Why Does LA Get Such a Bad Rap?

January 28th, 2016

Los Angeles is perpetually slammed by urbanists for being a sprawling, car-centric culture — earmarked by freeways, congestion and poor public transportation. This is an oversimplification. LA was built around the car, but there are amazing new transportation developments taking place. I grew up in Los Angeles right next to the Pasadena Freeway, and I am… Read more »

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LA Bike-Friendly
Los Angeles is perpetually slammed by urbanists for being a sprawling, car-centric culture — earmarked by freeways, congestion and poor public transportation. This is an oversimplification. LA was built around the car, but there are amazing new transportation developments taking place.

I grew up in Los Angeles right next to the Pasadena Freeway, and I am well aware of the changes that have evolved in recent decades. In many communities there has been a sea change of sorts—a move away from the car and a focus on a lifestyle that supports sustainable transportation.

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If you live in parts of the West Side of Los Angeles or have visited recently you can’t help but notice the huge proliferation of all types of bike riders — from weekend road warriors to daily commuters to surfers on cruiser bikes. There are miles of bike lanes along the beach, and a slew of bike rental shops and city bikes for rent.

What I don’t understand is why no one acknowledges that in these parts of the West Side Los Angeles region there appear to be more bike lanes and bike riders than almost anywhere else in California (other than perhaps sections of San Francisco and some college towns). In my opinion, the Santa Monica and Venice areas may be among the best life/work set-ups in California for someone not wishing to commute by car.

Santa Monica just launched a new bike sharing program. And soon there will be a LA Metro line providing train service to Santa Monica. When this Santa Monica station opens, you’ll be able to take your bike on a fast train from downtown LA to within a few blocks from the ocean. Just think – you’ll never be “stuck” in highway traffic if you choose a more accessible, fast public transit option.

CicLavia is the largest open streets event in North America and it’s changing how residents think about transportation and healthy living. You can keep up with the latest in transportation-related news by reading Streetsblog LA.

Just take a look at a few lists of the top “US Cities To Ride” here and here and you’ll find no mention of Los Angeles anywhere. Perhaps this is because we focus on LA’s insatiable appetite for freeways, and simply do not see what’s really going on there in terms of alternative transportation.

In any case, this fuels us even more to prove that the Los Angeles region is thinking differently about transportation with the opening of our PUBLIC Santa Monica shop at 2714 Main Street in mid-March. We’re super excited to be opening up on Main Street to help grow this already booming bike community.

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Rob Forbes
PUBLIC Founder

Wander By Bicycle This Year

January 19th, 2016

Riding a bicycle allows you to feel more connected to the city you’re riding in. You simply see the world differently from behind a handlebar. When on a bike it’s a cinch to stop whenever and wherever you want. If you see a cool cafe or mural you just pull over. No need to worry… Read more »

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Wander By Bicycle
Riding a bicycle allows you to feel more connected to the city you’re riding in. You simply see the world differently from behind a handlebar. When on a bike it’s a cinch to stop whenever and wherever you want. If you see a cool cafe or mural you just pull over. No need to worry about parking or traffic.

There’s nothing better than to explore a new city by bicycle. As you plan your 2016 journeys, here’s a few articles to inspire your wanderlust.

And if you’re looking for tips and information on where to explore by bike in places in select cities, we recommend Bikeabout. Its handy, curated bike guides in North America are created by locals and provide plenty of inspiration.

You might even consider staying at a Kimpton Hotel where all 63+ properties provide free custom PUBLIC bikes for guests to wander beyond their hotel walls.

Make 2016 the year you wander by bike. We’ve got the bikes to help you do it.

BONUS: Here are a few routes recommended by PUBLIC Employees.

From Shaun in LOS ANGELES: I always first recommend our 22 mile long beach bike path. It stretches all the way from Will Rogers Beach (near Santa Monica) to Torrance. If you were to ride the whole path, you’d pass through Playa Del Rey, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo.

