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Archive for the ‘Customers & Fans’ Category

Meet Lisa: Our PUBLIC BionX Electric Bike Winner

Friday, March 21st, 2014

PUBLIC BionX Electric Bike E-Bike Contest Winner

She’s smiling because she’s the lucky winner of the PUBLIC BionX electric bike contest that just ended, and we just delivered the good news. (Thanks to all of you who entered the contest.)

We interviewed Lisa yesterday on how bikes fit into her life, and here are a few quotes:

“I commute every day on my bike and it has a lot of benefits, it’s really the fastest way I can get to my office. I could take a bus, but I’d have to walk ten minutes on both ends, and it would take 45 minutes instead of 15. I could drive, but parking is really hard these days, and really expensive.”

“There are three big hills on my commute, I always count ‘em… one more block, one more block, and sometimes I’m just not in the mood to do that last little push up the hill at the end of the day. So this e-bike is perfect! It enables me to go places I wouldn’t think about going on my bike.”

“Today I’m wearing nicer clothes because I had a meeting. I don’t want to arrive sweaty from my bike ride, so this will allow me to ride more leisurely, and look a little bit more professional. I like that.”

“I’m surprised at how much it’s just like riding a bike, but with a little bit of a boost. It just feels a little bit easier, and lighter. It’s nice! You have the benefit of the e-bike, but still have all the style, and the design, and the performance, of a regular bike. For me that’s pretty appealing.”

We’re thrilled that Lisa is so excited about her cool new electric commuter bike from PUBLIC. If you haven’t got to try one for yourself, we have test ride e-bikes at our San Francisco stores. You can come by any time to take one for a spin, and we also have a free overnight loaner program so you can take one home and see for yourself how much fun your commute could be.

Is Dog Your Copilot? Portraits of Pets Who Pedal

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Meliza and BuddyWe often have dogs hanging out with us at the PUBLIC store, and we know the only thing more fun than riding a bike, is a bike ride with a four-legged friend. That’s why we want to do a bike photo shoot that features our customers with their dogs – or any other bike-loving pets! Here are a few examples from Copenhagen Cycle Chic and one of our own. Whether or not you’re available for our March 29-30 shoot, please get in touch as we may schedule a few photo sessions. And if you don’t live near a PUBLIC store, but you know a dog who likes to bike, please send us a photo too. We love seeing your pet photos and if we gather some good ones, we’ll do a feature on our blog soon.

(Speaking of photos, we’re also looking for humans who bike for a spring photo shoot, the weekend of March 29-30. Learn more here.)

Casting Call: Show Us Your Bike Style

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Seeking Bike Models
At PUBLIC we design our bikes for all kinds of people. But if there’s one thing all PUBLIC owners have in common, it’s their personality and original sense of style.

So whenever we photograph our bikes we prefer to shoot them with our real customers and fans. You really make our bikes look great, just like we hope our bikes look good on you too.

We’re getting ready to debut a new spring collection of bikes and colors, so we’re once again reaching out to our community of PUBLIC owners and friends and inviting a few local Bay Area people to participate in a bike photo shoot at the end of March. If you’re available in the Bay Area on the weekend of March 29-30, have a good sense of humor, like riding bikes and being on camera, drop us a note at models@publicbikes.com.

Be sure to include some photos (headshots and full figure shots). We look for diversity. If you are selected, we’ll follow up in the next week, and everyone who participates will receive $150 in store credit and our promise to make the shoot a fun adventure. We’ll be shooting for one day that weekend in either San Francisco or in the East Bay.

If you want some more inspiration for your bicycle couture, Copenhagen Cycle Chic and The Sartorialist are a couple of our favorite places to start.

PS: Got a pet who loves to pedal? We’d like to do a photo shoot of dogs on bikes. Learn more here.

Romance in the Bike Lane

Friday, January 31st, 2014

We’ve seen many recent reports about the continuing decline of driving in the US, especially in younger generations. A recent story from National Geographic reports that the number of people under 25 getting drivers’ licenses has dropped dramatically, to its lowest point ever in the past 50 years. Whether due to rising gas prices, or the rise of technology and social media connecting people in new ways, as we’ve written about before, we think it’s a good trend.

As February begins, it looks like more and more Valentine’s Day dates will be picked up by bicycle instead. Who could deny that a carefree ride with your sweetheart promises a lot more romance, fun and freedom than sitting in traffic or circling around looking for parking. In generations past, the automobile once represented freedom and sex appeal, as we discussed in a previous PUBLIC Opinion piece.

Tommy and Ngoc's PUBLIC WeddingBut these days a lot more people think the bicycle is the sexiest form of transportation – and the most common feedback we get from PUBLIC customers is that when they’re riding their PUBLIC bikes, they get so much positive attention and love from friends and strangers alike. 

We’ve highlighted couples who have even made their PUBLIC bikes part of their wedding ceremonies and engagement photos. And we’ve actually heard several customer stories from couples who wound up falling in love after chance conversations about their PUBLIC bikes. True story. Bicycles create conversation and sometimes even a bit of love connection.

