Summer City Guide: Vol 3 – NYC, New York

August 2nd, 2018

Our “Cities By Bike” Series explores some of our favorite places by bike through the eyes of a local. Roll along with us as we follow them through their favorite neighborhoods, sharing the must-visit sites, restaurants, happy hours, and more. Our guide in New York City is Jackson Isaacson. Jackson is a digital strategist at… Read more »

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Our “Cities By Bike” Series explores some of our favorite places by bike through the eyes of a local.

Roll along with us as we follow them through their favorite neighborhoods, sharing the must-visit sites, restaurants, happy hours, and more.

Our guide in New York City is Jackson Isaacson. Jackson is a digital strategist at Endeavor, but more importantly a coffee and whiskey enthusiast and adventurer who is always looking for his next favorite thing. Follow along as he shows us some of his favorite places to ride to around the city. If you just can’t get enough Jack, or want to know more about him, check out his instagram @JackIsaac.


 

Pebble Beach across the Brooklyn Bridge

 

 

The best part of warmer months is the parks. One of my first apartments in NYC was in FiDi near the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge, and my go-to hangover cure became a large cold brew coffee and a crisp ride on the footpath of the bridge to Dumbo. Pier 1 and Pier 2 were the first parts of the park to open, right around the time I moved, and I feel like it’s a brand new part of New York that I’ve been a part of from the beginning.

Every year something new is added to the park, from sports and recreation fields to a pop-up public pool. My favorite spots are the cafe tables and tiered seating tucked away throughout that offer a perfect view of downtown Manhattan with an intimate vibe that’s increasingly difficult to find in the city. My ideal day in the park starts with a cold brew and reading on Pebble Beach in Dumbo, a brisk ride down the waterfront bike path to Ample Hills for a scoop of my favorite ice cream (Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, obviously), and a short ride to Pilot for a cocktail and some oysters aboard their schooner.

 

Fort Defiance in Red Hook, Brooklyn

 

 

Not every brunch is going to be memorable. If you do it right, half of them won’t be (hello, bottomless bellinis). But Fort Defiance is worth going out of the way to visit. Tucked away in Red Hook, Brooklyn, it’s not a spot most will stumble upon accidentally. It may not look like anything special, and that’s part of the charm. Modestly decorated but thoroughly inviting, their menu is seasonal and seemingly inspired by the south and feels like comfort food in the best way. Rounding out a solid Brunch/Lunch/Dinner spot is a robust cocktail menu with perfect pairings for any time of day. My pick? The Bourbon Milk Punch. Head over on Thursdays for a special weekly celebration of all things Tiki for their Sunken Harbor Club.

Getting there is becoming increasingly difficult by public transit – the nearest subway is a solid 12+ blocks, and the Ikea ferry stopped running to Red Hook in 2017 – but it’s the perfect distance for working up an appetite on an easy bike ride from my apartment in Soho.

 

South Street Seaport in Manhattan

 

 

One of New York’s literal oldest neighborhoods, South Street Seaport initially drew me in with its overt charm and historic architecture. When I moved into an office-turned-apartment on the corner of William and Fulton in 2014, I immediately began exploring the neighborhood. The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy was still very evident, and precious few restaurants, bars, and shops had reopened in the area. Since then, the city and countless groups have invested in the revitalization of the Seaport, and it’s finally poised to be the next destination neighborhood in the city. With a fresh crop of new spots to eat, drink, shop, and even see rooftop concerts from bands like Kings of Leon, there’s never a shortage of things to do in the area, and it helps that it’s just a breezy bike ride downtown, nestled at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. My picks: Jack’s Coffee for a cold brew, V Bar for Brunch, Fresh Salt for Happy Hour, and Cowgirl Seahorse for margaritas and anything in between!

 

El Luchador in Manhattan

 

 

If you know me, you know I’m always in the mood for a taco. And yes, Taco Tuesday is my favorite holiday. I think it’s half because of the ingredients and flavors and half because they’re inherently unpretentious. Name one person you’ve ever seen look poised whilst eating a taco, I’ll wait. Nothing? It’s because no one does. Tacos are a great equalizer, because everyone looks the same eating them (except the weirdos who eat them with a fork. Don’t sit next to those creeps). While New York has no shortage of great taco spots, and everyone will always have a differing opinion on whose are best, one of my personal favorites is El Luchador on South Street. Located on an unassuming corner that apparently used to be a horse stable, they’ve set up shop with a renovated Airstream trailer, bulb lights, and just enough tables and chairs to make it feel intimate while still somehow always having just *one* table left for you. No frills, no nonsense, they serve up slow-braised meats and fresh ingredients made from scratch every day, which is the only way to truly make good tacos. Pro-tip: crispy fish tacos and a lime Jarritos, every time.

