What Would Bill Cunningham Say About The Yellow Jersey?

June 29th, 2016

Written by PUBLIC Founder, Rob Forbes The Tour de France begins this Saturday, July 2 from the foot of Mont Saint-Michel, and we will all be treated to three weeks of extraordinarily beautiful French countryside, fierce competition by amazing athletes, those wild outfits with polka dots and logos, along with the celebrated iconic race leader… Read more »

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Written by PUBLIC Founder, Rob Forbes

bill cunningham bike new york

Image by Matthew Tichenor via flickr.

The Tour de France begins this Saturday, July 2 from the foot of Mont Saint-Michel, and we will all be treated to three weeks of extraordinarily beautiful French countryside, fierce competition by amazing athletes, those wild outfits with polka dots and logos, along with the celebrated iconic race leader yellow jersey. The race ends in Paris, the fashion capital of the world, where heroes are crowned, and legendary figures such as Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, and Greg LeMond earned their reputations.

One of my cycling heroes, lesser known in biking circles, but an icon in the New York fashion scene died this past Saturday. Bill Cunningham was 87 when he passed away.

Cunningham documented street and couture fashion for decades, often from one of his city bikes. He does not hold any records for speed and was never spotted wearing racing spandex, but he possibly holds the record as the person with more bikes stolen or wrecked than any other individual (over 30!). Cunningham was one of the most influential people in fashion. He was both adored and feared by fashion designers and loved by the public for his iconic weekly column in The New York Times.

bill cunningham new york bike

Image by Anthony Fine via flickr

This documentary on him, Bill Cunningham New York is epic and well worth a watch. It captures an utterly unique individual, someone with a rich and varied life story who never sold out to the commercial forces of his industry. As Bill said, “If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do. That’s the key to the whole thing”.

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Image by Robert King via flickr

What would Bill Cunningham say about the Yellow Jersey? Who cares? 🙂 But isn’t it wonderful that we have such bike heroes like Bill Cunningham impressing us from the streets of New York, not just the acclaimed bike racers pedaling through the windy, steep Pyrenees?

 

Napa Valley Vine Trail Will Connect Napa Valley Communities

June 22nd, 2016

Napa Valley is known for world-class wine and food. The region is a popular tourist destination, but most people explore Napa Valley by car even though the beautiful scenery and weather is perfect for biking. Thankfully, the amazing Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition is a grassroots organization working to fund, construct, and support “47 safe… Read more »

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Napa Valley Vine Trail 1

Image by Tubay Yabut Photography.

Napa Valley is known for world-class wine and food.

The region is a popular tourist destination, but most people explore Napa Valley by car even though the beautiful scenery and weather is perfect for biking.

Thankfully, the amazing Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition is a grassroots organization working to fund, construct, and support “47 safe and scenic miles of level, paved, family-friendly, pet-friendly, free-access Class I trail, stretching from Vallejo’s Ferry to Calistoga.”

This Vine Trail would connect many Napa Valley communities from Vallejo to Calistoga and allow both residents and tourists to follow Highway 29 and existing Wine Train tracks.

Napa Valley Vine Trail 2

Image by Tubay Yabut Photography.

PUBLIC was proud to support the Vine Trail by providing 80+ customized Green PUBLIC V7 bikes to winners of a 2015 Vine Trail auction package.

Napa Valley Vine Trail 3

Image by Tubay Yabut Photography.

On June 1, many of these winners went on a preview guided ride from Kennedy Park in Napa to Yountville on their customized PUBLIC bikes where they also enjoyed a delicious lunch by chef Michael Chiarello at Bottega Ristorante.

Take a look at some photos from their ride.

Napa Valley Vine Trail

Image by Tubay Yabut Photography.

Napa Valley Vine Trail

Image by Tubay Yabut Photography.

Napa Vally Vine Trail -02

Image by Tubay Yabut Photography.

We interviewed Philip Sales, Executive Director of Napa Valley Vine Trail, to learn more about the Napa Valley Vine Trail:

Right now, what kinds of people bike in Napa Valley and what kind of infrastructure are they riding on? And once Napa Valley Vine Trail is completed, what changes do you anticipate seeing?

I cycled the Napa Valley on the very first “Backroads” Bike Tour of Napa Valley in 1981. My friend Tom Hale had just started “Backroads”. At that time Highway 29, which connects the Valley, was busy but nothing like the traffic we have today. Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail (a county road, not a trail!) are still the only north-south routes for most cyclists but traffic speeds are fast and there are inadequate shoulders in many places. Coupled with the facts that we have 3 million tourists unfamiliar with the area and distracted drivers, these routes are not for the faint of heart. You really need to be a confident and experienced cyclist. Sadly, there have been several fatalities involving cyclists on both the Silverado Trail and SR29, most recently last week where an experienced cyclist was killed.

