A Beginner’s Guide: Top 5 Bike-Friendly Travel Destinations

August 2nd, 2016

International bike travel sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? It’s hard enough to get your passport renewed and pack everything for a regular trip abroad. Add to that the hassle of packing a bicycle and navigating a city you don’t know (where you don’t speak the language)… it’s enough to make a beginner cancel their flight. But let’s say… Read more »

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international bike travel Shimanami_Kaido_Bikeway_Japan

Shimanami Kaito Bikeway. Image by redlegsfan21 via wikimedia.

International bike travel sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? It’s hard enough to get your passport renewed and pack everything for a regular trip abroad. Add to that the hassle of packing a bicycle and navigating a city you don’t know (where you don’t speak the language)… it’s enough to make a beginner cancel their flight.

But let’s say the idea still calls to you. You’re enticed by the notion of landscapes with rolling hills and foaming waters, dotted with ruins and small villages and new ways of life. You imagine sailing with the wind in your face and no windshield to obstruct your view, communing directly with the world! In that case, we’ve got some bike-friendly spots abroad in mind just for you.

We’ve rounded up our top five bike-friendly destinations for international bike travel. These places are great for those contemplating their first bike tour abroad or want to attempt international bike travel with their kids. The following locales are laid-back enough that you’ll be able to explore on two wheels and unwind on your vacation.


Danube Bike Path in Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary

international bike travel

Camp site at Passau, Germany. Image by Chris Bainbridge via wikimedia.

Perfect for families, this pleasantly paved biking trail snakes through Germany and Austria and lands in Budapest, Hungary. The well-trodden route is part of EuroVelo6, the famous French cycling route. It follows the Danube River from its source all the way to the Black Sea, but there’s no need to take the entire route. Tackle the stretch that seems appropriate for you and your cycling pack. You might choose just the secluded German section or the popular Austrian trail. In Austria, cyclists soak in the urban sophistication of Vienna and pedal alongside clear water. Then, between observing green valleys in the countryside, they snack on Austria’s delectable dumplings and sample wines in taverns.


The Shimanami Kaido in Japan

international bike travel

Shimanami Kaido bike route in Japan. Images via wikimedia here and here.

Clocking in at only 40 miles, this serene trail is set off from the main road and connects Hiroshima’s islands, giving riders vistas onto the Seto Inland Sea. Some travelers complete the trip in a day, but it also accommodates tranquil wandering with campsites and hotels. There are 14 bike rental shops, which means you can skip the cumbersome bike luggage and rent your two wheels.


Otago Peninsula in New Zealand

international bike travel

The Otago Peninsula. Image via wikimedia

Start from the Victorian and Edwardian college town of Dunedin and venture into the countryside. The second half of this trail is grueling—so you can skip it! Just stick with the easygoing first half. The trail swirls around the coastline, and you can stop at the acute right turn that signals the start of the steep hill. Go during the drier months, from September to May.


Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Italy

international bike travel

Image via wikimedia.

Smooth pedaling alongside vineyards and benign hills make this Italian route a family pleaser. In northeast Italy, you can rest in piazzas and drink its famed varietals of white wine. The last leg rewards your hard work with a view of the Istrian coast.


Galway City to Spiddal in Ireland

international bike travel

Lovely route in Galway. Image by C O’Flanagan.

A total of 25 miles—from the harbor city of Galway to the charming village of Spiddal—this trek presents one big climb in the beginning. After this, writes local cyclist Pat O’Donnell, “it’s plain sailing.” If you’re blessed with a clear day, you’ll see the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands. In Spiddal village, take a breather with a snack in the crafts center, and then turn back to Galway.

