July 27th, 2015

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Vibrant, emotion-packed color? We applaud. Creative use of public space? We rejoice. Here at PUBLIC you can be sure that if someone or something is making an statement with color in a clever and impactful way we take notice. Those reasons made it inevitable that our paths should cross with architect, designer and fashion maven, Monling Lee — who creates vivid, color blocking photography in and around her hometown city of Washington DC.

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We discovered Monling Lee when we came across this article “Washington DC: Discover Under The Radar Public Spaces With Fashion Maven Monling Lee“. Monling generously said yes to an interview and we jumped at the chance to pick her brain about all things color and design related.

PUBLIC: As an architectural/urban designer you are constantly called upon to come up with new ideas and solutions for creative problems. Where do you find inspiration?

Monling: As an architectural and urban designer, I am constantly looking towards the built environment and the myriad ways citizens engage with it for inspiration. Take Washington, D.C., a city where I reside, for instance. It is a city full of well-known historic monuments and French-inspired public spaces that often have an overtly formal connotation that discourages informal uses. The recent injection of a younger demographic to the District however, brings about a demand for social third spaces and a renewed energy to historic spaces that have previously been off-limits to contemporary interpretations. One extremely successful reuse of a historic space that is currently ongoing is the National Building Museum’s Great Hall during its annual summer installation. The Beach, this summer’s installation designed by New York firm Snarkitecture, prompts thousands of diverse visitors every day to engage with this revered and often intimidating space in an unexpectedly gleeful way, which has been a joy to witness.

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PUBLIC: Your website, colorindex.us is overflowing with the most vibrant, color-blocked photography. Clearly, color and fashion are important to you. What inspires your color choices?

Monling: COLORINDEX is a means to explore and catalog the intersection of two of my interests—fashion and the built environment—through a highly colorful lens. The series began as an exercise on Instagram in 2012, as an informal visual blog capturing what I wear and what I see. Color combinations were selected from various color reference guides in the beginning, from which I would then match pieces from my wardrobe and moments in the built environment. With the launch of the website in late 2014, the production process has gradually evolved to require more effort in planning and execution. The process of developing color combinations, however, has become less clinical and more intuitive. Anything can prompt the beginning of a color story, including seasons, narrative angles, a beloved piece of clothing, or a newly discovered space.

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PUBLIC: You’re a pro at creating tableaus of colors. How do you come up with your color compositions on COLORINDEX? Do you start with an inspiring setting? Or an outfit?

Monling: The beginning of a color story can be inspired by anything that I find compelling for the project: a particularly interesting moment in an urban landscape, a fun piece of clothing in a vibrant hue, or more likely, the partnering product being featured. While the starting points are usually more direct and intuitive, developing the compositions requires more careful study by going through a mental and digital catalog of colorful spaces in the city, consulting various color guides when necessary, and sketching out various looks and scenes until the desired color balance is achieved.

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PUBLIC: What’s your favorite color at the moment?

Monling: I have always had an affinity towards very bright colors, and usually would set one highly saturated color against three or four other colors of equal strength to maximize their combined visual effects. Like wearing a superhero costume, my mood can be instantly lifted when wearing an exceptionally colorful outfit. Lately though, I have come to find seasonal and foliage changes in DC streets to be great sources of inspiration, and have started to appreciate quieter colors for their subtlety and range. Colors like dusty rose, light blue, sage, or pale yellow are great neutral alternatives for they still retain very specific color personalities even when saturation levels are dialed way back.

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PUBLIC: Out of all our bikes, you selected the PUBLIC C7 in Limited Edition Peach. What drew you to that color?

Monling: PUBLIC C7 comes in many fresh and delicious colors, but selecting the Limited Edition Peach was a quick choice. I have always favored variations on the color orange, which is a brilliant hue that is also fairly gender-neutral. The Limited Edition Peach, however, has a bit of pink understone, making it just slightly more feminine and a great color for summer!

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PUBLIC: Any upcoming projects/partnerships you are excited about?

