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Archive for May, 2011

Velo Vino Grand Opening

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

PUBLIC at Velo Vino

We are excited to announce that Velo Vino, a new and “unique place where the passions of cycling and wine are celebrated and blended,” will offer visitors a chance to ride PUBLIC bikes through the country roads of Napa Valley.  Join us on Friday, May 27th from 5-9 pm for the Velo Vino grand opening with wine, food trucks and live music. RSVP is required to velovino@clifbar.com.

Photo Credits: clubantietam.com (left), Bohemian.com (right)

The City – Our Greatest Invention

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Ideally our cities become exciting, sexy, and profitable places to live, play, and work – that’s the most important part. When people have no investment in the places they play or work or live, they act accordingly. - David Byrne

Momentum David Byrne

Momentum Magazine, 5.2011

Public Space Chicago

Chicago

Public Space 1

Barcelona

Public Space 2

Salamanca

Public Space 3

Milan

I plucked this David Byrne quote from the recent Momentum issue. If you are not familiar with Momentum, a magazine about urban cycling, check it out.  It improves with every issue and is a good barometer of positive change in our cities.

In general David Byrne is not known for his use of words like “investment” and “profitable.” We have written about his interests before. He has been an urban bicyclist long enough to realize that the change we need in our cities requires all of us to think a little differently. There are complicated issues like density, taxes, aesthetics, and policies that need the support of constituencies.  How do we make cities friendlier to businesses that ensure a healthy tax basis? Can we get car commuters to cover the real costs of their use of city streets and parking spaces? How do we undo over fifty years of deterioration of sidewalks and public spaces? Or make all parts of the city safe and productive places for their residents? Harvard Professor and author Edward Glaeser offers some solutions.

Compared to many cities around the world, we have a general lack of civic connectedness in the United States. The reasons for this are not particularly mysterious. The way many of us move through our cities is by car. Cars are by their nature isolating private spaces that shield us from the realities (both positive and negative) of our urban environment. For instance, ghettos are often easy to quickly drive through or around. Cars keep us from making eye contact with our neighbors and noticing the little details of our immediate surroundings. Yes, New York is an exception – nearly everyone there gets a pedestrian-eye-view of their surroundings, and as a result (I think) the inhabitants are fiercely proud (even defensive) of their city and its neighborhoods. Walking and bicycling heightens awareness and invites specificity.

A recent book by Harvard Professor Edward Glaeser, Triumph of the City discusses the development of the modern city and its relevance with a fresh and unique perspective. Perhaps you saw him interviewed on the Daily Show. The very definition of cities is discussed.

“Cities are the absence of physical space between people and companies. They are proximity, density, closeness. They enable us to work and play together, and their success depends on the demand for physical connection.” – Edward Glaeser.

Provocative chapters, like “What’s Good About Slums” and “Is There Anything Greener Than Blacktop” challenge our basic assumptions about environmental policies. The cities profiled include all continents and range from Rio de Janeiro to Bangalore to Atlanta to Milan. This is a rich fast paced read that celebrates the value of human capital, which is what ultimately makes a city great.

PUBLIC is a Finalist for Dwell’s Modern World Awards

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Dwell has recognized PUBLIC as a finalist in its inaugural Modern World Awards.

Please cast a vote for PUBLIC by clicking this link and voting for us. We’re greatly appreciate your support.

As Dwell describes its Modern World Awards:

“We make it our business to scour the design world for the products, furniture, and innovations that engage and enthrall us. At this year’s Dwell on Design we’re stamping our seal of approval on the objects that continue to delight by bestowing accolades in the first-ever Modern World Awards! Vote now for your favorite because one product will be gifted with the People’s Choice Award in a special ceremony on the show floor in Los Angeles, June 24-26.”

We believe that design matters, especially when it comes to something as public – yes, pun intended – as the bicycles we ride.

And we thank the design lovers at Dwell for this recognition – and we thank you for casting a vote for PUBLIC.

Bikes Make Life Better

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Bikes Make Life BetterWe’ve received wonderful referrals from friends and customers. If you work for a company or organization that might consider PUBLIC bikes for employees, let us know. A successful referral will get you a free PUBLIC A7 or PUBLIC J7.

At the very least, you should consider inviting our friends from Bikes Make Life Better to meet with employees at your company or organization.

Bikes Make Life Better offers a free “Ready to Roll” workshop at workplaces to help your company figure out how to encourage more employees to bike. The benefits are numerous.

