Are you a member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition? As many of you know, we founded PUBLIC with the belief that bicycles are an important part of a healthy, livable community. Good design, when applied to a bicycle, can inspire more people to get on bikes. But the best way to encourage more people… Read more »
Are you a member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition?
As many of you know, we founded PUBLIC with the belief that bicycles are an important part of a healthy, livable community. Good design, when applied to a bicycle, can inspire more people to get on bikes. But the best way to encourage more people to get around by bicycle is to make our city streets more accessible and safer for the everyday bicyclist.
Kudos to the SF Bicycle Coalition for transforming many streets in San Francisco into safe places for bikes, including The Wiggle, Market Street, and Valencia Street. Look at some of the work they are currently doing with Connecting the City. This is why PUBLIC supports the 12,000+ member SF Bicycle Coalition – and why we’re participating in the Ultimate Bike Shop Challenge with other local bike stores to see who can sell the most SF Bicycle Coalition memberships during the month of July.
If you’re already a member of SF Bicycle, thank you for investing in an organization that works to connect the city with safe, comfortable bikeways.
If you’re not a SF Bicycle Coalition member yet, you can join now for $35. Your membership will get you the Urban Bicyclists’ Survival Kit, a one-year subscription of SF Bicycle Coalition”s Tube Times newsletter, free bike trailer rentals, free admission to select events, and discounts at many local establishments – and you’ll help PUBLIC win the Ultimate Bike Shop Challenge!
UPCOMING SF BICYCLE COALITION EVENTS
Seven Hells of San Francisco Bike Ride
On July 21 join fellow masochists on this ride over some of the steepest hills in the city. Two years ago a PUBLIC team member rode the Seven Hells ride on a PUBLIC M8 – and climbed 25-30% degree hills without walking. It was tough but it proved that you can climb just about any hill in the city on a PUBLIC. Read more about the Seven Hells ride. RSVP here.
Improve Market Street
Most of us ride on Market Street. To make Market Street into a world-class boulevard, the city needs to make the street more bicycle, pedestrian, and transit friendly. We encourage you to attend upcoming community meetings about Market Street’s future.
Getting around on a bike helps us all connect more closely with our communities. And buying local helps build a better civic connection between residents and local shops, craftsmen, farmers, chefs, and cafes. Urban farming is taking off. San Francisco recently (finally) changed the zoning laws that allow us to grow and sell local produce,… Read more »
Getting around on a bike helps us all connect more closely with our communities. And buying local helps build a better civic connection between residents and local shops, craftsmen, farmers, chefs, and cafes. Urban farming is taking off. San Francisco recently (finally) changed the zoning laws that allow us to grow and sell local produce, a practice that has been gaining momentum across the country. We’d like to see more vacant lots get transformed into urban farms in residential neighborhoods. We encourage you to enjoy the local harvests by shopping at your farmers market. To find out what local goods we now offer, read on.
A large and lively farmers market takes place on Sundays down the street from our new Oakland Store. Come visit us and grab some local produce.
We think of ourselves as part of this “Livable Cities” movement, and so selling local products like honeys and jams makes sense.
BAY AREA BEE COMPANY
San Francisco based Bay Area Bee Company raises beehives with great care in locations across the Bay Area, even inside the city limits. Hive locations are selected based on food and water sources that encourage strong, healthy and productive colonies, and delicious honey. Come by our stores for a taste or buy directly online.
As we grow we plan to introduce more local goods, with a focus on our hometown San Francisco. If you know of products that support local communities, let us know. In the mean time, check out some of the new products we just introduced.
THESE ARE THINGS SAN FRANCISCO CITY MAP
Maps also increase our awareness and appreciation of our local community. We sell several maps with unique illustrations. From a tiny apartment in Ohio, These Are Things printing press designs illustrations with a cartographic twist. Jen Adrion and Omar Noory celebrate where they are from, have traveled, and dream of going. PUBLIC supports their local love for cities. The maps have a nice sense of place and look great in a home, office, or studio.
“The quality of a place is defined in part by how many different functions it has in close proximity to homes and to each other.” – Kaid Benfield on neighborhood completeness I came across this quote in an article “Why a Good Bar is Essential to Sustainable Communities” in my daily feed from the online… Read more »
“The quality of a place is defined in part by how many different functions it has in close proximity to homes and to each other.”