If you want to get a “local” feel of the City, then riding along Santa Monica’s first green bike lane through the streets is another great option. It passes through Main Street and then connects to Venice and into Marina Del Rey (recommendation to ride through Abbot Kinney blvd and connect to the Marina via Marvin Braude Bike Path, which takes you along the inlet)

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Marvin Braude Bike Trail / The Strand. Image via Wikipedia.

From Nicole in SAN FRANCISCO: Bike from the city of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge to the waterfront town of Sausalito and then take the ferry back. Sure, it’s a popular route, but it’s popular for a reason. The views of the water and the city are unparalleled and Sausalito is a sweet place to visit.

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View of Golden Gate Bridge from Sausalito. Image via Wikipedia.

From Sean in SEATTLE:  A fun casual ride on relatively flat land is the Elliott Bay Trail (Terminal 91 Bike Path), which takes you along the waterfront and through SAM’s (Seattle Art Museum) Outdoor Sculpture Park and Myrtle Edwards Park, and winds up at Smith Cove Park & the Elliott Bay Marina. You’ll get great city views of the skyline and Ferris Wheel (and Mt. Rainier when visible!) can be seen here.

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Elliot Bay Trail. Image via Wikipedia.

From Gen in PORTLAND: The Waterfront Loop in the heart of the city is popular for river views. Also worth noting is the Tilikum Crossing (just opened in Fall). It’s the first major bridge in the US that bans cars.

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Waterfront Park. Image via Wikipedia.

PUBLIC + Betabrand Giveaway Winner

January 19th, 2016

We’re happy to announce that the winner of our PUBLIC + Betabrand Giveaway is Eric G. from New Orleans, LA. Cue the wild applause! Eric joins the annals of our many past contest winners. This NOLA resident is an avid cyclist already covering over 100 miles weekly between trips back and forth to pick up… Read more »

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We’re happy to announce that the winner of our PUBLIC + Betabrand Giveaway is Eric G. from New Orleans, LA. Cue the wild applause! Eric joins the annals of our many past contest winners.

This NOLA resident is an avid cyclist already covering over 100 miles weekly between trips back and forth to pick up his daughter from school, biking to work and running errands. Eric notes, “Since Hurricane Katrina the city has installed over 100 miles in bicycle infrastructure so it makes my over 100 miles in bicycle commuting every week a lot safer.”

Thanks to his daily commuting and occupation as a pedicab driver in New Orleans, Eric knows the city well. “New Orleans is 8th in the nation for bicycle commuting and has a Silver Level ranking as a bicycle friendly community, according to the League of American Bicyclists. Surrounded by the most unique architecture, age-old Live Oak trees, and the waters of Bayou St. John, make cycling in my city a breath taking experience. I consider myself spoiled to both ride a bicycle and drive a pedicab for a living in New Orleans.”

Last year in a visit to his local bike shop, Dashing Bicycles, Eric purchased a PUBLIC M7 that he commutes with daily. His wife, however, doesn’t have a bike and this giveaway will allow her to commute alongside Eric. Eric says, “I look forward to both of us commuting more by bicycle and taking weekend trips to the Lake Front, City Park, and the French Quarter. We’re super excited about gearing up with Betabrand’s Bike to Work collection to improve comfortability and visibility on our pair of PUBLIC Bikes!”

Congratulations again Eric and many happy trails!

Sign up for our e-newsletter to hear about our next giveaway!

Belting It Out In Public: The Karaoke Rickshaw

November 23rd, 2015

It’s a bike. It’s a disco ball. It’s…the Karaoke Rickshaw. For most of us, a bike is simply a way to get around. But with lots of creativity and ingenuity, bikes like the Karaoke Rickshaw can bring together a community of friends and strangers in public spaces over song, dance, and laughter. We first spotted… Read more »

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It’s a bike. It’s a disco ball. It’s…the Karaoke Rickshaw. For most of us, a bike is simply a way to get around. But with lots of creativity and ingenuity, bikes like the Karaoke Rickshaw can bring together a community of friends and strangers in public spaces over song, dance, and laughter.

We first spotted the Karaoke Rickshaw on a lunch break outside our office in San Francisco. Even though it is San Francisco, a city full of characters and silly traditions, it’s not often you see a rolling, shiny karaoke disco ball-shaped vehicle.

