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Archive for the ‘Bicycle Safety’ Category

A Smarter Bike Light: PUBLIC + Revolights Kickstarter

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

PUBLIC Bikes + Revolights Arc Kickstarter

We are excited to announce our partnership with Revolights and to support the launch of their third Kickstarter project: the Revolights Arc, a smarter approach to the bicycle taillight.

Revolights is an innovative Bay Area bike light design company, and we’ve been fans ever since they launched their first product on Kickstarter in 2011. So we were honored when they approached us to collaborate on a line of theft-resistant, commuter bike lights designed around the fenders that come standard on our PUBLIC bikes. This innovation alone is noteworthy, but they went even further to design a platform that could provide brake lights and turn signals as well. We think it could be a game changer for city cyclists.

You can watch Revolights co-founder Kent Frankovich appear on Shark Tank this upcoming Friday, March 7 at 9pm on ABC.

PUBLIC is proud to participate by offering our PUBLIC V1 and PUBLIC V7 bikes as special rewards for backers of the campaign. From now until April 22, you can order a PUBLIC bike (at a special Kickstarter price) with the Revolights Arc integrated into the bike’s fenders. And if you already ride a PUBLIC bike (thank you!), you can get the Revolights Arc as an easy addition to your current bike.

Watch their video below and support to their campaign to help make this smart new concept a reality. Leading the revolution to make bicycling safer and more fun is what both Revolights and PUBLIC are all about.

Rolling out the Green Carpet in San Francisco

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

What Color is Your Street?

We’re big fans of color at PUBLIC, and we love to see it used intelligently in our public spaces to offset the grey asphalt that dominates our urban landscapes. We’ve add a fantastic infusion of green all throughout San Francisco this past month, making our bike lanes vivid, visible, safer, and cool, and giving our lanes newfound respect and esteem. Green won’t get as much acclaim as the International Orange of our Golden Gate Bridge, but it has made a huge improvement to our riding, and it prompted us to think more about the use of color in public.

Color can inspire, detract, and many times communicate messages about the use and behavior expected of people using public spaces. For example, in the United States, we generally recognize Blue as a signal for disabled accommodation or parking. Yellow means caution or slow down, while Red signifies stop. White might communicate a temporary or restricted loading zone. You won’t find Pink or Purple anywhere. As we see more cities implement separated bikeways to make bicycling safer and more accessible, the color Green has become the de facto standard color for many bike lanes.

Why Green bike lanes? There’s actually been a lot of research on the best color treatment for bike lanes. What it boils down to is that the choice of Green for bike lanes is not just an aesthetic color choice, but a choice based on color as a “traffic control device.”

According to the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD):

San Francisco’s new green bike lanes on Market Street

Bike counter on San Francisco’s Market Street

New green bike lanes on Fell Street in San Francisco

“A number of experiments have been conducted in the United States and in other countries around the world to determine the value of designating a particular pavement color to communicate to road users that a portion of the roadway has been set aside for exclusive or preferential use by bicyclists and to enhance the conspicuity of a bicycle lane or a bicycle lane extension. Green, blue, and red are among the colors that have been tested for this purpose. Because these colored pavements are intended to regulate, warn, or guide traffic (motorists and bicyclists) and thus are serving as more than just an aesthetic treatment, they are considered to be traffic control devices. For the past ten years in the United States, green has been the only color that has received official FHWA approval for colored pavement experiments on bicycle facilities.”

While Green has become a more standard bike lane color, there isn’t a specific shade of green that’s been specified. While neon green might work on most streets, it might not be the best shade for a green bike lane inside a park, a debate that occurred when San Francisco implemented a green bike lane in Golden Gate Park.

Not surprisingly, the color Green for bike lanes is not universally loved. Certain members of the film industry in Los Angeles are upset over Green bike lanes because the color makes post-production work more tedious.

We’re excited when we see an increase in green bike lanes because it signifies a city’s priority to invest in bicycling improvements. There’s even a concerted effort called The Green Lane Project to push for improvements in six U.S. cities.

We can disagree over Green as the best color choice, but hopefully we can agree that more bike lanes are better for all of us.

An Urban Cupid?

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

“We can live without it, we may live longer without it, and the doggie bag will survive just fine.”
-Mayor Bloomberg comparing plastic foam containers to lead paint.

We show love in many ways. This Valentines week, it’s mostly personal, private, and driven by commercial interests (like PUBLIC putting polka dot bikes on SALE!).  When I read in the New York Times that NYC Mayor Bloomberg was taking on the plastic-foam container industry, it reminded me of the exceptional civic love he’s shown for his city, especially for the health and well being of its residents and culture. He does truly embody the “I heart NY“ spirit that Milton Glaser so elegantly gave form to in this iconic logo.

Bloomberg’s other crusades of love have been in the news this past week, and predictably where he has been opposed by strong forces in political battles, many of which he may not win or that may be overturned when he departs office. His bike lanes initiatives made the news this week along with his smart taxi programs. Some of his courageous positions often contrast what we see in Washington, where love seems to be more easily purchased by lobbyists and where acts of genuine civic leadership take a backseat to personal interests.