Monling: It has been really great working with and getting to know companies with compelling and compatible products such as PUBLIC. Going forward, I will continue to collaborate with both small and established apparel and accessories brands in this current editorial photography format. While I love to create visual narratives through color stories, my longer term goal is to collaborate with brands as early as the product design and development stages. After all, I am a designer by training and trade!

July 20th, 2015

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Grand Prize winner, Melissa on the right.

We’re excited to announce the very lucky grand prize winner of our PUBLIC + PLAE Joyride Sweepstakes is mom/nurse/world-traveler Melissa G. who lives in Roseland, New Jersey.

With a self-professed love for “health, fitness and the outdoors,” a typical weekend day for her family includes packing up a picnic lunch and exploring different parks and reservations by bike.

Melissa’s son is 4-years only and currently struggling with learning to ride a bike. As the grand prize winner, she won a PUBLIC bike for herself as well as PUBLIC Mini Kids Balance Bike for her son. She’s sure the balance bike is going help her son become confident with riding a bike. Melissa says, “The PUBLIC Mini Balance Bike is going to be PERFECT for him to practice on! I’m excited for him to learn to ride, so we can explore our neighborhood and parks together.”

Melissa has lived all over world, everywhere from Alaska to Peru, and we’re excited to see where her new PUBLIC wheels take her next! Congrats again, Melissa, and many happy trails to you and your family.

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

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Grand Prize winner, Melissa with her son.

July 15th, 2015

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In 2013 we introduced our first PUBLIC electric bikes, designed around our diamond and mixte frames with BionX electric technology. After two years of testing, customer feedback, and a lot of big grins and flattened hills, we’re proud to announce our all-new PUBLIC D8 and M8 Electric bikes. We created the speedy video above to illustrate the hill crushing power of our fully redesigned PUBLIC Electric Bikes. If you’ve got a longer commute with some hills along the way, want an easier way to get your groceries home, or just want to drive your car less, our all-new PUBLIC Electric Bikes are the answer.

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Redesigned from the ground up with tougher new steel frames, powerful disc brakes, double the battery capacity, and the latest 48v BionX e-bike technology, these new PUBLIC Electric bikes will totally change how you think about biking.
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Our new electric bikes are powerful pedal assist e-bikes that amplify your regular pedaling, so they feel just like riding any other bike but with supercharged pedal power. Plus they come with a little red button to give you an extra boost of throttle power, even if you’re not pedaling.
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You can conquer the steepest hills, carry heavy loads, and easily cruise at 20+ MPH, all without breaking a sweat. Our PUBLIC M8 Electric mixte bike is available in a new classy navy blue, and our PUBLIC D8 Electric diamond frame bike comes in a sharp black.
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We only have a limited quantity of these exciting new e-bikes so they will sell out before our next production. If you live near the Bay Area, Seattle, or Portland PUBLIC stores, we highly recommend stopping in to test ride our new e-bikes today.

July 9th, 2015

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It’s party time!

We’ve opened our new PUBLIC Showroom at 828 NW 23rd at Kearney and we want to celebrate with you at our Grand Opening Party.

It’s going to be a great event. We’ll have free food and drinks, music, special in-store only deals and a raffle with some really great PUBLIC product, including a really big one of our own, the winner’s choice of either a PUBLIC C7 or PUBLIC V7 in the color of their choosing.

Everyone who attends the party will receive a free raffle ticket to enter to win prizes, but you can increase your chances of winning by buying additional raffle tickets in support of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.

The first 50 people who show up to our Grand Opening Party and RSVP on Facebook will receive a limited edition PUBLIC tote bag with surprises inside.

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

DETAILS
PUBLIC Portland Grand Opening Party
828 NW 23rd
Saturday, August 8 between 11am-3pm
RSVP HERE

July 8th, 2015

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It’s party time!

We’ve opened our new flagship PUBLIC store at 501 E. Pine Street at Summit and we want to celebrate with you at our Grand Opening Party.

It’s going to be a great event. We’ll have free food and drinks, music, special in-store only deals and a raffle with some really great PUBLIC product, including a really big one of our own, the winner’s choice of either a PUBLIC C7 or PUBLIC V7 in the color of their choosing.