The 47-mile Vine Trail is a game changer and a transformational project. Being a separate trail, wide enough for both pedestrians and cyclists, the Vine Trail it will provide a safe alternative for locals and visitors. The first 12.5- mile phase from Kennedy Park in Napa to Yountville provides a corridor which connects communities, downtown, retail, hotels and schools. Over 18,000 students from K-12 and the Napa Community College attend schools within half a mile of the new trail. We want this trail to be a place you would feel comfortable sending your kids to school on.

Our next phase of the Vine Trail, for which we assisted the Napa Valley Transportation Authority secure a $6.1 million grant, will connect the cities of Calistoga and St Helena with Bothe Napa State Park. Over 1.5 million tourists visit that upper part of Napa Valley. We believe that this next project will provide a safe alternative to driving in that very constrained and busy corridor.

napa valley vine trail

To make the Napa Valley Vine Trail a reality, it requires cooperation between the public, private, and nonprofit sector. Why do you think people from different sectors are drawn to this project and what are the major opportunities and challenges when a project involves so many players to implement?

The Vine Trail is a unique public-private partnership. Public agencies are often strapped by budget constraints and lack of staff. Our role is not just to be merely an advocate but a true partner and make this project a success for everyone. We have had great support from all the cities, the two counties (Napa and Solano) Agriculture, the Wine industry and the Tourism industry. Our Board has representatives from over thirty organizations ranging from the Arts to the Sherriff’s office. Our Board understands that this is a transformational project and a legacy we can leave for the future residents and visitors to the beautiful Napa Valley.

The Vine Trail Coalition not only provides philanthropic funds, but we have assisted agencies with grant writing (we have raised over $12 million in federal and state grants in the past four years). We can move faster as a nimble organization consisting of 1.5 full time staff. We also do a lot of the planning. I am a licensed Landscape Architect and have been involved in trail and park planning for over forty years. I prepared the original feasibility study in 2008 and so have been intimately involved in the project since day one. We supervise engineering, prepare feasibility studies, negotiate right of way easements from willing property owners, developed an interpretive signage program, which we will be unveiling in July, celebrating Napa Valley heritage, culture and history. We are involved in developing programs for Health, Arts and Education on the Vine Trail. Most recently, as the Vine Trail Coalition, we took on a major construction project with the city of Napa of half a mile of the trail including installing an 83- foot long prefabricated bridge. We completed that project in sixty- five days in time for the preview ride. We did so because our primary public sector partner, the Napa Valley Transportation Authority was not able to. We now own a bridge which we will soon be giving to the City of Napa.

Our biggest challenge is that the Vine Trail crosses through thirteen different public jurisdictions (cities, town, counties, special districts, State Parks, Caltrans and Napa College), each with their own set of rules, philosophies and budgetary challenges. As the Vine Trail Coalition we do not own any of the trail and so we have to encourage the different entities to work together. In Napa Valley, the Vine Trail connects tall the jurisdictions like no other project. It is important to see the Vine Trail as a single “brand” and an identity which unites. We have prepared a Trail Maintenance White Paper which we hope to get everyone on the same page.

To address budgetary issues, the Vine Trail Coalition has set up a Maintenance fund endowment of $1.3 million which will help fund maintenance and long term repairs. Our goal is to grow that fund to $7.5 million by the time the 47 miles are complete. This is a totally unique approach. I am unaware of any other trail organization which has done this.

What are the next key milestones in 2016 to move this Napa Valley Vine Trail project forward?

We are thrilled to have received the $6.1 million grant to construct the 9- mile Vine Trail from Calistoga to St Helena. It was the largest single grant awarded in the nine Bay Area counties and a testament of how visionary this project is and how we can deliver what we say we can. The goal is to complete this section by 2020.

We are also working with property owners to close the gap between St Helena and Yountville. We hope to have some exciting news on this later this year.

Through our partner at Solano county transportation Authority and city of Vallejo we are applying for grant funds to complete the Vine Trail between the City of Vallejo and the City of American Canyon. The City of American Canyon is constructing a quarter mile section of the Vine Trail this summer.

How can someone living in Napa Valley or outside Napa Valley support this effort?

The Vine Trail has to raise $2.5 million in private funding for the Calistoga to St Helena phase of this project and $800,000 towards the connection of American Canyon and Vallejo phase. If people would like to become one of our funding partners you can contact us at (707) 252 3547 or through our web site at vinetrail.org. We appreciate all donations. Also like us on Facebook and keep up to date with our progress.

10 Best Bike Gear Gifts For Dad

June 9th, 2016

As much as we love our fathers, let’s admit it—occasionally, they wear embarrassing things and use questionable biking gear. To reconcile the men that we love with the way they deserve to look, feel, and bike around town, we’ve compiled the 10 best bike gear gifts for biking dads. This Father’s Day, send your dad… Read more »

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best bike gear roundup for biking dads fathers day
As much as we love our fathers, let’s admit it—occasionally, they wear embarrassing things and use questionable biking gear. To reconcile the men that we love with the way they deserve to look, feel, and bike around town, we’ve compiled the 10 best bike gear gifts for biking dads. This Father’s Day, send your dad pedaling down the street in style—no cringing required.
best bike gift trinity bicycle helmet
1. To avoid the cost factor inherent in some sporty, ventilated helmets, the Giro Trinity Road Helmet offers a sleek alternative in black or titanium. These dark tones make the head look streamlined. With an in-mold shell, your dad will be protected against the open road.