It might be a stretch to think of any billionaire as a Cupid, but we hope that he can be a realistic role model for other politicians. And some his programs such as stop and frisk are controversial. But we hope that his heartfelt and genuine commitment can be a realistic role model for other politicians.

To Go: Plastic-Foam Containers, if the Mayor Gets His Way
Published by New York Times 2.13.13

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, whose regulatory lance has slain fatty foods, supersize sodas, and smoking in parks, is now targeting plastic foam, the much-derided polymer that environmentalists have long tried to restrict.

On Thursday, Mr. Bloomberg, in his 12th and final State of the City address, will propose a citywide ban on plastic-foam food packaging, including takeout boxes, cups and trays. Public schools would be instructed to remove plastic-foam trays from their cafeterias. Many restaurants and bodegas would be forced to restock.

In excerpts from his speech released on Wednesday, Mr. Bloomberg rails against plastic foam, even comparing it to lead paint. “We can live without it, we may live longer without it, and the doggie bag will survive just fine,” the mayor plans to say. Read on.

Anxiety Over Future of Bike Lanes
Published by New York Times 2.12.13

During Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s tenure, New York City has become a cycling haven, with sprawling lanes across each borough and a bike-share program set to begin this spring.

But as Mr. Bloomberg is to leave office at year’s end, there is widespread concern among cyclists that a reckoning awaits, and that the city’s next mayor may end this period of bike-friendly programs and policies.

The concern is noted even in the Bloomberg administration, where some speak of invisible countdown clocks in every city office, reminding officials of the dwindling time to complete projects. “Three-hundred and twenty-nine days,” Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s transportation commissioner, said in a recent interview. “There’s an app where you can have it on your phone.” In a poll by The New York Times in August, 66 percent of New Yorkers said the bike lanes were a good idea; 27 percent called them a bad idea. Read on.

Doubting if Tomorrow Will Ever Come for Taxi
Published by New York Times 2.10.13

New York City’s attempt to reimagine its taxicab experience, perhaps the least divisive of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s legacy-making transportation efforts, now appears to be the most at risk. One measure, creating a vibrant street hail network of livery cabs outside Manhattan, has been mired in court since last June, delaying its implementation indefinitely.

Another, allowing New Yorkers to hail yellow taxis using smartphone apps, was watered down amid heavy lobbying from the livery and black car industries — and will most likely face a legal challenge.Then there was the crown jewel, cast in yellow: the so-called Taxi of Tomorrow, a nearly complete redesign of the modern taxi, the first since the age of the Checker cab. Now, that, too, is imperiled. Read on.


Dear Bike Thief

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Bike theft brings out our strongest emotions, as evidenced by this poster shown in the Treehugger article “Underworld Economics: Why Are So Many Bikes Stolen? What Happens to Them?” (photo credit: flickr user Silver Future).

Bikes get stolen. It’s a reality in many communities. There have been several interesting articles lately about bike theft, including “Who Pinched My Ride” in Outside and “Why Bike Theft Is So Hard To Stop” in Atlantic Cities.

Sadly, a lot of the problem is that police just don’t have the resources or incentives to go after the thieves. But the problem is global. Even in “highly civilized bike friendly “ places like Denmark over 100,000 bikes get stolen every year, so it’s not just the US police that we can blame.  Bike thieves steal any and all types of bike.

Potential customers commonly ask us, “Wouldn’t bike thieves more likely target my beautiful PUBLIC bike?” Our answer is simple: “Bike thieves rarely care about which bike is most expensive or prettiest. They will steal the bike they can quickly take.”

The best protection against thieves is a well-locked bike. We are advocates of the biggest, baddest lock you are able to carry. That’s one reason we recommend getting a PUBLIC Rear Rack or Bike Bags so you can carry a heavy lock or two.

We introduced the Kryptonite Evolution Mini 7 U-lock with Cable, and it’s been a big hit. To encourage you to upgrade your lock we are offering 20% off our locks for the next week.

Or if you need some extra protection for your seat or basket, we have some solutions also, like this clever Abus lock.

Besides using the best u-lock you can afford, the best prevention to bike theft is using common sense.

Most Prevalent Reasons a Bike Gets Stolen

Bike only locked with a cable lock
Bike only locked by the wheel
Bike unlocked or simply cabled in a shared garage or space
Bike locked overnight on the street
Bike locked to something unsecured or easily broken like a chain link fence or wooden post

For more resources on preventing bike theft, check out this San Francisco Bicycle Coalition resource – and make sure you know how to properly lock you bike.

Or if you would like to shed more tears about stolen bikes, see the classic 1948 Vittorio De Sica film “Bicycle Thieves.”  There is a reason why it is Woody Allen’s favorite movie.


Fall Style

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

The last weeks of summer bring excitement for new fall fashion. We are thrilled to see the fashion world highlighting bikes, and Vogue recently featured our PUBLIC M8 “Fashion Cycles: The Best Bikes – and the Pre-Fall Looks That Go With Them”. Elle Décor featured our PUBLIC D8 in “Roll Models”. It’s just one more positive sign that the US is embracing bikes for a range of everyday activities.

