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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Half Way Is Not Enough

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Images courtesy of Rob Forbes, The Botster and Ipv Delft

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 it is that cyclists are unable to ride the entire expanse of the bridge from the San Francisco to the East Bay. For those unfamiliar, you can only ride half way across!

Once you’re riding across the Bay Bridge you’re treated to a gorgeous, expansive view with incredible vistas that are a treat for tourists and locals alike. Advocacy and support is needed to complete the full bike-vision of the bridge, aka to create a bike lane than spans the entire length of the bridge from Oakland to San Francisco.

Plans appear to be in the works for this, but they are vague. According to Bike East Bay, the bike portion of the east span of the bridge will be fully connected to Yerba Buena Island by 2015. The SF Bike Coalition lists the completion of this span by mid-2016. SFBC also gives a date for a hopeful completion of the west span in 2018, but it appears that much more advocacy and funding is needed.

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 all. 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.

We’ve got good design and great advocacy groups, yet we still seem to get mired in bureaucracy when it comes to creating sustainable means of transportation. If Copenhagen is currently considering creating the 2nd largest bike bridge bridge in the world, connecting Oakland to San Francisco does not seem such a crazy vision.

PUBLIC Talk: Amy Wibowo on Traveling with Bicycle

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

A few years ago Amy Wibowo didn’t even know how to ride a bicycle. But she became motivated to learn when she moved to San Francisco and acquired a pale green Limited Edition PUBLIC Bike that she named Peppermint Patty.

In the last few years, she’s taken Peppermint Patty with her on bike trips to Finland, Copenhagen, Provence, Paris, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and other parts of the Bay Area.

Have you ever wanted to travel with a bicycle but been to worried that it would be too complicated for you, or that you don’t have enough expertise? That’s why we’ve invited Amy to share her story & hopefully inspire some of you to consider incorporating a bicycle into your travels.

We’ll have drinks and snacks to share. Come meet Amy and the PUBLIC gang as we dream up our next vacation.

Learn more about Amy and her blog here.

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

Travel In The World’s Most Bike Friendly Cities.

Tuesday, 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 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.”

Riding The Roads Less Ridden

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Images from top to bottom: A tiny, hidden alley in North Beach; Pops of color in the Bayview; A golden sunset in Sutro Heights; and fly fishing in Golden Gate Park.

You know him through the bikes he develops at PUBLIC, but in his spare time our bike designer, Aaron Glick has been working on a very public side project, biking every single street in San Francisco and tracking it on his GPS. He completed his project just last month and we checked in with him about why in the heck he did it and what he learned.

Aaron has a self-proclaimed fear of getting lost when biking. And part of his motivation for riding every SF road was to overcome this fear, “I thought if I rode every street I would never be lost again, right?” A daily commuter and trail biker, he also thought that because he rode regularly, he had been all over the city. His GPS route data proved otherwise, “I was in a cycling rut. I thought that if I attempted to ride every street I would surely shake things up and discover new routes and interesting places I’d never heard of.” He was also inspired by Brett Lobre, a San Franciscan who had previously tackled riding every road in San Francisco in his Ride Every Road project.

More than just adding a blue line to his GPS tracking, Aaron’s ride connected him to the community around him in a way he wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. “The public housing/projects were some of the most interesting parts of the city to me. Some of them were in awful condition and their confusing street layout and made them feel separated from the more affluent buildings and homes around them.” Others, he found were in prime SF locations atop hills with great views and were exceptionally well-maintained.

His ride also took him through a variety of unusual spots, like hidden gardens in the Bernal Heights neighborhood, congested alleyways in China Town, a recycled art garden in the Bayview and a huge sundial in Ingleside.

Have a question for Aaron about biking? Leave your comment on our blog and Aaron will respond!

 

World Cup. Bikes and Brazil.

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

The World Cup is upon us. Futbol is on the minds of millions around the world. I’m lucky enough to be in Salvador, Brazil right now, taking in the World Cup games as well as the biking culture here.

Like many places around the world, the car dominates and congests the streets in Salvador while bicycling is viewed more as recreation than a means of everyday transportation.

Some World Cup host cities, like Salvador, are encouraging people to bicycle to the games by providing arena bike parking and information on where to locate Bike Salvador bike share stations nearby.

The brightly colored orange Bike Salvador bikes and stations are prominent near central public plazas and greenways. Both men and women use these shared bikes. Even a few streets in Salvador feature separated bikeways with clear signage for bicyclists. These efforts show some level of attention to city bicycling by local officials.