Tired of getting hung up in traffic? Is parking a hassle? Would you like to try commuting to work or getting around on your bike but feel a little intimidated? In a one hour “Ready to Roll” workshop, our friends at Bikes Make Life Better have answers to all your pressing questions:

  • Is it safe to ride with traffic?
  • How do I plan my route?
  • What bike should I ride?
  • How do I carry my stuff?
  • What should I wear?
  • How will I clean up?
  • How do I securely park my bike?

Contact amy@bikesmakelifebetter.com for details about bringing their “Ready to Roll” workshop to your company or organization. Or contact dan@publicbikes.com if you’re interested in getting PUBLIC bikes.

How are companies encouraging their employees to bike? Several weeks ago we visited Berkeley-based Annie’s, a company that offers delicious, all-natural and organic alternatives to traditional comfort foods.

We came with a test ride fleet of PUBLIC bikes for their employees to try. Annie’s is providing their employees reimbursement credit for bike purchases to encourage employees to consider bicycle commuting to work or to get around town.

We were already big fans of Annie’s, but now even more knowing that the company values their employees enough to encourage them to incorporate bicycling into their lives.

Some companies, like AOL or Google, provide a fleet of bikes for employees to share. Others, like Annie’s or David Baker + Partners Architects, provide incentives to help employees buy their own personal bikes. Either way, the growing number of companies that want employees to get around by bikes encourages us.

Does your company provide a financial incentive for employees to buy bikes, or has implemented a company bike share program? We’d love to hear which progressive companies are making life better for their employees.

The Inherent Pleasure of Quiet

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

The Inherent Pleasure of Quiet
“When I test rode a PUBLIC, I fell in love with one thing above all else: its silence. The fenders didn’t ping. The shifting was crisply adjusted. The brakes never squalled. Silence tells the tale for a bike elitist, and for PUBLIC it told a very pleasing tale. They ride like bikes much more expensive than what they are.”
- Brendan Quirk, blogger extraordinaire and owner of Competitive Cyclist

Here are seventeen great reasons to get a bike: health, convenience, independence, sex appeal, economy, exhilaration, stress reduction, making friends, community connection, visual stimulation, access to cool places, wind in your hair, rising gas prices, efficiency, helping the environment, sensual pleasure, and silence.  But perhaps the most underrated reason is that bikes are essentially silent.  In streets bombarded with exhausting noises from motor vehicles, bikes remind us of the inherent pleasure of Quiet.  Are there any other machines so kind to our ears? Maybe gliders?

This fact hit home the other day as I was biking through traffic surrounded by loud tourist go carts, cars, taxis, tour buses, and other motor vehicles. We’ve grown accustomed to high levels of street noise and visual blight around us, yet the bike remains one of the most silent vehicles ever invented. All PUBLIC bikes come equipped with silence at no additional cost.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons (left), Dmitry Gudkov (center), Creative Commons (right)

Celebrate May 16-20 Bike to Work Week

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Biking to Work
Bike to Work Day (BTWD) hit SF today with passion. We kicked the day off by donating two bikes to our local Public Broadcasting station KQED for a BTWD raffle. This helped KQED take in over $175,000 in pledges and set a new record. Wow.

Bike to Work Day was a big deal for us in San Francisco yesterday. Our Mayor Ed Lee and many elected officials rode to work with groups of bicyclists from their neighborhoods. It all culminated in a fun celebration and brief speeches on the steps of City Hall. I rode to the event down Polk Street with the President of the Board of Supervisors David Chiu to greet a big crowd at City Hall.

Mayor Lee
Mayor Ed Lee
David ChiuPresident of the Board of Supervisors David Chiu

It’s amazing to live in a city where almost every elected official wants to participate and share their plans to improve bicycling in their city. There is an overall commitment to dramatically expand the network of bike-friendly thoroughfares throughout the city and to make San Francisco a national model of the new modern city where pedestrians and bicyclists reclaim some of the sidewalks and streets from cars.

The 12,000+ member San Francisco Bicycle Coalition was repeatedly acknowledged for their leadership in this movement and we were delighted to see their fearless leader Leah Shahum riding a PUBLIC M8 to the event. We also encourage you to participate in the BTWD events throughout the US this month and support your hometown bike advocacy organization to help make your cities a more livable place for everyone.