 

 

Summer City Guide: Vol 2 – Portland, OR

July 6th, 2018

Our “Cities By Bike” Series explores some of our favorite places by bike through the eyes of a local. Roll along with us as we follow them through their favorite neighborhoods, sharing the must-visit sites, restaurants, happy hours, and more. Our guide in Portland, OR is Lauren Hartmann. Lauren is a freelance stylist and writer,… Read more »

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Our “Cities By Bike” Series explores some of our favorite places by bike through the eyes of a local.

Roll along with us as we follow them through their favorite neighborhoods, sharing the must-visit sites, restaurants, happy hours, and more.

Our guide in Portland, OR is Lauren Hartmann. Lauren is a freelance stylist and writer, but most importantly a mom and wife. Together with her husband, Craig, she let us in on some of her favorite spots to get around by bike in her town. If you want to know more about Lauren and all the little things she does, check out her blog at LaurenHartmann.com or follow her on Instagram @thelittlethingswedo.


When PUBLIC Bikes reached out about teaming up to create a bike-friendly city guide of Portland, I was so excited! I love getting to play tour guide, and doing it on a bike added an extra layer of fun. Biking is a huge part of the culture in Portland and our city puts a lot of effort into making sure that riding can be safe and fun for everyone…even novices like myself. So follow along as I share some of our favorite things to see, do, and most importantly EAT in our fair city!

 

Lauren’s Blush C7i & Craig’s Steel Blue V7

 

Portland weather can be a bit unpredictable, so I would highly recommend bringing an extra layer for your ride. A jean jacket, or a lightweight anorak that you can toss in your bag would be ideal because the weather here can turn on a dime. And don’t forget your sunglasses for when the sun peeks out from behind the clouds!

My husband and I have been Oregonians all our lives (OK, I moved here at age six, but still…), so it’s been fun to see our city grow and change over the years. One of the pitfalls to all the growth and influx of cool, new spots though is the ever-growing traffic. Getting around town in a car can be kind of a bear and there are fewer and fewer places to park in the city, so biking is a wonderful way to see (and eat your way through!) the city while saving time sitting in traffic.

 

SE Portland Bike Tour

When it comes to Portland, each area of town has its own unique vibe and offerings, but SE will be my forever favorite part of town, so we’ll be focusing our tour here.

 

But first, coffee: at Water Avenue

 

 

Start your ride off with the most important meal of the day: coffee. While the options for a great morning latte are plentiful in Portland, ​Water Avenue​ will always have my heart. The baristas are friendly, always happy to talk shop, and their single origin espresso can’t be beat. I fell even more in love with them when I was pregnant and switched to decaf for a bit (I know!). Their decaf is literally the only decaf worth consuming and even though my husband roasts his own coffee beans at home, he would always make a special trip to pick up my decaf beans. That’s true love, people. They also serve breakfast and lunch so you can grab a bite to enjoy alongside your morning brew. Their egg sandwich is truly out of this world and my husband loves their baked goods…honestly you really can’t go wrong with any of it.

 

Stop for a sip at House Spirits Distillery

 

 

Just a few blocks from Water Avenue Coffee, you’ll find another one of our favorites: House Spirits​. While Portland is known for its beer, I decided that there are plenty of guides devoted to that, so I’m focusing on spirits, because I’m much more of a cocktail girl myself. At this stop you can take a tour of the distillery and enjoy a tasting of House Spirits offerings as well as a cocktail tasting (you know I was here for that!). They no longer have their delicious gin available on location (you may have heard of it…Aviation gin…as in the brand that was just snapped up by Mr. Ryan Reynolds himself), but they still make it and their White Dog Whiskey and Volstead Vodka are definitely well-loved at our house. My favorite from the tasting was the Rhubarb & Rose cocktail. Two thumbs up!

 

Act like kids at OMSI

 

 

If you’ve got kids along on your ride, OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) is a super fun stop, but there’s still plenty to offer grownups as well. Indulge your inner science nerd as you peruse all the cool exhibits, or better yet plan your trip around one of their ​OMSI After Dark events​, where they have adult-centric science themes (think: the science of beer brewing)once the museum closes down for the day.

