DIY Seahorse PUBLIC Mini Balance Bike

October 22nd, 2015


Humans shouldn’t have all the fun when it comes to dressing up for Halloween. This season we asked local designer Joe Irwin to transform our PUBLIC Mini Balance Bikes into a herd (yup) of little seahorses. The result is currently hanging in the window of our PUBLIC Bikes San Francisco shop in Hayes Valley and couldn’t be any more playful and smile-inducing.

600-seahorsewindow 600-seahorse-duo

Joe was game enough to draw up a how-to-guide that that you can use to fashion your own Seahorse PUBLIC Mini Balance Bike or use as a reference should you want to create an adult-sized version. And speaking of the adult-sized version, check it out on our Instagram here and Joe’s website here. And also check out these these other bicycle Halloween costume ideas.

Download the complete DIY seahorse instructions along with the template here.

Or check out the instructions for creating your own seahorse bike below.

Happy crafting!


Materials Needed

To Make

  1. Trace all shapes from the Seahorse Template onto the Foamular Rigid Insulation Panels.
  2. Using a hotwire or blade, cutout all the foam pieces.
  3. Glue all tail rib pieces into place.
  4. Cut and form all metal pieces. Metal pieces include the rear hub tail end support, tail base frame connection, and head connection.
  5. Connect the rear hub tail end support by drilling a hole and gluing the bolt from the support into the tail.
  6. Glue the tail base frame connection to the tail with the screw pointing out (to connect to the frame).
  7. Connect the head connection to the head by carving out a slot and gluing the piece in, with the tabs exposed.
  8. Paint, glitter, and bedazzle all foam pieces.
  9. Insert and glue velcro straps into foam cutouts at the tail and the body.
  10. Glue the head velcro straps to the exposed metal tabs.
  11. Connect the tail by slipping the metal tail end support behind the rear hub bolts, connecting the base through the frame bolt hole. Tighten the nut and tighten the velcro strap around the seat post.
  12. Connect the body by tightening the velcro straps around the frame.
  13. Connect the head by slipping over the handle bar connection and tightening the velcro straps.
  14. Get out and ride!

Meet The PUBLIC D8i Champs-Elysées Special Edition Bike

October 20th, 2015


The PUBLIC D8i Champs-Elysées Edition


Champs-Elysees image via flickr

The famous Champs-Elysées boulevard in France has been nicknamed by the French la plus belle avenue du monde, “the world’s most beautiful avenue.” In homage to this tree-lined boulevard we created the PUBLIC D8i Champs-Elysées Edition “PUBLIC’s most beautiful bike” — an elegant ride for trips to neighborhood cafes, shops and along any boulevards in your hood.


The PUBLIC D8i Champs-Elysées Edition

The PUBLIC D8i Champs-Elysées Special Edition bike harkens back to a classic bicycle that has been in the PUBLIC collection for a long time — a stunning 1950’s-era aluminum mixte bike, the French Mercier Meca Dural 3 Speed Randonneuse.


1950’s French Mercier 3 Speed Randonneuse

We have written before about how this Mercier served as one of the major inspirations for the current PUBLIC mixte bikes. The Mercier’s unisex “mixte” frame, with its moderate sloping downtube built for both men and women riders, was revolutionary and its shiny aluminum tubing has a gleam that is reminisent of the PUBLIC D8i Champs-Elysées Edition.


The PUBLIC Champs-Elysées Edition

The PUBLIC D8i Champs-Elysees Edition is built off our premium 8-speed Alfine internal hub commuter PUBLIC D8i bike in gleaming chrome. We’ve upgraded the saddle with the inimitable, Brooks B17 leather saddle in Antique Brown that coordinates with our Antique Brown ring grips. To carry your necessities we’ve added the PUBLIC Porter Rack in Silver. And for safety and style, the handcrafted Spurcycle Raw Bike Bell is included. The PUBLIC D8i Champs-Elysees Edition is being offered at the Special Introductory Price of $1,099 $1,500.

Introducing The New PUBLIC R16

July 29th, 2015

You talked. We listened. You wanted a lighter, sportier bike for commuting, fitness and everyday errands. You wanted more gears for tackling the hills and trigger shifters for responsive shifting right at your finger tips.

Meet our new PUBLIC R16 flat bar city road bike – built to give you just what you want in a bike. It’s nimble, light-weight and packed with 16-speeds to power you up the hills and down them. The new PUBLIC R16 is a reimagined version of its drop bar predecessor with a modern, slightly curved flat bar and Shimano Claris Rapidfire trigger shifters. We’ve included fenders for when it gets wet, slender city-ready tires and a comfortable city saddle and grips. It’s also available at the special price of $699 $899

Our PUBLIC R16 has received a lot of positive feedback already, but don’t just take our word for it. Check out the above video to see just what makes this bike great for city riding and everything else.