– Kaid Benfield on neighborhood completeness
I came across this quote in an article “Why a Good Bar is Essential to Sustainable Communities” in my daily feed from the online resource Atlantic Cities – Place Matters. This may be the best single source of enlightened news about developments in the livable cities movement. It seemed utterly appropriate as we just opened our new warehouse and retail store (205 Alice Street) in Jack London Square on the waterfront in Oakland.
Oakland has been experiencing a spectacular urban revival in the last decade, which is why it landed a place in NY Times “Top 45 Places to Visit in 2012.” It has benefitted from smart urban planning and development. It has also become a more affordable alternative to San Francisco and a destination for younger people, artists, and a broad cultural mix. The Jack London Square neighborhood is a prime example. One only needs to take a ride through the community to sense the local pride for public spaces, restoration projects and smart new construction.
There are also a healthy number and range of bars in Jack London Square which Benfield identifies as critical to a communities well being.
“The vaunted ‘third space’ isn’t home, and isn’t work – it’s more like the living room of society at large. It’s a place where you are neither family nor co-worker, and yet where the values, interests, gossip, complaints and inspirations of these two other spheres intersect. It’s a place at least one step removed from the structures of work and home, more random, and yet familiar enough to breed a sense of identity and connection. It’s a place of both possibility and comfort, where the unexpected and the mundane transcend and mingle. And nine times out of ten, it’s a bar.”
There are over ten bars in our neighborhood that range from the historic Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon to the hip Beer Revolution (47 beers on tap – a true bike hang out) to the Warehouse Bar & Grill (a favorite hang out for cops). There are many other food and drink destinations there that include Blue Bottle Coffee, Haven, Encuentro, Yoshi’s jazz club, and Chop Bar and places along the waterfront where SWA Group, the progressive urban design firm transformed the main square into a thriving public destination.
Our new store opened last week and we’re open every week Friday through Sunday from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. Please drop by. Jack London Square is also a very pleasant Ferry ride from San Francisco and they have a nice bar on the Ferry as well.
(photo credit: PUBLIC photos by Brandon Weight)
This month our favorite bridge celebrates her 75th birthday. There are many attendant festivities. Our contribution is the introduction of PUBLIC Bikes painted in the exact color and finish of the bridge (International Orange). We have a limited number of these 7-speed bikes ($750) – so, if you are interested, act quickly. It’s easy to… Read more »
This month our favorite bridge celebrates her 75th birthday. There are many attendant festivities. Our contribution is the introduction of PUBLIC Bikes painted in the exact color and finish of the bridge (International Orange). We have a limited number of these 7-speed bikes ($750) – so, if you are interested, act quickly.
It’s easy to be a little jaded about a 75th anniversary: 50 is impressive, 100 epic. But jaded just doesn’t work with the Golden Gate Bridge; we love it so much we’d support a yearly celebration. In fact, I consider this bridge to be one of the greatest pieces of modern design – ever. Like all classic works, it just seems to grow in stature and grace every time we look at it.
What makes it so great? So many things. Astounding engineering – when completed in 1937 it was the tallest bridge in the world and the longest single-span suspension structure. Majesty – a man-made structure that holds it own even set against the dramatic natural surroundings and wonders of the bay. Beautiful design details – like the elegant ‘pyramiding’ columns. It’s heroic – reflecting our highest ambitions and speaking well of mankind. It transcends politics and brushes aside traditional design categorization. Although often billed as a triumph of the Art Deco style, its essence is too powerful, honest, and modern to be assigned to a bygone era. So purposeful, so optimistic, The Golden Gate Bridge is like a dynamic living creature, you even feel it move when you walk or ride over it.
Even with all these assets, its color might be the most defining feature. There are many stories about how its color came to be. If the US Air Force had its way the bridge would have been done up in red and white horizontal stripes (for visibility). The Navy was pushing for yellow and black. Others argued for a neutral grey to blend into the landscape. There were varying schemes to paint the railings and cables in colors contrasting the columns. But when the steel arrived with a reddish orange lead based primer in 1934 it became obvious to architect Irving F. Morrow that International Orange was the right choice.
