PUBLIC Women’s Bike Clinic on Sept 13

August 30th, 2012

Back by popular demand, we’re organizing another Women’s Bike Clinic – but in Oakland! In 1-hour PUBLIC employee Jillian Betterly will teach you the basic mechanics of a bike. The purpose of this clinic is to help you understand basic mechanics of a bike with special emphasis on our PUBLIC bikes. Learn how your gearing… Read more »

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Back by popular demand, we’re organizing another Women’s Bike Clinic – but in Oakland!

In 1-hour PUBLIC employee Jillian Betterly will teach you the basic mechanics of a bike. The purpose of this clinic is to help you understand basic mechanics of a bike with special emphasis on our PUBLIC bikes. Learn how your gearing works, how to change a flat, best ways to lock your bike, and basic troubleshooting of brakes, chain and shifters. After the 1-hour workshop, stay longer for Q&A. It’s optional to bring your PUBLIC bike or your own bike. Jillian will spend the hour doing a demo on a PUBLIC bike & then can spend some time after the Q&A helping individuals with their bikes.

Thursday, September 13 (OPEN)
6:30-8pm
205 Alice Street @ 2nd near Jack London Square

This free clinic is limited to 25 women participants. Please send email to rsvp@publicbikes.com to reserve your spot.

If you cannot attend, sign up for our newsletter to hear about future clinics.

Fall Style

August 22nd, 2012

The last weeks of summer bring excitement for new fall fashion. We are thrilled to see the fashion world highlighting bikes, and Vogue recently featured our PUBLIC M8 “Fashion Cycles: The Best Bikes – and the Pre-Fall Looks That Go With Them”. Elle Décor featured our PUBLIC D8 in “Roll Models”. It’s just one more… Read more »

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The last weeks of summer bring excitement for new fall fashion. We are thrilled to see the fashion world highlighting bikes, and Vogue recently featured our PUBLIC M8 “Fashion Cycles: The Best Bikes – and the Pre-Fall Looks That Go With Them”. Elle Décor featured our PUBLIC D8 in “Roll Models”. It’s just one more positive sign that the US is embracing bikes for a range of everyday activities.

Katherine Bernard of Vogue guides you towards your bike style. “How will your fashion look on a cycle? Just as you might acquire pieces to complement a favorite new bag, it’s possible to build your ensemble around your bike.” Check out our gear selection to suit your style and spruce up your bike.

PUBLIC bikes are also featured this month in business publications. The Wall Street Journal recently featured Leah Shahum, our Executive Director of the San Francisco Bike Coalition in “Advocate’s Vision for a Bike Friendly City.” It’s a great interview as Leah is one of the most eloquent spokespeople for city biking, and we’re proud to see Leah featured on her orange PUBLIC M8 in national media.

Also check out yesterday’s NY Times article on the city’s support for bike lanes. We dig it.

 

Bike Shares Go Global

August 1st, 2012

We’re big fans of bike share programs. We believe that rising tides help all boats – and more people riding bikes, whether they’re using a bike share or riding their own personal bikes is good for everyone. As more people get on bikes, it raises awareness that biking can be a mainstream form of transportation… Read more »

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We’re big fans of bike share programs. We believe that rising tides help all boats – and more people riding bikes, whether they’re using a bike share or riding their own personal bikes is good for everyone. As more people get on bikes, it raises awareness that biking can be a mainstream form of transportation for everyone. That’s good for all of us.

Given our name PUBLIC, one of the obvious questions we get is whether our company develops bikes for bike share programs. The answer is no and yes.

No, we don’t produce bikes for citywide bike share programs because those programs require an entirely different supportive infrastructure and business model. It’s like the difference between producing a tank and a car – very different type of vehicle, specifications and infrastructure required.

But yes, we do provide bikes for private bike share programs for companies and hotels. For example, Williams-Sonoma employees use PUBLIC bikes to get around their four different locations. Hotels such as Hotel Healdsburg, James Hotel Chicago, Tribeca Grand Hotel, and Mondrian SoHo provide PUBLIC bikes for their guests to ride.  Find out more details.

We also provide bikes for outstanding bike rental and tour companies such as Streets of San Francisco in Hayes Valley and San Francisco Bike Rentals near the Ferry Building and Upper Haight.