We’re drawn to the fact that the Karaoke Rickshaw brings smiles to faces and also brings something (singing) that’s largely done inside into the public realm.

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Inspired by an article from The Guardian entitled “Playable Cities: the city that plays together, stays together”, we wrote in a previous blog post about some of the playful activities and events in several cities that connect people:

“By riding a bike, you instantly become a more connected part of your community and a little happier. It’s the reason why one of our taglines is “Ride a Bike. Smile More.” Since the concepts of fun and urban engagement are important to us, we took notice when a recent article on the importance of “play” in cities passed by our monitors.”

And that’s why the Karaokoe Rickshaw got our attention. It invites “play” in our public spaces – and helps people feel connected and, yes, a little happier.

Watch the below video to see some of the fun.

Gift Guide: PUBLIC Staff Picks

November 6th, 2015

Our staff has spoken and out of all the awesome new bike-related products we added to our offering this year, these were their top bike-related gifts. Some you can stick into a stocking and some are meant to spoil, but all of them are road tested and PUBLIC staff-approved. View the complete Staff Picks Gift… Read more »

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Our staff has spoken and out of all the awesome new bike-related products we added to our offering this year, these were their top bike-related gifts. Some you can stick into a stocking and some are meant to spoil, but all of them are road tested and PUBLIC staff-approved. View the complete Staff Picks Gift Guide on our website.

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PUBLIC Sacramento Grand Opening Party on Saturday, Nov 7

October 26th, 2015

PLEASE NOTE: Our Sacramento Holiday Pop-up at HOT ITALIAN is closed. A huge thanks to all who visited and stay tuned for more PUBLIC pop-up events in Sacramento. Till then, please visit us online or at our other retail stores. It’s party time! We’ve opened our new PUBLIC Pop-Up Showroom at HOT ITALIAN (1627 16th… Read more »

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PLEASE NOTE: Our Sacramento Holiday Pop-up at HOT ITALIAN is closed. A huge thanks to all who visited and stay tuned for more PUBLIC pop-up events in Sacramento. Till then, please visit us online or at our other retail stores.

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It’s party time!

We’ve opened our new PUBLIC Pop-Up Showroom at HOT ITALIAN (1627 16th St) and we want to celebrate with you at our Grand Opening Party.

It’s going to be a great event on Saturday, November 7 from 11:30am-3pm in support of the American River Parkway Foundation. Our regular showroom opening hours will be 11:30am-6pm every Saturday and Sunday through the holidays.

During the day of our party, we’ll donate $50 for every PUBLIC Bike purchased and HOT ITALIAN will be donating 100% of the proceeds when you purchase their special meal deal — a BELLUCCI or PIRLO pizza with two Two Rivers Cider or Racer 5 IPA from Bear Republic — to the American Parkway Foundation, which does amazing environmental education and stewardship work to conserve the region’s greatest recreational civic amenity.

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Everyone attending our party will receive a raffle ticket to win prizes. Prizes include a PUBLIC Mini Kids Balance Bike, PUBLIC Works posters, other fun PUBLIC gear and accessories, and gift certificates to HOT ITALIAN. And if you donate $50 and up at our party to become a member of the American River Parkway Foundation, you’ll receive more raffle tickets to maximize your chances of winning our prizes.

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Looking forward to seeing you there and please share this event out with your friends. The more the merrier.

DETAILS
PUBLIC Sacramento Grand Opening Party
HOT ITALIAN at 1627 16th St
Saturday, November 7 between 11:30-3pm
RSVP HERE

 

5 New Limited Edition Color Bikes

October 14th, 2015

We decided to give our bikes some extra shine this Fall by introducing five luminous, limited edition colors. What sets these colors apart from our current assortment is a subtle glitter undertone that really shines in the light. We only produced a handful of these new limited edition color bikes in each size and hue, so… Read more »

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We decided to give our bikes some extra shine this Fall by introducing five luminous, limited edition colors. What sets these colors apart from our current assortment is a subtle glitter undertone that really shines in the light.