Models Needed – Helmet Photo Shoot

April 3rd, 2015

We’ve got a slew of new helmets coming in 2015 and we need some fabulous heads to show them off to their finest. And by fabulous heads, we mean yours! We’re hosting an informal helmet photo shoot on Thursday, April 9th and need models (adults of any age and children between the ages of 1 to 6) to be photographed in these helmets. The images taken will be used on our website and social media. Examples here.

This is an informal, casual photo shoot to showcase our customers and supporters with our products. There is no compensation for this shoot. If we end up using your photo, the reward is you’ll get to tell your friends and family that you’re an official PUBLIC model!

Our helmet photo shoot will take place at our Hayes Valley Store at 549 Hayes Street in San Francisco. We’ll have two time slots, one for children and one for adults. From 10am – 11am we invite children between the ages of 1 to 6 years old to get their picture taken in a helmet. And from 11am – 1pm, adults of any age are encouraged to swing by and pose with a helmet.

While you’re welcome to drop in, please shoot us a quick RSVP at so we can get a rough headcount.

Date: Thursday, April 9 2015
Two Time Slots:
10am – 11am – Children ages 1 to 6-years old
11am – 1pm – Adults of any age
PUBLIC Bikes on Hayes
549 Hayes Street b/t Octavia & Laguna
San Francisco, CA

Bike Light Up Your Holiday

December 18th, 2014

Why stop at trimming your tree with lights? Your bike is a prime candidate for a little more glow this holiday season. We amassed a few shining examples of festive bikes below and we’d love to see yours! If you’re decking out your bike with lights this holiday, send us a picture or tag us @publicbikes on social media.

1. Cruiser bikes get a nighttime makeover with neon lights

2. A vintage bike makes for a sweet holiday light show

3. An amazing bike “tree” blinging with Christmas Lights

4. A simple way to get festive, wrap colored lights around your bike basket

5. Transform an old bike by wrapping it in white lights and turning it into a planter

6. A long exposure and LEDs make a great bike light show

Impeccable. Indestructible. Individual. Freitag.

December 1st, 2014

When it comes to chic, bulletproof gear that goes with cycling, there are a few brands that rise to the top. In saddles its Brooks. In apparel it’s Rapha. In bags it’s Freitag. Freitag is a Swiss company that has set the standard in bag production with their elegant, unique and functional products. Each bag is crafted from truck tarps, making them unique and virtually indestructible.

Five years ago I visited the Freitag headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland (shown left). Their flagship store and factory is created entirely out of recycled freight containers and has become a kind of architectural icon. Fitting for a company whose products are iconic as well. I bought a few products on that visit, and I have been a passionate customer ever since. That’s my green bag shown below left. Like all their products they just get better over time.

Just last week we launched Freitag products our Hayes Valley Store. There’s a terrific selection of popular styles there that range anywhere from $32-$340. These make great gifts for others as well as yourself. If you’re in the neighborhood, make sure to swing by and check out the collection.

What makes a Freitag a Freitag?

The Freitag company was started by the Freitag brothers. Both were designers and cooked up the idea for these bags while they were students, 20 years ago. Listen to an interview with Markus, one of the Freitag brothers. Since starting the company, the brothers have built a reputation that’s based on a commitment to sustainable processes, impeccable design, and legendary quality.

Of course, by now there are numerous imposters selling lookalike product, but Freitag bags are truly the original. More and more companies are getting on the upcycled product bandwagon and you could argue that Freitag paved the way. Learn more about the Freitag production process.

Here are 5 reasons why Freitag stands above the rest.


Each bag is custom. Based on the inherent words, textures and colors found on each unique piece of fabric, a team of designers works together to design each bag individually.


The fabric used for each bag comes from truck tarps.  This upcycled material is incredibly strong and durable and the reason why we call these bags “indestructible.” All tarps are cut, washed, designed and sewn into bags in the Freitag factory in Zurich.


Not only are these bags made of  impermeable fabric, but they are smartly constructed for everyday wear. Their straps will stand up the the toughest use and the velcro closures are super strong. Don’t fear using your Freitag bag all day and in any weather conditions.


The materials and construction are top-notch, but if for any reason you need to, you can send your Freitag product back if it needs repairs.

5 | CHIC

It’s very rare to a find a company making industrial-grade products that are this fashionable. Their products are frequently seen on the backs of both fussy designers and hard-core cyclists all over Europe.

We are delighted and privileged to introduce Freitag to the Bay Area and hope you can come by our Hayes Valley Store and check these out. We do have a limited selection and the sooner you come by the more likely you will find a piece with the colors and graphic sensibility that suits your personality.


