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Archive for January, 2011

Velo Cupids

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Bicycling can be an incredibly positive social activity – an opportunity for people to share a joyful experience together.

We love hearing how much our customer couples love riding together, especially on their PUBLIC bikes.

Just recently we spotted Jody and Kerry Brothers with their two PUBLIC Bikes in front of San Francisco’s Ferry Building enjoying a beautiful Saturday afternoon together.

We’re especially fond of the newly married couple Tommy Pham and Ngoc Luong pictured above. As wedding gifts for each other, they bought a cream PUBLIC D8 and a blue PUBLIC M3.

When we met Tommy and Ngoc at our store in South Park, they had recently returned to San Francisco from what they describe as their “most amazing” vacation ever in Amsterdam.

They loved bicycling in Amsterdam together and caught the bug to extend their vacation joy to their lives in San Francisco.

To celebrate their nuptials, they gave each other PUBLIC bikes.

Their wedding incorporated a bicycle and bird theme at the gorgeous Nestldown in Los Gatos. Bicycles were featured in their wedding invitations and programs. Their PUBLIC bikes were staged at the wedding with beautiful flowers inside bike baskets.

We can’t think of a more timeless gift for a loved one than a bicycle. And we’re not alone.

PUBLIC is currently featured in Get Married magazine’s Spring issue as a hot gift idea for that special loved one.

The bicycle is the gift that keeps on giving – miles and hours of shared happiness over the course of many years.

Speaking of special gifts, we’re also giving away TCHO Chocolates for any bike order or order over $100 till Feb. 14. You can read more details here.

Many a Celebrity “Rides a Bike”

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Ingrid Bergman, Chocolate, and Other DelightsA lot of things endear us to bikes, but nothing more than the people who ride them. Almost everyone looks and feels better on a bike. We witness this almost everyday with customers who take a test ride around South Park from our office. Heads turn and smiles break out with every ride. But when celebrities ride a bike, they take on a special halo. Celebrities can make almost anything fashionable: a hotel, a restaurant, a granola bar, a car, a motorcycle, a gallery opening, a pair of shoes: just about anything. But they bring a childlike charm to the bicycle. If you doubt this, surf through Rides A Bike, a great Tumbler blog that features stars ranging from Rita Hayworth to James Dean to Nichelle Nichols to Elvis Presley (and many more). If these photographs don’t lighten your day, we suggest getting on a bike sooner than later so you can experience the joy.

Free Chocolate for Valentines Day

Buy a bike for your sweetie, or for yourself, and we’ll give you a box of TCHO chocolate made here in San Francisco. Click here to see what we have in store for Valentines Day.

Thank You for the Quotes

We had a tremendous response to our solicitation for quotes last week. We’ll find a way to make them PUBLIC. Here is a great one and apropos of the season:

I claim there ain’t another Saint as great as Valentine.
-Ogden Nash

Want a free bike?
Know a business that wants to go PUBLIC with bikes?

We have special programs set-up for business clients, large and small. If you introduce us to a business that wants to incorporate bikes into its daily routine, we have a special offer.
Win a free bike.

 

Looking for PUBLIC Quotes

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Audrey Hepburn
We are looking for your favorite quotes to potentially use on our future materials and products. Over the holidays, two good friends* sent me quotes that stuck:

Mark Twain - Time Life Pictures

“The human race has only one effective weapon and that is laughter.”
- Mark Twain

Malcolm Galdwell - photo by Brooke Williams

“Place matters. The kind of environment you create for yourself makes a real and tangible difference in your level of happiness, health, and satisfaction.”
- Malcolm Gladwell

Both quotes had particular relevance to me at the time I received them. So I copied them onto Post-its and attached them to either side of my monitor screen where they still reside. This got me thinking about why quotes are so helpful, poignant, amusing, and valuable. I also thought about how we could make use of them at PUBLIC. We are reaching out to our fans, both here and on Facebook, for their favorite quotes that relate to biking but also to cities, culture, the world, and humanity in general. I’ve listed five quotes to give you an idea of the range we’re looking for. Share your picks and help us build our library.