We only produced a handful of these new limited edition color bikes in each size and hue, so if there’s one you like we recommend you act quickly because once they’re gone, they’re gone. These limited edition colors are only available online now for pre-orders.

PUBLIC V1 in Glacier Blue $349 $499
PUBLIC V1 Glacier Blue Bike

PUBLIC C1 in Amethyst $349 $499
PUBLIC C1 in Amethyst

PUBLIC V7 in Antique Rose Gold $499 $649
PUBLIC V7 in Antique Rose Gold

PUBLIC C7 in Blush $499 $649
PUBLIC C7 in Blush

PUBLIC C7 in Seafoam $499 $649
PUBLIC C7 in Seafoam

PUBLIC Bikes Sacramento Pop-Up

October 1st, 2015

PLEASE NOTE: Our Sacramento Holiday Pop-up at HOT ITALIAN is closed. A huge thanks to all who visited and stay tuned for more PUBLIC pop-up events in Sacramento. Till then, please visit us online or at our other retail stores. Join our Grand Opening Party on Saturday, Nov 7! More info here. We love riding… Read more »

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PLEASE NOTE: Our Sacramento Holiday Pop-up at HOT ITALIAN is closed. A huge thanks to all who visited and stay tuned for more PUBLIC pop-up events in Sacramento. Till then, please visit us online or at our other retail stores.

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Join our Grand Opening Party on Saturday, Nov 7! More info here.

We love riding bikes (obviously) and we love a good pizza too. Just two reasons why we’re “pizza pie in the sky” happy that we opened a PUBLIC Pop-Up Showroom in Sacramento at HOT ITALIAN in Sacramento’s Midtown neighborhood on October 17 from 11am-6pm. Plus, we’re looking to hire Part-Time Sales Associates ASAP. If you are friendly and enjoy getting people on bikes drop us a line here!

Our PUBLIC Sacramento Showroom is now open every Saturday and Sunday through the holidays from 11:30am-6pm. We may add more open days later so check out our up-to-date opening hours here.

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During our three-month pop-up, Sacramento Valley residents will be able to test ride on weekends most of our PUBLIC bikes collection and view a limited assortment of PUBLIC accessories and gear. A sales associate can place an order to have a PUBLIC bike and/or accessories shipped directly to your home for free or discounted shipping, depending on your order.

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Our connection with HOT ITALIAN goes back to the beginning of PUBLIC. When we first launched over five years ago, HOT ITALIAN served as one of our initial retailers. Their cool, like-minded, design-focused aesthetic made this partnership a really special one to us. And now that we’ve grown, we’re excited to operate our own PUBLIC Pop-up Showroom in this well-loved Sacramento gathering spot known for it’s killer pizza, fresh gelato, delicious coffee, and other treats.

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HOT ITALIAN has served as a hub for the Capitol’s bicycling and design community, primarily because of the energy and vision of one of its founders Andrea Lepore. Andrea and her team have hosted dozens of bicycle and design-related events and, of course, provide ample bike parking for customers.

Design of the Box from HOT ITALIAN on Vimeo.

We love their focus on design. For example, watch this video to learn about HOT ITALIAN’s “Design of the Box” project from a few years ago.

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In fact, HOT ITALIAN was the first restaurant in the California ever to receive a Bicycle Friendly Business Award from the League of American Bicyclists.

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We look forward to making many new friends throughout the Sacramento Valley – designers, neighborhood residents, bicycle commuters, and maybe even a few State legislators.

We’re already excited to support the local advocacy organization Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates’ fall fundraising gala Velo Ball where you can win a donated PUBLIC Bike – and meet some of us from PUBLIC who plan to attend this October 16 gala.

Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter to receive updates on our PUBLIC Sacramento Showroom, including our exact soft opening date and our upcoming Grand Opening party.

All images courtesy of HOT ITALIAN and PUBLIC Bikes.

One city. One month. No cars.

