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Archive for the ‘Customers & Fans’ Category

Reading, Riding + Arithmetic

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

 

You don’t need a high IQ to see why bikes and colleges are a good fit. Colleges are places where higher education and progressive thought flourish, so a transportation form like biking that’s simple and affordable, environmentally-friendly and cultivates a sense of community and connection, just makes sense. Plus, because most campuses are flat, relatively car-free and with buildings significantly apart from each other, zipping to and from via bike is a logical choice.

Occidental College in Los Angeles has been partnering with PUBLIC bikes for a few years now to provide PUBLIC bikes for their free student bike share program. We’re pumped to see how much the Occidental Bike Share Program has grown over the years and it’s so cool to see our bikes being put to such good use on a daily basis.



Occidental College is a great role model for other campuses interested in starting a bike share program. They started small in 2011 with just four aging and poorly maintained bikes to rent. Now according to their head mechanic, Charles Deffarges, the program has grown to include over 24 well-kept PUBLIC bikes, in orange and cream to match the college’s colors.

In addition to well maintained bikes, they now have a dedicated and fully stocked bike workshop where as soon as a bike rental comes in, someone is waiting to ride it out. “Right now our fleet is fully rented,” said Deffarges. “Demand is through the roof and we’re looking to have 30 bikes available to rent by 2015.”

We have years of experience customizing PUBLIC bikes for organizations. With enough quantity and lead-time we can even create bikes in the color of your college or company. If you’re interested in partnering with PUBLIC to create a custom fleet, please get in touch.

Customers Speak Up On E-Bikes

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Electric bikes, aka “E-Bikes” have been taking Europe by storm and are finally gaining traction in the US. These bikes were the highlight of the recent Interbike show in Las Vegas and we’re putting a lot of new customers on our PUBLIC BionX e-bikes.

We’ve been selling and touting the merits of e-bikes for awhile now at PUBLIC. Our founder, Rob Forbes endorses the e-bike and zips all around San Francisco on his. Recently, we reached out to our PUBLIC BionX e-bike buyers asking them for their feedback on their e-bikes. Here are responses from a few of them.

I love my PUBLIC E-bike. While a lot of people scoff at the idea of an able bodied person using an E-bike it makes perfect sense for me. As a mom it allows me to cover more ground in less time to run errands while my two kids are in school. As a working person I am able to bike effortlessly to the train station to commute to work. As a transportation cyclist who can be slow and unsteady on a bike it allows me to move at speed with traffic and get through tough intersections with ease. I bike more often and with a ton of confidence and never worry about struggling. I regularly bike 7 hilly round trip miles to the gym and never have to deal with the circus show that is parking.” – Vanessa Allen

I’ve had my PUBLIC D BionX for about 2 weeks now and call it “Wonder Wheels” since I feel like a wonder woman when I ride it. I live in the Excelsior in the south-end of San Francisco and commute to Upper Rockridge in Oakland every workday and continue to ride for errands and pleasure on weekends. During the week, I ride to downtown and take the Caltrans bike shuttle across the bridge for $1 each way. I like to say that I have a $2 + 700 calorie daily commute. And now that I have pedal assist on a stunning PUBLIC bike, I can’t help but smile gleefully throughout all 17+ bicycle miles. I love that I can still get a workout if I want one by riding it with no assist or even added resistance and then zoom up a hill with ease.” – Lori Hébert

I purchased my first PUBLIC bike, a V7, in 2012 so I could make the 1 1/2 mile commute to work. It was a nice flat ride. Fast forward to 2014, I had purchased a home 5 miles and a 430 ft climb from work. As much as I love my V7, I was not going to be able to ride it home, as it is pretty much uphill all of the way. I stopped riding for 6 months and really was missing it. Especially the exercise! After much thought, I decided to go with the PUBLIC D BionX and I could not be happier! The bike itself is wonderful and not as heavy as I had expected. The BionX hub motor gives me the confidence and power that I need to make the ride home, and now that I’m riding again, I hope to shed the weight I gained and make the ride even better. I love using the throttle on the flat parts on my way to work, so I do not get sweaty on the ride. The battery life has been great. I carry the charger with me so I can charge at work. The rainy season in Oregon has begun and I have had no problems riding in the rain. The PUBLIC D BionX is a great bike for commuting in hilly areas and has the quality I have come to expect from PUBLIC. I still plan on pulling out the V7 for leisurely (and flatter) rides, but my main ride is the BionX and I could not be happier!”
- Brian Noga

I rode home from the PUBLIC Hayes Street store, cruised the hills and into the a nice headwind all the way to my dreaded 10th avenue hill–right to my house. Did not break a sweat. This is a very cool machine.” – Joel Young

I have four different levels of torque assist, ranging from mild to substantial. I have found that using the mild assist is helpful for level surfaces, as the added weight that the battery and crank system adds is substantial (the bicycle weighs about forty-five pounds). For steep hills, the added assist allows me to cruise around fifteen miles per hour. I get home in half the time that I did while riding a conventional bicycle.