Bike Camping 101

July 5th, 2016

You love biking, and you love camping. But you’ve always been afraid to combine the two and actually go bike camping because it sounds so daunting: a heavy load on a long ride, gathering that gear list, and making sure that you definitely have all your supplies (so you don’t end up exclusively noshing on energy… Read more »

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bike camping 101
You love biking, and you love camping. But you’ve always been afraid to combine the two and actually go bike camping because it sounds so daunting: a heavy load on a long ride, gathering that gear list, and making sure that you definitely have all your supplies (so you don’t end up exclusively noshing on energy bars since the propane burner never made it into your pack).

Fear not. Bike camping is a lot simpler than it sounds because there are a variety of different levels of bike camping. There’s absolutely no need to jump right into multi-day bike camping, freeze dried food and purifying your own water. You can start out very simply, without a tent even (see credit-card bike touring, below). And once you’re ready to pitch a tent, you’ll just need to gather the lightest version of your camping supplies, get a rack for your bike, sturdy bike panniers and bike bungees to secure all supplies. Oh, and find just the right camping spot, of course!

bike camping 101

First step, even before assembling a packing list, is to decide what type of bike camping you’re after. Here’s a nice round-up of different types of bike camping/touring options from REI and some pros and cons to each:

  • Credit-card bike touring: Carry only your basic gear. Then, pay for things like hotels and meals along the way (hence, “credit card”). This method makes for a light ride and less stress about whether you remembered everything. Think of it as “glamping”: You tour in the luxury of warm showers. But you’ll pay more for a hotel than a campground on the dirt, and more for restaurant meals than a packed PB&J.
  • Self-supported bike camping: Pack and pedal everything yourself. Store all of your camping supplies and meals in panniers attached to your bike rack or a bike trailer behind you. This method is affordable and gives you the breezy feeling of self-reliance. But it also means you carry everything on your own muscle power.
  • Car bike camping: Have a friend bring up the rear with a van full of your camping gear! You can be free of your heavier supplies, and if you get caught in a downpour, you’ll have instant shelter. The challenges include: finding a friend who would agree to experience the views from a car instead of a bike, and not being able to offroad it with your bikes—or the car would be left behind.
  • Organized bike camping: In a paid bike camping tour, all the headaches are someone else’s problem. You get to meet new people, and in some cases, you don’t have to carry the camping supplies yourself. The accommodation and navigation are all taken care of. The downside? These tours can be expensive, and you don’t get to choose your own adventure.
bike camping

Once you’ve decided on your trip style, packing becomes simpler. If you choose to do a self-supported bike camping, you’d need the maximum gear. Here’s everything you’d need to make it happen from Bike Overnights and REI:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Camp pad
  • Pillow
  • Tent
  • Food
  • Toiletries
  • Map
  • Flashlight
  • Pocketknife
  • Matches
  • Raingear
  • Towel
  • Two pairs of biking clothes
  • Two pairs of non-sweaty clothes
  • Patch kit
  • Pump (like this one or this one)
  • Cycling multi-tools (like this one)
  • Sturdy Bike Rack (like this one or this one)
  • Bicycle Pannier Bag (like this pair)

That’s it! And even those items are optional: Not everyone would feel the need to bring a towel or multiple pairs of clothes, especially if you aren’t overnighting over numerous days. Some rugged adventurers can do without a camp pad or air mattress. And others might happily sleep in a camp hammock instead of a tent.

bike camping

Once you’ve narrowed down your checklist, pack all of your supplies in panniers, baskets, and/or a bike trailer. For some wild inspiration, check out these DIY bike trailers. You can also buy one that’s readymade. If you’d rather skip the expense of a trailer, just strap your tent to your rear rack. Organize your items into panniers by category, such as sleeping and cooking (and use other packing advice from this seasoned Canadian traveler).

Then, you’re ready to bike the world!