2. For the dad who appreciates a fine piece of craftsmanship, the handcrafted Spurcycle Black Bell makes a sound much larger than it looks. Designed to fit any handlebar and crafted out of premium brass and steel, this stunning bell should please any design aficionado.  


best bike gear cycle hand pump

3. Traveling cyclists will appreciate the Crank Brothers Sterling Short Pump with Gauge. Unlike most mini pumps, this compact device comes with a pressure gauge. That way, when your father is far down the open road, he won’t have to worry about overinflating and popping his own tires.


best bike gear ortlieb pannier bicycle bag

4. Many bicycle lovers often dream of and save up for their ideal pair of panniers. You might make your dad’s day with the Ortlieb Back Roller Plus Waterproof Panniers, which would enable him to go camping with 40 liters of packing space. The durable, waterproof fabric will ensure all his gear stays safe in even the most rugged terrain.


best bike gear bicycle multi-tool

5. Put your mind at ease knowing that your dad can handle any setback on the road with the Crank Brothers Multi Tool 10. This strong “Swiss Army knife” for bikers should tackle most mechanical issues along the way.


best bike gear fortified bicycle theft proof light set

6. If Dad’s forgetful (and, well, who among us an hasn’t neglected to take their lights off their bike and had them swiped?) then this is the light set for him. The Fortified Theft Proof Aviator Headlight & Afterburner Taillight Set can be locked to a bike with an allen key. Weather-proof and lightweight, these lights can be ignored—until your dad needs them.


best bike gear brooks bicycle leather saddle

7. For the father who could use an upgraded seat, the Brooks B17 Bike Saddle will stay with him for years. As he breaks in the leather and it becomes more comfortable, he’ll always think of you when he takes off on a cushy trip.


best bike gear coffee cup bicycle bottle holder

8. The dad who loves both coffee and biking will adore the PUBLIC Trieste Coffee Cup Holder. Now, he can travel along with his favorite cup of java—or taste something new on a spur-of-the-moment adventure. No special mug required and works great for both hot and cold beverages.


best bike gear smartphone handlebar bicycle holder

9. For the dad who isn’t ashamed to ask for directions, the Nite Ize HandleBand Smartphone Holder will allow him to securely hold his phone against his handlebars. As he follows his route on a map, he can continue to touch and use his phone with the open design of this case. Special dad bonus: The aluminum backing contains a bottle opener.


best bike gear république special edition roadster bike

10. To all-out splurge on your dad, buy him a brand new bike! The PUBLIC V7 Special Edition Bike, The Republique. It’s a gorgeous roadster outfitted with the premium Brooks B17 Leather Saddle and PUBLIC Porteur Front Rack. Upgrades that might even inspire an out-of-practice cyclist to get back in the saddle again.  

Los Angeles, You Just Got A Lot Cooler (and Greener)

May 27th, 2016

On Friday, May 20, Los Angeles debuted a game-changing new public transit station. The new Metro Expo rail station in downtown Santa Monica is located just a few walking blocks from the beach. For the first time in 63 years, you can now take rail service from downtown Los Angeles to the beach. Once again,… Read more »

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On Friday, May 20, Los Angeles debuted a game-changing new public transit station. The new Metro Expo rail station in downtown Santa Monica is located just a few walking blocks from the beach.

For the first time in 63 years, you can now take rail service from downtown Los Angeles to the beach. Once again, LA is proving that it doesn’t deserve such a bad rap when it comes to transportation.

The local elected Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, featured in the above video, points out all the obvious reasons why this new rail extension will be a success.

And from first-hand account, it already is a huge success. PUBLIC’s Santa Monica retail store is located at 2714 Main St only a 15 minute bike ride from the Santa Monica Metro station.

To celebrate the new Metro Expo Line Grand Opening this past weekend, PUBLIC Bikes Santa Monica partnered with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Sustainable Streets, Breeze Bike Share, and the Santa Monica Bike Center for a city-wide Santa Monica Bike + Train Tour.

What exactly is a “Bike + Train Tour” you might ask?

We took 50 participants, via Breeze Bike Share bikes, on a bike ride to Bergamot Station (led by Certified League Cycling Instructors!) to experience the brand new Expo Line. It was a great way to show people how easy it is to ride a bike – whether their personal one or a Breeze Bike Share bike – to connect with rail serve.

We started out checking in registered participants at our PUBLIC Santa Monica store throughout the day. Each participant got a free helmet and goodie bag.

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Once everyone was set up, we showed them how to unlock and use Breeze Bike Share bikes, which are located all over Santa Monica, including a station just a few blocks from PUBLIC Bikes Santa Monica. There are convenient Breeze Bike Share stations at each of the three new metro stops in Santa Monica so it’s easy to connect bikes with rail service.

