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Archive for the ‘Videos & Books’ Category

Henry Miller’s Valentine To The Bike

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Image via henrymiller.org

Henry Miller, the American author and artist, had the middle name of Valentine. And in addition to perhaps his best known work, Tropic of Cancer, he also penned a book at the end of his career that one could call his “valentine to the bicycle” entitled, My Bike and Other Friends.

A friend gave us the below poster featuring a quote from Miller’s My Bike and Other Friends. We’re sharing it with you now because it’s Valentine’s Day and this quote represents our kind of Valentine.

Image via henrymiller.org

The poster comes from The Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, California. If you ever have the pleasure of visiting Big Sur, make sure to check out this Library. It’s an amazing resource for literature and art, as well as a venue for top notch musical talents We’ve been to Philip Glass concerts there and they have featured artist like Patti Smith and Laurie Anderson in the past.

While we don’t recommend riding a single speed through Big Sur, smoking while riding the way Miller does, or sleeping with your bike as he suggests in his quote, we do appreciate Miller’s heartfelt sentiment that the bike can be one of your best silent companions.

Traffic Jams. Open Streets.

Friday, January 17th, 2014

You are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, has been in hot political water over information that suggests his top aides intentionally caused traffic jams by closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge as political payback. It’s a hot mess of a scandal that you can follow here.

We’re particularly intrigued by this scandal because people seem to be upset that there was a deliberate, orchestrated effort to create unnecessary traffic jams. And yet in most cities, traffic congestion is an ongoing reality because we’ve unfortunately built lifestyles around the car. Every time we read about traffic jams, we’re reminded of the adage: “You are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic.”

At PUBLIC, we’d rather spend less energy thinking of lane closures and traffic jams, but more energy thinking of ways to open our streets to people, bicycles, and other things that bring people together. This Streetfilms video on the “Rise of Open Streets” articulates this concept beautifully, and includes cameo appearances from some of our favorite urbanists such as Janette Sadik-Khan and Gil Penalosa.

We’re Hiring. Help Build Walkable (and Bikeable) Cities

Friday, October 18th, 2013

If you want to know why I started PUBLIC, and why we feel constantly excited and accomplished about getting more people on bikes, watch this TED video. Jeff Speck articulates the reasons why the movement to make our cities more walkable and bikeable is perhaps one of the most important social initiatives in the US for the 21st century.

Jeff is a hero of mine, and a mentor. I have written about him and his recent book, Walkable City in a prior PUBLIC Opinion essay. I was privileged to work with him for two years when he headed up the NEA sponsored Mayors’ Institute on City Design, where designers, urbanists, and mayors get together and help solve design problems facing modern US cities.

Jeff’s talk is about ways the US can be more economically resilient, healthy, and environmentally sustainable by making our cities more walkable and bikeable. And he is not afraid to challenge some major issues with the path of development the US took in the 20th century. Watch this to learn why “the worse idea we’ve ever had [in the US] is suburban sprawl.”

Jeff Speck on Walkable Cities at TED

We’re Hiring

We are recruiting for several positions listed below. Additionally, we always have projects that need to be managed by self-directed part-time employees. If you have a friendly demeanor, curiosity, a college degree, solid computer skills, and a desire to change the world, please send us a note of interest and resume to jobs@publicbikes.com. All inquiries will be kept confidential, and we will follow up in more detail with any qualified applicant.

Online Marketing Associate – Part-Time or Full-Time

This person will take ownership for the success of our online marketing program and its impact on the overall growth of our online sales channel. This position could be a part-time contract or possibly full-time employee job based in San Francisco. You will use current online marketing technology, both internal and outsourced, to implement programs to enhance traffic (SEM and SEO), Google Analytics, and customer insights/merchandising. Pay depends on experience. Find out more and apply here.

IT Technical Support – Part-Time

This part-time IT Technical Support Contractor based in the San Francisco Bay Area will have technical know-how to serve as our in-house IT support point person related to PUBLIC’s technology systems, including our retail point of sales, e-commerce and inventory management, and basic office connectivity technology troubleshooting in a mixed Macintosh and Windows environment. This person will be familiar with all information systems used at PUBLIC, including hardware and software. Pay depends on experience. Learn more and apply here.

Retail Store Sales Associates – Part-Time

We are looking for part-time Retail Store Sales Associates immediately who are able to work on weekends and already be located in the Bay Area. Retail experience and references are essential, but you do not need to be a bike mechanic. For more information visit our website.


Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

From Laurence King Publishing, 100 BEST BIKES is a new book by Zahid Sardar that features the latest and finest in bicycle design and engineering. PUBLIC is featured in the book in the City/Utility bike category.

