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Archive for the ‘Everything Else’ Category

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.

Riding The Roads Less Ridden

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Images from top to bottom: A tiny, hidden alley in North Beach; Pops of color in the Bayview; A golden sunset in Sutro Heights; and fly fishing in Golden Gate Park.

You know him through the bikes he develops at PUBLIC, but in his spare time our bike designer, Aaron Glick has been working on a very public side project, biking every single street in San Francisco and tracking it on his GPS. He completed his project just last month and we checked in with him about why in the heck he did it and what he learned.

Aaron has a self-proclaimed fear of getting lost when biking. And part of his motivation for riding every SF road was to overcome this fear, “I thought if I rode every street I would never be lost again, right?” A daily commuter and trail biker, he also thought that because he rode regularly, he had been all over the city. His GPS route data proved otherwise, “I was in a cycling rut. I thought that if I attempted to ride every street I would surely shake things up and discover new routes and interesting places I’d never heard of.” He was also inspired by Brett Lobre, a San Franciscan who had previously tackled riding every road in San Francisco in his Ride Every Road project.

More than just adding a blue line to his GPS tracking, Aaron’s ride connected him to the community around him in a way he wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. “The public housing/projects were some of the most interesting parts of the city to me. Some of them were in awful condition and their confusing street layout and made them feel separated from the more affluent buildings and homes around them.” Others, he found were in prime SF locations atop hills with great views and were exceptionally well-maintained.

His ride also took him through a variety of unusual spots, like hidden gardens in the Bernal Heights neighborhood, congested alleyways in China Town, a recycled art garden in the Bayview and a huge sundial in Ingleside.

Have a question for Aaron about biking? Leave your comment on our blog and Aaron will respond!

 

World Cup. Bikes and Brazil.

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

The World Cup is upon us. Futbol is on the minds of millions around the world. I’m lucky enough to be in Salvador, Brazil right now, taking in the World Cup games as well as the biking culture here.

Like many places around the world, the car dominates and congests the streets in Salvador while bicycling is viewed more as recreation than a means of everyday transportation.

Some World Cup host cities, like Salvador, are encouraging people to bicycle to the games by providing arena bike parking and information on where to locate Bike Salvador bike share stations nearby.

The brightly colored orange Bike Salvador bikes and stations are prominent near central public plazas and greenways. Both men and women use these shared bikes. Even a few streets in Salvador feature separated bikeways with clear signage for bicyclists. These efforts show some level of attention to city bicycling by local officials.

Despite these efforts to encourage bicycling, it’s clear urban bicycling has a ways to go in Brazil. – a similar challenging situation to many other countries around the world including the United States. Yet progress is happening in various smaller and larger Brazilian cities, as our friends from Momentum Magazine published in the article “The Bikes in Brazil: With a booming economy, is Brazil thinking bike?

Salvador is in full World Cup celebration mode right now, emphasized by the heavily decorated plazas and flags strung about everywhere. So while the World Cup is on the minds of Brazil for the next few weeks, I sincerely hope city planners and government officials continue to keep the bicycle in mind when redesigning public streets and spaces. And why not since the bicycle is almost as universal as the world’s love of futbol?

PUBLIC World Cup Correspondent,
Dan

PUBLIC Pooch Photo Shoot

Monday, June 9th, 2014

We’re hosting a pooch photo shoot at our new Hayes Valley store, at 549 Hayes Street. If you have a dog and a bike, bring them over on Friday, June 20th from 5pm–7pm or Sunday, June 22nd from 10am-1pm. We’ll have a backdrop, a photographer and a prop bike (if you don’t bring your own) for you and “fido” to pose with. We’ll send you home with a digital portrait or two, share the pictures out on our our social media platforms and feature them on the big screen in our Hayes Store.

We want to ensure that we have adequate pet treats and scheduling time, so please RSVP with your name, your pet’s name and the day and time you’ll be coming by. Local photographer Akshay Sawhney will be taking the photos and on Sunday we’ll even have Beverly Ulbrich, aka the Pooch Coach, helping to coax a smile out of your dogs. If you can’t make it, we’d still love to see your puppy pics so send them over via email to (rsvpATpublicbikes.com) or share them on facebook or instagram, tagging @publicbikes.

Alright Mr. DeMille, we’re ready for our furry close-ups.

PUBLIC Puppy Photo Shoot
PUBLIC Bikes, 549 Hayes St.
Friday, June 20th. 5pm-7pm
Sunday, June 22nd. 10am-1pm
RSVP HERE

Compare & Contrast: PUBLIC V1 and PUBLIC D8i

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

We make a variety of bikes to suit a variety of riders and wallets, and the question we get asked frequently is what differentiates our bikes from one another? Here’s a comparison-contrast of two popular models with the same diamond frame style: our most affordable single speed PUBLIC V1, and our best commuter bike the eight-speed internally geared PUBLIC D8i. Both bikes ride like butter and have lifetime warranties on their frames, but there are noticeable differences.