The name of the color is also elusive. The way the light reflects off the surface gives it a somewhat indefinable patina and character. The color changes with the day and time, light, and perpetual aging and exposure to weather. More than a color the surface is like a breathing skin. A great fast paced read on the subject is Golden Gate Bridge: History and Design of an Icon, which has wonderful drawings and illustrations by Donald MacDonald that give a proper context for the bridge – purchase info below.
I was just in NYC for the ICFF show. There was a Californian Design booth and the backdrop for the booth was a huge photo of the GG Bridge. It is perhaps the greatest symbol for California and perhaps for modernism overall given the power with which it combines form and function.
BOOK: Golden Gate Bridge: History and Design of an Icon ($16.95)
A fascinating study for those interested in architecture, design, or anyone with a soft spot for San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge is a fitting tribute to this timeless icon. This accessible account is accompanied by 70 of MacDonald’s own charming color illustrations, making it easy to understand how the bridge was designed and constructed.
Bikes and Art have an illustrious history and intersection. The bike itself is such an elegant and iconic form that lends itself so well to abstraction and play. When the two collide magical things can happen. From the colorful lithography posters of the late nineteenth century to conceptual installations of the twenty-first century the bicycle… Read more »
Bikes and Art have an illustrious history and intersection. The bike itself is such an elegant and iconic form that lends itself so well to abstraction and play. When the two collide magical things can happen. From the colorful lithography posters of the late nineteenth century to conceptual installations of the twenty-first century the bicycle has been an instrument for artistic freedom. Iconic artists, like Marcel Duchamp, have used bicycle parts for sculpture. Picasso constructed Bull’s Head (1942) from the handlebars and seat of a bicycle. Forever Bicycles (2003-present) by artist Ai Wei Wei uses the bike form to create labyrinth-like installations that comment on China’s shifting social environment. In 2011 the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) asked artists to tailor products into symbols of art – Damien Hirst came back with a voluptuously painted bicycle called Psychedelic Spin Hollander (2011).
Marcel Duchamp, Bicycle Wheel, 1913
Donald Mitchell, Untitled, 2012
Klari Reis, Pedestal Bike, 2012
Cyrus Tilton, Fossil Fuel, 2012
Ken Kalman, Chariot of Fire, 2012
We have some modest examples of our own. This year we have collaborated with several artists and community groups to use bikes as a springboard for artistic expression. These range from simple expressive painting on a bike frame as with artist Donald Mitchell that was auctioned off to support Creative Growth, to several radical artistic of bikes for the San Francisco Art Fair (opens this weekend in SF).
ArtBikes at San Francisco Fine Art Fair
The third annual San Francisco Fine Art Fair takes place May 16-20, 2012, at Fort Mason’s Festival Pavilion. Proceeds from the sale of the art bikes benefit the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
The unveiling of the ArtBikes Auction signals the start of festivities for the San Francisco Fine Art Fair on May 16 at 7:30 pm. 7 renowned artists and sculptors convert seven PUBLIC bikes into unique works of art. ArtBikes brings awareness to cycling as a healthy and efficient form of transportation. The bikes will be unveiled on opening night May 16th by members of Verasphere’s drag queens led by David Faulk and Michael Johnstone.
ArtBike participating artists include Ken Kalman (George Krevsky Gallery, San Francisco); Gino Miles (Ten472 Contemporary Art, Nevada City); Michael Osborne (Hamamjian Modern, San Francisco); Gustavo Ramos Rivera collaborating with Kathryn Kain (Westbrook Gallery, Carmel); Klari Reis (Cynthia Corbett Gallery, UK); Moe Thomas (McLoughlin Gallery, San Francisco); and Cyrus Tilton (Vessel Gallery, Oakland).
Klari Reis’s “Pedestal Bike”, featured above, embeds a deconstructed bike in a colorful multi-layer pedestal. By displaying the manufactured object as art, Reis takes an approach that directly plays with the definition of the exhibition.
Cyrus Tilton’s “Fossil Fuel”, also featured above, applies the artist’s interests in anatomy and natural history to the multiple forms found in the bicycle. “I see many similarities between the anatomy of a bicycle and that of an animal,” says Tilton, who was born and raised in the Alaskan wilderness northeast of Anchorage.
