Catching Up With Sean, Our PUBLIC Seattle Store Manager

February 5th, 2016

Our PUBLIC Seattle Store Manager Sean Conroe is a cool guy. So cool that even Seattle Magazine profiled him a few years ago in a “Love Thy Neighbor” feature for his innovative urban agriculture work. We’re now lucky to have him leading our Seattle team. If you’re a local Seattle organization or company seeking to… Read more »

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Our PUBLIC Seattle Store Manager Sean Conroe is a cool guy. So cool that even Seattle Magazine profiled him a few years ago in a “Love Thy Neighbor” feature for his innovative urban agriculture work.

We’re now lucky to have him leading our Seattle team. If you’re a local Seattle organization or company seeking to collaborate with us, stop by our Seattle store and introduce yourself to Sean.

PUBLIC: Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Western NY and spent 5 years in Las Vegas before moving up to Seattle. I’ve been here in the Emerald City for 12 years — time flies! Prior to PUBLIC, I worked to launch Pronto, Seattle’s bike share system with 500 bikes around the city. When not riding bikes, I’m often seeking out new adventures in the Pacific Northwest.

PUBLIC: What do you like best about Seattle?
Summer time? But honestly, what isn’t there to like about this town? From coffee to creativity to culture, Seattle has got it all.

PUBLIC: Tell us some fact or background about yourself that might surprise people.
I started an urban farming non-profit in 2009 that worked to connect people, place + produce using underutilized urban spaces right here in the city. Within a year, we had 2 farms up and running, and grew over 1,000 lbs. of food which right right back into the neighborhoods it was grown.

PUBLIC: What’s your experience riding bikes in Seattle?
I started Streets + Beats, a fundraising bike ride for the urban farming organization, and lead that for ~4 years which was a fully supported bike ride ranging from 50-75 miles. Aside from organizing that ride, I also worked with the American Diabetes Association to execute the Tour De Cure. On my own time, the 11 of the 12 years I lived here were car-free, which meant I walked, biked and used our public transit system the entire time. I got to know the city pretty well for which streets to avoid the hills!

PUBLIC: What are your favorite routes or places to visit by bicycle in Seattle?
The Elliott Bay trail through the Olympic Sculpture Park into Magnolia is one of the most enjoyable — especially during summer where you can hop off at one point and forage all the wild blackberries you want before riding down to Golden Gardens and enjoying a bon fire with friends.

PUBLIC: What are you looking forward to in leading the new PUBLIC Seattle store?
Bikes to me offer a sense of empowerment and freedom, and I’m thrilled be a part of the decision making process for folks looking to ride, wether recreationally or for commuting.

Vertical Parking Through The Years

February 3rd, 2016

With the advent of cars decades ago as the dominant means of transportation, city planners and developers reshaped our public and private spaces to accommodate the storage of these personal vehicles. By making it easy to find free or subsidized low cost parking, many cities simply encouraged more people to own and drive cars which… Read more »

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With the advent of cars decades ago as the dominant means of transportation, city planners and developers reshaped our public and private spaces to accommodate the storage of these personal vehicles.

By making it easy to find free or subsidized low cost parking, many cities simply encouraged more people to own and drive cars which simply resulted in more congestion and environmental problems.

Since cars take up so much space, people have always tried to find ways to store them vertically to reduce their ground-level footprint. This series of photos, “Vertical Parking“, shows how cities have attempted to accommodate the car through the decades.

The photo below is in New York City in ~1920.

An elevator parking lot, where the cars are hoisted up on individual platforms to save space, early 1920s. (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


This one below is in Chicago in ~1941.

A vertical parking lot structure in Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, c. 1941. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)


If we spent as much effort and resources trying to house people, instead of cars, think about how different cities would be?

In contrast, a few cities like Amsterdam face an entirely different dilemma – how to accommodate the shortage of bike parking spots?

BikeParking-CentraalStation_0Photo credit: Poom!/flickr

In the article, “Amsterdam mulls underwater bike garage as available parking for cyclists dwindles,” Amsterdam is even exploring ways to go vertical but in a different direction than up.