The unexpected benefit that I have found is that I am still getting a fantastic work out, through both cardiovascular effort and through muscle fatigue in my legs. The psychological “rush” that I get with a pedal assist makes me want to pedal constantly. I have also found that I will try to challenge myself by lowering the pedal assist for certain portions of my trip.

I have had my bicycle now for about one month, and I must say that it is a fantastic option for people who want the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you will make it up hills without killing yourself. It is also great fun to pass bicycle messengers and people half your age. I have found that you can also quickly accelerate if you need a quick start from a stopped position.”  - Dan Baumstark (Read Dan’s full review here.)

And when we first introduced our PUBLIC BionX e-bike to the market, we invited a handful of public customers to come and test out these electric bikes for the first time. Here’s the video of their experiences:

Ride It to Believe It: New Electric Bikes from PUBLIC Bikes on Vimeo.

The PUBLIC Backstory with American Cyclery

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

We’re really lucky to have great bike shop dealers around the country carrying our bikes and introducing new people to the PUBLIC. We’ve got bike shop dealers in Chicago, Fresno, Seattle, Portland, New Orleans, Brooklyn, and many other cities. All these bike shop dealers have different PUBLIC bikes in stock at their respective stores, but more importantly they can special order the PUBLIC bike of your choice even if they don’t. You’ll hopefully get great customer service from them and establish a bike maintenance relationship with them.

In our home town of San Francisco, besides our PUBLIC stores, our only other local dealer is American Cyclery, the oldest independent bike shop in SF. American Cyclery is a really special dealer to PUBLIC, not only because of its rich San Francisco legacy, but because we developed the initial prototype PUBLIC bikes in partnership with American Cyclery.

American Cyclery has been around since 1941 and it looks like your typical bike shop – chock full of bikes, parts, gear, with a bustling mechanic’s workshop and a mascot, the lovable Golden Retriever, Lanikai. But American Cyclery is more than a bike shop for stock bikes and services (though it does both with professional ease). It’s the go-to spot for bike aficionados. American Cyclery is an excellent place for those interested in customized bikes and breathing life into vintage bike finds.

The owner of American Cyclery, Bradley Woehl, is one of those aforementioned bike aficionados. He’s an avid bike collector and it’s pretty safe to say, a bike historian. The basement of American Cyclery is not only full of bikes, but is also home to perhaps the city’s most comprehensive (and little known) bike library. VeloNews magazines from throughout the 20th century and oversized photo albums full of decades old bike-related newspaper clippings, all line up the shelves in American Cyclery’s basement.

PUBLIC’s founder Rob Forbes was a customer at American Cyclery before PUBLIC got its start. Both Bradley and Rob shared a mutual love of vintage bikes, and when Rob got the bug to design a modern version based on classic vintage bikes, Bradley’s bike library became the place of inspiration. According to Rob, “Bradley’s love for classic bikes and his knowledge was contagious. He helped me find bikes like the classic French Mercier [shown below] from the 50’s (all aluminum) and this British Holdsworth [shown below]. Both are still in the PUBLIC collection and sources of inspiration to us.”

Rob’s goal was to capture the beauty of those early British and Mid-Century French bikes, but to modernize them as Bradley puts it, “into simple, good looking bikes that adults both look and feel good on.”


Working together, they came up with six bike designs that met their criteria of simple, clean lines, with a fresh take. Rob’s background in design and color inspired him to make those bikes in bold colors. It was those first bikes that set the PUBLIC tone and the brand was born in 2010.

We’re proud that American Cyclery sells PUBLIC bikes and their full service bike shop is also an excellent place to get PUBLIC bikes serviced, especially if you live on the westside of San Francisco further away from our PUBLIC store in Hayes Valley.

Visit American Cyclery at 510 Frederick St, San Francisco, CA 94117.