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We then started riding through town to showcase some of the great bicycle infrastructure, including this two-way protected bike lane that runs through the middle of Pico Blvd.

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We rode along the green bike lane on Michigan Ave.

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We dropped off our Breeze Bike Share bikes at the new Bergamot/26th Street Metro station to head west to the new downtown Santa Monica Metro station.

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The new Metro line to the beach is so successful that during peak times, it will likely be packed with riders wanting to avoid having to drive. The good news is that with high ridership, Metro will need to add capacity and frequency to accommodate more people making the switch to rail service.

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One of the only downsides we noticed with the new Metro line is the train car capacity to handle bicycles. When the train is not full, it’s easy to bring your bike onto the train. But when it’s full, there aren’t any train cars dedicated to bike parking.

Until this happens, it will be a challenge to bring your own bicycle on the train to the beach on a busy, crowded weekend day. This is unfortunate given that one of the main advantages of rail service to Santa Monica is the opportunity to bring your own bicycle – possibly your own PUBLIC bike! – on the train and then riding your bike along the beach or elsewhere in the westside of Los Angeles County.

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The beautiful new downtown Santa Monica Metro station is located just a few blocks from the beach. And it’s just a 15 minute bus ride or Breeze Bike ride away from our PUBLIC Bikes Santa Monica store at 2714 Main Street.

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We even spotted a PUBLIC bike parked at the Santa Monica metro station.

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Outside the Santa Monica Metro station is an all-way pedestrian scramble intersection that allows large numbers of pedestrians to safely cross the main intersection next to the station.

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And there are new wide sidewalks and protected bike lanes that allow people to safely and comfortably connect from the beach or downtown to the Metro Station.

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Our successful Bike + Train tour reminded us of some very important lessons about public transit, bike share and urban planning. The key is to make things easy and accessible to a wide array of people. We saw lots of potential in terms of the “last mile” connection between this new Metro station, bike share, and bus lines to assist people to get to where they want to go.

It was exciting to see how many people will be taking advantage of this game-changing transit extension. When you ride a bike, it usually means “One Less Car” on the road.

With this Metro extension, everyday literally thousands of cars will be removed from Los Angeles streets because people have a convenient option to get to the beach, downtown Santa Monica, or some nearby destination.

Los Angeles, you just got a lot cooler – and greener.

Bike to Work in Style, Commute Like a European

May 19th, 2016

In the United States, we tend to be hard on ourselves about our rate of biking to work compared to Europe. However, we have reason to celebrate during this Bike to Work month. In America, the ranks of cycling commuters are only growing: our numbers rose about 60 percent throughout the aughts, from 488,000 bike… Read more »

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In the United States, we tend to be hard on ourselves about our rate of biking to work compared to Europe. However, we have reason to celebrate during this Bike to Work month. In America, the ranks of cycling commuters are only growing: our numbers rose about 60 percent throughout the aughts, from 488,000 bike commuters in the year 2000 to roughly 786,000 in 2008–2012, according to the US Census. More recently, biking to work has continued to trend upwards from 2006 to 2013 among workers of all income brackets.

bike to work bicycle commute

Although our patterns of bike commuting are looking rosy, we in the United States still have plenty to learn from Europe so that everyday people cycle as a matter of habit across the nation. Here’s how pedaling commuters get to work in style in the two cities with some of the highest rates of bicycling.

bike to work bicycle commute

Image via Wikimedia Commons

COPENHAGEN, Denmark

In Copenhagen, almost half of the population cycles to their school or office. We can glean some infrastructure lessons—as well as style tips—from Denmark’s bike to work culture.

bike to work bicycle commute

Image by Tony Webster via flickr

Infrastructure ingenuity

  • Only one percent of Copenhageners mention the environment as the reason they ride. Most of them do it because it’s the easiest way to scoot around town. Strong cycling infrastructure makes the choice obvious.
  • Traffic lights are coordinated for bicycles, not cars.
  • When it snows, bike lanes have priority for cleaning before roads. No wonder the majority of commuters still cycle through Copenhagen’s white winters.
  • City planners made bike lanes the most direct routes to the city center, according to the Guardian.
  • Footrests and railings allow riders to stop at a light without hopping off their seats. (Seattle recently added these—go Seattle!)
bike to work bicycle commute

Image by Bimbimbikes via Flickr

Cycling style

  • Copenhageners prefer bike baskets, storing their work supplies in a way that keeps the burden off their backs.
  • Personalizing the baskets with flowers and stickers gives cyclists a personal connection with their ride.
  • The baskets can be easily taken off the front handlebars, allowing for shopping and moving around.
  • Comfy saddles are standard. Brooks leather saddles can be seen around Copenhagen.
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By Jorge Royan via Wikimedia Commons

AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands

About 63 percent of Amsterdammers bike every day. Cycling to work is in their DNA. Here’s how it happened.