Meet author and design expert Zahid Sardar at the Inn at the Presidio on Sunday, Sept. 30th from 2-4 PM. Enjoy a glass of wine, peruse a copy of the book, and drop a business card into the fish bowl for the chance to win a FREE Biomega Boston style collapsible bike. This event is free and open to the public.

Zahid Sardar is the former design editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, Zahid Sardar continues to write for the Chronicle as well as for Dwell and other design publications. He has also written for Metropolis, Architecture, Interior Design and Surface magazines. His books include New Garden Design (2008) and San Francisco Modern (1998). He is an avid cyclist, navigating the hills of San Francisco on his 10-speed Motobecane Mirage.

According to Sardar and Laurence King Publishing: “These are the best bikes to be found anywhere right now, giving every kind of cyclist an overview of what is out there. Whether a BMXtreme or mountain bike enthusiast, a keen tourer or racer, a city commuter or courier, or simply fascinated with the constantly advancing mechanics and engineering of folding and other innovative bike designs, this book has something for you. The bikes on display come from across Europe, East and South Asia and North America, not to mention examples from the southern hemisphere. The major bike manufacturers like Boardman, Giant and Fuji are of course featured, but also more maverick material from Biomega, Calfee and Daymak. 100 Best Bikes is the essential resource for anyone wanting to know about the best in design and engineering for every kind of bike.”

You can share this event on Facebook too.

A Bike for the Bridge

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

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.


PUBLIC Bikes at the Disposable Film Festival

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Disposable Fim Festival 2012 Official Trailer – Make Some Magic from Disposable Film Festival on Vimeo.

Official trailer for Disposable Film Festival 2012
Music: Pony People (single version) by Wounded Lion
Thanks to The Disposable Film Festival

VIDEO: Calivintage Rides in PUBLIC

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Calivintage Rides In PUBLIC from Jon Brown on Vimeo.

We’re happy to share this video produced by our friends Calivintage and Jon Brown.

Interview With Hollywood Rides a Bike Author Steven Rea

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Author Steven Rea will share photos and discuss his new book Hollywood Rides a Bike at PUBLIC HQ on February 24. Hollywood Rides a Bike shows classic stars from Shirley Temple to Brigitte Bardot and Humphrey Bogart to Kevin Bacon all on the best bikes Hollywood has to offer. This book is inspired by Rea’s popular movie star and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

6-8pm, Friday, February 24 at PUBLIC HQ in 123 South Park, San Francisco, CA
General Admission: $10 (Pre-registration guarantees seat for you. $10 will be credited with purchase of book if available)
General Admission + Signed Book: $25 (Pre-registration guarantees book & seat for you)

Use this Pre-Registration link

We asked Rea a few questions in anticipation for our Feb 24 PUBLIC Pre-Oscar Party: Hollywood Rides a Bike.

Who are the most famous living Hollywood celebrities you know or heard of who rides a bike?
I know Russell Crowe has commuted to the sets of some of his films on a bike. Ewan McGregor, in addition to being a motorcyclist, has a cool vintage Jack Taylor and does a lot of cycling. Robin Williams is a serious road cyclist, as you probably know, since he’s a San Franciscan. Matthew Modine, Zach Galifianakis, Natalie Portman, are a few others I know of.

If you could only show three photos from your collection, which would those be and why?
Lauren Bacall, just 20, in 1945, with her screen debut “To Have and Have Not” just about to be released, leaning against a bike on a studio soundstage having a cup of coffee and looking totally cool. And because it’s so rare, and awesome, Olivia de Havilland, stopping on the backlot with her bike and bike trailer, during production of 1935′s “Captain Blood” with Errol Flynn. The trailer has her name painted on it, as well as the title “Capt. Blood,” and carries her makeup, her script and whatnot as she commutes between dressing room and soundstage. And Susan Peters, astride her Monark bike, looking out from the Santa Monica Palisades to the sea. She was nominated for a best supporting actress for “Random Harvest,” a terrific 1942 amnesia melodrama starring Ronald Colman. A few years later she was in a hunting accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down, so this gorgeous photo is tinged with tragedy.

What’s your favorite city or cities to explore by bike and why?
Montreal is certainly one — a great network of dedicated bike lanes, and a real cycling culture. And Amsterdam is cycling heaven.

What was the biggest challenge putting together your book?
Determining the provenance of some of the photos. Especially with the older images, many came without snipes or captions or any sort of credits. I watched a lot of old movies trying to determine what film, what year, particular images came from — if they came from a specific film, or if they were “candids” taken during a production.

