December 8th, 2010

We’ve seen the growing numbers of people riding bicycles in cities across the country. And here at PUBLIC, we’re delighted that many of our customers are buying a bike for the first time as adults or haven’t been on a bike for awhile.

We spend lot of time with these bike newbies. We talk about proper ways to lock their bike, how to ride defensively and alertly in cities, suggest products that might help them enjoy their ride more, and offer resources to them to learn more about biking in their city.

In addition to our Grab Bag of recommended items, we suggest the following items that might go into your Starter Kit:

PUBLIC’s Recommended Starter Kit for Bike Newbies
U-lock – essential for theft prevention
Inner Tubes – just in case you get a flat tire
Cable – added security for your bike tire
Bell – best way to politely communicate with others
Helmet – to protect your coconut
Rear Rack – gives you many options to carry your locks, baskets or bags
Pannier Shoulder Bag – good for commuters who carry laptops
Detours Pannier – more ways to carry stuff
Front Basket – good to carry light groceries, clothes, or small bag/purse
Rear Basket – perfect for those Farmer’s Market or grocery trips
Cargo Net – good way to keep everything inside your rear basket
Bungee Strap – good for strapping your U-lock, sweater and/or other items around your rear rack
Lights – essential for twilight or night riding
SF Bike Map – figure out the best way to get around SF
Deer Head – always there to greet you when you come home

Additional Tips
If you live in the Bay Area, we encourage you to consider becoming a member of San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to support better biking in SF, but also take advantage of SFBC’s resources related to bike security, adult bike riding education, and other programs. If you don’t live in SF, you might find great resources with your own local bike advocacy group.

We also recommend using Google Maps for Bicycles to find the best bike route to get to your destination. Google Maps is generally decent, but we’re sometimes amused by its suggested routes. For example, when we type in San Francisco, CA as our origin and Honolulu, HI for our destination, Google Maps tells us to bike all the way north beyond Seattle, and then “Kayak across the Pacific Ocean” (step #617) to get to our island destination. Not sure why we need to bike so far to the Northwest part of the country when we can just get on a kayak with our bike from San Francisco!

Happy bike riding everyone – or kayaking too!

December 8th, 2010

Sea of Cars at Eurobike

Sea of Cars at Eurobike

Next Bike stand at Eurobike

Next Bike stand at Eurobike

Next Bike Rentals

Next Bike Rentals

Next Bike text message

Next Bike text message

Next Bike Advertisement

Next Bike Advertisement

Bicycles as far as the eye can see

Bike parking lots in Amsterdam

Our post last week, That Blind Spot drew a lot of feedback. It’s pretty easy to point to the problems car culture inflicts on the US and to wag fingers at poor transportation ‘design’. The irony of our local community – the ‘progressive’ Bay Area – succumbing to this collective blindness stands out as somewhat comical. This irony is not unique to the US. Let me tell you what I came across in Germany at the annual Eurobike show last week.

Eurobike is the Mecca for bicyclists. It may be five times the size of the US Interbike show. Getting to Friedrichshafen, the town closet to the show, is a treat and hopefully a taste of all travel in the future. You fly into Zurich, walk 100 yards to a train that speeds you silently at 100 mph to Romanshorn. You hop a ferry and have a beer with pals during an hour-long ride across the lake, disembarking in Friedrichshafen, where you can walk to your hotel. You’re feeling profoundly envious of the European public transportation system – the last car I thought about was the taxi in San Francisco taking me to BART (Bay Area Regional Transit).

Getting to the bike show the next morning brought me back to the reality of car traffic. The show is held in a remote suburban location and only accessible by cars and buses. The three-mile trip may take you an hour. Traffic is backed up for 20 miles in all directions with people in their cars trying to get to a bike show. The exhibition area is surrounded by fields of cars and feels stunningly like a racetrack event. This sea of cars really puts the ‘iron’ in irony.

These traffic-jams last all four days of the show. Remember, this is a show to celebrate bikes – amazing pieces of design that give us all independence and efficiency. The irony of it all seems lost on the leaders of the bike industry. How much sweeter it would be if we all rode bikes from our hotels to the show located in a city or community where bikes serve a social purpose? What if the parking lot looked like what you find in so many cities like Amsterdam?