Despite these efforts to encourage bicycling, it’s clear urban bicycling has a ways to go in Brazil. – a similar challenging situation to many other countries around the world including the United States. Yet progress is happening in various smaller and larger Brazilian cities, as our friends from Momentum Magazine published in the article “The Bikes in Brazil: With a booming economy, is Brazil thinking bike?

Salvador is in full World Cup celebration mode right now, emphasized by the heavily decorated plazas and flags strung about everywhere. So while the World Cup is on the minds of Brazil for the next few weeks, I sincerely hope city planners and government officials continue to keep the bicycle in mind when redesigning public streets and spaces. And why not since the bicycle is almost as universal as the world’s love of futbol?

PUBLIC World Cup Correspondent,
Dan

They Don’t Come Back

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Image courtesy of wellandgoodnyc.com

I was in New York earlier this month and rode from my Chelsea hotel through downtown and over the Brooklyn Bridge to visit our dealer, Joe Nocella who runs 718 Cyclery in Brooklyn. Riding in New York keeps getting better and better with excellent signage, more riders and respectful taxi drivers. Well, at least two of those three statements are true. Honestly now, riding in New York is a pleasure compared to most other cities. And riding over the Brooklyn Bridge is epic, even more so than our Golden Gate Bridge because of its history.

Joe’s bike shop, 718 Cyclery is cool – really cool. Joe calls it the “inverted” bike shop, meaning that they turned the concept of the traditional bike store upside down. His innovations range from teaching bike classes, working on bikes with customers, and creating an atmosphere that is super customer friendly, the way your neighborhood café is.

718 Cyclery Inside View

718 Cyclery does high-end custom bikes, everyday city bikes, and everything in between. Joe has been selling a lot of our bikes for years. When I asked him why, he said, “They don’t come back”. Basically, the quality is such that customers don’t return with the quality problems that plague other city bikes. We love getting these compliments, and we love having bike professional like Joe getting our bikes out on the streets where they belong.

We select our bike dealers the way we design our bikes – with great attention to detail. While out bikes rarely “come back” for quality problems, they need servicing and tune ups, and all of us need our local bike shop. For a list of other great dealers click here.

Header image courtesy of wellandgoodnyc.com.

Bikes are Up, Traffic is Down in San Francisco

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

City Leaders and Bike Advocates on Bike to Work Day. Traffic on Bay Bridge.

Many of us accept punishing traffic situations on a daily basis. Traffic can seem as inevitable as having to file your taxes every April. But while we haven’t figured out a better solution for the 1040 form, traffic is a problem that can be solved. Cities all over the world are being reconfigured to be more pedestrian friendly, limiting car traffic by a number of means, with amazing results. The latest news from the SF Chronicle is that commuter traffic has improved all over San Francisco in the past couple years, with fewer cars on the streets and shorter waits at lights. How did San Francisco manage to reduce automobile congestion? We made our streets better for bikes.

According to the Chronicle, car traffic is improving because more residents and commuters are choosing bicycles and public transit, and leaving their cars at home. The number of people biking in San Francisco has doubled since 2006, thanks to the advocacy of the SF Bike Coalition; the city’s improvements in bike infrastructure like green bike lanes, signals, and parking; and bikes like ours that are designed to be easy for all kinds of people to ride.

The new Bay Area Bike Share is a good “last mile” solution for transit riders to get to their final destination, and regional commuter train BART now allows people to bring their own bikes on board during peak commuting hours (finally!). There are many other forces at work to help solve the traffic problems, such as charging more for parking, creating pedestrian zones and congestion pricing, but bikes are proving to provide the most simple and affordable solution.

These bike-positive changes are happening all over the country, from big cities like ChicagoDC and New York to small towns like Edinburg, Texas. And no matter where you live, it’s a movement you can be part of. Joining a state or local bike advocacy group like the California Bike Coalition is a great way to start. And of course, choosing to ride a bike (using the best commuter bike) or take transit instead of driving a car is the easiest way you can curb traffic in your city.

 

Single-Speeds in Rome and at Home

Friday, November 22nd, 2013


I wrote a piece earlier this year that focused on Italian Women biking in Italy, and the biggest difference between Italy and the US might be that you see a lot more women riding on the streets than men.

