Design Ride Manhattan – Sunday, May 16

December 6th, 2010

On May 16 at 5:30pm, bicyclists (a motley group of designers, friends and bike lovers) will roll from the ICFF at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center heading to the Tretorn Store on Spring Street in SoHo for a reception. The Tretorn Store is the location for PUBLIC bikes in New York. PUBLIC bikes will be… Read more »

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On May 16 at 5:30pm, bicyclists (a motley group of designers, friends and bike lovers) will roll from the ICFF at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center heading to the Tretorn Store on Spring Street in SoHo for a reception. The Tretorn Store is the location for PUBLIC bikes in New York. PUBLIC bikes will be on display, and test rides will be available there during the ICFF and afterwards.

Festive attire is encouraged. BYO Bike. And parking may be tricky, so BYOL (bring your own lock).

Experience PUBLIC at Design Week

In addition to test ride available at Tretorn, we’ll have PUBLIC bikes on display throughout Design Week. Come visit some of our friends.

ICFF
May 15-18, Javits Center
If you’re attending ICFF, please stop by the Pablo and Heller exhibits and check out a PUBLIC bike.

Partners and Spade
40 Great Jones Street – see map
Saturday May 15 Noho kickoff party: May 15, 7-10pm
Partners & Spade hosts three installations during New York design week. You’ll find a PUBLIC among the installations, including Sight Unseen, is a collection of beautifully packaged foods from New York’s outer boroughs.

BluDot
Opening Party, Saturday May 15th, 6:30 pm
140 Wooster St. between Houston and Prince – see map)
Celebrate the launch of the latest BluDot products, including our new lighting collection.
To attend, please RSVP judy@theloukincompany.com

Design Within Reach
Opening Party, Saturday, May 15, 7-9pm
110 Greene St.
Celebrate the Loll Lounge installation at the DWR SoHo studio with cocktails, DJ, and a PUBLIC bike on display.

J.Crew Men’s Store
484 Broadway in Tribeca
We’ll be hanging out in the window of the Men’s Store and other J Crew favorites during Design Week. Come check it out.

Bikes Are Big in the Big Apple

December 2nd, 2010

Sacha White of Vanilla Sacha White of Vanilla Richard Sachs Dario Pegoretti Mike Flanagan of A.N.T. Mike Flanagan of A.N.T. Peter Weigle Jeff Jones Photo credits: Bespoke bicycle photos from Museum of Art and Design We are declaring May “Bike Design Month” in Manhattan. Mayor Bloomberg has not signed off on this title yet, but… Read more »

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Sacha White of Vanilla


Sacha White of Vanilla


Richard Sachs

Dario Pegoretti
Dario Pegoretti


Mike Flanagan of A.N.T.


Mike Flanagan of A.N.T.


Peter Weigle

Jeff Jones
Jeff Jones

Photo credits: Bespoke bicycle photos from Museum of Art and Design

We are declaring May “Bike Design Month” in Manhattan. Mayor Bloomberg has not signed off on this title yet, but as his office has been actively supporting progressive smart alternative transportation, he probably won’t mind our rogue designation. There are two events of note:

1) Bespoke: The Handbuilt Bicycle at the Museum of Art and Design opens on May 13th. Michael Maharam (interview below) of textile fame and master bike builder Sacha White have put together a superb exhibition of contemporary handmade bikes.

2) The launch of PUBLIC in and around the ICFF. Join a bunch of us on a festive bike ride on May 16th from Javits to SOHO for a reception at the Tretorn Store. Please RSVP online.

Interview with Michael Maharam

Bespoke: The Handbuilt Bicycle displays the designs of six internationally renowned bicycle builders at the Museum of Arts & Design. Organized by Michael Maharam and master bicycle builder Sacha White, the exhibit explores emerging trends and innovations in the design world. We caught up with Michael earlier this week.

Rob: It’s great to see this work made available in the museum context. Congrats. Is this the first show of its type in the US?

Michael: As far as I know, yes….and long overdue. This is a fine craft, like glassblowing or cabinetmaking, though with an element of daily functionality and cultural timeliness which is highly relevant and greatly underexposed.

How did the idea for the show evolve?
I had asked Sacha White to build me a bicycle, and we got into a discussion about the fact that he had been building for a decade and wanted to take a break for a year to focus on building a small number of carefully considered bicycles without client or commercial constraint. I was having lunch with Holly Hotchner, the director of MAD that week, and I proposed to organize and curate a show based on Sacha’s desire.

What would make the show success to you?
Ultimately, raising public awareness of the craft, consumer understanding and expectation of the quality of products they purchase and compelling manufacturers to do a better job with quotidian products is critical if we are to transcend the era of material gluttony.

The designers are all from the US except Dario Pegoretti. How did the US become such a force in bike design?
Though this is a craft which has had numerous “golden ages”, its present appeal is as a force of zeitgeist. Underlying elements include the rise of physical fitness, environmentalism and individualism as points of cultural aspiration and expression.

What’s the first thing you look for in a bike?
I’m an aesthete…appearance coupled with the imagination and finesse of the builder.

What is the first thing the untrained eye should look for in a bike?
Comfort.

Do you remember the first bike you ever rode?
Rudge three speed…black, with gold trim. I removed the fenders to make a hot rod of it, come what may on rainy days.

What kind of riding do you do personally? Ever been a racer?
I’m a fair weather rider these days…commuting a bit and weekend exercise. Riding in Manhattan is misery enough, but to do so in rain and cold is beyond the fray. My hat is off to those who do.