Solutions are always more interesting, and I found one on the first day. I was standing in a long line waiting for a bus after the show, tired and cranky like everyone else. I noticed a small line of rental ‘Next Bikes’ outside the convention hall. I inquired. The bikes were all spoken for, but the guy thought there might be one in a remote location. He used a wireless GPS system and located a bike nearby. In thirty seconds he hooked me up to the online service and sent me a text with the location, serial number, and lock combo of my bike. After a 15-minute walk I was on my free bike and riding blissfully back to the hotel with that special pleasure of passing all the car traffic leaving the Eurobike show. I used the bike during my four-day trip and dropped it off outside my hotel where I simply called the service to tell them I was done. The rental price was $1 Euro for four days. (The ads on the bikes apparently pay for the costs of the system.) All of this is made possible by wireless technology, free enterprise, and local entrepreneurs.

Let’s not delude ourselves by nostalgic thinking that bikes alone are the answer to mobility. We need modern technology. Bike geeks love technology and we have such a tradition for innovation in our own backyard. We must be able to make this work at home, no? Grassroots innovations seem more likely than relying on governmental action or waiting for the bike industry to come around (which is having too much fun watching kids fly on bikes over hills, and it does look like fun).


Mellow Johnny’s

Mellow Johnny's Inside

Mellow Johnny's Inside

Mellow Johnny’s is well known because it’s owned by Lance Armstrong, but better known for the adjoining Juan Pelota café, the showers for sweaty bikers, a bike service center, and the best selection in Austin of lifestyle clothing and bikes for racing and city commuting. I love it for its low-key local architecture. Check it out when in Austin. Also check out our other test ride locations around the country – we just added a few more.


December 6th, 2010

Interbike Chic in Vegas

Interbike Chic in VegasInterbike Chic in VegasInterbike Chic in Vegas

The fashion side of biking gains attention every year, driven mostly by mainstream media. Two prime examples are the recent articles in The New York Times, “Bicycle Chic Gains Speed,” and in The Wall Street Journal, “The Season of Biker Chic,” both placed in the style section. In new media, bike fashion has become a common theme for the increasing number of blogs, take for example, Velo Vogue, Velo Chic NYC, Copenhagen Cycle Chic, and Riding Pretty just to name a few. Even solely fashion driven blogs, such as the Sartorialist, started to include a biking category. Curiously, the bike industry itself has been a laggard in responding to this dimension of biking, still consumed with the logo and lycra side of biking. But times are changing. At the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas last month, there was a cool fashion show that that went all the way down to bike lingerie and guys taking their pants off.

Interbike is mostly a guy thing. We don’t have the attendance statistics, but anyone who goes can attest that women are a minority as exhibitors and attendees. As a result Interbike is, well, lacking in visual and fashion appeal in the same way that a male-dominated automotive, golf, or hunting exposition might be. But this year each afternoon Interbike hosted the 2010 Ready to Ride Fashion Show, well choreographed by Momentum Magazine and our Pedal Savvy friends, with a fast paced circular runaway of models cruising around on bikes.

We are not fashion critics at PUBLIC, in fact quite the opposite. We think that anything goes on bikes and our PUBLIC bikes are especially designed for everyday wear. And we’re not exactly sure how bike lingerie from Movmoda really functions for the everyday bicyclist, but we like to see boundaries being pushed. We loved the variety of color and pattern, and the fact that the show included a full range of accessories, complete outfits, and great attention to detail. Kudos to Momentum.

The fashion show is another example of women leading the industry in new directions. But it is a sea of change culturally. I was asked recently by the Daily Beast to write up what I considered to be the leading innovations in the industry. What I came up with was “more women riders.” Here is a sampling of the show. We’re all working together with new media to make sure that what happens in Vegas does not always stay in Vegas.

Interbike Chic in VegasInterbike Chic in VegasInterbike Chic in VegasInterbike Chic in VegasInterbike Chic in VegasInterbike Chic in VegasInterbike Chic in VegasInterbike Chic in VegasInterbike Chic in Vegas

Papergirl SF Hits The Streets With Art

Papergirl SFPUBLIC was pleased to support Papergirl SF. Papergirl, as self-described, is a “mail-art and delivery systems art project that is participatory, analogue, non-commercial, and impulsive. ” We love seeing the way in which art creates community, fun, and connects to our mission about getting more people on bicycles. This past Sunday our PUBLIC office served as the launch pad to roll up 1,700 pieces of art from over 100 artists from 52 different cities and 11 different countries. Hundreds of strangers on the streets of San Francisco received a nice surprise by a lovely posse of bicyclists giving away and throwing rolled up art on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  Take a look our photos we took of the strangers who received their surprises.