Caravan Outpost Marries Adventure Hoteling & Good Design

June 14th, 2016

Ever heard of “adventure hoteling”? If not, we’d like to introduce you to one of the places we’re most excited to visit this summer, Caravan Outpost in Ojai, CA. It’s an “adventure hotel” experience with all the amenities you’d get from a 5-star hotel, without any of the pretense. Just a restful, well-curated environment with thoughtful touches to make your vacation unique. Their motto… Read more »

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adventure hoteling caravan outpost public bikes

Ever heard of “adventure hoteling”? If not, we’d like to introduce you to one of the places we’re most excited to visit this summer, Caravan Outpost in Ojai, CA. It’s an “adventure hotel” experience with all the amenities you’d get from a 5-star hotel, without any of the pretense. Just a restful, well-curated environment with thoughtful touches to make your vacation unique. Their motto “No Room and Bored” and their colorful, eclectic Instagram account will make you add this spot to your travel bucket list, stat.

adventure hoteling caravan outpost public bikes

Plus, you’ll be able to ride PUBLIC bikes during your stay at Caravan Outpost. Riding around Ojai is just one of the many ways Caravan Outpost makes “Make Magic Moments” for its guests. Continue reading for our interview that includes all the details on this special place.

adventure hoteling caravan outpost public bikes

What’s the vision for Caravan Outpost and who are the people behind Caravan Outpost?

The Caravan Outpost mission is really simple; Make Magic Moments for the people who come here.

Think of Caravan Outpost as a handcrafted adventure hotel. We’re easy to book and stay, like a traditional hotel, but you’re not going to have a traditional hotel experience here. We call that our ‘No Room and Bored’ policy. At Caravan Outpost we have PUBLIC bikes, the fire-pit, our vintage tin shed lobby, Surf lessons, Yoga, Hiking, Pop up dinners and events – many other things to do. We work hard at guest experience, because even in the early stages of the business, the people who are coming here are creative and eclectic – they want more. Our guests are starving for an authentic lodging experience and want to taste something different in travel. If the average hotel is fast food, we’re geared more like a farm-to-table place to treat like your own home. Better ingredients make a better travel experience.

Who’s behind our company? First and foremost, the community who is helping us create it. One of our maxims is that the ‘Guest is the star’. Our investors and clientele are film industry types, artists, musicians, designers, chefs and professional athletes who want to extend a certain lifestyle and point of view into travel. The founding group is some of the leading people in the Outdoor and Fashion business, joined with one of the oldest and most community centered families in Ojai.

adventure hoteling caravan outpost public bikes

When is Caravan Outpost open to the public? What can people expect when they stay at Caravan Outpost?

The gates crack open on the place July 1. What you can expect is a great Airstream to stay in, cool people and warm weather. Our lobby area has all the traditional expectations of a hotel – WIFI, Organic pastries and great coffee in a community gathering space. A secondary expectation is simply that you will connect into our community – and find like-minded people who share your passion for art, music, food and the outdoors as a frame around your life experience.

adventure hoteling caravan outpost public bikes

What makes Caravan Outpost a special place and guest experience?

People, Products and Plants. We have amenities, clean bedrooms and all the things you would expect at any hotel – that’s not the hard part. The hard part is getting a good audience of authentic and artistic people to the same place and sharing something special with them. We offer personal care, attention to the details that matter to you and a place for you to get that feeling of a perfect day in Ojai – however you want to define that. Additionally, we make a really great looking apparel line that is augmented with vintage and Maker driven products. It’s a totally different spin on travel and apparel, but we’ve had visits from Italian Vogue, One Kings Lane, Escape Brooklyn, etc and these people are buying and loving the product side of our brand – and the hotel piece. Last, but certainly not least, the entire Caravan Outpost environment is a gorgeously appointed Botanical Garden, right in the middle of downtown Ojai. We have thousands of plants, several palms and exotic plant rarities for people to see, experience and learn about. One of our founders is a plant expert, and you can immediately see that special influence at the Outpost.

adventure hoteling caravan outpost public bikes

For someone who has never stayed in an Airstream, why should they consider Caravan Outpost for a relaxing, destination trip? Why stay in an Airstream over other options?