Ken Kalman’s winged “Chariot of Fire,” featured above, refers to mythological messenger gods (Hermes, Mercury, the Thunderbird, and Ezekiel), who “rode like the wind.”
Read on for more info on ArtBike. A lot can be said about these pieces and their meaning. But the images speak for themselves. Check out the show if you are in SF. And we’re always loking to partner with other arts groups, so let us know if you have a similar opportunity.
We are looking for volunteers to work an 8-hour shift from 11am-7pm on May 17, 18, and 19. Volunteers will receive a $200 voucher off a 2011 PUBLIC bike, plus a One-Day Pass into SF Fine Art Fair. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in volunteering.
The growth of bikes as basic urban transportation, and the overarching “livable cities” movement, is acknowledged internationally and becoming tangible in many major urban areas in the US. Mayors like Richard M. Daley and Michael Bloomberg have spearheaded these changes in our biggest cities, and large-scale bike share programs are expanding in Washington DC, New… Read more »
The growth of bikes as basic urban transportation, and the overarching “livable cities” movement, is acknowledged internationally and becoming tangible in many major urban areas in the US. Mayors like Richard M. Daley and Michael Bloomberg have spearheaded these changes in our biggest cities, and large-scale bike share programs are expanding in Washington DC, New York, Chicago, and later this year, in San Francisco. The positive trends are unlikely to be reversed.
Poster by Gerardo Gonzalez
Less obvious are similar trends in smaller communities that rarely show up on the radar. Take Edinburg, Texas, for example way down in the state’s southernmost tip. I just returned from a trip to the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA), aka “Panam,” where I gave talks to a diverse group of faculty and students with majors in art and design, engineering, and business. These faculty and students are all a part of the same livable cites movement that we see in larger cites, just handled more modestly. I came away optimistic that the progressive alternative transportation movement is definitely not just an elitist phenomenon limited to large urban areas.
UTPA is located in the second poorest county in the US. There is a large immigrant population and for the most part English is a second language. The wide roads are filled with big US trucks and lined with strip malls and fast food joints. (We ate lunch at Monster Bar & Grill Carwash). The flat sprawling urban plan is the polar opposite of what we have in San Francisco. But bike culture is on the rise and highly visible. In my 24-hour stay I saw a bike art exhibition, numerous bike lanes, and a diverse biking crowd. I had many conversations with young art students, senior engineers, department heads, librarians, and architects that reminded me of the conversations I have everyday in San Francisco. Special shout out to two young artists Sandy Milford and Gerardo Gonzalez whose stylish fashions designed with recycled material and cool graphics made the art show especially compelling.
One of the UTPA staff owns a PUBLIC bike and lent it to me for a half day. I rode for ten miles between UTPA and McAllen, TX where my hotel was located. I was directed to a winding eight-mile bike path that offered one of the most pleasant and relaxing rides I’ve ever had. Signs along the path educated me about the native birds that raucously serenaded me along the way.
On a bike you can easily cruise an entire downtown like McAllen. I pop in and out of the unique retail stores mostly of Mexican heritage. I found cool and quirky products, unique visual compositions, and colorful signage. My favorite store was Yerberia (pictured above) where I scored some amazing candles and some unique oils and fragrances, all with terrific and seductive packaging.
Exploring the streets of South Texas and McAllen on an orange bike made me feel like an ambassador of joy. Bikes help bridge economic and cultural differences and make people smile. This trip was as inspirational as my recent trip to New Orleans. A bicycle turns out to be the ideal way to get to know a small(ish) town in a short time. And we’ll do more of this.
Details from McAllen and Environs
For one week, we are offering 10% off our most popular bike model, the dutch style PUBLIC C7. The upright riding position and easy on-and-off geometry make this bike a great choice for basic transportation. Enjoy your community a little more from the vantage point of a bike. And feel like a kid again. GREAT PUBLIC… Read more »
For one week, we are offering 10% off our most popular bike model, the dutch style PUBLIC C7. The upright riding position and easy on-and-off geometry make this bike a great choice for basic transportation. Enjoy your community a little more from the vantage point of a bike. And feel like a kid again.