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 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.

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.

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

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.

December 2nd, 2010

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?

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.

December 1st, 2010

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.


November 29th, 2010

I have always been intrigued by the Dutch concept of sharing, equality, pairs, and twosomes. I even did a photo essay about them a while back called Curious Couples. But the concept of ‘Going Dutch’ took on an expanded meaning for me while listening to Bikes Belong spokesperson Zach Vanderkooy.   Zach and I were panelists at a symposium for Dutch Design Week in San Francisco called Seeing Orange.   Biking is wildly popular with all age groups in Holland. Zach explained why and how this came to be.

It turns out that biking in Holland is designed to be as much about fun as it is about efficiency. The sharing and social part of riding is actually built into the urban infrastructure.  For example, whenever possible, bike lanes are made wide enough for people to ride two abreast, rather than in single file. This way people can talk and share the ride together – another expansion of the meaning of ‘going Dutch’.

It makes perfect sense.  Imagine if we were forced to use single file sidewalks – a line of alienated human units proceeding along.  Boring, awkward, even a little nightmarish.  Walking can often be as much about conversation as mobility. And walking deserves wider sidewalks that make interaction possible. And the same should be true of biking.  We all prefer to ride with friends and for social reasons (unless we’re just hustling to get someplace or out purely for exercise). But we tend to value bikes more for the independence they give us, and less for their potential to connect us socially.

So now we’re really dreaming: building bike lanes in the US wide enough for two people? This may seem farfetched when many cities have trouble getting approval for any type of bike lane. But in reality, some strides are being made. In fact you can already see examples of doublewide lanes in Manhattan and in other cities in the US. We can learn from the Dutch – they ask us to look at the world a little different. It may be easier for them to think outside the box: they have cities built around canals and clogs made of wood.

We’re going Dutch this Season: 10% off Pairs

Visualize a Pair of Bikes for the Holidays

Buy any two bikes on one order for us this season, and we’ll give you 10% discount on both bikes.   Our new Ready to Ride home delivery option makes this gift option feasible for anyone. Bikes arrive 99% assembled. This offer is valid through Dec 15th. Visualize a pair of bikes for the holidays. (You may want to take this possibility into account when deciding on the size of this year’s tree). Just make the order online and we’ll take 10% off on both bikes after your order – or call us to make your order if you prefer.

Danish Yakkay Helmets $175

Yakkay Cambridge Complete Helmet – $175

Yes – you can actually look stylish in a helmet. Yakkay helmets, designed in Denmark, have taken Europe by storm in the past two years, and we are pleased to introduce them to the US market this season.  They are the first helmets to meet our strict safety standards and our needs for a helmet with the fashionable appearance of a good-looking cap.

November 23rd, 2010

Andreja Premium Espresso Machine Detail shot Cappuccino Warehouse Sale Espresso

Formidable looks. Efficient Function. Just like a PUBLIC Bike.

Why is a bike company selling an espresso machine? Caffeine, for better or worse, has a history of fueling bicyclists. So no surprise that many bicyclists are just as fussy about coffee as they are about bikes. We found a machine that will please many of you. Actually, the Andreja Espresso Machine and our bikes share quite a bit in common. They both combine form and function elegantly. They are both hard-working pieces of equipment, easy on the eyes, and uncomplicated to use.

I know about espresso machines. My first one was a Faema and dates back to the 70s. Since then I have owned a wide range of machines, all in pursuit of the home espresso machine that makes espresso as good as a cafe. There are many home espresso machines, but few have the power of a commercial machine with the safety and practicality for home use.

I came across the Andreja in the kitchen of Scot Nichol two years ago. Scot, the founder of IBIS bicycle, is a bit of a legend in the hard-core mountain biking world. He has built a lot of great bikes, and he knows a lot about good mechanics. He told me that the Andreja was the best machine he had ever used. This coming from a guy who does not use the word “best” lightly quickly convinced me to buy one. Scot, to no surprise, was right. The Andreja qualifies as the best home machine I have ever used. I’ve had mine for two years and swear by it. This is the reason we are featuring the Andreja Espresso Machine this season.