We’ve been following the development of bike share programs around the world for many years. We’re delighted to see American cities such as Washington, DC, Chattanooga, and New York City follow the lead of world-class cities like Montreal, London, and Paris in implementing bike share programs. In the next year or so our very own San Francisco will hopefully launch its own bike share program.

 

Ultimate Bike Shop Challenge

July 13th, 2012

Are you a member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition? As many of you know, we founded PUBLIC with the belief that bicycles are an important part of a healthy, livable community. Good design, when applied to a bicycle, can inspire more people to get on bikes. But the best way to encourage more people… Read more »

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Are you a member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition?

As many of you know, we founded PUBLIC with the belief that bicycles are an important part of a healthy, livable community. Good design, when applied to a bicycle, can inspire more people to get on bikes. But the best way to encourage more people to get around by bicycle is to make our city streets more accessible and safer for the everyday bicyclist.

Clif Bar PUBLIC Bike

Kudos to the SF Bicycle Coalition for transforming many streets in San Francisco into safe places for bikes, including The Wiggle, Market Street, and Valencia Street. Look at some of the work they are currently doing with Connecting the City. This is why PUBLIC supports the 12,000+ member SF Bicycle Coalition  – and why we’re participating in the Ultimate Bike Shop Challenge with other local bike stores to see who can sell the most SF Bicycle Coalition memberships during the month of July.

If you’re already a member of SF Bicycle, thank you for investing in an organization that works to connect the city with safe, comfortable bikeways.

If you’re not a SF Bicycle Coalition member yet, you can join now for $35. Your membership will get you the Urban Bicyclists’ Survival Kit, a one-year subscription of SF Bicycle Coalition”s Tube Times newsletter, free bike trailer rentals, free admission to select events, and discounts at many local establishments – and you’ll help PUBLIC win the Ultimate Bike Shop Challenge!

UPCOMING SF BICYCLE COALITION EVENTS
Seven Hells of San Francisco Bike Ride

Seven Hells of San Francisco Bike Ride

On July 21 join fellow masochists on this ride over some of the steepest hills in the city. Two years ago a PUBLIC team member rode the Seven Hells ride on a PUBLIC M8 – and climbed 25-30% degree hills without walking. It was tough but it proved that you can climb just about any hill in the city on a PUBLIC. Read more about the Seven Hells ride. RSVP here.

Better Market Street

Improve Market Street

Most of us ride on Market Street. To make Market Street into a world-class boulevard, the city needs to make the street more bicycle, pedestrian, and transit friendly. We encourage you to attend upcoming community meetings about Market Street’s future.

Project Kickstand – Clif Bar’s 20th Anniversary

July 3rd, 2012

What’s the coolest thing a company can do for its employees? Often companies recognize hard working employees with monthly awards or free parking spaces. Other companies provide free lunches, extra days of vacation, or casual Fridays. Bay Area company Clif Bar took it up a big notch. They gave ALL of their employees a free… Read more »

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What’s the coolest thing a company can do for its employees? Often companies recognize hard working employees with monthly awards or free parking spaces. Other companies provide free lunches, extra days of vacation, or casual Fridays. Bay Area company Clif Bar took it up a big notch. They gave ALL of their employees a free custom bike inscribed with the individual’s name and the date they started working for the company. It was one of the greatest acts of corporate generosity for employees we have heard of and PUBLIC was proud to play a part.

Last December we started working on a special project called “Project Kickstand” for our friends at Clif Bar. Clif Bar Co-CEOs Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford wanted to surprise each of their 300+ employees with a custom PUBLIC bike as part of the company’s 20th Anniversary.

See more photos in our Clif Bar 20th Anniversary Facebook album.

Clif Bar PUBLIC Bike Clif Bar PUBLIC Bike Clif Bar PUBLIC Bike Clif Bar PUBLIC Bike

We took our PUBLIC V3 and painted it Clif Bar red with matching rims and rear racks, and added a Clif Bar logo head badge and message “Born on a Bike – Kitchen Crafted – Family & Employee Owned” on the frame. Each bike has a custom decal with the employee’s name and year they started working at Clif Bar.