Lucky for us, we were in Italy again this past month for a two-week residency at the American Academy in Rome to participate in their visiting artist program. If you don’t know about the AAR, and you have serious interest in Italian culture, check them out. It is a remarkable institution that has various programs and is best known for the prestigious Rome Prize that is awarded to academics, designers, and artists. I was there to finish up a book about design found on the streets, and I took special note of the biking scene there. I focused on single-speeds, like the ones we’ve launched this month. They are very common in Rome, a city of Seven Hills, and the fact is that a single-speed bike will work for many of us in almost any urban environment.

Rome is now one of the best walking cities in the world and something of a poster child for the Livable Cities Movement of which PUBLIC is a member in spirit. In recent decades Rome has cleaned up its act by essentially banning cars from many parts of the city. Just two decades ago, cars – and the related noise and pollution – were so bad that it was frequently cited in tourist literature, along with pick pockets, as a dangerous urban element. All that has changed. Rome is now another beacon of optimism for other less progressive cities (like most in the US!)

Rome has actually been known for enlightened public policy dating back to Emperor Hadrian’s rule (117-138 AD) when many social policies were enacted to make the city safe and pleasant for the entire population. So today’s urban reforms have a lengthy tradition. OK, the Dark Ages and 20th Century car frenzy were serious interruptions to that tradition, but we see now that even the oldest cities in the world can adapt to a smarter way of getting around.

Erotic Parking in Japan

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Most of us who get around on bikes everyday are accustomed to improvising parking solutions: a fence, a parking meter, a bridge, or even a tree will do in a pinch. It doesn’t make us happy to struggle to find parking, but we’ve gotten used to it. And then you see a solution like the “Underground Bike Parking in Japan” and you become green with envy. That’s why I use the word “erotic” because it fills me with desire, not for sex, but for public design solutions this sexy. How many more people would ride a bike to work if they knew it could be dropped off and retrieved so elegantly? How much clutter from the streets would we eliminate?

Cities are only going to become more congested and dense as more people move into them. This urban trend is global and unrelenting. Why isn’t the US a leader here? Is it asking too much in our high tech world with engineers behind epic companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter – many of whom ride bikes and live in the city – to work with government officials to come up with some inspiring bike parking solution like what we see in Japan? This is one Kickstarter campaign we would all get behind.

Win a 3-Night Stay at a Kimpton Hotel

Friday, July 19th, 2013

We’re incredibly excited to work with another San Francisco-based company, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, to debut custom Kimpton PUBLIC bikes at all their 60 nationwide boutique hotel properties.

To celebrate we’re giving away a 3-night stay at any Kimpton Hotel.

It’s easy to enter the contest. All you need to do is get your friends to enter the contest by signing up for our newsletter. Deadline to enter is September 30, 2013. Click here for contest details.

You are probably familiar with many of their hotels that exist in many cities across the country. We’re big fans and customers of Kimpton for their shared emphasis on design, high quality food and amenities. We frequently put our guests in their San Francisco properties. Some of our favorite Kimpton properties are the Hotel Monaco in Chicago, the Amara Resort & Spa in Sedona, the Hotel Palomar in San Francisco, and the 70 Park Avenue Hotel in New York. But all of their 60 hotels in 26 cities across the US reflect their commitment to the same high standards and that personal touch of a boutique hotel.

Kimpton has always been considered an industry leader and this program is one further example. They are the first boutique hotel brand with a national presence to offer custom bicycles for hotel guests at every property. You can read the full description of the nationwide Kimpton complimentary bike program here.

The bikes are complimentary for guests’ enjoyment, in keeping with Kimpton’s commitment to health, well-being and sense of fun and adventure. The Kimpton PUBLIC bike will be easy to spot on the street with its custom cherry-red frame with orange and blue accents, cream tires, matching double walled rims, brass bell, and rear basket. The three-speed mixte frame bikes make city riding a fun adventure for novices or expert cyclists alike.

So join the contest, and think about taking a Third Wheel on your next hotel stay at a Kimpton Hotel.

BONUS OFFER FOR PUBLIC CUSTOMERS & FANS
Get two free cocktails for $1. When you book your reservation at any Kimpton Hotel use promo code PUBLIC. For one dollar more than the best available room rate you’ll receive 2 free cocktails per night during your stay. This offer cannot be combined with any other promotions or packages, and some alternatives may apply based on each individual hotel property. Take advantage of this offer between July 22nd – September 30th, 2013 at Kimpton hotels across the country.