Leah and a PUBLIC M8Leah with a PUBLIC M8
City Hall CrowdCity Hall Crowd

PUBLIC Bikes in New York City

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Last year we launched PUBLIC in New York City during the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF). We organized a wonderful Design Ride Manhattan last Spring.

PUBLIC Design Ride Manhattan from PUBLIC Bikes on Vimeo.

Now almost a year later, we have much to report about PUBLIC’s presence in New York City:

  • You can now purchase and test ride PUBLIC bikes at two bike shops: Adeline Adeline in Mahattan’s Tribeca and 718 Cyclery in Brooklyn’s Park Slope. You can also check out PUBLIC bikes at Tretorn in SoHo. All of these places have limited selection of PUBLIC bikes on their floors but they can order a bike for you if the one you want isn’t at their shops.
  • PUBLIC bikes can be found at many hotels around the country, including these amazing NYC properties - The Hudson, Mondrian SoHo, SoHo Grand, and The James Hotel.

And of course, PUBLIC bikes have been seen all over NYC. We particularly love the photography of Brooklyn Spokes Dmitry Gudkov, who rides our cream PUBLIC D3 while documenting many New York bicyclists.

PUBLIC in NYC

Sometimes our customers even find PUBLIC in the strangest places. For example, even though we encourage customers to recycle their PUBLIC cardboard bike boxes, this box ended up in Bleeker Street near the West Village.

PUBLIC in NYC

Commuting Diaries (Bike to Work Day)

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Bike to Work

May is National Bike Month. Bike to Work Week is May 16-20 and Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 20.

PUBLIC offers bikes that don’t compromise function for style. You can have both with a PUBLIC bike. But no matter how good you look and feel while riding, you should pay attention to general rules of the road.

The League of American Bicyclist has “six Rules of the Road will prepare you for a safe and fun bike commute this Bike Month” -

1. FOLLOW THE LAW. Your safety and the image of bicyclists depend on you.

2. BE PREDICTABLE. Make your intentions clear to motorists and other road users.

3. BE CONSPICUOUS. Ride where drivers can see you.

4. THINK AHEAD. Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians, and other bicyclists will do next.

5. RIDE READY. Check your tires have sufficient air, brakes are working, chain runs smoothly, and quick release wheel levers are closed.

6. KEEP YOUR COOL. Road rage benefits no-one and always makes a bad situation worse.

Our PUBLIC team loves biking to work. We pedal through San Francisco and savor city details from behind our bicycle handlebars. On good weather days, we arrive at our South Park office refreshed by sunshine and cool breezes.

In honor of this month’s Bike to Work Day, we’d like to share our bike commutes with you.

Brenna
Brenna’s Bike Ride: Lake Merritt to South Park. 40 minutes.
I hop on my bike and coast down the hill to Lake Merritt, where I cruise the shoreline and admire the water. Lake Merritt’s particular shade of blue changes from day to day – on grey days it’s opaque and stately, and on sunny days it sparkles and winks. A quick BART ride to the city, and I’m off, admiring the bay view along Embarcadero. I turn my head to watch the water and the bridge and the sky chatting expansively in shades of blue. Before I know it, I’m doing a quick lap of green South Park and I’m ready for my day at PUBLIC.
Alan
Alan’s Bike Ride: Inner Richmond to South Park. 45 minutes.
I bike a small piece of paradise when I ride past USF’s Lone Mountain campus. There’s a cathedral on the hill, and I like saying hello to the palm trees. I also pass City Hall and enjoy riding by the local craft market in UN Plaza, where I play a game of picking which crazy hat I’d try on if I had time to stop. Some days, I treat myself by going out of my way to pass through a slightly larger piece of paradise in the Panhandle. Not only is it flat, green and beautiful, it’s a thoroughfare for other bike commuters, and it’s nice to see everyone out on their bikes.
Dawn2
Dawn’s Bike Ride: Inner Mission to South Park. 20 minutes.
I take my dog Riley to work with me, and our day starts with a breezy 20-minute commute to the office. Riley sits in a red crate on my front rack, and together we enjoy feeling the wind in our faces. I mainly cruise down Division, which is a great commuting street because of the new bike lanes. My favorite part of my short ride is passing through a little traffic circle right before hitting the design area. It has some plants and it’s been nice to watch them growing greener every day this Spring. Riley loves riding in his red crate even more than he loves sticking his head out the car window, and I think we both love it a hundred times more than navigating a bus. Getting to work in the morning is fun, fast and outdoors – I don’t know what more I could ask for in a commute.