Ever ridden a fixed gear bike?
Often, but not the variety presently in vogue. Through my young years I’ve built stripped down bicycles with a minimalistic bent. Again, it’s largely about Manhattan riding…hardly serene.

Many see as you as uncompromising modernist. What is your personal interest in handmade bicycles? Aren’t they craft?
I view modernism as the most fitting backdrop for all that I collect…and sell, as we sell our collection of textiles, which facilitates personal collecting. If I were a fan of baroque architecture, I’d only collect minimalism I suppose. Modernism soothes.

I recall in one of our early conversations, maybe ten years ago, you rode a motorcycle. I did not know you were also a cyclist. This phenomenon is actually common, i.e. guys loving things with two wheels. What’s behind this love? Love of Speed?
A young man’s first taste of independence.

Is there a “Ray and Charles Eames” equivalent in the bike design world?
I like the Raleigh Three Speed, myself. I think it’s elegant and practical. Though classic, not modern. As for modern, the phosphorescent shaft driven urban bicycles produced by Biomega are pretty smart.

What’s the most unusual bike in your collection?
I like my all aluminum Colnago Duall…polished aluminum lugs, unpainted aluminum tubes…very sculptural, though not very rigid.

If I was one of your staff, would you allow me to keep my bike in your office if I rode it to work? You keep a pretty clean office.
Not yet, but we’re working on it.

Rob: Thanks, Michael. We’ll see you in New York.

Share your thoughts.
Join the conversation in the comments below.

Orange Towers and Fat Books

December 1st, 2010

Two ”monuments” dedicated to the public space came on my radar screen this week. The first was Coit Tower, seen here from my deck illuminated in orange to honor of the San Francisco Giants playing in the World Series. It makes us smile, and it brings focus to an important architectural icon in the city…. Read more »

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Coit Tower lit up in orange

Coit Tower lit up in orange

'The High Cost of Free Parking' by Donald Shoup

'The High Cost of Free Parking' by Donald Shoup

Donald Shoup in Paris

Donald Shoup in Paris

Two ”monuments” dedicated to the public space came on my radar screen this week. The first was Coit Tower, seen here from my deck illuminated in orange to honor of the San Francisco Giants playing in the World Series. It makes us smile, and it brings focus to an important architectural icon in the city. The other monument is a massive 737-page tome that arrived on my desk called, The High Cost of Free Parking by Donald Shoup. What do they have in common?

Shoup’s book and the Orange Coit Tower help us look at our public spaces from a fresh perspective and to consider their value and potential in our daily lives. How do we assess the real value of public spaces in our cities anyway? What is Golden Gate or Central Park worth to us? What about the value of the common everyday sidewalk or street corner where people congregate? How about a public bench, beach, train station, bike path or dog park? These are heady issues without easy answers. Social economics is tricky like that, and usually gets left to academics. I guess that’s why it takes 737 pages to give the subject of free parking its fair due. An advertising person might simply reduce it down to “Think Differently,” like Apple does.

Shoup’s persuasive premise is that free parking is the great blind spot of American local politics. We agree. We have remarked on this in our own modest way in the past, for example our That Blind Spot post. Rarely do we share quotes, but take a minute to absorb these poignant reviews.

“Free parking is like a fertility drug for cars. Many people don’t realize how much of the high price of housing is due to requirements by local governments that a certain number of parking spaces must be provided. These costs are paid by everyone, including those who don’t own a car.”

“In this revelatory, revolutionary book, UCLA professor Donald Shoup persuasively explains why almost everything we are told about parking either by professional planning experts or by ‘common sense’ is wrong, and argues that current parking policies constitute the greatest planning disaster in human history.”

“Shoup points out that if we decided that gasoline should be free, the result we would expect would be obvious: people would drive too much, shortages of gasoline would develop, fights would break out over scarce gas, and governments would go broke trying to pay for it all. Parking is no different. Providing free parking leads to overuse, shortages, and conflicts over parking. Cash-strapped local governments and neighborhoods lose out too.”


“I was stunned to find out that in some neighborhoods up to 90% of the traffic has been found to be people cruising around looking for a place to park. Charging the right price for parking according to local demand can get rid of this problem.”

How many of us have the patience to read a 737-page book? How can we bridge the gap between academic work and public awareness? Should we paint parking spots orange, pile up a bunch of Shoup’s books in a parking space? Events like Park(ing) Day help raise awareness. An easier route might be to join “The Shoupistas” on Facebook. We need more creative minds think progressively about public space, like the city planner who dreamt of celebratory Orange Towers.

One action we can take today is to Vote Tomorrow for legislation to improve the quality of our public space. If you live in California, a “No” vote on big oil-funded Prop. 23 is a “No” brainer. If you live in San Francisco’s western and northern neighborhoods, vote “Yes” for Bert Hill on the BART Board. We don’t usually endorse individuals, but transit advocate Bert Hill has unimpeachable professional credentials and a demeanor such that he teaches bicycle safety as avocation. His David vs. Goliath battle against the incumbent can be viewed here.

Free Shipping on All Bikes in stock through November 16th

Contest for Everyone. Even Students.

We are giving away two bikes as part of our PUBLIC J7 and PUBLIC A7 launch, and there is a special program for college students. Please forward this page with details about our contest to your friends and family.

Fall Blues Festival

All blue PUBLIC Ds at 20% off
We’ve got more Blue diamond-frame bikes (D1, D3, and D8) than we have room for in our warehouse, and we need to make space for new bikes coming in mid-November. For a limited time, we’re offering a special on our blue diamond bikes in single, 3, and 8 speeds, in all sizes. See our Fall Blues page for details.