Best New Bike Apps for City Biking

September 19th, 2014

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… Read more »

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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.

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… Read more »

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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

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… Read more »

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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

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… Read more »

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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

July 30th, 2014

  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,… Read more »

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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

July 29th, 2014

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… Read more »

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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.

$299 Single Speeds Are Back For School

July 18th, 2014

We’ve had a hard time keeping these new models in stock this season, but right now the PUBLIC V1 and the PUBLIC C1 are back in stock for just $299. The diamond frame PUBLIC V1 comes in Royal Blue and Red. And the step through, Dutch-style PUBLIC C1 comes in Cream and Turquoise. These wheels… Read more »

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We’ve had a hard time keeping these new models in stock this season, but right now the PUBLIC V1 and the PUBLIC C1 are back in stock for just $299. The diamond frame PUBLIC V1 comes in Royal Blue and Red. And the step through, Dutch-style PUBLIC C1 comes in Cream and Turquoise.

These wheels are ideal for the graduate heading off to college. The single gear is calibrated for flat or moderately hilly terrain, so getting from classroom to dorm room, with a cafe stop in between, is a piece of cake. Plus, they are built with a durable high-quality steel frame at price point that won’t break the Top Ramen budget.

To help protect your bike and your college minded coconut, a bike lock, helmet and a way to carry around the laptop and books will be necessary. Check out our selection of gear essentials like our new Porteur Front Rack and handy baskets for all the extras you’ll need to really put those wheels to work.

Liberté, Égalité and Beautiful Design

July 15th, 2014

France has a lot of reasons to celebrate in July with the Tour de France cycling all over its countryside and Bastille Day marking the start of the French Revolution. We’ve got a French connection here at PUBLIC in the form of our PUBLIC M7i, our mixte bike. In French “mixte” implies “mixed gender” and… Read more »

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France has a lot of reasons to celebrate in July with the Tour de France cycling all over its countryside and Bastille Day marking the start of the French Revolution.

We’ve got a French connection here at PUBLIC in the form of our PUBLIC M7i, our mixte bike. In French “mixte” implies “mixed gender” and the mixte frame illustrates this perfectly by falling somewhere in between a step through bike and a diamond frame bike. The mixte has a French and European heritage that we’ve blogged about before, and has been a best selling bike for PUBLIC since we launched.

In the spirit of all things liberté, égalité and beautifully designed, we’re excited to announce the launch of our front cargo rack, the PUBLIC Porteur Front Rack.

Like the mixte, this elegant and functional rack has French roots, as the style was pioneered by french newspaper delivery couriers (like the gentleman above).

We designed our PUBLIC porteur-style rack for function and versatility as it’s simple to strap boxes and awkwardly shaped items to it that wouldn’t easily fit in a side bag or backpack. Add a crate atop the front rack and Fido can ride proudly with you, or it allows you to keep your eyes on your laptop bag or a six pack. This style of rack is popular amongst bike courier set because they look sharp and are seriously handy. But until now you could not find one with this capacity and quality at this price. Load yours up today at the special introductory price of $99 (list price $129).

Custom Company PUBLIC Bikes

July 11th, 2014

We’ve been designing unique company bikes since the beginning of PUBLIC, and we take pride in these projects. Working with a client to customize color and design produces a product that’s an elegant fit for their brand and ours. Our first client was Hotel Healdsburg and since then we’ve been lucky enough to work with… Read more »

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We’ve been designing unique company bikes since the beginning of PUBLIC, and we take pride in these projects. Working with a client to customize color and design produces a product that’s an elegant fit for their brand and ours. Our first client was Hotel Healdsburg and since then we’ve been lucky enough to work with larger well known companies like Clif Bar and lululemon.

Check out our eclectic list of clients both big and small.  Recent additions to the list include apartments like Lex on Orange and Nema SF who offer our customized bikes to their tenants, Indian Springs Resort, the Frisk winery and  Mojo, a Clif Bar division.  Our recent lululemon event was a total kick and a unique collaboration that benefits employees and their communities.

If you’re interested in partnering with PUBLIC for your business head here for more information or drop us a line via this inquiry form.

Watermelon, Wine and Vitamin D.

July 1st, 2014

  We know how summertime works–impromptu park picnics, serious backyard grill-offs and beach blanket afternoons that turn into ocean front sunsets. Summer is all about maximizing time outdoors and there’s no better way to increase vitamin D intake than by biking to all your fun-in-the-sun events. It’s an enjoyable and effortless thing to do when… Read more »

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We know how summertime works–impromptu park picnics, serious backyard grill-offs and beach blanket afternoons that turn into ocean front sunsets. Summer is all about maximizing time outdoors and there’s no better way to increase vitamin D intake than by biking to all your fun-in-the-sun events. It’s an enjoyable and effortless thing to do when you’ve got the right gear and we’ve made it simple by grouping our bike-related, picnic-perfect items together just for you. With our wicker picnic baskets that easily attach to our colorful spring clip rear racks, bike holders just for wine, and smile-inducing helmets like our watermelon or polka dot patterns, you’re ready to take to the great outdoors.