PUBLIC Thanks to Moms Who Ride Bikes

Thursday, May 5th, 2011


Mother’s Day is this weekend and we’d like to thank mothers everywhere.

We’re especially fond of mothers who ride with their young kids – like our customer Elka who blogs about her adventures living and riding with her child.

We also appreciate mothers who teach their children how to ride bikes. Brenna from our PUBLIC team wrote this personal story about her mom:

Here’s Brenna in her own words:

“My mom has taught me a lot about exploring life. One of my first lessons was learning how to ride a bike.

As a child, I wasn’t particularly coordinated or spatially aware, and learning how to ride a bike was a week-long ordeal fraught with crashes. My first attempt on the bike is still a vivid memory: moments after congratulating myself on successfully pedaling, I forgot how to brake and crashed spectacularly into the backyard fence. It was a traumatizing blow for a risk-averse 7-year-old.

How did I survive this trial by fire and eventually grow into daily cyclist? My mom.

We spent long afternoons where she would awkwardly jog behind me as I pedaled, steadying my seat with her hand and then gently letting me go. After every fall, she wiped away tears and urged me back on the bike. Eventually I learned to like riding, and now it’s a big part of my life. Thanks for teaching me, Mom.”

Child's Hemet

For Mother’s Day, PUBLIC is offering a free Child’s Helmet with Yepp Seat Purchase. Leave it to the Dutch to design children’s bike seats that are functional and safe, as well as good looking.

This offer is valid through 5/11, or until we run out of inventory of Child’s Helmets.

Take a Ride at Design Within Reach

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

PUBLIC Bikes at Design Within Reach

We are thrilled that PUBLIC bikes can now be found and test ridden at 10 different Design Within Reach Studios this season, including Scottsdale, Boston, Charlotte, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Miami, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. Check out test ride locations.

Having bikes in a “furniture store” may seem a bit odd, and it may not be what you would call a traditional retail practice, but it makes its own kind of sense.  Both DWR and PUBLIC are, first and foremost, about design, and both companies are committed to improving the quality of our spaces and environment.

DWR was founded on the principles of modern design, not on the principles of furniture, and the mission of DWR is to improve the quality of the spaces in which we live and work.  What began in 1999 with a small catalog of 50 chairs has grown to be the most authoritative, comprehensive, and accessible selection of modern design in the world.  It continues to be more a design store than a furniture store. So having bikes (or forks or shoes or iPods or anything well-designed) is completely consistent with its foundation. If you’d like to test this theory, try to find a designer who does not worship the bike as an iconic design form.

PUBLIC Bikes: Design Matters from PUBLIC Bikes on Vimeo.

Similarly, PUBLIC is primarily about design, not just bikes. Our mission at PUBLIC is to help improve the quality of our PUBLIC spaces and community experiences. We tried to get at this notion with this video.  The same elusive principles that make a well-designed chair – simplicity, good form, honesty, comfort, elegance, and character – go into a bicycle. I’ve always argued ­– admittedly, not often with much success – that a bicycle is really just a “chair on wheels”.

Our bikes are proud and happy to be included in the mix at DWR Studios. Please go visit them and take them for a spin.  The DWR Studio staff has earned a reputation for superb service over the last decade so they can help place an order for any PUBLIC bike. Keep in mind that DWR only has our medium chartreuse PUBLIC M8 and medium blue PUBLIC D8 at their studios

DWR Elan

Elan Collection at DWR

DWR Ollie

Ollie Collection at DWR

If you have not been to a DWR store recently, you’re in for some cool surprises, especially this time of year.  The selection of outdoor furniture has an amazing range, including the Go recycled line, mid-century icons like Axel Enthoven’s Elan collection, contemporary DWR classics like the Rusa series from LA based KAA Design firm, the versatile Ollie series by Royce Nelson, and a lot more (some featured above). A wide range of fresh new designers and designs are featured this season. You won’t find a better selection of modern outdoor design anywhere in the US. And while we’re on the subject, can we say that bicycles are actually examples of mobile outdoor furniture?

If you are unable to visit a DWR Studio, the best way to keep up with what’s going on at DWR is through their newsletter. Sign up here. We plan to have some PUBLIC bike events at select DWR Studios, and you’ll hear about these in their newsletter (and in ours as well).  Their weekly newsletter and complementary blog are a great way to keep up with design events both locally and internationally.