The PUBLIC V1 is the bike built for the minimalist. It has a classic steel frame and a single, carefully selected gear that’s calibrated for comfortable flat cruising and modest hills. You’ll use this bike for about town jaunts, smooth rolls to work and coasting through the park on a Sunday. It has color matching fenders and cream tires, along with contrasting red cable housing on the royal blue model and black cable housing on the red model. Its stem has an elegant rise for a more comfortable, upright riding position. We just introduced this bike with a special introductory price of $299 (regularly $449) and at that price it even makes a great gift. Father’s Day, perhaps? Or maybe that special graduate?


Our PUBLIC D8i is a workhorse set of wheels, built with the everyday, power commuter in mind. Its lightweight 100% chromoly steel tube set is strong and durable enough for everyday use and its eight gears are ready to power you up any hill. The new polished silver Shimano Alfine internal hub makes shifting silky smooth and the encased gears reduce the chance of bike grease marring your pants. Polished silver alloy fenders contrast smartly with the black tires and black cable housing and gives it a more serious and masculine personality than our brightly colored bikes with cream tires. The lower rise handlebar stem imparts a more powerful riding position. This bike is new this season with special introductory price of $899 (regularly $1249).

Our Sweet New Spot in Hayes Valley

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Talk to any local San Franciscan and the Hayes Valley neighborhood of today is nothing like it was 20 years ago. As we’ve written about before, the demolition of the Central Freeway that once ran right through Hayes Valley led to a revitalization of the neighborhood that continues to this day. We are so enthusiastic to be a part of that growth with our newly opened store in Hayes Valley.

Hayes Valley is a draw for so many reasons like top-notch restaurants and a wealth of unique, independent retailers that lend vibrancy and true neighborhood charm to this urban street. And if you’ve got a sweet tooth, Hayes Valley won’t disappoint. Watch your ice-cream get freshly churned at Smitten or choose your own frozen yogurt blends at Loving Cup. Pick your favorite macaroon purveyor from multiple locations and ogle at chocolates too pretty to eat (well, almost) at Christopher Elbow. Take the cake with a slice of chocolate nemesis or the light-as-air russian honey cake or the always picture perfect strawberry tomboy. Then indulge by the spoonful with over 108 flavors of bread pudding (probably not all at once).

When you’ve reached your sugar high, stop by our new Hayes Valley store and take a test ride–either to work off the treats or make room for more. We’ve got sweet new rides and accessories that are perfect for hauling all sorts of goodies, think nifty bungees and baskets perfect for pie toting and cup holders ready to be filled with sweet New Orleans Iced Coffee.

Bike To Work Bay Area

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Supervisor London Breed on Cream PUBLIC C7

Yesterday the Bay Area celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Bike to Work Day with an impressive amount of bikers hitting the road. One major San Francisco thoroughfare tallied that nearly 76% of the trips made on it yesterday were done by bike. Well done, San Francisco!

The month of May is National Bike Month and we’re happy to see so many people participating in Bike to Work Day. Of course, we think everyday should be Bike to Work Day for anyone who works less than 5 miles from home. In the Bay Area alone, more than one million Bay Area residents live within five miles of their workplace.

If you’re considering biking to daily as part of your commute, but not sure where to start, check out the San Francisco Bike Coalition for maps and tips and more. If you’re a bike-to-work regular or just getting into biking, drop us a line and let us know how your bike commute went yesterday

Imagine how less congested our streets would be and how much healthier and happier people would be if more people made the choice to bicycle, walk, or take public transit to work.

We’re lucky to live in San Francisco where bicycling is a mainstream activity and the majority of our local elected officials recognize the value of bicycling. This year, 9 out of 11 local elected Board of Supervisors, our Mayor, and our District Attorney all participated in Bike to Work Day with thousands of other residents. Bike to Work Day helps remind these elected officials to fully fund and prioritize initiatives like Connecting the City which creates safe and accessible bikeways for anyone from 8 to 80 years old.

We know cities can get more people to bicycle if they create separated bikeways like this new one on Polk Street near City Hall. It takes political will and funding to make these changes happen on our public streets.

We encourage you to find out more about your local Bike to Work Day activities – and support your local and statewide bicycle advocacy organizations working to make bicycling better for all of us.


Bike to Work Day 2014 photos by SF Bike Coalition

Commute in Style With Our New Rickshaw Bags

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014


Rickshaw Duo Pannier Bags

May is national bike month and this Thursday San Francisco celebrates the 20th anniversary of Bike to Work Day. Thousands of people will be rolling to work that day and to help all bikers out in their commutes we’re excited to announce the pre-order of our new Rickshaw Duo Pannier, perfect for everyday commuting and handmade right here in San Francisco.

This new duo pannier is the most stylish and functional you’ll find on the market and is designed by Rickshaw Bagworks, a local San Francisco company who has been producing superb quality, handmade messenger bags and more for over six years. Customize the flap of this duo pannier in five snappy houndstooth fabrics crafted in the USA from recycled bottles in colors specifically chosen to compliment PUBLIC’s new 2014 color lineup. And if you’re into matching, snag a color-coordinating houndstooth Metro Tote (or two) designed specifically to be used with the duo pannier.