Katherine Bernard of Vogue guides you towards your bike style. “How will your fashion look on a cycle? Just as you might acquire pieces to complement a favorite new bag, it’s possible to build your ensemble around your bike.” Check out our gear selection to suit your style and spruce up your bike.

PUBLIC bikes are also featured this month in business publications. The Wall Street Journal recently featured Leah Shahum, our Executive Director of the San Francisco Bike Coalition in “Advocate’s Vision for a Bike Friendly City.” It’s a great interview as Leah is one of the most eloquent spokespeople for city biking, and we’re proud to see Leah featured on her orange PUBLIC M8 in national media.

Also check out yesterday’s NY Times article on the city’s support for bike lanes. We dig it.


Leap Year Specials and Men in Pink

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

All Helmets 15% Off – This Week Only – End 3/6/12

We just received a shipment of new helmets with bold colors, stripes, sparkles, polka dots, and other patterns that are especially fun for spring. Putting on a new helmet is a little like putting on a new short or pair of shoes- it helps you approach the day with a fresh perspective. Rarely do you find a helmet that manages to be fun while totally and effectively protecting your coconut.

Stay safe, ride in style, and save a few bucks this week.

Local Builders and Champagne Rides at NAHBS This Week

The North American Handmade Bike Show takes place around the country, and this year it’s taking place in Sacramento. You’ll see the finest handmade bikes in the world at this show, and there are always some surprises.

NAHBS Portland 2008 Roller Racing

Four years ago at NAHBS in Portland I went to a fantastic roller racing event sponsored by Rapha and wrote about it for Studio Forbes. I’m not sure if there will anything as intense as this year, but Sheila Moon is hosting a “Mimosa Ride” on Sunday morning, and we’ll be there rolling around Sacramento. There is something for everybody at this show. Join us.

Savings for Daylight Savings

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

PUBLIC Dashboard


We think of PUBLIC bike handlebars a little like a car dashboard – a place for functional everyday objects and useful information. Lights and bells are the two most common amenities, but having a place for a cup of coffee, or your phone, or a doggie is also essential for many of us. Or keep track of how your bicycle commute translates into speed, distance, and time with an odometer. Take a look at our new dashboard items.


Sunday is daylight savings, and this means that many of us will be riding home from work in darkness for the next six months. Lights become especially critical this time of year for safe riding. So all lights are 15% off this week. If you want the biggest and brightest lights, get the Spaceship Headlight & Red Planet Taillight Set from Portland Design Works. We just added this set to our collection after seeing so many of the Oregon Manifest bikes sporting these during the competition. We also like to support local design firms whenever we can, and the Portland Design Works is a very talented group.

The Sierra Club Meets Chicago

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Sierra Club Meets Chicago

What do the Sierra Club and Moving Design of Chicago have in common?

City bicycling is getting support from an ever-increasing eclectic list of organizations. Every month it seems we partner with some cool group working to encourage more people to incorporate a bicycle into their daily urban lives.

This month we’re working with two very unique groups, The Sierra Club, one of the largest national environmental advocacy organizations, and Moving Design, a small design-based group in Chicago.  Both groups use their unique skills to encourage people to rethink the way we get around in our communities and to reduce our dependency on cars and fossil fuels.

The Sierra Club
Founded in 1892 by John Muir, The Sierra Club has over a million members and supporters and is one of most influential grassroots organizations in the United States. They literally defined environmental activism for many of us. The Sierra Club is giving away three PUBLIC bikes to encourage more people to leave their cars at home. You can enter to win by going to The Sierra Club website or visiting The Sierra Club Facebook page.

The Sierra Club also created a video, with help from our friends at Agency Charlie, to showcase how someone can move around their community by bicycle instead of a car.

Two Mornings from Sierra Club National on Vimeo.

We all recognize that we need our cities to become more livable and dense in population in order to reduce urban sprawl and protect our environment. We’re happy to team up with The Sierra Club to invite more people to make a difference on city streets.  While our partnership with The Sierra Club may not have the same dramatic effect on our environment as NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s recent $50 million gift to The Sierra Club to reduce coal consumption, we’re happy to do our part.

Moving Design
Founded in 2010 by renowned graphic designer Rick Valicenti, Moving Design is pushing a number of civic-minded community based projects in Chicago. They hosted an event this week in Chicago where City Planner Adolfo Hernandez and PUBLIC Founder Rob Forbes made presentations on urban bicycling and the progress to make Chicago streets more livable.

Chicago has been an international leader in urban architecture dating back a century. In recent years they have again launched themselves into international prominence with the development of Millennium Park, which includes the fantastic Anish Kapoor Cloud Gate (aka “The Bean”), the Jaume Plensa Crown Fountain video sculpture, the Lurie Garden, and the Jay Pritzker Pavillion designed by Frank Gehry in Grant Park.  Former Chicago Mayor Daley and the spirited civic-minded community can be credited for these monumental achievements. We rode by these projects and the lakeshore as we biked around Chicago this week.  See photos.  We hope new Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and groups like Moving Design continue to make Chicago an example of a modern livable city with blue bike lanes across the city.

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.

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.