Our PUBLIC team secretly delivered these bikes to a warehouse next to Clif Bar’s Emeryville headquarters. It was our privilege to bear witness to the surprise. Gary and Kit led the hundreds of employees around the block to the secret warehouse. After the doors opened, they invited their employees to a find a custom-made bike with their name on it.

As you can imagine, the scene was utter disbelief, joy, giddiness, and many tears. A Clif Bar employee captured raw footage of the experience.

We’re very proud (thrilled) to have produced and delivered these bikes for Clif Bar, a company  that we’ve long admired for putting community, people, and sustainability at the forefront of building a successful business.

Congratulations Gary, Kit, and the entire Clif Bar family.

We’re proud to add Clif Bar to our growing list of companies that have provided PUBLIC bikes for employees to use, including Williams-Sonoma, Mozilla, Square, AOL, PeopleBrowsr, Rackspace, and others.

Getting Local

June 27th, 2012

Getting around on a bike helps us all connect more closely with our communities. And buying local helps build a better civic connection between residents and local shops, craftsmen, farmers, chefs, and cafes. Urban farming is taking off. San Francisco recently (finally) changed the zoning laws that allow us to grow and sell local produce,… Read more »

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Getting around on a bike helps us all connect more closely with our communities. And buying local helps build a better civic connection between residents and local shops, craftsmen, farmers, chefs, and cafes. Urban farming is taking off. San Francisco recently (finally) changed the zoning laws that allow us to grow and sell local produce, a practice that has been gaining momentum across the country. We’d like to see more vacant lots get transformed into urban farms in residential neighborhoods. We encourage you to enjoy the local harvests by shopping at your farmers market. To find out what local goods we now offer, read on.

A large and lively farmers market takes place on Sundays down the street from our new Oakland Store. Come visit us and grab some local produce.

We think of ourselves as part of this “Livable Cities” movement, and so selling local products like honeys and jams makes sense.

BAY AREA BEE COMPANY
San Francisco based Bay Area Bee Company raises beehives with great care in locations across the Bay Area, even inside the city limits. Hive locations are selected based on food and water sources that encourage strong, healthy and productive colonies, and delicious honey. Come by our stores for a taste or buy directly online.

As we grow we plan to introduce more local goods, with a focus on our hometown San Francisco. If you know of products that support local communities, let us know. In the mean time, check out some of the new products we just introduced.

THESE ARE THINGS SAN FRANCISCO CITY MAP
Maps also increase our awareness and appreciation of our local community. We sell several maps with unique illustrations. From a tiny apartment in Ohio, These Are Things printing press designs illustrations with a cartographic twist. Jen Adrion and Omar Noory celebrate where they are from, have traveled, and dream of going. PUBLIC supports their local love for cities. The maps have a nice sense of place and look great in a home, office, or studio.

 

Special Bikes for Special Groups

May 30th, 2012

We like to find ways to work creatively with organizations that believe in our mission. It is incredibly satisfying to collaborate with companies and organizations that promote bicycling as a healthy choice for everyday transportation. We receive a lot of requests to donate a bike to a worthwhile cause like public broadcasting, community art centers,… Read more »

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We like to find ways to work creatively with organizations that believe in our mission. It is incredibly satisfying to collaborate with companies and organizations that promote bicycling as a healthy choice for everyday transportation. We receive a lot of requests to donate a bike to a worthwhile cause like public broadcasting, community art centers, and urban planning coalitions, just to name a few. While we are not in a position to give bikes away, we have found some clever and successful ways to support groups.

Our local Public Broadcasting NPR affiliate KQED is one example. We helped them raise over $170,000 for their pledge drive which featured PUBLIC bikes on Bike to Work Day two weeks ago. It was one of their most successful pledge drives. Grist, the environmental news website raised $72,000 for their membership drive featuring a PUBLIC bike. We did a similar promotion for the Sierra Club, who works to protect communities and the environment. Other organizations we’ve helped range from Streetsblog, Bike Zambia, Homeless PreNatal Program, California Bicycle Coalition, Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center, among others.

Developing special bikes for events is also fun. This month the ArtBikes auction at the San Francisco Fine Arts Fair featured PUBLIC Bikes to help raise $10,000 for our local San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Earlier this year Creative Growth, a community art center for adults with mental and physical disabilities, auctioned a PUBLIC bike painted by artist Donald Mitchell and brought in $2,000.

