFPDBikeTheft. This public shaming of the thief is intentional. Friedman wants to send a message to other bike thieves that “we’re on to your game and you could be next.”

This gets us at PUBLIC thinking that there needs to be more creative ways that technology can be used to deal with this problem. In a world where people can space travel and control drones from thousands of miles away, there has got to be a way for everyday people to keep their bikes safe from everyday thieves.

We’re interested in developing new smart locks to reduce bike theft. We’d like to partner with experienced techies who can help us design and develop some smart products. Send us an email here.

But just as importantly, you should be knowledgeable about the basics of theft prevention. Here is a great theft prevention guide from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

 

Paws & Pedals: Now on Tumblr

August 5th, 2014

Two-wheeled objects and four-legged friends mean a lot to us at PUBLIC, so we’re extremely excited to launch Paws & Pedals, a Tumblr page that celebrates all things dog and bike related.

We’re rolling out photos like the one above, taken recently in our PUBLIC Pooch Photo Shoot at our Hayes Valley Store. That photo was not photo-shopped, by the way. It was taken by SF photographer, Akshay Sawhney and those adorable Pomeranians from left to right are Mika, Chloe and their mom, Nana. We need you and your pooch to make Paws & Pedals as epic as possible.

Send your most quirky and fun, dog + bike photos via email and we’ll post them to Paws & Pedals. At the end of each month the user submitted photo with the most likes will get a special gift and recognition from PUBLIC.

If you’ve got doggy style, Paws & Pedals wants to see it.

Photo Credit: Akshay Sawhney


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