After this book, what’s next for you and Rides a Bike?
“Rides a Bike 2″? I have some really wonderful images acquired since the book went to press, so, who knows. I can dream, right?

Book Parties. Marilyn Monroe. Groundhogs. Love Deals.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

February is an utterly unique month. It is singular for having the shortest number of days, even with Leap Year (Feb. 29), but also for the unusual and diverse events and holidays. What other month opens with something as humorous as Groundhog Day (Feb. 2) and works its way through to the pious Presidents Day (Feb. 20) and includes the erotic and romantic Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) and later Fat Tuesday (Feb. 21), known more commonly as Mardi Gras, a day to gorge and indulge before Lent for Catholics (Feb. 22 – April 5).

We have some new products and special deals for this month that are also noteworthy. Our Valentine’s Special includes our most popular gifts and there are some other special events of our own, including a Hollywood Rides a Bike: Cycling with the Stars book signing by author, Steven Rea that might be worth putting on your calendar (Feb. 24) if you are in the Bay Area. This is a great warm up event to the Oscars which also occurs in this special month (Feb. 26). Check out Marilyn Monroe riding alongside playwright Arthur Miller in the photo above.

Maira Kalman and Michael Pollan
Book Party in Berkeley
If you live in the Bay Area chances are you are probably familiar with the restaurant Chez Panisse and author Michael Pollan.  You may not know that Maira Kalman illustrated Pollan’s book, Food Rules and that Alice Waters supports it through a special Edible School Yard Project in Berkeley. Maira is a longtime friend and we have been supporters of the Edible School Yard Project dating back to the 90’s. Reserve an autographed copy of the recently released hard cover edition, meet Maira Kalman, and have a glass of wine and nibbles at Chez Panisse this Sunday from 12-3.
Valentines Day. Anywhere.
Forget about taking your sweetie to an overcrowded restaurant decked out in red and pink. Take him or her on bike ride to some romantic destination with a picnic lunch or dinner. We have a few special items on sale for the holiday also.
Hollywood Rides a Bike
Book Party at PUBLIC Store in San Francisco
Over a year ago a friend sent me a link to a cool blog called Rides a Bike. It has fantastic vintage photos of all types of movie stars on bicycles. It has the same people interest as the Sartorialist in many ways but with old Hollywood charm.  The blog is the work of Philadelphia film critic Steven Rea, and this led to his recently released book. We are delighted to have Rea in our store on Friday night Feb. 24 from 6-8 pm for a talk and book signing.  Space is limited and we expect a large crowd for this. Please RSVP for a seat and a book.

Feb 24 PUBLIC Pre-Oscar Party: Hollywood Rides a Bike

Friday, January 27th, 2012

As a prelude to the Oscars, PUBLIC is pleased to host author Steven Rea who will share photos and discuss his new book Hollywood Rides a Bike. Hollywood Rides a Bike shows classic stars from Shirley Temple to Brigitte Bardot and Humphrey Bogart to Kevin Bacon all on the best bikes Hollywood has to offer. This book is inspired by Rea’s popular movie star and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike. You can read our interview with Rea here.

Friday, February 24
6:00pm – 8:00pm
PUBLIC HQ in 123 South Park
San Francisco, CA

General Admission: $10 (Pre-registration guarantees seat for you. $10 will be credited with purchase of book if available)
General Admission + Signed Book: $25 (Pre-registration guarantees book & seat for you)

Use this Pre-Registration link

Hollywood Rides a Bike includes candid backlot shots, taken by publicity lensers who happened across stars as they wheeled around the Burbank, Culver City, Universal City, and Hollywood lots; the production stills from movies where the actor, in character, rides a bike (Jane Fonda made her screen debut crashing a Rollfast into two of her co-stars; Julie Andrews and her towheaded charges were singing “Do-Re-Mi” as they took to the alpine blacktop); the staged studio portraits—a lot of cheesecake (Deborah Kerr and Veronica Lake and Rita Hayworth, oh my!) and beefcake; and then just real-life photos of the likes of Kim Novak, Cicely Tyson, and Julie Christie riding along on palisades paths, Central Park byways, and English country lanes.

Retro bike fiends will note the streamlined angles, artful detail, and old-school craftsmanship on the cruisers and roadsters, folders and tandems, English lightweights and the occasional trike, triple- and high-wheeler pictured herein. They mark a time and place when things were built to last, when design and function dovetailed neatly—well, perfectly, in fact.

For bike aficionados there’s a special index just about the cycles! And another index is made for movie fans–full of Hollywood facts.

Author Steven Rea has been a movie critic with the Philadelphia Inquirer since 1992.