 

Go by train! Oregon Rail Heritage Museum

 

 

We didn’t stop at the Oregon Rail Heritage Museum on our outing, but it’s super fun with kids and right up the way from OMSI, so I wanted to include it for good measure. If you’ve got a railroad enthusiast in your life, this place will be their jam. You can tour the locomotives and train paraphernalia in the museum and on Saturdays they do a 45 minute round trip train ride along the Willamette River and Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge (another great bike ride for next time!). We did this for my son’s birthday and it was a total hit, even for the adults! Also, the pale, pistachio green doors make for a nice Instagram backdrop. Just sayin’.

 

Cruise across Tilikum Crossing + See the sights from the Aerial Tram

 

 

Across the street from the Rail museum is ​Tilikum Crossing​: Bridge of the People. It’s the largest car-free bridge in the U.S. Utilized by the Portland Streetcar, MAX, buses, pedestrians and cyclists it’s a great place to transfer around to other parts of town, but it’s also just a handful of blocks from the ​Aerial Tram​ where you can get a 360 degree aerial view of Portland in all its glory. You can park your bike at the bottom (bike parking abounds) and take the tram up to OHSU (Portland’s world-renowned teaching hospital) where the views are stunning and you can take them in as you stroll through their zen healing garden.

 

Delicious Allergy-Friendly Eats at Bollywood Theater + Eb & Bean

 

Once you take in all the sites from the tram, you can head back across the Tilikum Bridge  and over to SE Division (my favorite street in Portland!) for some delicious eats. Honestly, there are SO many tasty things to eat on Division so you’ll be able to find anything you’ve got a hankering for (other spots we love there: ​Pok Pok​, ​Salt & Straw​, Stella Taco​, ​Lauretta Jeans​), but ​Bollywood Theater​ and ​Eb & Bean​ are my favorites. Bollywood Theater has delicious Indian street food and there are plenty of vegan offerings (this is one place that vegans and non-vegans alike can love…all my allergy friends and I choose this spot for our meet ups, because there’s something for everyone). Try the Vada Pav AKA, the “Poor Man’s Burger of Mumbai” or the Kati Roll! After your meal you can head next door to ​Eb & Bean​ to enjoy some froyo for dessert. As someone who can’t do much dairy (tummy troubles), Eb & Bean is a godsend – so many delicious dairy-free options. They also have a ton of vegan and gluten-free topping options and pretty much everything is local down to the cookie dough bite toppings!
This loop is perfect for locals OR tourists wanting to see the sights (and eat delicious things!) by bike. Hope you enjoy!

 

 

Summer City Guide: Vol 1 – Austin, TX

May 31st, 2018

Our “Cities By Bike” Series explores some of our favorite places by bike through the eyes of a local. Roll along with us as we follow them through their favorite neighborhoods, sharing the must-visit sites, restaurants, happy hours, and more. Our guide in Austin, TX is Natalie Paramore. Natalie is a longtime Austin resident who… Read more »

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Our “Cities By Bike” Series explores some of our favorite places by bike through the eyes of a local.

Roll along with us as we follow them through their favorite neighborhoods, sharing the must-visit sites, restaurants, happy hours, and more.

Our guide in Austin, TX is Natalie Paramore. Natalie is a longtime Austin resident who spends her days as a freelance writer, photographer, and public relations consultant. In her free time she loves to find the best food around and shares it on her blog, NatalieParamore.com, and social channels, @NatalieParamore. Her passion for all things beautiful and delicious make her the perfect person to show us around Austin!


Welcome to Austin! We may be known for our breakfast tacos, live music and our generally cool vibe but there are still a few things to discover about our town. In the past few years Austin has become even more bike friendly, adding lots of bike lanes, not to mention it’s a great way to skip the traffic and see more of the town! I teamed up with PUBLIC Bikes to hit a few of my favorite, local spots in town!

 

 

It’s no secret that Austin summers are HOT so keep that in mind when you’re planning to head out on your bike and tour the town. Here are a few things I, and any local would, suggest taking with you:

  • WATER. The biggest bottle you can find that’ll fit on your bike or in your backpack.
  • SUNSCREEN. It’s important and you’ll get sweaty so reapply!
  • SUNGLASSES AND/OR HAT. You’ll need these no matter what time of day!
  • TOWEL OR FACE WIPE. You might want to towel off or freshen up after your ride.

 

S. 1st Austin Bike Tour

As a longtime resident of 78704, I have seen how much this area has changed over the last decade. South Congress is still a cool place during the week but on the weekends it’s crawling with tourists. Just a hop, skip and short bike ride away is my favorite street: S. 1st! You might have already heard of the popular Elizabeth Street Café and Primo’s breakfast tacos stand but there are a few gems that still have that local vibe!