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Image by Apoikola via Wikimedia Commons

Infrastructure ingenuity

  • Dutch bike lanes are wide enough to allow for side-by-side biking, according to the BBC, allowing you to chat with your “bikepool” buddy.
  • Many cycling routes are offset from cars and the rest of the road, making commuters feel safe.
  • Bicyclists are treated as the first-class citizens they deserve to be. You’ll find signs that read: “Bike Street: Cars are guests.”
bike to work bicycle commute

Image by TCP via flickr.

Cycling style

  • Dutch children start biking as babies in cargo bikes, called bakfiets in Dutch.
  • Bikers don’t consider cycling a lifestyle choice. Rather, it’s a default mode. As such, their bikes aren’t consumer accessories to show off a subculture, but workaday vehicles, according to the BBC. In such a culture, cycling might seem more accessible to the rich and poor alike.
  • Sliding wheel locks allow for cyclists to quickly secure their bike and hop into the coffee shop on their ride to work.
  • Popular dynamo headlights are powered by pedaling—so you don’t have to remember to recharge them or replace the batteries.
  • Commuters bike to work in skirts and heels like it ain’t no thang, thanks to the predominance of Dutch-style step-through bikes. Seeing others do it all the time makes it seem natural… so why not start the trend in your city?

Increasing the number of bike commuters in the United States will have to be a joint effort between policymakers and the people on the streets. Start today to create the cycling culture you’d like to live in: Write a letter to your local representative to prioritize bike infrastructure. Then, slip on your high heeled shoes, put your laptop in your bike basket, and cycle to work with a smile. You might inspire someone else to do the same.

Black Girls Do Bike Inspires Women To Cycle

May 16th, 2016

PUBLIC is proud to support Black Girls Do Bike and their efforts to promote healthier lifestyles. We interview founder Monica Garrison below. Also learn more about the upcoming June 10-12 Black Girls Do Bike’s first National Event in Atlanta. PUBLIC Interview With Monica Garrison, founder of Black Girls Do Bike What was the inspiration behind… Read more »

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Black Girls Do Bike

PUBLIC is proud to support Black Girls Do Bike and their efforts to promote healthier lifestyles. We interview founder Monica Garrison below. Also learn more about the upcoming June 10-12 Black Girls Do Bike’s first National Event in Atlanta.

PUBLIC Interview With Monica Garrison, founder of Black Girls Do Bike

Black Girls Do Bike Monica Garrison

What was the inspiration behind launching Black Girls Do Bike? Tell us about coming up with the name.

The inspiration came after re-discovering how much I enjoyed the simple act of riding my bike in the spring and summer of 2013. I was reaping the physical and mental benefits and my children were joining me and learning to survive without their electronic devices. In my travels I quickly realized that there were very few women who looked like me out riding.

BlackGirlsDoBike.com was an attempt to seek out like minded women who had a passion for cycling but also to inspire those bike-curious lady who were just an obstacle away from cycling regularly. I chose to state it in the affirmative, “Black girls do bike!” as if to say that each time a women of color takes a ride she is reaffirming this truth to herself and to others.

Tell us more how Black Girls Do Bike is currently structured across the country and how volunteer leaders communicate and support each other?

Each of our chapters is led by a lady volunteer who we affectionately call a Shero. Each Shero at some point reached out to me with a desire to encourage more women in their community to ride bicycles. They lead rides, moderate their city’s individual Facebook group pages, network with local bike shops and bike/ped organizations and seek to be an overall voice of positivity and encouragement.

Internally all of our Sheroes are part of a secret Facebook group that we use to support one another in this endeavor. We offer praise, advice, frustrations and suggestions for success. We also have a Shero only password protected website with all the need to know stuff.

Black Girls Do Bike

What has surprised you about the being recognized and involved as a voice in the national bicycle advocacy movement?

The funny thing is that 4 years ago I didn’t even own a bike and had never participated in an organized bike ride of any sort. What I had was a desire to ride and that has set me on a truly life changing journey. It has been such a whirlwind for the past couple of years to be at the helm of such an amazing organization.

Now I find myself mentioned as a voice in the national bike advocacy movement. I am much more comfortable being considered a voice in the national women’s advocacy movement. Either way we are busy in the work of empowering women with the help of bicycles.

Black Girls Do Bike

Tell us about your upcoming June 10-12 National Meetup “We Ride Together” in Atlanta? What do you hope to accomplish?

Our main goal is to make a mark on the Atlanta Tour De Cure by having a large presence and raising a lot of money for a great cause. Diabetes affects African American families and specifically AA women at disproportionately high rates so for many of us this is personal.

Black Girls Do Bike

We chose Atlanta as the spot for our first national meetup as our chapter there is our largest with more than 1200 supporters. The weekend will consist of three days of bike related events. REI CoOp has pitched in to help with the needs of our ladies who are traveling in from out of town and will need their bikes assembled.