Why do anything different? Why not accept the status quo and do things the same old way? Being unique is a choice that our guests have already made – we’re just enabling a piece of who they already are, by bringing them a unique place to gather. We love Airstreams and think they are a fantastically comfortable, iconic space to live and stay in – but Caravan Outpost is not about Airstreams, it’s about the people who gather and enjoy our space.

Why Ojai and your specific location?

Ojai is our initial location, because we are rooted in the local community here and believe it to be a very special place. It’s so easy to create magic in this town, because so many good and wonderful people are already walking the streets, celebrating all the city has to offer. We believe Ojai is the American Mediterranean, and that no one is really telling that story of climate, food, wine and life in a unique valley that has a one-of-a-kind vibe to it. The history of Ojai has long been as a getaway from Hollywood and LA for the famous. One day in town and you get why people come here to center-up and find peace. Another key component is the sun. We are working our way to the most sustainable business we can create and solar is a big part of the picture. We’re not 100% off the grid, but we do have several Airstreams running on solar, skylights in restrooms, bathrooms and storage areas. Our partner Goal Zero has provided some amazing and compact solar panel products for our guest to demo, which is a baby step – but we’re working our way to being as solar powered as is possible.

adventure hoteling caravan outpost public bikes

Why are you offering PUBLIC bikes at Caravan Outpost?

The answer goes back to our star – the guests at Caravan Outpost. There is no way we are putting our guests on anything other than what we believe are beautifully built bikes. PUBLIC and Caravan Outpost are such a good fit because we are both design driven – and both are created for people who appreciate a considered product. Public bikes have been a hit from the second we opened the boxes and the biggest problem we have right now is that we don’t have enough of them!

See San Diego By Bike

May 25th, 2016

Memorial Day is right around the corner and many of us are busy planning escapes for the long weekend. There are so many places to enjoy by bike in the United States and the coastal city of San Diego, California with it’s mild climate, beachside bike lanes and delicious spots to refuel is among the… Read more »

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san diego by bike locals guide

Memorial Day is right around the corner and many of us are busy planning escapes for the long weekend. There are so many places to enjoy by bike in the United States and the coastal city of San Diego, California with it’s mild climate, beachside bike lanes and delicious spots to refuel is among the top of the bunch. So we asked two San Diego locals, Vicky and Rachel of @webikeforbeer to give us the inside scoop on how to see San Diego by bike in one day.

Even if you don’t live in San Diego, we hope this post inspires you to make the most of the long weekend on two wheels. Have you been meaning to get on your bike and go for a ride within your own city? Now’s the time! And if you’re from San Diego, what spots to you like to see in San Diego by bike? Add your favorite places to visit in San Diego by bike to the comments.

Our “See San Diego By Bike” ride starts at a free public parking lot in the Mission Beach area of San Diego and heads north, ending at Windandsea Beach. Here’s the Google Maps Route of the ride.

And in case you’re wondering, Vicky rides a PUBLIC C1 in Cream equipped with a PUBLIC Rear Rack in Cream, Brooks B67s Saddle in Honey, PUBLIC Bell in Cream and a Peterboro Original Basket in Honey. Rachel rides a PUBLIC C1 in Mint, fitted with a PUBLIC Rear Rack in Mint, PUBLIC Bell in Mint and PUBLIC Trieste Coffee Cup Holder.

san diego by bike locals guide

Joy Ride: Belmont Park, Amusement Park
From the parking lot we hop on our bikes and head to our first stop Belmont Park. This park is called a landmark by locals for a reason. It opened in 1925 and has all the classical “ol time” amusement park games and rides. We highly recommend treating yourself to an ice-cream cone (good ride fuel!) and taking a spin on some of the historic rides, like the wooden roller coaster “The Giant Dipper.”

san diego by bike locals guide

Caffeine Fix: Better Buzz Coffee – 3745 Mission Blvd
Hop back on your bike and continue north on Ocean Front Walk to Better Buzz Coffee. Treat yourself to “The Best Drink Ever” and if you’re feeling peckish you can’t go wrong with a brimming Acai bowls. Powered up with antioxidants and caffeine, it’s time to get back on the bike for more scenic views.