GREAT PUBLIC DESIGN FROM THE US GOVERNMENT?
A friend of mine gave me a sheet of stamps last week that made me rethink the positive influence government can have in our daily lives. The “Pioneers of American Industrial Design” forever stamps feature some pretty well known designers, like Russel Wright andHenry Dreyfuss, but they also pay tribute to some designers who are not exactly household names, such as Greta von Nessen and Peter Muller-Munk. Who would have thunk it – learning about design by looking at a (not so) common postage stamp? It’s a subtle, lickable education.
The US Government does not get much support for educating the public in the areas of art and design or related cultural activities. The National Endowment for the Arts, Public Broadcasting and our National Parks are forced to perpetually justify themselves in their quest for their tiny share of tax dollars. When the government does (or contributes to) something big, like the Vietnam Memorial or great museums like the National Gallery and the Cooper Hewitt, we tend to take it for granted.
These stamps reminded me to think more kindly about our government, and also to send a few more personal letters. They can be a welcome oasis in the hot landscape of modern modes of communication, such as digital newsletters…
If there is one neighborhood that has really come into its own in the last decade in SF it’s the Mission District. Referred to by the NY Times as a Hipster Hunting Ground it is home to the oldest standing building is SF, Mission Dolores, has some of the newest cool restaurants, and is a… Read more »
If there is one neighborhood that has really come into its own in the last decade in SF it’s the Mission District. Referred to by the NY Times as a Hipster Hunting Ground it is home to the oldest standing building is SF, Mission Dolores, has some of the newest cool restaurants, and is a centerpiece in the city for its progressive street designs which include bike lanes on both sides of the street. The bike culture is like nowhere else in the city. The streetlights are timed to the pace of the bikes, not the cars, and there are generous bike racks all along. So we’re thrilled to be opening up a pop-up store in the classic Harrington Gallery at 17th & Valencia and thrilled to join the other great bike stores on the street: Mission Bicycle Company, Valencia Cycles, and Freewheel.
Valencia Street is known for food as much as bikes. On our one block alone you’ll find a range of destinations that includes some of the most chic cafes in the city (Bar Tartine, Locanda, and Frjtz just to name a few). Cinco de Mayo insipred iron grates around trees and legendary graffiti can be found on almost every block. With a street character and diversity that you will not find elsewhere, it’s a prefect place for us to set up shop.
We just moved in last week, and we’re still fixing the place up, but please come by and meet Dave, Justin, and Jillian or apply for a job yourself. You can test ride our bikes and check out some cool new gear such as the new Detours bike bags and Spokelit featured above. Also check out the new Nantucket Lightship Basket and new assortment of the popular Nutcase helmets. It’s worth browsing Harrington Galleries, which has an amazing range of vintage and eclectic furniture. Store hours are Monday and Tuesday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Wednesday closed, Thursday – Sunday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm.
BIG Thank You to Our 1st Valencia Customers
We enjoy our job most when we send a new rider off on their maiden spin. Their smiles alone make our job worthwhile. Erica, pictured on the left, spruced up her bike with one of our new Detours Panniers. And don’t be surprised if we ask to take your picture when you stop by.
What makes a city livable? Museums, public transit, cafes, parks, schools, banks, wifi, bike paths, density, international vibe, nightclubs? Yes, but these are add-ons, just gravy. Without the basic essentials like safety, clean water, and sanitation, civility cannot exist and museums and libraries are fish out of water. This becomes obvious when you visit a… Read more »
What makes a city livable? Museums, public transit, cafes, parks, schools, banks, wifi, bike paths, density, international vibe, nightclubs? Yes, but these are add-ons, just gravy. Without the basic essentials like safety, clean water, and sanitation, civility cannot exist and museums and libraries are fish out of water. This becomes obvious when you visit a country like Panama and its capital Panama City – places that are equal parts first world modern and third world.
Panama does not lack clean water, and there are only a few sketchy, gang-run neighborhoods in Panama City where safety seems to be an issue. But (though I can’t really comment on sanitation overall), trash is scattered almost everywhere in public places and it is simply impossible to ignore. Plastic junk floats up on shores. People dump junk along roadsides; alleys fill up with stinky stuff. In many places, picking up litter does not appear to be part of the culture. I’m not a particularly prim traveler, but I found it disturbing. What makes people ignore this sight?