For the many of us who are currently unattached we know it’s definitely a lot easier to strike up a conversation with someone cute in the bike lane than out on the highway. Social rides and bike community events happening in every US city are always a great way to meet new people of all kinds. Whether you’re looking for the perfect creative date idea for this Valentine’s Day, or you’re treating yourself this year to a stylish new ride to meet some cool new people around town, we’re launching a special Sweetheart Sale on some of our favorite models of PUBLIC bikes. Find out more.

Women, Bikes, and Freedom

Friday, November 15th, 2013

When we launched PUBLIC four years ago, we wanted to build a company that offered bicycles and products attractive to all kinds of people, especially women.

We’re proud that 60% of our customers are women – and we’re thrilled to see the growing number of women biking around the country.

In case you missed it, The League of American Bicyclists recently issued a report called “Women on a Roll” (PDF) that highlighted many of the trends we’ve been seeing first-hand. Bicycle Times summarized the report and noted that from “2003 to 2012, the number of women and girls who bicycle rose 20 percent, compared to a .5 percent decline among men.

In our blog, we’ve previously highlighted fifteen women who are making a difference in bicycling around the country. Our list was not meant to be comprehensive, but a conversation starter. Read the comments for other difference-makers, including Georgena Terry from Terry Bicycles, Mia Birk of Alta Planning + Design, or Renee Rivera of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition.

The good news is that more women are joining the ranks of people incorporating a bicycle in their lives – and they’re leading many advocacy and industry game-changing companies. We hope to do our small part at PUBLIC.

The Rise of Technology and the Decline of Driving

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Millennials Prefer to Bike

One of our favorite sources of information about urban issues is the The Atlantic Cities, which recently featured this article by Emily Badger on some of the less obvious effects of the rise of technology.

“Teleconferencing has made telework more common. E-commerce has reduced the need to drive to the mall. Real-time arrival apps have made public transit more predictable. Solar-powered stations have helped bike-share expand. WiFi and smart phones have made it possible to get work done on a moving bus, raising the mental cost of driving alone. And social media, for some people, has reduced the need to travel across town to see a friend you might more easily connect with on Facebook.”

Read the full article here.

A correlation between high-tech culture and smarter transportation is obvious to those of us who live and work in San Francisco. We see many people who choose to live car free, and there are increasing numbers of young people on bikes on our streets. The major tech companies like Twitter, Apple, Google, and Facebook have incentive programs for employees who bike to work, and many have bike share programs on their campuses.

Millennials are a lot more passionate and interested in connectivity — smart phone and apps — than they are about physical mobility and what kind of car you drive. This is an optimistic sign and a phenomenon that appears to hold true in all other progressive cities across the country.

Electric Bikes and Millennials

PUBLIC BionX mixte electric bike in San Francisco

We don’t have any stats on Millennials’ preferences for electric bikes in the US yet. But studies in Europe show that these new electrical-assisted bikes are the fastest growing transportation segment in their cities. This new generation of faster, easier bikes have become a logical alternative to a car for many people. We’ve launched a range of e-bikes this month. Some are made from PUBLIC DNA with a BionX system, and others from the Swiss bike design firm Stromer. They combine technology in a manner that will appeal to both Millennials and the older crowd alike.

A Taste of Guatemala

Friday, September 13th, 2013


We’ve been serving coffee in our South Park neighborhood since July, and customers have been lining up for the special Saint Frank coffee drinks. Saint Frank offers a special roast from very special Guatemalan beans and this creates a taste experience that is as unique as it is rich, aromatic, and flavorful. I’ve been grinding my own beans and making my own espresso drinks for over thirty years, and I can attest to the fact that the Saint Frank coffee is exceptional. The youth driven coffee culture is taking coffee to entirely new level in sophistication.

We’re now making Saint Frank’s freshly roasted beans available to all of our customers by shipping directly to your door.

St Frank Coffee
“Frankly” speaking, we should not sell this special product at a discount. But we think that once you’ve brewed this in your own kitchen you’ll be back for more. The single origin coffee is that special. The farm where it is raised is called Retiro (which means “retreat”). The coffee is comprised of the traditional heirloom varieties of Bourbon and Typica and grows under the shade of tall Grevillea trees. The result is a great representation of a classic Antigua coffee from Guatemala: elegant, well balanced with a rich aroma and a very sweet taste.*

Juan Luis Barrios Ortega produces these unique coffee beans. The Ortega Family has been growing coffee for 100 years near Chimaltenango in Guatemala, and the farm has been in Juan’s family since 1832. They are one of the most environmentally progressive estates in Guatemala and use innovative sustainable practices for coffee production, forest preservation and management.

Here’s how our program works:

Your Beans Roasted Tuesday and Shipped Thursday Every Week

Get your order to us by Monday, 12:00pm PST for a Tuesday roast and we will ship to you on Thursday. You will receive freshly roasted coffee beans. You’ll need to grind them yourself, and if you do not have a coffee grinder – it’s about time you did! The aromatics and flavor imparted by freshly roasted ground coffee makes for coffee drinks that are astoundingly sumptuous.

