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Impeccable. Indestructible. Individual. Freitag.

Monday, 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.

1 | INDIVIDUAL

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.

2 | SUSTAINABLE

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.

3 | FUNCTIONAL

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.

4 | GUARANTEED TO LAST A LIFETIME

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.

Best,

Rob Forbes

Founder, PUBLIC

 

Go Big And Go Chrome – Our New PUBLIC D8i

Wednesday, 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

Tuesday, 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

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.

Best New Bike Apps for City Biking

Friday, 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.

 

Citymapper
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.

 

Forecast.io Weather for Bicyclists on iPhone and Android Forecast.io
Crazy good hyperlocal weather reports
Free: Forecast.io web app for all devices | $3.99: Dark Sky app for iPhone
Forecast.io 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. Forecast.io 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 http://forecast.io 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 ifttt.com, 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.

 

Limited Edition Colors 2014 – A Tasty Bunch.

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

We’ve always been hot on edible and lickable color here at PUBLIC. So we’re really excited to announce the arrival of our new limited edition colors – a crop of colors so tasty that we’ve given nearly all of them food and drink-related names:

The PUBLIC C1 step-though in juicy Raspberry and fresh Mint for $299 (List $449).
The PUBLIC V1 diamond frame in an intense green we’re calling Matcha for $299 (List $449).
The PUBLIC V7 diamond frame in a bluish-grey hue we’ve dubbed Earl Grey for $479 (List $649).
And the PUBLIC C7 step-through in yummy Peach and our bestsellers, Turquoise and Orange for $479 (List $649).

We’ve only ordered these bikes in small amounts. If you like to be the only person in your town sporting a bike in this hue, we highly recommend you snap it up. In the past these limited colors have sold out quickly.

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.

 

Bait Bikes, Twitter – Bike Thieves Beware

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Bike theft is an unfortunate fact of life all around the globe, but in the Bay Area even the police are using smart phones and social to nab thieves. And it’s paying off.

Officer Matt Friedman of San Francisco and his colleagues are on a mission to blunt bike theft and to do this he’s making bikes smarter, and then posting about it on Twitter.
 
Officer Friedman nabs bike thieves with “bait bikes”, high-value wheels embedded with gps tracking devices that are left outside with the intent of being stolen. Once the bike is stolen, the tracking device is triggered and the police are led right to the thief. This video from The New York Times article, “Police Use High Tech Lures to Reel In Bike Thieves,” even shows a bike thief stealing a bait bike and being apprehended.

After a bike thief is apprehended, Officer Friedman posts a photo of the bad guy to Twitter, using the handle @SFPDBikeTheft. This public shaming of the thief is intentional. Friedman wants to send a message to other bike thieves that “we’re on to your game and you could be next.”

This gets us at PUBLIC thinking that there needs to be more creative ways that technology can be used to deal with this problem. In a world where people can space travel and control drones from thousands of miles away, there has got to be a way for everyday people to keep their bikes safe from everyday thieves.

We’re interested in developing new smart locks to reduce bike theft. We’d like to partner with experienced techies who can help us design and develop some smart products. Send us an email here.

But just as importantly, you should be knowledgeable about the basics of theft prevention. Here is a great theft prevention guide from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

 

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.

New 2014 Special Edition Bikes

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Introducing Our New 2014 Special Edition Bikes

Bikes, like people, have personalities and at PUBLIC we love the idea of taking a bike and making it feel special. The same way earrings and shoes can make an outfit, bike accessories like bells and fenders add character and individuality to a set of wheels.

Each of our new Special Edition models is outfitted with individual touches like polished silver fenders and brass bells, handmade leather saddles and grips from Brooks of England. Built atop our durable, lightweight steel frames for a distinctive (and durable) ride. Starting at only $549.

AMELIEPUBLIC C1 AMELIE $741 $549
The PUBLIC C1 Amelie edition is a classic single-speed city bike with European chic. This timeless ride is dressed up with a Brooks B67s Aged SaddleBrooks Plump Leather Grips in honey and a classic PUBLIC Brass Bell. Toss a bouquet of fresh flowers or bread into the Peterboro Original Front Basket and breeze down any boulevard with an effortless je ne sais quoiRetail price is $549 (list price $741).

 

HARRISONPUBLIC V1 HARRISON $750 $549
The PUBLIC V1 Harrison edition gets its moniker from being one of the best bike routes in San Francisco’s Mission District and the home address of PUBLIC’s original warehouse on Harrison Street. Accessorized for the street-smart urban rider, this low-maintenance high function single-speed ride features the bulletproof Brooks B17 Saddle in black, our cargo-ready new Porteur Front Rack in silver, Black Cork Grips and aPUBLIC Brass BellRetail price is $549 (list price $750).

View all our Special Edition Bikes here.