Little details are what set the Rickshaw Duo Pannier apart from the rest:

  • Simple and sturdy velcro tabs make for easy attachment and removal of the pannier from the back rack.
  • A removable shoulder strap is included for carrying the bag into the office or around the farmers market.
  • Load this pannier with up to two bags of full groceries and cinch them in tight with a drawstring closure underneath the top flap.
  • Smartly located snaps allow for pannier straps to be snapped into place so they don’t fly around.
  • Empty panniers can be neatly folded and snapped closed.
  • Interior is supported by a heavy-duty plastic frame, so bag does not slouch and can support a heavy load.
  • Webbing loops are provided for attachment of rear safety flashers on both sides.

Pre-order our new Rickshaw Duo Pannier today for $249.

New Rickshaw Metro Tote

Keep the interior of your pannier extra-organized with our matching Rickshaw Metro Tote. This tote comes in the same unique houndstooth fabrics as the flap of the pannier and was designed specifically for use inside the duo pannier.

South Park Closing Sale – Now Through Sat, May 3rd

Friday, April 25th, 2014

This is our last week in beautiful South Park – a place we’ve called PUBLIC home for over four wonderful years. We’re closing our 123 South Park store location on Saturday, May 3.

From now until May 3, we’re having a South Park Closing Sale to commemorate our time in SoMa. We’re going to miss our neighbors & friends, but we hope you’ll visit us at our new location at 549 Hayes when we open later in May.

We don’t want to move any inventory to our new location. That’s where you come in. Come get great in-store only deals on new & used bikes, gear, and even framed PUBLIC WORKS posters.

Bikes as low as $299. Gear at prices you won’t find anywhere else. You’ll probably even find some surprising other items for sale at steep discount from our sample collection of gear.

Even if you don’t need anything from PUBLIC, we’d love for you to stop by and say hello and goodbye before we move to Hayes Valley. Every day starting on Monday we’ll have drinks and freshly baked vegan & gluten free goodies from Sweets Simply. Come by 123 South Park for an afternoon drink and sweet snack.

WHEN: Now Until Saturday, May 3. South Park store hours here.
WHERE: 123 South Park b/t 2nd/3rd and Bryant/Brannan
WHAT: Everything Must Go. Everything On Sale.

Also let your friends know about our South Park Closing Sale via our Facebook event page.

PUBLIC Interview With Ellen Bennett of Hedley & Bennett

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Some of our customers are as passionate and detailed oriented about their products as we are about our bicycles. Ellen Bennett, founder of Hedley & Bennett, a chef’s apron manufacturer, is one of them. We interviewed Ellen and learned all about her love of aprons and our PUBLIC R16. Read on for the complete interview and then swing by her site for 10% off with promo code: SOFANCYPANTS.

PUBLIC: Tell us about your company and your products?
ELLEN: We’re an apron company that makes badass, functional and high quality aprons for chefs and restaurants all around the world.

PUBLIC: What inspires your creative work?
ELLEN: All the amazing, hardworking chefs we meet. We want to make them happy. We want to make them feel good about the way they look in the kitchen and feel inspired to be different and unique. We also love design and fun bright colors everywhere. Deep down, we’re all kids at heart and love to live life with the mentality that we can do anything!

PUBLIC: What details make your products unique?
ELLEN:
We hand pick really beautiful, unique fabrics like selvage denims from Japan and Italy. We make all of our aprons comfortable and functional. We wear them, wash them and put them through the ringer to make sure they are durable enough for our chefs

PUBLIC: How did you come by your PUBLIC bike?
ELLEN:
I saw a PUBLIC bike for the first time when my boyfriend Casey Caplowe, co-founder of GOOD Magazine, saw them and sent me a link. They were the most beautiful and clean looking bikes I had ever seen and I instantly wanted one.
Later that year I was in San Francisco walking around and I saw a sign for the PUBLIC bike shop. I ran into the store, picked the one I wanted and then took a picture and put it on Instagram saying “ I want it soooo bad !!”
Then in December Casey surprised me with the exact PUBLIC bike I had Instagramed from my San Francisco trip. First, he gave me a little box with a beautiful copper bell to put on the handle. And then the beautiful bike came out!

PUBLIC: How does bicycling fit into your lifestyle
ELLEN:
My office is in Downtown LA so when I have meetings near by I will use it to zip on over and I will ALWAYS take it inside the buildings with me, riding it down the hallway and parking it in the meeting room. People compliment the bike all day long and it sits parked in the entrance of our office.

PUBLIC: How does your PUBLIC bike reflect your personal style?
ELLEN:
I love big, bold, but clean design and this bike is exactly like that.

PUBLIC: Are bicycles an important part of the community you live in?
ELLEN: Definitely. LA is becoming such a green city, and with downtown being so close together, it’s easy to take the bike around town to restaurants and fabric shops around here.

PUBLIC: Any upcoming projects/partnerships/designs that you are excited about?
ELLEN: We are about to launch our amazing new chef coat line!

PUBLIC: Anything else you’d like to add?
ELLEN:
We love you!!

PUBLIC Response: The feeling is mutual!

 

Photos courtesy of Hedley & Bennett and Life&Thyme.