san diego by bike locals guide

Beach Cruise: Mission Beach Ride
Head back to Ocean Front Walk and continue north. Take in the Mission Beach scenery and feel right at home with plenty of other cyclists. Pry your eyes away from the beach for a few minutes and make sure to take in the picturesque beachfront homes that line the coast.

san diego by bike locals guide

Thirst Quencher: Amplified Ale Works – 4150 Mission Blvd
A good ride deserves a little refueling and that’s just what our next stop aims to assist with. From Ocean Front Walk, hang a right at Pacific Beach Drive and a left at Mission Blvd to arrive at Amplified Ale. With it’s rooftop bar that overlooks the beach, plus great selection of craft beers, Amplified Ale never disappoints. We highly recommend getting beer flight so you can try a few of the delicious local brews. Our favorites today included the Gold Record and the Electrocution IPA.

san diego by bike locals guide

Best Coast: Pacific Beach Ride
Head back to Ocean Front Walk via Pacific Beach drive and continue north. You’ll pass Pacific Beach and it’s a great place to take a break on your ride and watch the surfers and listen to the waves crash.

san diego by bike locals guideFresh Mex: Oscar’s Mexican Seafood – 746 Emerald Street
When you’re on the coast, you’ve got to try the seafood so our next stop is Oscars Mexican Seafood. It’s one of our staples. Follow the Google Maps Route for the play by play on how to get here. You can’t go wrong with ordering the fish tacos and ceviche. It’s always fresh and filling. Plus, their variety of hot sauces will satisfy everyone.

Get Local: Bird Rock Ride
When we head back out, we’ll make our way back to La Jolla Hermosa Ave and head north through Bird Rock. Bird Rock is the perfect little beach neighborhood nestled on the north end of Pacific Beach. Park your bike and wander the streets, stopping into one of many local businesses to get your shop on. Here’s where a bike basket comes in handy, because it easily holds your favorite purchases.

san diego by bike locals guide

The Happiest Hour: Beaumont’s – 5665 La Jolla Blvd
When you’re done wandering Bird Rock, it’s back on the bike traveling north again along La Jolla Hermosa Ave to Beaumont’s. Beaumont’s is our go-to for Californian cuisine and craft cocktails. Happy hour is everyday until 6:30 and they offer $1 off draft beers. Enjoy your dinner with live music at this local eatery.

san diego by bike locals guide

Ending With a View: Windansea Beach
From Beaumont’s we’ll start hugging the coast again, biking along Camino de la Costa to our last destination, Windandsea Beach.  If you’ve only got one day in San Diego, we highly recommend ending it with a bicycle ride out to Windansea Beach to catch the sunset. Views of the cliffs are breathtaking and there’s usually less of a crowd in the evenings.

How Seville Rolls

April 6th, 2015

“Seville is the poster child of the modern bicycle planning movement. Nothing less.” – Copenhagenize I was just in Seville, Spain (population 700K) to ride around, study the urban layout and better understand how Seville became a model for enlightened city transportation and a leader in the city bike movement. The most unique thing about… Read more »

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The many bikers of Seville.

“Seville is the poster child of the modern bicycle planning movement. Nothing less.”
Copenhagenize

I was just in Seville, Spain (population 700K) to ride around, study the urban layout and better understand how Seville became a model for enlightened city transportation and a leader in the city bike movement.

The most unique thing about the people who ride bikes in Seville is that they are not very unique. Basically, everybody rides, just as everybody walks, and it’s not a big deal. You see musicians, parents with kids, fashionable women, old dudes hunched over smoking cigarettes, one legged guys, tourists, commuters, the entire gamut. It is the two-wheeled definition of pluralism and democracy.