Rob Forbes

Founder, PUBLIC


Go Big And Go Chrome – Our New PUBLIC D8i

October 22nd, 2014

When we caught a glimpse of our brand new PUBLIC D8i in Chrome for the first time, we all got a little giddy. There’s something about the sheen of chrome when translated into bike form that looks downright sexy. When you see the bike for yourself, we think you’ll agree. Our Chrome PUBLIC D8i is one elegant set of wheels.

It’s constructed of high-quality, light-weight chromoly steel and features a premium eight-speed Shimano Alfine internal hub. This bike is guaranteed to turn heads.

We’re offering this bike in two configurations:
1) The PUBLIC D8i in Chrome, with a sporty white city saddle and matching white ergo grips retailing for $899 (List $1249)
2) The PUBLIC D8i in Chrome Special Edition, with a Brooks B17 Saddle in antique brown leather and our matching PUBLIC Ergo Grip, retailing for $999 (List $1394).

As we enter gifting season next month, we think this bike would look radiant wrapped with a red bow and/or positioned near twinkling lights. We only produced 50 of these Chrome bikes so get them now before we sell out.

Meet Our New PUBLIC R16 Road Bike

October 14th, 2014

Our brand new PUBLIC R16 City Road Bike is our latest take on the classic steel road bike: lightweight, has 16 hill-ready speeds, and is now available at the special introductory price of $699. We don’t think you’ll find such a well constructed and good looking drop bar road bike with these features at this price point anywhere else.

Planning a weekend adventure that includes light touring and overnight trips? Looking to out pace the commuter bus and speed across town? Or maybe you’re looking for an affordable alternative to your expensive carbon fiber road bike for everyday city riding? We designed the new PUBLIC R16 road bike with you in mind.

Our Thoughtful Upgrades

Secondary Inline Brakes

We added, secondary in-line brake levers, also called “cross” or “interrupter” brakes. These are incredibly helpful when navigating city streets because you no longer only have to be in the drop position to brake.

Downtube Shifters

Previous models had bar-end shifters, but the 2014 model moves the shifters to the downtube. Shifting is more ergonomic and this allows for easy swapping of handlebars.

Polished Silver Fenders

We’ve also swapped out the color-matching fenders for polished silver and we think this lends a more classic “touring” vibe to this vintage-inspired bike.

Available in both Cream and Green and in three unisex sizes, for people ranging from about 5’5″ to 6’3″.

We highly recommend adding a PUBLIC Slender Rear Rack in matching British Racing Green or Cream to maximize versatility without compromising style.

Customers Speak Up On E-Bikes

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.

Best New Bike Apps for City Biking

September 19th, 2014

Best Bike Apps for iPhone bike directions and Android apps for biking

In honor of iPhone Day, we put together a list of some of our favorite iPhone bike apps and Android apps for people who bike in the city. The newest generations of smartphones are some of the best bike accessories ever, with some really cool new bike apps now available that make city biking even more fun and easy. From navigation to weather to fitness tracking, here’s a quick list of some of the apps that have earned a permanent place on our home screens.

Got a better app that we should know about? We are always looking for ways to make city biking smarter, easier, and more fun. If you are interested in developing a new bike app or gadget, get in touch. We are always interested in strategic partnerships to develop smart new bike gear.


Google Maps for Mobile
Turn-by-turn GPS bike navigation
Free: iPhone | Android | Web
Google Maps bike directions for iPhoneAfter Apple ditched Google’s maps for the iPhone 5, Google soon released their own new version of the Google Maps app for iPhone. It surpassed the original in most ways, and recently it even added bike-friendly directions, something Android users already enjoyed, and Apple’s maps never offered. While its bike directions are still sometimes a bit odd, Google Maps has been continuously improving its map data for a decade now, and it’s one of the only apps available with turn-by-turn voice navigation for your bike, just like in a car. (Pro tip: tuck your phone in your shirt or jacket’s breast pocket to hear the speaker while riding. Also a great way to add some jams to your ride.) The Android version also has some cool extras like an elevation chart to see how steep your route will be. For a quick way to plan a bike ride across almost any city, the Google Maps app deserves a place in every biker’s pocket.


All your transit options in one clever app
Free: iPhone | Android | Web
Citymapper public transit bike directions for iPhone and AndroidThe mission statement of Citymapper is to “make cities easier to use,” and at PUBLIC we think that’s pretty cool. Since they recently added directions for the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s quickly become one of our favorite apps for getting around town. It scouts out every available transportation option to help you find the smartest possible routes. You can plan a trip by bike, bus, ferry, train, taxi, or walking, and even city bike sharing systems if you don’t have your own bike with you. It packs in a ton of features without feeling too cluttered, and even makes room for some clever jokes, like showing the calories burned on your bike ride in units of soy lattes or $4 artisanal toast. While the new Bay Area bike directions could still use some improvement, the app overall is very thoughtfully designed, with lots of cheeky details that make your commute a little more fun. Plan a trip by catapult or teleporter and you’ll see what I mean.