Lewis Mumford - photo by Mark Kauffman

“Forget the damned motor car and build the cities for lovers and friends.”
- Lewis Mumford

Margaret Mead

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
- Margaret Mead

Albert Einstein

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

Jane Jacobs

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”
- Jane Jacobs

Mae West

“Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.”
- Mae West

What is it about quotes that make them so compelling? They are like images of thoughts. Just as one photo is worth a thousand words, so one quote can be a window into a lifetime of thought. A friend described them as “like a peanut or piece of candy – a little treat.” Perhaps because so much of what we read and hear is tedious, predictable, or lengthy, a quote stands out for its brevity and succinctness. A good quote lends a measure of humanity and has a person and his or her entire history behind it. A good quote is like any piece of good design – an embodiment of simplicity and timelessness. We remember them like a special dish of food, a bottle of wine, or a chair – they become iconic. Often a quote gives insight into complicated human issues. Frequently they employ humor. An unforgettable quote wakes us up to the power of the moment. They make thinking fun – maybe that’s raison d’etre.

Send us a few of your favorite quotes. We will republish them in some form in the near future. You can either leave a comment on this blog post or send them to me directly here at robforbes@publicbikes.com. Thanks.

* The friends I referred to are worth knowing about and often good sources of quotes themselves: 1) Lawrence Wilkinson publishes a great blog called Roughly Daily where he peppers his readers with an amazing array of thoughts and insights on a “roughly” daily basis. 2) Carol Coletta who heads up an impressive organization called CEO of Cities who is active on Twitter.

PUBLIC Love With TCHO Chocolates

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011


We’ve got a special promotion in preparation for Valentine’s Day. From now until February 14th, we’re giving away a box of TCHO chocolate when you purchase a bike or place an order more than a $100.

We have several chocoholics on the PUBLIC team, so it’s not a stretch for us to combine our passion for bikes with chocolate. Our friends at San Francisco-based TCHO are as obsessed with good dark chocolate as we’re obsessed with quality city bikes.

SPECIAL TCHO CHOCOLATE OFFER
Buy a bike or place an order >$100 and we’ll throw in a Valentine Artist Series 12-Bar Sampler ($15 value) for free.

To get your free Valentine Artist Series Sampler with your bike or >$100 order, enter promo code TCHOVD during checkout.

TCHO describes the Valentine Artist Series as “Elegant, rich-touch, soft-black boxes with glossy black TCHO logo embossed on the lid. Each perfectly square box closes with a smart magnetic click, and features a selection of our exquisite bars, along with a unique tasting guide to our flavor-driven chocolates. Each box is designed with a seasonal sleeve printed on luxurious pearlized white paper.”

And don’t forget about our $5 Grab Bag of items to add to your order too.

Learn more about our friends at TCHO by watching this video:

Outwitting Thieves at PUBLIC

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Outwitting bike thieves

A sad fact of life is that bikes get stolen. Even with the enlightened bicycle cultures in Denmark and Holland, hundreds of thousands of bikes get ripped off every year.  We watch this with consternation. With all the GPS tracking and smart technology, why hasn’t anyone come up with a universal solution? At this early stage of our company, designing a solution is beyond our reach. The best we can do for now is to include unique serial numbers on every PUBLIC bike for tracking and to offer a good selection of locks for all occasions. We keep our eyes open for new solutions, like this one from Japan sent in by a reader. Read on.

David Byrne. G.R. Christmas, courtesy PaceWildenstein The Butler and the Chef

The Eco Cycle automated bike storage system in Japan, designed by Giken, is almost identical to systems used throughout Europe in train stations to store luggage. They operate like an underground elevator for belongings and provide security, as well as convenience, and eliminate the need for a lock. They are marvelous, ingenious, and so appreciated by weary travelers who don’t want to lug their bags around the city.   These clever systems are not common in the United States, but neither are trains, sadly.

If a solution similar to the Eco Cycle popped-up in New York soon, we would not be surprised. The New York Department of Transportation has underwritten contests for bike rack designs in recent years that drew the likes of David Byrne. They continue to push for progressive polices in biking infrastructure. At the forefront of their policy making is Janette Sadik-Khan who we interviewed last year. Sadik-Khan has been voted in the “Top 100 Urban Thinkers” by Planetizen, celebrated by Fast Company, dubbed a genius by Esquire, heralded a street fighter by the American Prospect, and offered as a reason to love New York by NY Mag.