Resources For Biking With Kids

Wednesday, 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.

 

Robin Williams: A Reflection

Friday, 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

Monday, 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

Friday, 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.

Paws & Pedals: Now on Tumblr

Tuesday, 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

Valencia Store Closing Sale – Last Weekend

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

After two wonderful years on Valencia Street inside Harrington Galleries, we’re saying a PUBLIC goodbye at our 599 Valencia Street retail location. Our last day is Sunday, August 31.

This is our last weekend open so we will be selling off all bicycle and gear inventory at special in-store only prices. Everything must go.

Call 415-626-6099 to inquire about stock availability. We have very limited stock, but you can probably find:

  • A handful of PUBLIC D, M, and V bikes at 50% off list price
  • PUBLIC WORKS 40×60 canvas posters at 50% off
  • Brooks saddles, helmets, bicycle lights, panniers & t-shirts up to 80% off

    We’ve settled into our new flagship store at 549 Hayes, which is more than double the size of our Valencia store. At our new Hayes location, customers throughout San Francisco can come test ride and purchase PUBLIC bikes, schedule maintenance and repair services, and buy bicycle accessories and gear.

    PUBLIC Valencia Store Address: 599 Valencia Street
    Hours: Friday & Sat 11am-7pm; Sunday 11am-5pm

  • Getting Ready for the Playa

    Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

     

    Bike Arch at Black Rock City. Image via Flickr from Fabrice Florin.

    Bike Arch at Black Rock City. Image via Flickr from Fabrice Florin.

    San Francisco is the birthplace of PUBLIC Bikes. We take a lot of inspiration from the cultural and social diversity of this city that continues to innovate and transform itself.

    It’s no surprise that San Francisco is also the birthplace of Burning Man, which has since become a worldwide cultural event celebrating art, music, community, and creative self-expression.

    Several PUBLIC employees are regular Burners. In fact, one of our regular bike builders has already left for the entire month to help prepare Black Rock City.

    The focal point of Burning Man is the building of the temporary Black Rock City where 65,000+ participants are expected to gather in the Nevada desert. Burning Man takes place before Labor Day weekend, which means thousands of people from around the world, especially in the Bay Area, are preparing their camps and art projects in August in anticipation for the Burn.

    One of the essential items to bring to Burning Man is your own “Playa Bike” or “Burner Bike.”

    Big Burner Bike. Image by Mack Reed via Flickr.

    Big Burner Bike. Image by Mack Reed via Flickr.

    Burner Bikes

    People go to Burning Man for different reasons, but one of the best parts is to experience what it’s like to live in a city where the primary mode of transportation is by bicycle.

    Black Rock City is essentially a bicycle paradise. The landscape is perfectly flat, spans for miles and motorized vehicular transportation in any form other than an art car is prohibited (with the exception of arriving and leaving Black Rock City).

    Burner Art Bikes. Images by Thomas Kriese, Joel and Ian Kennedy via Flickr.

    Burner Art Bikes. Images by Thomas Kriese, Joel and Ian Kennedy via Flickr.

    Thus, two-wheeled transport is essential with the bicycle being the primary way to get around the city. Imagine living in a city of 65,000+ people where almost everyone moves by bicycle or foot. One of the best articles about this topic is “The Bike Culture of Black Rock City” by Matthew Roth.

    And for many participants, the bicycle also becomes a vehicle of creative, artistic, and individual expression. We’ve rounded up a selection of fun, quirky, and inspiring art bikes in a Facebook album so check them out.

    Creative Burner Bike. Image by Lara604 via Flicker.

    Creative Burner Bike. Image by Lara604 via Flicker.

     

    Playa Products: Incredibell Disco Bell, SpokeLits and Trieste Coffee Cup Holder

    Playa Bike Recommended Picks
    If you’re heading to the desert later this August we’ve rounded up a few playa-perfect products that are sure to make your trip that much brighter, colorful and safe. We think our Disco Bell that offers an LED light show of red, yellow and green upon every ring is totally techno-ready. Our SpokLits come in either Disco or Green, effortlessly attach to the spokes of any bike, and create a LED light display upon revolution.

    Other gear to consider: our Trieste Coffee Cup Holder (you can put any cylindrical vessel inside it), colorful Spring Clip Rear Racks and baskets for holding anything you might pick up along the way and, of course, bike wash (because you won’t be the only thing needing a good scrub down when you get home).

    Check out our complete collection of fun Burner recommended products here.