We also customize large bike orders for organizations, hotels, and companies. Recently local Bay Area companies Williams-Sonoma and Mozilla, with support from our friends at Bikes Make Life Better, introduced employee bike share programs to help their employees get around more efficiently and more happily. They join a growing list of innovative, people-oriented companies that are rethinking the way their employees move between offices, corporate campuses, or around town.

If you work for a company or organization that you think should incorporate a bike fleet, read on for more information. And please do come to us with creative ideas for ways we can work together. Send us your ideas here.

Bicycling in Small Towns

April 23rd, 2012

The growth of bikes as basic urban transportation, and the overarching “livable cities” movement, is acknowledged internationally and becoming tangible in many major urban areas in the US.  Mayors like Richard M. Daley and Michael Bloomberg have spearheaded these changes in our biggest cities, and large-scale bike share programs are expanding in Washington DC, New… Read more »

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The growth of bikes as basic urban transportation, and the overarching “livable cities” movement, is acknowledged internationally and becoming tangible in many major urban areas in the US.  Mayors like Richard M. Daley and Michael Bloomberg have spearheaded these changes in our biggest cities, and large-scale bike share programs are expanding in Washington DC, New York, Chicago, and later this year, in San Francisco.  The positive trends are unlikely to be reversed.

Poster by Gerardo Gonzalez

Gerardo Gonzalez

Sandi Milford

Less obvious are similar trends in smaller communities that rarely show up on the radar. Take Edinburg, Texas, for example way down in the state’s southernmost tip. I just returned from a trip to the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA), aka “Panam,” where I gave talks to a diverse group of faculty and students with majors in art and design, engineering, and business. These faculty and students are all a part of the same livable cites movement that we see in larger cites, just handled more modestly. I came away optimistic that the progressive alternative transportation movement is definitely not just an elitist phenomenon limited to large urban areas.

UTPA is located in the second poorest county in the US. There is a large immigrant population and for the most part English is a second language. The wide roads are filled with big US trucks and lined with strip malls and fast food joints.  (We ate lunch at Monster Bar & Grill Carwash).  The flat sprawling urban plan is the polar opposite of what we have in San Francisco.  But bike culture is on the rise and highly visible. In my 24-hour stay I saw a bike art exhibition, numerous bike lanes, and a diverse biking crowd. I had many conversations with young art students, senior engineers, department heads, librarians, and architects that reminded me of the conversations I have everyday in San Francisco.  Special shout out to two young artists Sandy Milford and Gerardo Gonzalez whose stylish fashions designed with recycled material and cool graphics made the art show especially compelling.

One of the UTPA staff owns a PUBLIC bike and lent it to me for a half day. I rode for ten miles between UTPA and McAllen, TX where my hotel was located.  I was directed to a winding eight-mile bike path that offered one of the most pleasant and relaxing rides I’ve ever had. Signs along the path educated me about the native birds that raucously serenaded me along the way.

Yerberia Fragrance

On a bike you can easily cruise an entire downtown like McAllen. I pop in and out of the unique retail stores mostly of Mexican heritage. I found cool and quirky products, unique visual compositions, and colorful signage. My favorite store was Yerberia (pictured above) where I scored some amazing candles and some unique oils and fragrances, all with terrific and seductive packaging.

Exploring the streets of South Texas and McAllen on an orange bike made me feel like an ambassador of joy. Bikes help bridge economic and cultural differences and make people smile. This trip was as inspirational as my recent trip to New Orleans.  A bicycle turns out to be the ideal way to get to know a small(ish) town in a short time. And we’ll do more of this.

Details from McAllen and Environs

See New Orleans (9th Ward) by Bike

February 20th, 2012

We went to New Orleans last week to check out the city and the urban biking scene in general. The story that trumps all other things Creole is that of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. 4000 homes were destroyed Damages reached over $86 Billion Over 1000 lives lost in the Lower 9th Ward alone Armed… Read more »

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We went to New Orleans last week to check out the city and the urban biking scene in general. The story that trumps all other things Creole is that of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

  • 4000 homes were destroyed
  • Damages reached over $86 Billion
  • Over 1000 lives lost in the Lower 9th Ward alone

Armed with a bike and an iphone, you can get the full guided tour. On a bike you feel the contours of the roads, smell the place, talk with locals, and connect on a level where you feel less like a tourist. On foot or in a car this would not have been such a powerful and personal experience, and you  probably would have missed this exhibit that clarifies and contextualizes the disaster. The graph to the left quantifies how many new (red) and old (black) homes exist in the area.