Civil Bikes has offered our members discounted rates on bike related historic tours around the city. The weekend will end with a celebration in the form of a relaxed recovery ride along the Atlanta Beltline. We will end up at Piedmont Park with a luncheon and festivities to be held at the beautiful Magnolia Hall. We have more than 15 sponsors so our giveaways at this event will be epic.

Black Girls Do Bike

Some of the main reasons people cite that they don’t bike is that they perceive it as an unsafe or inaccessible activity — dangerous public streets, not enough protected bicycle infrastructure, access to trails and bike paths is far and too infrequent. Are there other obstacles – perceived or real – that you think are specific to encourage more women of color to get on a bike?

I believe there are many points of overlap in terms of why people shy away from riding bikes. Many women of color are overweight or obese and those with negative body image issues are less likely to try a new form of exercise with people they don’t know or trust. Our offer to include riders of all levels in our groups rides, which are “no women left behind”, can help those who might not want to tackle new and unfamiliar activity on their own. A friendly Shero who is willing to accompany a new rider to the local bike shop and help her navigate decisions of what type of bike and accessories to purchase can be invaluable. Surprising many women did not learn to ride in childhood so they are even more apprehensive to start as an adult.

Black Girls Do Bike

What’s next for Black Girls Do Bike after the National Meetup? What other initiatives, events, and partnerships are you looking forward to?

We are also working on a process to have all of our leadership formerly become certified ride leaders by developing our own course or taking advantage of an education program already in place. We have been contacted by some big names in the cycling community who want to help us further the reach and mission of BGDB. So we plan to pursue those leads and form some strategic partnerships.

Black Girls Do Bike

I like the idea of having BGDB ladies from all over the country converge on different cycling events to increase our visibility. Events like NYC’s 5 Boro Bike Tour, Alabama’s Bo Bikes Bama, Maryland’s Seagull Century the Tour de Cure series and many more. If our national meet up this June does what it seeks to accomplish, we may make this a biennial event.

Fit, Safety And Why You Should Replace Your Bike Helmet Every 5 Years

May 10th, 2016

Maybe you’re on the hunt for just the right bike helmet, or perhaps you’re already rocking the one you love. Whatever the case may be, these four factors from the Snell Foundation should be taken into consideration whether you’re buying your first helmet and/or ensuring that the one you have fits properly. 1. FIT. Find… Read more »

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01-Helmet-Head

Maybe you’re on the hunt for just the right bike helmet, or perhaps you’re already rocking the one you love. Whatever the case may be, these four factors from the Snell Foundation should be taken into consideration whether you’re buying your first helmet and/or ensuring that the one you have fits properly.

1. FIT. Find a bike helmet that suits both the size and shape of your head. “A helmet should fit comfortably, sit level over the forehead and not have any ‘pressure points’ that would indicate it’s too snug or small,” writes Aaron Glick, a product and purchasing manager at PUBLIC Bikes. “The chin strap should be snug, but allow for a few fingers to fit in between the step and the chin, and allow one to breathe and open their mouth freely.”

bike helmet fit

2. COMFORT. Imagine wearing your bike helmet for hours, and ask yourself if you’d still be comfortable. Does it have enough ventilation? High-quality ventilation will increase the price of your helmet, but if it’ll encourage you to wear your helmet and bike more, it could be worth it. Do you feel any pinching? Better yet: Test drive your helmet for as long as possible, and see how it feels over time.

bike helmet bicycle

3. STYLE. If you look like a motorcycle cop in your helmet, you might not be as psyched about riding your bike. Pick a bike helmet that makes you smile so that you’ll want to wear it. Search for colors and patterns that suit your vibes or coordinate with your wardrobe.

4. SAFETY. The materials in your helmet deteriorate. Your sweat and hair oils erode at the glues and resins in your gear. To make sure your helmet is protecting you to its fullest, you should replace it every five years, according to the helmet safety nonprofit Snell Foundation. Check the age of your own helmet by looking for the manufacturing date, usually found on a sticker on the inside of your helmet.

Your pick of helmet is a personal choice. Just keep it fresh, and you’ll be good to pedal for five more years!

How to Bike with Kids on Mother’s Day—and Beyond

April 30th, 2016

On Mother’s Day, there are countless reasons our moms deserve handwritten cards and brunch. For some of us, those reasons include our fond memories of learning to ride a bike. Our mothers patiently guided us as we graduated from child bike seat to balance bike to kid bike with pedals. Just by watching Mom pedal around town… Read more »

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how to bike with kids child bicycle

On Mother’s Day, there are countless reasons our moms deserve handwritten cards and brunch. For some of us, those reasons include our fond memories of learning to ride a bike. Our mothers patiently guided us as we graduated from child bike seat to balance bike to kid bike with pedals. Just by watching Mom pedal around town herself, some of us learned to value biking for its exercise, convenience and fun factor.

For all those new mothers hoping to shape their children into cyclists, we salute you. Our figurative flowers for you include tips for teaching your kids the rituals of biking. Aside from the obvious habits that apply to all ages—wear a helmet, use hand signals, bike on the right side of the road—these pointers are kid specific.