A flashy fixie in Seville

In the 2013 Copenhagenize survey of the Most Bike Friendly Cities, Seville ranked 4th out of 20 top cities, behind the bike-friendly powerhouses of Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Utrecht. This prestigious ranking on the part of Seville is a result of great political vision and will.

It’s a vision that’s very much in line with that of the Making Cities Liveable movement, a movement that focuses on “designing urban cities in a way that enriches the quality of everyday life of the city’s inhabitants.” Basically, Sevillanos were fed up with the noise, traffic and pollution generated by cars and buses and wanted a more liveable city where they could interact and live more openly.

The city officials heard their concerns and changes were made. Bike share programs were implemented and buses were replaced by light rail. (Horse drawn carriages were allowed to stay.) The results of these changes were impressive. The bike share program in Seville rose in usage from .5% in 2006 to 7% in 2013, according to Copenhagenize. And there is now over 180 miles of pleasant green bike track to ride along. I rode along it and was impressed by the robustness of it and high amount of usage.

Cool bike dividers, left. Seville’s bike share bikes, right.

Safety is always a key issue in biking. Curvy lanes go all around Seville, sometimes in parallel with sidewalks and sometimes crossing streets. Yet to keep things safe, there are cool little concrete markers and abundant signage.

Sane and respectful crosswalks of Seville.

In addition to the signage, people in Seville seem to have respect for pedestrians. Cars don’t whiz around at high speeds nor do they assume that their rights are more important than others. And everybody observes crosswalks. You will note that few cyclists wear helmets (a fact that’s true for most cities where infrastructure is set up to respect cyclists). Kids under 16 are required to wear helmets. It’s just very sane and civilized.

Seville isn’t new to this transportation thing. Magellan embarked from Spain on his first voyage to circumnavigate the globe. And while the miles of bike lanes in Seville aren’t enough for global navigation, it’s impressive to see how this Spanish city has made incredible strides in biking infrastructure and urban planning. It’s a place of civility and quality, and in my mind one of the most modern city designs in the world.

Happy riding and traveling,

Rob Forbes

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Rob an his rented mixte at the Andalusian Center for Contemporary Art, Seville.

 

Snow & Tell: Snow Informing How We Use Public Space

January 12th, 2015

When we think of snow, many of us think about snowboarding, sledding, or a beautiful natural winter landscape. But another cool (pun intended) feature of snow is how it acts as an “urban usage map.” The way cars make tracks around and through snow shows how much public space is used and unused by cars…. Read more »

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When we think of snow, many of us think about snowboarding, sledding, or a beautiful natural winter landscape.

But another cool (pun intended) feature of snow is how it acts as an “urban usage map.” The way cars make tracks around and through snow shows how much public space is used and unused by cars. Is there room for sidewalk extensions for pedestrians? Could car lanes be narrowed or median greening be added? Snow can literally show us the answer.

This video from Streetsfilm does a great job explaining how snow can reveal a lot about mobility and how public spaces are utilized in cities.

As Clarence Eckerson from Streetsfilm told the BBC: “The snow is almost like nature’s tracing paper. It’s free. You don’t have to do a crazy expensive traffic calming study. It provides a visual cue into how people behave.”

Through the visual storytelling in the article “What Snow Tells Us About Creating Better Public Spaces on E. Passyunk Avenue” you can see how snowfall in Philadelphia informs how public space could be better utilized. Notice how much public space could be rededicated to people over cars.

A phenomenon of urban snowfall is naturally created “sneckdowns,” or snow neckdowns. A neckdown is a curb extension, a traffic calming measure that involves sidewalk widening, narrowing car roads and making streets wider for pedestrians. The word “sneckdown” is a play on the concept of neckdown, but with snow.

For more on the phenomena of sneckdowns check out this article one Streetsfilm.

So when you’re walking, biking, or driving around in the your city during or after snowfall, pay attention to the snow on the ground. It might tell you a lot about how your streets and public spaces could be changed to make them more people-friendly.