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Everyone who attends the party will receive a free raffle ticket to enter to win prizes, but you can increase your chances of winning by buying additional raffle tickets in support of the Cascade Bicycle Club.

The first 75 people who show up to our Grand Opening Party and RSVP on Facebook will receive a limited edition PUBLIC tote bag with surprises inside.

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

DETAILS
PUBLIC Seattle Grand Opening Party
501 E. Pine Street
Saturday, August 1 between 11am-3pm
RSVP HERE

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June 30th, 2015

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A happy rider in Copenhagen / Copenhagenize Design Co.

As we approach another 4th of July weekend in the U.S., many of us will get in our cars to enjoy the holiday weekend. If we lived in Copenhagen, it’s likely we’d be choosing two-wheels instead of four to get around. Recently Copenhagen surpassed Amsterdam in the top spot for the most bicycle-friendly city in the world.

This Copenhagenize Index ranking by is no surprise to anyone who has visited this wonderful European city in recent years. Copenhagen’s public streets and spaces are filled with two-wheeled transportation.

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Rush hour in Copenhagen / Copenhagenize Design Co.

Copenhagen is a proof that “if you build it, they will come.” The city’s heavy investment in bicycle-friendly infrastructure makes this mode of transportation easy and accessible for people of all ages.

About 50% of residents commute by bicycle every day in Copenhagen. By comparison in the U.S., about 6% of Portland residents and about 4% of Minneapolis residents commute by bicycle. These cities are considered two of the most enlightened American cities when it comes to bicycling.

One of the biggest reasons Copenhagen’s leaders justify significant investments in bicycling infrastructure is because their policy and political decisions are guided by different methods of accounting for the full social costs of various modes of transportation.

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Clever transportation / Copenhagenize Design Co.

The article “How Copenhagen Became A Cycling Paradise By Considering The Full Cost Of Cars” summarizes this best: “Cars pollute and cause more accidents. So when deciding whether to invest in roads or bike lanes, Copenhagen calculates all of the social costs involved—and bikes win out.”

In addition, as Ben Schiller from Co.Exist writes, “As well as costs and benefits to society, there are also personal costs and benefits, including the time lost or gained from taking a bike or car, and the impact of noise and pollution on quality of life. When these are included in the analysis, cars cost 57 cents per kilometer while bikes come in at 9 cents per kilometer, the paper finds.”

Imagine if we applied a similar approach in the U.S.? Citizens and leaders would be better informed about the significant public subsidies that support our predominant car culture – and the disproportionate, costly impacts the motorized vehicles has on our public streets and spaces. And of course, we know non-motorized transportation is better for the planet and public health.

So as we approach another 4th of July weekend in the U.S. where many of us will get in our cars for weekend getaways, let’s recognize that there’s a higher cost in pursuit of some of those freedoms.

June 17th, 2015

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On Wednesday, June 24th as part of Pedalpalooza, the organized (Ned) Flanders Neighborhood Greenway Ride is departing from NW Flanders & 23rd at 6:00PM. The ride traverses the future Flanders Neighborhood Greenway and local advocates will be on hand to point out the improvements needed to create a safe east-west route from NW to 24th to the Steel Bridge.

We invite you to swing by our PUBLIC Portland Showroom at 828 NW 23rd for happy hour from 4:30-6:00PM. We’ll have Italian Ice from J Gelatari and beer from local brewery, Hopworks Urban Brewery. Then grab your bike and head out on the (Ned) Flanders Neighborhood Greenway Ride.

Riders are encouraged (but not required) to dress in Ned Flanders garb, so wear that green sweater and join us for a happy hour that would make Ned & the future Flanders Greenway proud!

Please RSVP and invite your friends on Facebook so we can get enough drinks for everyone planning to stop by.

June 9th, 2015

We’re elated to announce that we’re coming to Portland. The first-ever PUBLIC Showroom is now open in Northwest Portland inside a beautiful old Craftsman at 828 NW 23rd Ave, shared with our friends, Marine Layer.