Most cities have more available parking than people think. For example, it’s estimated in San Francisco alone, where people complain about lack of car parking all the time, that San Francisco has enough street parking space to fill the entire California coastline.

The problem is multi-faceted, but there many steps cities can do to improve parking and create better spaces for people. However, we think the biggest bang for taxpayer buck is for cities to be less obsessed about accommodating the car, but more focused on making other transportation options more accessible and safer to a wider number of people.

Not everyone is going to bike, walk, or take transit. But by making those transportation choices safer and easier for more people, it means less people driving and looking for parking. And hopefully, as more cities are successful in shifting people’s choices on how they get around, it will create a new set of good problems – like how to accommodate more bikes, more pedestrians, and more public transit riders.

The urbanist writer Lewis Mumford once wrote, “The right to have access to every building in the city by private motorcar in an age when everyone possesses such a vehicle is the right to destroy the city.” Instead of focusing on creating more space for cars, which has destroyed the character of many neighborhoods and cities, let’s focus on building beautiful, enlightened cities for people.

Is An Internal Gear Hub Right For You?

February 1st, 2016

We offer two types of gearing on our bikes. The first type is called an “internal gear hub.” An internal gear hub is where the chain and gearing system are encased in a sealed mechanism. You can’t see the chain, thus it can’t fall off and dirt and grime can’t get inside. An internal gear hub is also… Read more »

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We offer two types of gearing on our bikes. The first type is called an “internal gear hub.” An internal gear hub is where the chain and gearing system are encased in a sealed mechanism. You can’t see the chain, thus it can’t fall off and dirt and grime can’t get inside. An internal gear hub is also the only type of gearing that allows you to shift when you’re at a complete stop or coasting. That’s a handy feature if you’re in a lot of stop and go traffic. Our PUBLIC C7i, D8i and M7i bikes have this type of gearing.

The second type is called an “external derailleur.” It’s the kind where you can see the chain on the outside of the gears and is most likely the type of gearing you had on your very first bike. Our PUBLIC C7V7R16 and R24 bikes have this type of gearing.

Depending on where you live and how you ride, internal gear hub or external gearing might be better for you. We asked our PUBLIC team members to advise on when an internal gear hub might be the right choice and their advice is below.

Our customer service department, aka Justin says an internal gear hub could be the best choice for you for 3 reasons:
1. Internal hubs are easier to maintain than derailleurs. Internal hubs only really require the rider to maintain proper tension in order to achieve smoother shifting and the occasional lubrication. Derailleurs and cassettes require frequent cleaning and lubrication to maintain smooth shifting. Derailleurs and cassettes also experience more frequent wear and tear due to the chain flexing and twisting in between gears.

2. I find that the one of the biggest advantage of the internal gear hub versus external gearing is the overall reliability of the hub. All moving parts and the gears are completed sealed within the hub protecting you from dirt, water, debris and other road elements that would likely affect an external shifting mechanism. The shifting is quite smooth from one gear to the next, unlike the clunky gear shifting you may experience with a derailleur. Derailleurs are prone to being being or damaged due to elements of the road, while internal hubs are quite difficult to damage. Plus, they have a 2 year warranty unlike Shimano derailleurs.

3. I find that the internal hubs are much more user friendly and welcoming to riders getting back on bikes. It’s the only drive system that allows you to changes gears while coasting or from a stand still. A much more practical option for those commuting in terrains with a consistency of stop and go traffics.

Our Store Operations Manger, Juls thinks an internal gear hub might be right for you if:
1. You can do minor tune ups yourself, no mechanical experience required. It is just a matter of lining up 2 dots in a window!

2. If you’re a parent, an internal hub is great for pairing with a Yepp Maxi seat. Parents don’t have to worry about rogue snacks or toys falling into the gears. Plus, because you can change gears whether you’re stopped or coasting it can be an easier ride if you have a lot of stops and starts on your route.

 

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