Traffic Jams In All Forms

August 28th, 2014

Take a look at these eerie images of cars abandoned in a Belgium forest. These amazing, haunting images by Rosanne de Lange were actually taken at one of the biggest car cemeteries in the world – the Chatillion Car Graveyard in Belgium. As discussed on this blog, “According to an urban legend these cars were left behind… Read more »

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Take a look at these eerie images of cars abandoned in a Belgium forest. These amazing, haunting images by Rosanne de Lange were actually taken at one of the biggest car cemeteries in the world – the Chatillion Car Graveyard in Belgium.

As discussed on this blog, “According to an urban legend these cars were left behind by US soldiers from World War II, who could not ship them back to the US so they decided to hide them in a forest until they could come back and retrieve them. The locals disagree and say that it’s simply an old car dump of vehicles made after the WWII”.

Click on the above images to share them via Facebook.

Traffic has been in the news a lot lately, including the 8+ hours to get to the playa of Burning Man’s Black Rock City to thousands of concert goers missing a Paul McCartney concert at the last event at Candlestick Park due to the Big Jam.

We’ve written about traffic before on our blog. More bicycles, better public transit, and improved walkable neighborhoods helps. But most importantly, we need to recognize that when we get in our cars, we’re not just stuck in traffic – we are traffic. Feel free to share this image out on Facebook.

Congestion and its effect on quality of life is an issue in almost every US city. We’re not going to solve this problem by building wider roads, at the expense of walkable, livable neighborhoods, or encouraging more cars on our already congested roads.

Even in a progressive city like San Francisco, there are people who are determined to reverse the city’s efforts to reduce car congestion and prioritize transit and walkable neighborhoods. In this November’s ballot San Francisco voters will be asked to weigh in on Proposition L. We at PUBLIC are encouraging our customers and fans to vote No on Gridlock (No on Prop L). Learn more here.

 

Halfway Is Not Enough

July 24th, 2014

PUBLIC is headquartered on both sides of the San Francisco Bay, with a new flagship store and design studio in Hayes Valley, SF, and a distribution center and office in Jack London Square, Oakland. I often enjoy taking the ferry across the bay to our Oakland office, but sometimes the best choice is to drive… Read more »

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Bike-able Bridges

Images courtesy of Rob Forbes, The Botster and Ipv Delft

PUBLIC is headquartered on both sides of the San Francisco Bay, with a new flagship store and design studio in Hayes Valley, SF, and a distribution center and office in Jack London Square, Oakland. I often enjoy taking the ferry across the bay to our Oakland office, but sometimes the best choice is to drive across the Bay Bridge.

Every time I sit in bridge traffic returning to San Francisco from the East Bay, I have two conflicting emotions. First, how majestic, elegant, and inspirational the new bridge is aesthetically –and second, how unfortunate, even cruel it is that even after spending $6.5 billion on the modern new eastern span that opened last fall, a person still can’t ride a bike across the bridge from the San Francisco to the East Bay. For those unfamiliar, you can only ride half way across!

Riding the bike lanes on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, you’re treated to a gorgeous, expansive view with incredible vistas that are a treat for tourists and locals alike. But there are no definite plans to complete the bike connection on the existing western span to San Francisco, which is an opportunity unfulfilled. Take Copenhagen, it’s already awash in bike-able bridges and it’s now considering creating the 2nd largest bike bridge in the world.

Bay Bridge Lights Image Courtesy of Greg Del Savio

We have made some world-class bridge designs in the Bay Area, the Golden Gate Bridge at the top of the list. It gets over 10 million visitors every year, and the bike ride across it is epic and loved by locals and tourists alike. The recent Bay Lights project on the west span of the Bay Bridge rivals any urban lighting you’ll see in Copenhagen or anywhere else in Europe.