 

Guac + Margs at Fresa’s

 

 

Start your ride off by fueling up at Fresa’s on S. 1st. They have a great patio and bike parking. Depending on the time of day, you can grab breakfast tacos in the morning, guac and tacos for lunch or margaritas and homemade ice creams in the afternoon!

 

Take a Spin on Lady Bird Lake

 

 

Take off down S. 1st towards the river and take a spin around Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail. Cross the S. 1st bridge for a great spot to take an Instagram photo then loop back around and head towards S. 1st

 

Art for the People

 

 

Stop at Art for The People and check out their unique gallery and

unique artisan marketplace for a truly #KeepAustinWeird experience.

 

Take a Digital Postcard at The Greeting from Austin Mural

 

 

Just across the street is the famous Greetings from Austin mural and no trip to Austin would be complete without getting a photo here!

 

Happy Hour at Lenoir

 

 

Finally, take off down S. 1st a few more blocks to Lenoir. Cool off in their shady garden, grab a glass of rosé and listen to some live music. They have a great wine selection and healthy-ish happy hour snacks.

 

Whether you’re a local or coming for a visit to Austin, hope you can hop on a bike this summer and tour the town!

 

 

Reconquest of the Seine – Biking in Paris

March 17th, 2017

Written by PUBLIC founder, Rob Forbes “We are leading a more global fight against the monopoly held by cars in our city and in our lives,” declares Hidalgo. “We want to create a peaceful city, free from the hegemony of private cars, to give public transit, bicycles, and pedestrians their rightful places. Reducing car traffic… Read more »

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Written by PUBLIC founder, Rob Forbes

biking in paris

By Pline, CC BY-SA 3.0 via wikimedia.

“We are leading a more global fight against the monopoly held by cars in our city and in our lives,” declares Hidalgo. “We want to create a peaceful city, free from the hegemony of private cars, to give public transit, bicycles, and pedestrians their rightful places. Reducing car traffic will help make Paris more pleasant and more full of life.”
– Anne Hidalgo, Major of Paris, France

I just returned from Paris having not been there for almost ten years. I went to see the sights, check-in on the Parisian biking scene and see how the Velib city bike sharing program was holding up. When Velib launched in 2007 it was radical and exciting.  It became a model for many cities to follow and was one of my biggest inspirations for PUBLIC bikes.

biking in paris

In the ten years since its launch, the Velib system has done nothing but improve. In my opinion, it leads the modern world in age, reach, efficiency and elegance. When you’re biking around Paris you see people of all ages and backgrounds using the Velib bikes in all corners of the city. The amount and diversity of riders in Paris is also likely because the bike lanes there are more extensive and respected there.

biking in paris

Major of Paris, Anne Hidalgo. By I. Rcsmit, CC BY-SA 3.0 via wikimedia.

The Velib bikes themselves, as well as the stations they are housed in, are kept in great shape.  The bikes are neutral in color which keeps them from becoming an eyesore.  When you are in Paris you want to look at the public spaces, architecture, parks, fashionable Parisians, not at the bikes.

biking in Paris

A PUBLIC Bike spotted on Rue De Rivoli in Paris, France.

Like fashion and architecture, why does Paris pull off the city bike system so well when other cities can’t get it right?

There are numerous cultural and historic reasons.  Paris is blessed with an amazing urban design and a democratic public consciousness that dates back to the 19th century when Napoleon III gave Baron Hausmann the nod to redesign the city. Paris is respected internationally for its layout like no other modern city.  It enforces strict building codes and constraints that help keep capitalist developers in check.  Parisians are lovers of beauty and fiercely protective of their “look and feel.”

biking in paris

That said, in the late 20th century, Paris suffered mightily from the influx of cars and suburban commuters that brought a surge of traffic and pollution to the city. Thus, in 2007 Paris embarked on various campaigns to take back the city. It implemented bike lanes to help improve traffic congestion, continued the growth of its elegant and cheap Metro, reserved parking for e-cars, built special taxi-only lanes and so on.

hidalgo

Major of Paris, Anne Hidalgo. By Von Inès Dieleman via wikimedia.

The city even closed some major central thoroughfares to improve the pedestrian flow and rallied behind other initiatives such as the “reconquest of the Seine” led by mayor Anne Hidalgo, the first woman elected mayor of Paris. Hidalgo was elected in 2014 and has earned broad respect across political lines despite her Socialist background. She’s doing for Paris what Michael Bloomberg and Janette Sadik-Khan did for New York .

biking in paris

Today, France is undergoing much of the same political uncertainty that we’re facing in the USA, and it has a major election coming up in April.  But seeing the positive social change that is taking place in Paris reminds us that acting locally may be the best solution to this uncertainty. Mayors make a difference.

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.