Bike Maps – by Maplets
Curated, downloadable bike maps for your local area
99 cents: iPhone | $2.99: Android
Bike Maps by Maplets for iPhoneBefore the iPhone era, the state of the art bike maps were on paper, showing the official bike infrastructure of the city. These local maps are often quite carefully designed for city bikers, and they encourage you to build your own knowledge of your city’s bike routes rather than relying on GPS instructions. The Bike Maps – by Maplets app brings these bike maps to your phone, with an extensive list of maps available for your local area. Once downloaded, they can be navigated offline, saving your battery and data plan. My local favorite is the San Francisco Bike and Walking Map, which shades every street in the city according to its steepness. Crucial, because I am a big wimp about hills. You can make notes and draw routes to remember your favorite spots, and some maps allow you to overlay your current GPS location. The map collection is extensive, including parks and off-road trails, so you’re sure to find some new rides. Well worth the paid download. Weather for Bicyclists on iPhone and Android
Crazy good hyperlocal weather reports
Free: web app for all devices | $3.99: Dark Sky app for iPhone Weather App for Bicyclists on iPhone and AndroidGood weather reports are crucial for bike commuters to know what clothes to wear or pack for a dry day at work. Especially in the legendary San Francisco microclimates, a good weather app should pinpoint your precise location for the most accurate information. is the best designed free mobile weather app I’ve found, with a proprietary API that compiles 19 different sources of weather data to provide a simple accurate forecast at a glance, with a cool scrolling timeline view. When rain is looming, the screen adds a little precipitation chart that predicts how wet the next hour will be – great for picking the best time to ride home in between rain showers. It’s a free web app that works on any smartphone, tablet, or computer just by visiting in your browser. If you like what they do, check out their Dark Sky app for iPhone which offers rain notification messages.


IFTTT Rain Alerts for Bike Commuters on iPhone and Android IFTTT – if this then that
Customizable weather alerts (plus a million other possibilities)
Free: iPhone | Android | Web
IFTTT Rain Alerts for Bike Commuters on iPhone and AndroidIFTTT offers all-purpose internet wiring to connect different websites and online services together and make all kinds of cool things happen. One useful way to use IFTTT for biking is to create personalized weather reports that automatically send you an email, text, or app notification when rain is in the forecast, so you’ll never be caught without a raincoat again. Just sign up for free and make this recipe: If Weather:Tomorrow’s forecast calls for… Rain, Then SMS:Send me an SMS. Instead of a text message, you can also choose an email, or a notification from the mobile app. You can set this all up on, but the mobile apps are also quite slick and they enable some extra features like app notifications. Here’s a link to my recipe if you want to use it to get started!


Moves iPhone activity tracker for cyclists Moves
Simple, automatic activity tracking
Free: iPhone | Android
Moves iPhone activity tracker for cyclistsIf you’re interested in activity tracking but aren’t quite ready to commit to a Fitbit, the free Moves app offers simple movement tracking throughout the day using just your phone. Automatically detecting whether you’re walking, running, or biking, it generates an elegant daily and weekly journal of your activity in terms of steps taken, miles traveled, calories burned, and time spent moving, to motivate your fitness goals. (Not for the paranoid – you end up with a detailed list of every place you visit.) You can also use it to record other activities and workouts, and it can share your activity data with more heavy duty fitness apps. It oddly doesn’t include any kind of goal setting features, but at least its simplicity offers a pleasant, zen experience. It thankfully includes a Battery Saving mode to make sure your phone doesn’t tire out before you do.



Strava bike fitness app Strava
Athletic tracking with friendly competition
Free: iPhone | Android | Web
Strava bike fitness appDefinitely the most popular app for the lycra wearing crowd, Strava turns your phone into a bike computer to calculate all kinds of fitness data while you ride, like calories, miles, elevation, speed, and mapping your route on GPS. It awards you for personal best records and keeps track of your cumulative rides and runs over the course of the year. Our product manager Aaron recently used Strava to track his progress as he rode every street in San Francisco. What makes Strava different is its heavy emphasis on social networking, with a news feed of the rides your friends are taking, local leaderboard rankings of the most popular spots around town, and regular challenges to motivate you to ride. Its ride mapping has also inspired a new genre of bike route art that’s most notably led to a marriage proposal spelled out street by street. Top that one, Aaron!
Strava Marry Me

Did we miss your favorite bike app? Tell us what’s on your home screen in the comments below.