The lack of available and convenient modern bike storage in San Francisco is unfathomable to most of us. Even with our SF Bike Coalition boasting over 12,000 members, the City can’t seem to keep up with the demand for bike parking. Even if not quickly enough to please us, our city streets are changing. Since the bike injunction lifted last August, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority continues to repurpose street parking spots for bike corrals. In our car centric South Park neighborhood, a bike corral was just installed at our favorite French bistro The Butler and the Chef, just 50 yards down the street. Come visit. Have a signature quiche dish and stop by PUBLIC. We have some pretty cool racks, as well as locks, home storage solutions, and other stuff.  If you want to get a bike corral for your hood, go here.

Is there a silver lining to the bike thievery problem? Unlikely. But the subject is at the heart of one of the greatest classic movies in history, The Bicycle Thief by Vittorio De Sica. It’s Woody Allen’s favorite movie of all time. Another positive outcome is that bike locks themselves make for good visuals seen on the streets. Take for example the photo essay, Bondage in Amsterdam that we sent out last year after a trip to Amsterdam. The diversity in solutions is pretty cool.

Customer Spotlight: SUSAN CASEY

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Did you know that the force of an oceanic wave created what is now known as the British Isles 8,500 years ago? Or did you know that there is an international tribe of tow surfers who search out 100-foot ocean swells around the world – far from the viewing public – for the purity of the experience? How about the connection between the recent rise of rogue waves, global warming, and ship disappearances? Want to sense what its like to surf scary 40-foot waves? Read this book. What does this have to do with bikes? Nothing.  But we like to feature our customers whenever we can.

The Wave by Susan CaseyLaird Hamilton. Teahupoo - photo by Mickey SmithGabrielle Reece, Laird Hamilton, & Susan Casey, photo by Anthony BeharSusan Casey photo by Rob Forbes

Recently, I tuned into The Daily Show to find one of our customers, Susan Casey being interviewed by Jon Stewart about her recent book The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean. I met Susan during our inaugural Design Ride Manhattan last May. I remember her friendly, low key, and modest personality. She was confident and agile on a bike. I had no clue that she was an accomplished editor, researcher, author, and creative director with astounding credentials. Google her if you have a few hours to spend. Here is a link to the full book review.

Casey has authored numerous books covering a diverse array of subjects. In recent years, her writing has moved toward adventure and outdoor pursuits, including a best selling book on great white sharks, The Devil’s Teeth, and now The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean. Both books explore deep-sea mysteries, phenomenon, science, and powerful physical and metaphysical forces. (Our friendly bike ride in Manhattan was not one of her most dramatic experiences). Get the book if you want a terrific and provocative read.  I have always doubted that Jon Stewart actually reads the books from the authors he promotes, but I zipped through this one. Casey  uses words well, and her first hand encounters give the book a refreshing authenticity.

Autographed Copies of The Wave available
Susan has agreed to sign a limited number of books for our customers. She’ll also have her colleague and pal Laird Hamilton – the greatest big wave surfer of this generation – autograph the books. If you are interested, just comment on this blog post and we will reserve a hardback copy for $30. If you don’t like to read at least watch this video of Laird Hamilton at Teahupoo in Tahiti. Hamilton pretty much redefined what surfers are capable of with this ride.

Looking for Other Customer Stories
Nothing interests us more than our customers.  You don’t have to be on The Daily Show to be featured in our newsletter. Just give us a heads-up if you have an interesting story, product, or video to feature on yourself. Send a note to here.

 

Crochet Cycling Gloves - Men's $5 Grab Bag
Here is our January deal. If you place an order greater than $50, you can add any of these items – hats, gloves, bags, and other goodies – for only $5 to your order.

 

LOCAL EVENTS: Going Dutch on January 13 and January 27 in SF
If you live in San Francisco, we encourage you to catch our friend Leah Shahum at SPUR for a luncheon event on January 13 or a Treehouse Talk at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition office on January 27.  She’ll share her observations from her sabbatical in Amsterdam and give insight into what cities can learn from “going Dutch” in terms of bicycle-friendly infrastructure and policies.