With this advice, you’ll help your child safely grow from a bike-seat sidekick to a velodrome champion—well, if that’s what they want to be when they grow up. You can also read riding tips we collected from some of our favorite bike-riding Moms.

how to bike with kids child bicycle

The bike seat years: One-year-old to toddler

  • Before you start adventuring around town with your baby in a bike seat, your child should be one year old. They should be able to hold up their own head with a helmet on and not slump over in the bike seat, according to bikeportland.org.
    Choose a comfortable child seat with a sturdy harness. Once the child is old enough to unbuckle things, make sure they know not to escape from their harness mid-ride!
  • Start small and bike on quiet streets for short rides so that both you and your baby get comfortable.
how to bike with kids child bicycle
  • In addition to putting a helmet on your baby, always wear your own helmet to role model safe biking behavior!
  • This tip comes from the blog of PUBLIC C7 rider Joanna Goddard (past interview here): “If you have one young child, I would definitely recommend a front seat. You feel close and connected, since you can easily chat and point at things and see what they’re looking at. Plus, I find that having that extra weight in the front versus the back of the bike is easier for balancing.”
how to bike with kids child bicycle

The balance bike to training wheels years: Three- to seven-years-old or older

  • Consider a balance bike or push bike. A balance bike has no pedals and helps children focus on first learning to balance on two wheels. Once they have mastered the art of balancing they might be able to skip a pedal kids bike with training wheels all together.
  • After a balance bike, if possible, try to encourage your child to try a pedal kids bike without training wheels. By learning to ride without training wheels, your child will learn balance speed. Keep the seat low so your child can put both feet on the ground. Sometimes it’s easier to start on a gentle slope to get the pedal kids bike moving for balancing and then your child can start pedaling.
  • If your child does not have a lot of riding confidence, a pedal kids bike with training wheels is an option. Training wheels don’t help a child learn the importance of balance speed but they can help a less confident rider get going. All of PUBLIC’s smaller 16″ wheel size pedal kids bikes come with optional training wheels. It might sound contrary, but positioning the training wheels a little higher off the ground than you think will actually create more stability for the child when rolling, says PUBLIC product manager, Aaron Glick.
how to bike with kids child bicycle
  • Even though your child is low to the ground, buy your little biker a normal bicycle helmet, labeled with a certification by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Only let your child explore quiet, safe places—away from dangers such as cars and swimming pools.
how to bike with kids child bicycle

The bicycle years: Seven-years-old and beyond

  • Allow your children to graduate from a training wheels only once they’ve gained the necessary sense of balance, usually around five to seven years old.
  • Kids at 10-years-old and younger are safer riding on the sidewalk than on the street, according to Safe Kids.
  • Teach your young cyclist to make eye contact with drivers before crossing an intersection. They should make sure that the driver sees them and is going to stop.
  • Try a bike-to-school route! One adult could potentially lead the way, picking up children along the path to school to join the caravan.
  • Ditch the tandem bike. Children should be able to match your pedalling power before they tandem bike, which might take until they reach age 12, according to Outside Online.
  • For long journeys, consider a trailercycle, advises cyclist Charles Scott. You can store your supplies as well as resting children in your trailer. Once they’re ready, kids can get back on the bike and feel like part of the team.

Once your kids start pedaling, they might know their way around their neighborhood better than those kids who are only driven around in cars, at least one study has shown. The study also indicated that cycling kids have a richer connection with their community; they remember more spaces where they like to play than exclusively car-driven kids.

how to bike with kids child bicycle

In that case, what better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than pedaling around your neighborhood together? You’ll give yourself the gift of fun and exercise—and your children the gift of a more memorable childhood.

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Photography credit goes to the talents of Jetkat Photography. Model credit goes to the beautiful family of Copy Cat Chic. And big thanks to Rebecca Huval for making this post possible.

Santa Monica Store Now Open On Main St

March 10th, 2016

Los Angelenos rejoice! PUBLIC Bikes Santa Monica is now open. This is our first ever Southern California store to serve the greater Los Angeles region. Located at 2714 Main Street, the heart and soul of Santa Monica, the store will serve locals and visitors Monday through Saturday, 11am – 7pm and Sundays, 11am – 6pm. PUBLIC is beyond… Read more »

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PUBLIC Santa Monica

Los Angelenos rejoice!

PUBLIC Bikes Santa Monica is now open. This is our first ever Southern California store to serve the greater Los Angeles region.

Located at 2714 Main Street, the heart and soul of Santa Monica, the store will serve locals and visitors Monday through Saturday, 11am – 7pm and Sundays, 11am – 6pm. PUBLIC is beyond thrilled to finally introduce its urban bikes and stylish gear to the LA scene. The Santa Monica PUBLIC store features our entire collection of PUBLIC bikes for sale and test riding, along with a large variety of PUBLIC accessories and gear.