The reconstruction is remarkable, unique, hopeful and still viscerally tragic. I was almost as blown away by the reconstruction efforts as by the overwhelming destruction. This is a  neighborhood and community like no other. Lots of well-deserved credit has to be given to Brad Pitt and Make It Right. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” (Plato) and this organization is a much-needed catalyst that fosters innovation.

The silver lining to this disaster, a glimmer of hope, is that it demonstrates that the old and new can coexist given the right forces. Katrina and its aftermath wake us up to the value of community, urban planning, and architecture. Seeing those who endured the tragedy now living in new homes, designed around modern principles, gives us hope. The Make it Right ethic insists on water conservation, energy efficiency, healthy building materials, and storm resistant features.  The elements of aesthetic beauty and creativity offer a glimpse into a more functional future, such as trellises that provide structure for shade plants, elevated porches with elegant screens, and unique residences of varying style, structure and color (i.e. quite the opposite of anonymous suburban development). This neighborhood communicates a sense of viability, success, and pride both to the residents and to those who visit. Design does make a difference.

New Orleans Bike Shops

Our self guided tour of New Orleans and the Ninth was made easy thanks to the concierge at the International Hotel who recommended us to Bicycle Michael’s for a rental bike. I stopped in, met Michael and his gang, and in 10 minutes we were out on the road. “You can get just about anywhere in New Orleans in twenty minutes on bike,” was Michael’s advice, and this proved true.

There is no better way to see this area and all of New Orleans than on a bike. Bicycle Michael’s is a cool bike shop, so is Gerken’s Bike Shop. There are numerous other bike resources in New Orleans, like Bike Tours by Confederacy of Cruisers and Bike Easy is a helpful resource.

Parklets, Prizes, & Promos

January 4th, 2012

Our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, rarely elevates issues of design and architecture to the front page. But last week (December 29th), that’s where you could find Urban Design Critic John King’s Streetscapes column (photos above). Billed as “a mini tour of tiny parks” around the city, the article is more than just a… Read more »

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Our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, rarely elevates issues of design and architecture to the front page. But last week (December 29th), that’s where you could find Urban Design Critic John King’s Streetscapes column (photos above). Billed as “a mini tour of tiny parks” around the city, the article is more than just a guide – it even gives information on how to get your own parklet approved and built in San Francisco. Our friend Deep pioneered the first residential parklet on Valencia Street in the Mission District.

John King is probably best known for his book Cityscapes, a compact guide to 49 buildings in San Francisco, many of which are eclectic and unique and not to be found in standard tourist guides. King delights in the unexpected, which we think is a pretty good way to approach buildings, streets, people, food, and life in general.

You would expect to see coverage of this topic here in our newsletter, PUBLIC Opinion, where we have featured parklets in the past. But the fact that King is getting front-page attention is not only a tribute to his journalistic chops but also proof that the question of how to make our cities more livable and sustainable has become a mainstream issue. The Chronicle and the many activists, like Deep, that expose the broader public to these “pedestrian” issues deserve a thank you for educating us about issues relevant to a city’s modernity, civility, and sustainability. It got us thinking about this issue:

What is the greenest city in the US and what makes it so?
San Francisco, like many US cities, likes to toot its green horn and would love to be considered the most sustainable city in the US. We might be the recognized national leader in “parklets,” but parklets alone do not make a city green. What does make a city sustainable? How do we measure it? That’s a heated and somewhat elusive question, and there are lots of opinions. We’d like to hear yours.  A $100 merchandise credit will go to the best response.

P.S. Congratulations to Deep & Kimberly, who graced our catalog as a PUBLIC model, on their New Year’s Eve engagement. We wish them many years of happiness together on and off a bicycle.

P.P.S. John King has numerous excellent articles on urban design that are archived on SFGate.  He occasionally lectures around town and you can follow him on Twitter.