Marine Layer is an apparel company known for impeccable style. With their absurdly soft shirts and our ridiculously smooth riding bikes, laid back Portland just got even more comfortable. Anyone who orders a PUBLIC bike from our Portland Showroom can get 15% off any full priced apparel from the Marine Layer store located upstairs in the same building.

Our PUBLIC Portland Showroom (entrance above) will feature our entire collection of PUBLIC bikes for test riding where we can place an order for you to ship directly to your home or work. During the summer months we’ll be open 11am-7pm everyday. Our friendly staff will help you customize your dream bike with their expert knowledge of our bike accessories. Meet our new Portland Showroom Manager Elly Swope.

With the opening of our PUBLIC Portland Showroom there are now two options for purchasing a PUBLIC bike in Portland. You can still purchase a PUBLIC bike from Crank, our excellent bicycle shop dealer across the river in Southeast Portland. Crank carries many PUBLIC bikes in stock and offers PUBLIC bikes at the same price as us. We recommend Crank to service your PUBLIC bike and you can rent a bike from them as well.

The number one reason we want to be in Portland is simple. We want to be part of the city that consistently ranks #1 or near the top of every list of top bicycle-friendly cities. These days, 6% of Portland residents regularly bike commute to work, making it the leader out of all major US cities. Interestingly, the 2000 Census found only 1.8% of the city rode a bike to work, so Portland’s huge growth in bike commuting is inspiring. Another fun fact is the percentage of bike commuters per capita in Portland is twice as high as San Francisco’s and 10x the national average.

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More reasons why we are pumped to be in Portland include the personal and professional connections we have to the city. Several PUBLIC staff members hail from Portland. We’ve juried at the Oregon Manifest (shot above) where the country’s best custom bicycle builders team up with top-notch design firms to collaborate on envisioning and designing the ultimate “utility bike.”  Many of our vendor partners and friends are based in Portland, including Nutcase and Portland Design Works. And local groups and blogs, including Bicycle Transportation AllianceBikePortland, and SHIFT serve as effective advocates, organizers, and resources about livable streets and celebrating bicycle culture.

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Also, Portland’s indie bike building community leads the US and the world. The leading industry technical school, United Bicycle Institute, has a campus in Portland and has trained some of the best people in the industry. There are 40+ amazing custom bicycle builders based in Portland, including the well-known and well-loved Tony Pereira, Sweetpea and Vanilla. Chris King Precision Components (shot above from our 2014 tour of Chris King) hails from Portland and has an international reputation for their locally manufactured gear.

Portland has made us believe that American cities can become just as bike and pedestrian friendly as our favorite cities in Europe. We look forward to joining Portland’s diverse community to inspire new people to think differently about how they can use a bike more in their everyday life.

June 9th, 2015

Portland, hello! We’re so excited to have made our way to this vibrant and bike-friendly city. On Friday, June 12 we’ll open the doors to our first ever PUBLIC Showroom in Portland at 828 NW 23rd Street (adjacent to awesome Marine Layer). Read more about our Portland Showroom here.

We had a chance to catch up with our PUBLIC Portland Showroom manager, Elly Swope. She’s a fun loving individual who works at PUBLIC by day and fronts a band at night! Read on to learn more about Elly and her band, Focus! Focus! and make sure to swing by our PUBLIC Showroom and say hi to Elly and the team.

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PUBLIC: Tell us a little about yourself.
ELLY: I’m originally from Missouri, and I moved to Portland in 2010. I’m a musician and I had heard great things about the PDX music scene. After a few years here, my partner Vikki and I moved to LA to learn more about the music industry there. But it wasn’t long before we missed beautiful Portland, and we moved back in Fall of 2014.

PUBLIC: Where did you work before?
ELLY: I’ve been in music retail for about 9 years. Most recently, I worked for Guitar Center in sales and management.

PUBLIC: What do you like best about Portland?
ELLY: I love how inclusive this city is; about passions, about identity, about career dreams. In Portland, you are given the space to be whoever you are or want to be, and you can usually find other people like you. Also, the beer and coffee are great.