Visit our PUBLIC Santa Monica store page for details on special in-store promotions going on in March and how you can enter to win a PUBLIC bike!

We’ve written before about why we’re excited to be joining the Santa Monica bike party and our reasons keep growing. Recently, Los Angeles announced it’s newly updated “Mobility Plan 2035” that sets new priorities for safety, access and reliability for all modes of transportation,

Plus, LA is on the verge of a city-wide bicycle movement. Santa Monica recently launched its first ever Bike Share program with great success, and according to the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), more Angelenos are riding their bikes year after year. LA is also building out hundreds of miles of new, protected bicycle lanes, creating a commuter cycling culture that’s helping to shape the future of its communities.

Just a few more reasons why we’re in the Santa Monica state-of-mind and think it’s the perfect time to set up shop in Santa Monica.

We are very excited to tell you what we’ve got in-store for you (did we mention we love a good pun?). PUBLIC Bikes is celebrating its Santa Monica store opening with its first (of many) monthly “Go PUBLIC” bike rides. This inaugural first ride on March 26 is going to be sweet (see, we warned you) because it involves doughnuts! Click on image below for the yummy details.

600-GO-PUBLIC-Ride
Our goal is to make the PUBLIC Santa Monica store a community hub where people come to live, learn and ride. Sign up for our e-mail list below for more details and updates.

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Meet Shaun Boylan, Santa Monica Operations & Event Manager

February 12th, 2016

Our new PUBLIC Santa Monica retail store will be led by fun, creative, energetic bicycle advocates. One of these advocates is Shaun, who we think is also pretty funny – and if you’ve caught his improv shows, you’ll agree. Read below to learn more about Shaun. PUBLIC: Tell us a little about yourself. I am… Read more »

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Our new PUBLIC Santa Monica retail store will be led by fun, creative, energetic bicycle advocates. One of these advocates is Shaun, who we think is also pretty funny – and if you’ve caught his improv shows, you’ll agree. Read below to learn more about Shaun.

PUBLIC: Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a Florida native, born and bred in Palm Beach County, and attended Florida State University. After graduating, I moved to California and have resided in Los Angeles for 6 years now. Before joining PUBLIC, I worked as the Site Manager and Tour Director for the Santa Monica Bike Center, the largest cycling commuter facility in the nation, equipped with showers, lockers, a full & self-service repair shop, bicycle rentals and tours. It’s one of the greatest resources for cyclists in Los Angeles. I am a huge fan of food and have an awfully dangerous sweet tooth. Fun fact: I’ve never had a cavity.

PUBLIC: What do you like best about Los Angeles?
Los Angeles is a melting pot of cultures, creativity, cuisines, activities, lifestyles, and everything in between. The city is a great cultivator for big ideas, artistic expression, and collective endeavors. To top it off, it also has beautiful beaches and phenomenal weather year round, which is why you’ll find me spending the majority of my time on the Westside, near the ocean.

PUBLIC: Tell us some fact or background about yourself that might surprise people.
When I’m not at the PUBLIC store in Santa Monica, you can find me performing at a variety of comedy theaters in Los Angeles, as well as teaching improv at the Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica. I’ve been acting and performing for almost 10 years. It’s a huge passion of mine and I’m afraid I’ll be doing it way past my prime (which probably already happened). If you happen to see one of my shows and had a really bad experience, I’m sorry, and no, I cannot give you a refund.

PUBLIC: What’s your experience riding bikes in Los Angeles?
Before moving to LA, I decided to leave my car behind in Florida, with family instead of hauling it across the country. After arriving in SoCal without my gas-guzzler, I immediately made the decision to purchase a cheap beach cruiser and quickly realized that it was one of the most efficient ways to get around my new home; and while getting around LA without a car is not exactly easy, it’s also not impossible. I found that when biking to work I wasn’t sitting in traffic and worrying about finding a parking spot, which in LA, can turn what should be just a 10-minute drive into a 45-minute ordeal. When it came to short-distance trips, cycling proved to be, for the most part, faster and easier. I was hooked. I’m proud to say that I’ve been car-less ever since, and I’m going on 6 years now!

PUBLIC: What are your favorite routes or places to visit by bicycle in Los Angeles?
Believe it or not, my favorite ride also happens to be one of the most “touristy” rides. Nevertheless, the Santa Monica Beach Bike Path is a beautiful ride that truly defines the character and personality of LA. With its twenty-two miles of dedicated bike path, almost exclusively along the beach, and its gorgeous views of the coast-line, including access to vacation destination beach cities such as Santa Monica, Venice, Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beach, this one-of-a-kind beach path is a “must-do” when visiting LA.

PUBLIC: What are you looking forward to in leading the new PUBLIC Santa Monica store?
Biking changed my life. It helped me to appreciate my surroundings, to care about the earth, to be more aware of my environmental footprint, and to take care of my health. It also empowered me with the freedom and confidence to carve my own path in life, in whichever way works best for me. In leading the new PUBLIC Santa Monica store, I am most looking forward to helping others discover the power of biking.