The vision behind these grand works casts a shadow for cyclists with the halfway solution of the new Bay Bridge redo, and makes us realize that we are still playing catch up to many European cities when it comes to comprehensive progressive transportation solutions. At PUBLIC we sincerely hope there will enough public pressure on politicians and government executives who make transportation planning and funding decisions to eventually make the Bay Bridge fully open to bikes and pedestrians, not just cars.

PUBLIC Talk: Amy Wibowo on Traveling with Bicycle

July 22nd, 2014

  Two years ago Amy got her first bike ever, a limited edition PUBLIC C7 step-through she named Peppermint Patty. After learning how to ride in San Francisco, Amy packed up her PUBLIC bike and PUBLIC Twin Pannier bags for a grand adventure riding and camping all over Europe with a friend, from the forests… Read more »

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Two years ago Amy got her first bike ever, a limited edition PUBLIC C7 step-through she named Peppermint Patty. After learning how to ride in San Francisco, Amy packed up her PUBLIC bike and PUBLIC Twin Pannier bags for a grand adventure riding and camping all over Europe with a friend, from the forests of Finland to fields of lavender in the French countryside. Everywhere she met helpful, friendly folks and turned plenty of heads with her free-spirited style. You can read all about her travels with Peppermint Patty on her blog, which is full of beautiful photography and helpful tips on how to plan your own bike adventures.

Bikes In The Woods / Image courtesy of Amy Wibowo

Bikes In The Woods / Photo Courtesy of Amy Wibowo

We love Amy’s story because she’s such an inspiration, showing how much fun anybody can have just by hopping on a bike and riding somewhere new. Although we didn’t have international bike touring in mind when we designed our PUBLIC C7 bike, we’re glad that its simple, relaxed style worked just as well for Amy when she was cruising around Europe as it does getting her across town in San Francisco.

We’re really excited to host a special event with Amy Wibowo at our new San Francisco flagship store in Hayes Valley, next Wednesday August 13. She’ll give a talk about how anybody can have an epic bike adventure without needing a bunch of fancy gear, and she even made a really cool zine full of bike travel tips (shown left). Meet Amy and get your own free copy of her zine at our event Wednesday night, details below.

WHAT: PUBLIC Talk: Amy Wibowo on Traveling with Bicycle
WHERE: PUBLIC Bikes, 549 Hayes Street (between Octavia and Laguna)
WHEN: Wednesday, August 13 from 6pm-8pm

Travel In The World’s Most Bike Friendly Cities.

July 8th, 2014

When traveling, biking is a superior way of getting around (no pricey cab fares or metros to navigate) that’s only getting better. Cities around the world are making it easier than ever to hop on two wheels and explore with improved bike infrastructure and convenient bike share programs. We have several perspectives listed below. Click… Read more »

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When traveling, biking is a superior way of getting around (no pricey cab fares or metros to navigate) that’s only getting better. Cities around the world are making it easier than ever to hop on two wheels and explore with improved bike infrastructure and convenient bike share programs. We have several perspectives listed below.

Click on the colorful grid above for the definitive list of 25 Bike Friendly Cities across the globe from Copenhaganize; Amsterdam (Netherlands), Copenhagen (Denmark), Utrecht (Netherlands), Seville (Spain) and Bordeaux (France) receive the highest ranking, and less obvious cities like Budapest (Hungary) and Tokyo (Japan) make the list.

What makes these cities truly bike friendly are the ample dedicated bike lanes, some that go for miles, bike share programs that are well used by the community and a hard core commitment to building out better bike infrastructure in the future.


Bike sharing is really coming around and for travelers this is an awesome perk. Momentum Magazine lists it’s top cities for bike share and the ones in the US that get nods are New York, Miami and Chicago. Lonely Planet highlights cities around the globe with significant bike share programs and the likes of London (England), Paris (France), Montreal (Canada) and Hangzhou (China) top the list.

So, as this travel blog with it’s own list of top 10 bicycle friendly cities quotes, “The next time you find yourself in a bike-friendly city, skip the car rental and let your legs do the driving.”