The Andreja is not for people who prefer to push buttons and have an automated coffee making experience. It is for people who like the satisfying feel of manual operations executed at a high level of efficiency and quality. Super easy to use, fast, quiet, and safe. You get the enjoyable ritual of filing up the holder, tamping it down to your preferred espresso strength, and steaming the milk to your preferred foam density. The Andreja is a pleasure to use and rewards you with coffee as good as it gets.  While it is designed for home usage, it also serves large groups of people. We set up the espresso machine at our Warehouse Sale last Saturday and kept our customers standing in line caffeinated.

The specifications comprise an impressive list, and we have them listed on our website. Like our bikes, you can come by our South Park office and test the Andreja yourself, or purchase one from us online knowing that we guarantee that all of our products meet your satisfaction or we’ll cheerfully take a return.

November 23rd, 2010

We had a tough time choosing the winners of our PUBLIC Contest for a new PUBLIC J7 or PUBLIC A7 among so many impressive, thoughtful, and creative entries. We received entries from all over the country from Muscle Shoals, AL to Sarasota, FL to Flat Rock, MI.

We had both a contest for university students and a general contest for everyone else. And we even decided to give away a third PUBLIC bike to a student from UC Berkeley where we received the most university entries. Our Grand Prize winners all received new PUBLIC bikes and the second prize winners received PUBLIC accessories and gear.

Here are our PUBLIC Contest winners (read the winning submissions below):

Grand Prize PUBLIC Contest Winner

Mark Schafer
Knoxville, Tennessee

Grand Prize University Contest Winners

Marieke Van Damme
Boston University
Boston, Massachusetts

Michal Kapitulnik
UC Berkeley
Berkeley, California

Second Prize Contest Winners

Kate Woodrow
Berkeley, California

Sandra Edwards
New York, New York

Karen Krutch
Florence, Alabama

Heidi Easudes
Phoenix, Arizona

Stephanie Holder
Oakland, California

Leslie Bloom
San Luis Obispo, Calfornia

David Kwan
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Matt Wholey
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Hannah Halliday
State College, Pennsylvania

Mary Hosch
Convington, Louisiana

Grand Prize Winning Submissions

Mark Schafer
Knoxville, TN

Please view the illustrated version of my entry.

A 90-Minute Bicycle Trip in Knoxville, Tennessee
–Starring PUBLIC and Me–

Stop #1
We would begin our ride west of town at my house, traveling on roads and PUBLIC greenways towards Downtown.

Stop #2
Home of the Tennessee Vols. It is here that you would discover why you should open a bike shop in Knoxville selling only your orange bikes!

Stop #3
No, it’s not actually a wig shop as shown on the Simpsons, but it’s the define mark of the Knoxville skyline and features a great view of the city!

Stop #4
A bit random, but this cool monument memorializes the great pianist’s last PUBLIC concert! (it was in Knoxville)

Stop #5
Perhaps Knoxville’s best PUBLIC space, this is where our bike ride would end with an energizing meal from the farmers’ market or a great local eatery like the Tomato Head. Over lunch, we’d discuss…

Question #1
How do you encourage bike riding when things where you live are pretty far apart?

Question #2
To transform my commute, is my only option to sell my house, move, and get a new job?

Question #3
What would you suggest to improve biking in Knoxville?

I would then say, “Thank you” for taking a bike ride in my city.


Marieke Van Damme
Boston University
Boston, Massachusetts

(Note! From “A” to “Z”):

Ahoy! Boston’s a great town to explore by PUBLIC bicycle. Climb on with me at Boston University. Down we go. Esplanade first. Fenway coming up. Great place to grab a bite, this place called Lower Depths. Hot dogs for a dollar. I like mine with mac and cheese. Just in time to beat the campus rush.

Kenmore’s the name of this area. Lansdowne Street is our way out of here, where all the home run balls fall. Mothers Rest marks the start of a lovely string of parks with a pleasant bike path. Now we head uphill, so change gears. On past the Museum of Fine Arts. Pedal! Quixotic this trip is not.

Round the Riverway, where our tires send acorns somersaulting. Soon we plateau at a pond where boats wobble in the breeze. The path around is nice, but no biking allowed. Used to be able to swim here, too. Veer with me instead onto the street where my apartment is.