September 28th, 2015

On Oct 1st the neighborhood of Sandton — the second largest central business district in Johannesburg, South Africa — begins an incredible experiment. For the entire month of October select streets in Sandton will be entirely off-limits to cars. It’s an experiment called the EcoMobility World Festival (ecomobility, meaning environmentally-friendly means of tranport like biking,… Read more »

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On Oct 1st the neighborhood of Sandton — the second largest central business district in Johannesburg, South Africa — begins an incredible experiment. For the entire month of October select streets in Sandton will be entirely off-limits to cars.

It’s an experiment called the EcoMobility World Festival (ecomobility, meaning environmentally-friendly means of tranport like biking, walking and public transit) and the goal is to “showcase the potential for a neighborhood within a major world city to adopt an ecomobile lifestyle and experience its impact.”

For one month, a significant part of Johannesburg will become an example of a sustainable, environmentally-conscious city of the future could look like. This is music to our alternative transportation loving ears.

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Sandton is one of the most congested areas in Johannesburg with around 80,000 cars and more than 100,000 people moving within the neighborhood daily. No cars on these typically congested streets will be a big change for those who travel them daily and the idea is being viewed by residents with mixed emotions.

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The playful streets in Suwon during Ecomobility Festival 2013 via flickr

While the concept of car-free streets in Sandton is serious, the whole festival is intended to be a joyous one. It’s the opportunity for fun neighborhood interactions with pop-up parks, music and interactive exhibits featuring the opportunity to test out transportation options of the future.

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Image of Suwon via The Urban Idea

And Sandton is not alone in the car-free experiment. In 2013 the city of Suwon in South Korea undertook the same challenge (photo above). And in short, it worked. After the car-free month in Suwon, the city decided to lower the speed limit which reduced congestion, car parking was permanently removed from certain streets and sidewalks, and every month Suwon continues to host a car-free day.

The number of commuters in Sandton is growing by 3.4% per year and at that rapid rate traffic is projected to literally stop unless interventions are made. Hopefully this car-free experiment will change the mentality in Sandton and encourage people to think outside the car to make lasting improvements.

Getting Carried Away: New Bike Baskets, Racks and Panniers

September 21st, 2015

There’s something so satisfying about being able to carry everything you need to via your bike. In fact, we’d say it’s one of top reasons why biking is such a great way to get around. A bike that’s equipped with a rack and baskets will do all the heavy lifting for you, taking the weight… Read more »

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There’s something so satisfying about being able to carry everything you need to via your bike. In fact, we’d say it’s one of top reasons why biking is such a great way to get around. A bike that’s equipped with a rack and baskets will do all the heavy lifting for you, taking the weight off your back and shoulders. That’s why we are constantly on the hunt for handy ways to help you carry all you need via your bike and are excited to introduce you to a few of our new favorites.
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New Rack Baskets
The beautifully designed Bent Basket is the latest addition to our collection of bike rack baskets. The 100% Ash wood base of the basket is hydrolyic pressed with 2000 PSI (just like skateboards) so it’s clearly strong enough for everyday use. Integrated elastic straps can be configured multiple ways so your items will stay put. Available in Charcoal Grey and Salmon Red for $99.

The Bent Basket must be used with a bike rack like our PUBLIC Rear Rack.
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New Bike Racks
A solid front rack is great for accommodating flat as well as bulky objects. That’s why we created the PUBLIC Porteur Rack, based on classic French delivery cycles. This rack is now available in four new colors – Turquoise, Red, Powder Blue and Cream, as well as Black and Silver for $99 $129. This front rack is designed to perfectly accommodate our beautiful Peterboro Porteur Rack Basket.

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New Pannier Bags
Whether you’re looking for a go-to bike bag for grocery runs or something to get you through weekend touring rides our new bike pannier bags from Ortlieb are the best of all worlds. These bags are waterproof and clip easily and securely to any of our rear bike racks. The Bike Shopper Single Pannier is roomy enough to be your day-to-day commuter and grocery grabber and retails for $100. The Back Roller Plus Pannier Set includes two roomy panniers and is made of super-strong Cordura fabric. It retails for $220.

Both Ortlieb panniers must be used with a bike rack like our PUBLIC Rear Rack.