*The package that the coffee arrives in is equally as elegant as the coffee itself. The graphic design is the work of Paula Scher of Pentagram. Scher was awarded the 2013 Communication Design award from the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, and has been distinguishing herself for decades as an artist and designer. The PUBLIC logo evolved from her poster for PUBLIC Works.

Coffee Comes to Public

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

St. Frank Under Construction at PUBLIC
St. Frank Under Construction

Kevin Bohlin St. Frank Coffee
Kevin Bohlin

St. Frank Coffee
St. Frank’s Texaccino

Benjamin Paz
Benjamin Paz

St. Frank Coffee

Starting this week at our South Park store you’ll see a big wooden crate on our porch, and within that box you’ll find fantastic coffee service and a barista from St. Frank Coffee. We’ve teamed up with St. Frank to offer our customers and passersby what we think are some of the best espresso and coffee drinks in the city.

There are numerous world-class coffee roasters and destinations in San Francisco: Sightglass, Ritual, Four Barrel, and Blue Bottle to name a few. All of these groups deliver superb coffee. We’ve partnered with St. Frank for numerous reasons. The founder Kevin Bohlin is a nationally recognized barista known for his service and smiles. Read more about him and St. Frank and their shop which is about to open on Polk Street in this SF Weekly.

Kevin and his crew fit in well with our PUBLIC staff and culture. His talented staff includes people like Benjamin Paz from Honduras. Benjamin overseas the sourcing of the highest quality beans from very small farmers in Honduras in what is referred to as “relationally sourced” coffee.

The coffee itself is superb, and like our bikes, tasteful, accessible, and friendly with a nod to the best European traditions. The Honduran beans are roasted here in San Francisco to Kevin’s exact standards. Our initial offering will include a simple and classic selection of espresso drinks. Come on down and meet Kevin, Benjamin, and the St. Frank crew. Make a pit stop for a terrific coffee. Walk or ride away with a smile and a little more pep.

Why are we doing coffee? Why not? Coffee and bicycles go together quite nicely. We like engaging our customers in conversation as often as possible. In my travels around the US and Europe I’ve seen so many great bike and coffee pairings, it just seems like an obvious addition to our store. Expect to see some other food and fuel offerings from PUBLIC in the future.


The Bike-In Camp-Out with Alite Designs & PUBLIC Bikes

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

A few weekends ago we teamed up with our friends from Alite Designs for the Bike-In Camp-Out, our first ever collaborative bike-in camp-out overnight trip.

A group of 60 participants biked to Rob Hill Campground in the Presidio, which is the city equivalent of setting up a tent in your own backyard. For most of us, it was our first experience camping inside the Presidio with access to incredible beaches, views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands, and spectacular Pacific Ocean sunset. And for most of us, it took only 30-45 minutes to bike to the campground.

Alite Designs makes and sells some of the best and simplest to use camping gear, including tents, folding chairs, and bags. They offered their easy-to-use equipment to make life easier for all participants and recruited Rice Paper Scissors to cater dinner, snacks, and breakfast. And Halcyonaire performed music around the campfire after all of us finished bourbon s’mores and hot chocolate.

In many respects, we were “glamping” (glamorous camping) but part of our desire was to introduce customers to bike camping without any worries – and to inspire them to consider camping to even further and more remote places on their own. For some participants, it was their first experience pitching their own tent and sleeping outside. Our Alite Design friends even documented easy tips on how to bike camp.

If you’re interested in learning about future collaborative events, make sure to sign up for the PUBLIC e-newsletter and follow Alite Design too.

Check out some photos of the Bike-In Camp-Out from photographer Kurt Manley, who also guided a photography hike for participants.

And of course, you can’t have a proper camping event without s’mores. This photo was taken by Dan from PUBLIC.

Cool Bikes Give Back

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

This spring we supported two of our favorite Bay Area non-profit community art centers with bikes embellished with designs based on their artists’ work: Creative Growth based in Oakland and Southern Exposure based in San Francisco. Each organization has a very unique community based program.

Two of our bikes fetched $3,000 for Creative Growth in their annual Beyond Trend fashion auction, a very cool event. Creative Growth, based in Oakland, serves adult artists with developmental, mental and physical disabilities by providing a professional studio for artistic development. They have succeeded in elevating the awareness of their artists to a national level. Dan Miller being an example is a part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art NYC. Another Creative Growth artist, William Scott also recently had his work acquired MOMA. We developed bikes designs off these two artists’ works. Check out the photo gallery here.

To support their annual art auction Southern Exposure selected two top tier local artists to create custom designs on PUBLIC Bikes: Jennifer Morla and Michael Arcega. Both treated PUBLIC bikes as pieces of modern design with hard-edged, abstract geometric shapes beautifully wrapped around the bicycle frame. You can see a photo gallery of the Southern Exposure art bikes here.

While we can't donate a bike to every cause our customers or we care about, we can sell a bike at a reduced price to community organizations that want to raise money to support worthy causes.

Our experience is that if a highly regarded local artist is recruited to help create a one-of-a-kind custom PUBLIC bike, a community organization can raise upwards to $2,000-$4,000 on a special custom PUBLIC bike. Send us an email if you want to put some wheels in motion for a cause you care about.