Some officials in Panama City seem to have noticed and have devised an ingenious solution in the older part of town, Casco Viejo. This quarter has been filled with cleverly painted trashcans with messages about recycling and respecting the city. They are in almost every corner of town, and their personality grabs your eye and your attention. The soulful funkiness make them feel more genuine (and more effective) than any sleek, imported modern European bins that look like they came from an airport in Germany. The painted cans seemed to be working (not to mention the fact that they make a nice collage as a group). It’s nice to see a lowly object like a trash can get some respect.
I don’t want to leave the impression that Panama is a big trash dump, it isn’t. Parts of Panama City that are well-kept, residential towns like Gamboa are elegant and stately. The ecological movement there is flourishing in throughout the countryside. There are pristine beaches and islands that rival the purest places I’ve seen. And in many of the island villages you often see evidence of a very clean sensibility in their public spaces.
But something happens with the move to larger cities. We stop taking ownership of the public places. We see this in our own cities also. Is it because the place is just too darn big and the problem overwhelming? Is everyone waiting for someone else (or the ‘powers that be’) to clean up?
While littering is uncommon in most US cities, we have our own trashy oversights. We junk up the air with CO2 gases and send frightening amounts unrecyclable waste to our dumps. Our waste just isn’t as visible or as obvious – out of sight, out of mind. We, too, seem to be expect someone else to solve the problem. Creative solutions like the garbage cans in Casco Viejo might inspire us to some clever solutions. Making problems highly visible in the public landscape is a good place to create awareness.
We went to New Orleans last week to check out the city and the urban biking scene in general. The story that trumps all other things Creole is that of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. 4000 homes were destroyed Damages reached over $86 Billion Over 1000 lives lost in the Lower 9th Ward alone Armed… Read more »
We went to New Orleans last week to check out the city and the urban biking scene in general. The story that trumps all other things Creole is that of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
- 4000 homes were destroyed
- Damages reached over $86 Billion
- Over 1000 lives lost in the Lower 9th Ward alone
Armed with a bike and an iphone, you can get the full guided tour. On a bike you feel the contours of the roads, smell the place, talk with locals, and connect on a level where you feel less like a tourist. On foot or in a car this would not have been such a powerful and personal experience, and you probably would have missed this exhibit that clarifies and contextualizes the disaster. The graph to the left quantifies how many new (red) and old (black) homes exist in the area.
The reconstruction is remarkable, unique, hopeful and still viscerally tragic. I was almost as blown away by the reconstruction efforts as by the overwhelming destruction. This is a neighborhood and community like no other. Lots of well-deserved credit has to be given to Brad Pitt and Make It Right. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” (Plato) and this organization is a much-needed catalyst that fosters innovation.
The silver lining to this disaster, a glimmer of hope, is that it demonstrates that the old and new can coexist given the right forces. Katrina and its aftermath wake us up to the value of community, urban planning, and architecture. Seeing those who endured the tragedy now living in new homes, designed around modern principles, gives us hope. The Make it Right ethic insists on water conservation, energy efficiency, healthy building materials, and storm resistant features. The elements of aesthetic beauty and creativity offer a glimpse into a more functional future, such as trellises that provide structure for shade plants, elevated porches with elegant screens, and unique residences of varying style, structure and color (i.e. quite the opposite of anonymous suburban development). This neighborhood communicates a sense of viability, success, and pride both to the residents and to those who visit. Design does make a difference.
Our self guided tour of New Orleans and the Ninth was made easy thanks to the concierge at the International Hotel who recommended us to Bicycle Michael’s for a rental bike. I stopped in, met Michael and his gang, and in 10 minutes we were out on the road. “You can get just about anywhere in New Orleans in twenty minutes on bike,” was Michael’s advice, and this proved true.
There is no better way to see this area and all of New Orleans than on a bike. Bicycle Michael’s is a cool bike shop, so is Gerken’s Bike Shop. There are numerous other bike resources in New Orleans, like Bike Tours by Confederacy of Cruisers and Bike Easy is a helpful resource.