Xerxes once halted his army for a week to admire a sycamore. You and I can’t do that, we’ve got studying to do. Zoom back downhill when you’re done; I’ll bike in tomorrow.

Michal Kapitulnik
UC Berkeley
Berkeley, California

left, left, straight. stop. look under your left shoe. right, straight. right, hang right, stop. look straight ahead. left, left, straight. stop. right, veer left, straight, stop. look to your left. straight, 2nd right, straight, stop. look over your right shoulder. straight, right, right, third left, stop. snacks. straight (riding more slowly) third right, stop. nap.

November 17th, 2010

PUBLIC Pop-Up Shop at Gap for the HolidaysPUBLIC Pop-Up Shop at Gap for the Holidays PUBLIC Pop-Up Shop at Gap for the Holidays PUBLIC Pop-Up Shop at Gap for the HolidaysPUBLIC Pop-Up Shop at Gap for the Holidays

PUBLIC Pop-Up Shop at Gap for the Holidays

It’s no secret that the way we shop for stuff has radically changed.  Credit (or blame) the web for most of the changes, but the fact is we can now shop for almost anything, anytime, anywhere in the world.  Digital colossi like Amazon, Craigslist, and Groupon are a part of everyday life now.  Etsy allows us to buy hand made one-of-a-kind goods with a click.  Even as virtual shopping has become mainstream, there has been a bit of a renaissance in the other direction.  Farmers’ Markets are everywhere. Local crafts fairs and street vendors are back in fashion.  Every week there’s another lunch wagon pulling in our neighborhood offering some seriously non-digital street food. The last few years have brought wholesale changes to retail.

So it is fitting – as well as flattering – that the Gap approached us last month about putting a PUBLIC pop-up shop in their flagship store on Market Street in San Francisco. Voila.  It is up and running as of last Saturday.  If you are in the Bay Area, please come down and visit.  As you would expect from a leading apparel retailer, the Gap has created beautiful visual displays of our bikes and gear.  Even adding some special touches like iPads imbedded in the desks for ordering our products online.  They have faithfully recreated our South Park vibe on the busiest street corner in San Francisco, all the way down to our low-tech sandwich boards on the sidewalk.  From the second floor bay windows you can watch the flow of bicyclists riding down Market Street.  It feels good, and we love being there. You can visit everyday until 9PM. Please drop by the Gap store on 890 Market near Powell St. next to the cable car turnaround.

Building partnerships and bending the rules are not new to the Gap. In 2008 they created a Colette concept store in New York. So partnering with a local company like ours is consistent with the Gap’s roots. In 1969, they began as a single store in San Francisco selling a range of local products – primarily Vinyl LPs and Levi’s. They were quirky, gutsy, and very locally minded. High quality, casual, and affordable clothing, just the kind of stuff that goes with our everyday bikes, has always been their focus. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to get our bikes – and our mission – out in front of the broader public. So thanks to Gap. We would love our steel bikes to be as popular and ubiquitous as the Gap has made denim jeans and cotton tees.


New $495 bikes now in stock

The new A7 and J7Our first shipments of our PUBLIC A7 and PUBLIC J7 bikes are arriving this week. These models were designed specifically to make a quality steel frame bikes as affordable as possible.  They look great and like all of our bikes, ride like butter. And now we have a special home delivery option. They can be shipped anywhere in the US. They’re kind of a perfect holiday gift, no?  Who wouldn’t want to feel like a kid again and get a bike for the holidays?

Ready to Ride home delivery for the Holidays

Ready To Ride BoxWith Ready to Ride, the bicycle is shipped directly by FedEx to your home or office and arrives within 7-10 business days, depending on where you live. We build the bike for you 99% assembled with the wheels in place. All you need to do is unwrap the bike, complete a few simple assembly steps, and be riding in 20 minutes.

Warehouse Sale this Saturday

We’re holding a Warehouse Sale on November 20th, from 11 – 4, to make room for our new PUBLIC bikes.  The Warehouse Sale at 2125 Harrison Street (at Mariposa) will include, but is not limited to, discounted seasonal inventory, over a dozen PUBLIC bikes with slight blemishes, and vintage bikes from our personal collections. We will have all our bikes available for test riding and purchase at our Warehouse Sale.