PUBLIC: Tell us some fact or background about yourself that might surprise people.
ELLY: I’ve been playing music for almost 20 years. I started playing drums first, when I was a kid, and I learned guitar later on. I started writing songs when I was in college, and quickly realized I wanted to make a career out of it. So I spend most of my time writing, recording, and performing with my band, Focus! Focus!

PUBLIC: What’s your experience riding bikes in Portland?
ELLY: I love biking here! I biked in LA, and it was terrible. The drivers didn’t want you there; the air was hard to breathe. In Portland, I feel safe and I feel like I’m part of a community.

PUBLIC: What are your favorite routes or places to visit by bicycle in Portland?
ELLY: I like biking on the Eastside, where I live, scoping out the houses, and daydreaming about owning one someday. One of my favorite rides is from my neighborhood in outter NE, down to a coffee shop called Crema in inner SE, down Ankeny to 28th. The big craftsman houses on the route are gorgeous!

PUBLIC: What are you looking forward to in leading the new PUBLIC Portland showroom?
ELLY: I’m excited to help connect PUBLIC to the Portland biking community, and to help new riders connect to the community as well!

June 8th, 2015

We think biking is cool and dads who bike are extra cool. With Father’s Day just around the corner, we asked extra cool dad and photographer Gabriel Harber from Oakland, CA about biking with his two kids, Ellis and Zelda. We learned many tips for biking with kids in our interview with Gabriel. Namely that the key to getting your kids interested and excited about riding is, quite simply, to keep it fun. For tips on biking with your kids, read the rest of our interview with Gabriel below. And for even more how-to’s on family biking check out our post on moms who bike with their kids.

PUBLIC: You live in the urban city of Oakland. How does biking with your kids fit into city life?
Gabriel: Biking in a fairly flat city like Oakland just makes so much sense. It is fast, fun, economical, and makes me feel like I am doing a tiny bit to help make the world a better place. Biking with my kids is easy and fun. They love to see and smell all the interesting stuff around us. Instead of being stuck in a car seat separated from the people and environment around them, they get to interact, experience, and positively add to their surroundings.

PUBLIC: How many kids do you have, what are their ages, and how do you get your kids interested about biking?
Gabriel: My son, Ellis, is almost 5 and my daughter, Zelda, just turned 3. Ellis started riding a balance bike when he was 2 1/2. He is now working on mastering a pedal bike. Zelda is a beast on the balance bike. We try to make biking fun. Kids like fun.

PUBLIC: How has biking with your kids changed the way you understand or interact with them?
Gabriel: My daughter loves to sing on the bike. My son points out smells and we talk about construction projects that we pass by often. They both love emergency vehicles. It is great being able to converse with them, share experiences, and to realize how much they are aware of and the depth of their curiosity.

PUBLIC: Where do you like to go biking with your kids?
Gabriel: We bike everywhere. We recently biked/barted/and biked some more to the Makers Faire in San Mateo. I rode over 30 miles that day. It was an epic adventure. We have biked out to the port of Oakland and across town to Codornices park in Berkeley. We have biked to first Friday a few times. We go to the park, to the grocery store, and the farmers market by bike. It is fun to bike around town and stop in at friends’ houses unannounced.

PUBLIC: What are your top tips for parents who have not started biking with their kids?
Gabriel: My kids are pretty young and are easier to bike at certain times. I have two bike rigs; one that carries the kids separately (one in front and one behind) and one where they ride together. It is easiest for me to have them separated so they don’t mess with each other. When they are on the bike where they sit next to each other it is easiest riding with them in the morning before they are amped up and tired. A bike with a step through frame will be easier to mount if you are carrying two kids on your bike or one in back. The more simple you can keep your initial set up, the more likely it is that you will start biking with your kid/s. I started with an ibert front carrier on an old Italian road bike and then added a Yepp rear seat when I began biking both kids. The road bike was not suited for carrying myself and two kids so I moved their seats over to a Public bike and replaced the rear wheel with one that could hold the extra weight. You can put a kid bike seat on most any bike. Don’t hold out for the perfect setup. Wear a helmet. Use lights at night. Biking is fun, easy, and will make you and your kids feel awesome.