September 21st, 2010

PUBLIC is pleased to partner with Green Apple Books to host author David V. Herlihy’s presentation on his new book The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance.

This free event from 6-8 pm on Friday, Oct. 8, 2010 will be at PUBLIC’s 123 South Park office as part of annual literary festival Litquake.

We love David V. Herlihy’s other book, Bicycle: The History, which won the 2004 Award for Excellence in the History of Science. So we’re excited to hear him talk about his new book The Lost Cyclist.

Here’s a book description:

    “In the late 1880s, Frank Lenz of Pittsburgh, a renowned high-wheel racer and long-distance tourist, dreamed of cycling around the world. He finally got his chance by recasting himself as a champion of the downsized “safety-bicycle” with inflatable tires, the forerunner of the modern road bike that was about to become wildly popular. In the spring of 1892 he quit his accounting job and gamely set out west to cover twenty thousand miles over three continents as a correspondent for Outing magazine. Two years later, after having survived countless near disasters and unimaginable hardships, he approached Europe for the final leg. He never made it. His mysterious disappearance in eastern Turkey sparked an international outcry and compelled Outing to send William Sachtleben, another larger-than-life cyclist, on Lenz’s trail. Bringing to light a wealth of information, Herlihy’s gripping narrative captures the soaring joys and constant dangers accompanying the bicycle adventurer in the days before paved roads and automobiles. This untold story culminates with Sachtleben’s heroic effort to bring Lenz’s accused murderers to justice, even as troubled Turkey teetered on the edge of collapse.”

Green Apple Book will have The Lost Cyclist for sale at our event with a book signing to follow the presentation. You can RSVP by sending us an email to rsvp@publicbikes.com.

You can also read this New York Times book review, or watch the below video.

September 13th, 2010


One of our favorite days in the city is the annual PARK(ing) Day. This year’s PARK(ing) Day is on Friday, Sept. 17.

PARK(ing) Day started in 2005 by our friends at Rebar, who are some of the most creative urban designers and planners we’ve come across.

We’re teaming up with our friends from Bike Basket Pies and Nomad’s Kitchen to convert a few parking spots near our office as temporary picnic areas. We’ll have tables and chairs – and a bookshelf with reading materials to inspire visitors to read about our world of design and bicycles. We’ll have a few other surprises too.

We’re lucky to work in South Park where there’s already some green space and picnic benches – but on a beautiful day there’s more people looking for spots to sit on than there are seats in the park. So we hope to provide some additional seating areas where our neighbors and visitors can relax on.

Here’s a short history of PARK(ing) Day:

    “PARK(ing) Day is a annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.”

You can learn about other PARK(ing) Day spots around the world here. Or check out the growing map of San Francisco locations.

We hope to see you and your friends at 123 South Park. And maybe we’ll run into you on our PUBLIC bikes when we visit the other PARK(ing) Day locations around the city.

PARK(ing) Day: User-Generated Urbanism from Brandon Bloch on Vimeo.

September 6th, 2010

PUBLIC will have one of our bicycles displayed at SPUR’s exhibit “DIY Urbanism: Testing the grounds for social change.”

Here’s the official exhibit description from SPUR:

“Since the onset of the ‘great recession’ in 2008, San Francisco, like many American cities, has struggled through a period of economic decline and drastically reduced public resources. Fortunately for San Francisco, a city with a long history of entrepreneurship and social activism, citizens have displayed great wherewithal and ingenuity in the face of budgetary stalemates—resulting in an outpouring of innovative do-it-yourself projects ranging from activating stalled construction sites, to constructing temporary public plazas and parks at street intersections, to designing pop-up storefronts, to creating a national forest in the heart of the Tenderloin. DIY Urbanism provides a snapshot of this burgeoning and distinctively local movement, and explores the meeting grounds between the bottom-up approach of DIY urbanists and the traditional top-down planning process.”

The exhibit will last from September 7-October 29, 2010. The exhibit is curated by Ruth Keffer and designed by our friends from Rebar.

And there’s a fun opening party with food and drinks on Sept. 7:

DIY URBANISM EVENT DETAILS
Tuesday, September 7, 2010, 6-9 pm
SPUR Urban Center
654 Mission Street, San Francisco
Admission: $10-$20 sliding scale
Buy tickets here

We hope to see you at the opening party!

August 12th, 2010

PUBLIC loves art. We especially love art that creates community, fun, and connects to our mission about getting more people on bicycles.

That’s why we’re happy to support our friends at Papergirl SF. What’s Papergirl?

“Papergirl is, in essence, a mail-art and delivery systems art project that is participatory, analogue, non-commercial, and impulsive. Submitted artwork is distributed like a newspaper but not edited or printed like it, the artwork is rolled up into bundles of 5 pieces or more and thrown to passers-by from bicycles.”

PUBLIC’s office at 123 South Park is serving as a drop-off location for art submissions. Submission deadline is Sept. 18.

We’re definitely going to help with art distribution on our PUBLIC bikes. Our baskets and panniers will come in handy to carry rolled up art.

And we’ve got several members of our PUBLIC team who studied or dabble in art so we also plan to submit our own art. Our founder Rob was a ceramics artist with a MFA to boot. Sally got her BFA in painting and drawing. Hannah is a filmmaker and photographer. And all of us are proficient at doodling during staff meetings. Some are better than others.

How can you not get excited about this project? Especially since almost anyone can participate. Submit some art. Help roll them up. And see you on the streets to help make a random person’s day that much cooler and happier.

“Anything can be submitted: prints, photos, drawings, paintings, zines, writings, textiles, etc. The only requirement is that the art be flexible enough to be rolled up, we won’t be throwing any stretched canvases around. The art pieces aren’t selected for Papergirl, we use everything that is submitted, so the artists decide what to show and have given away in distribution. The art rolls cannot be sold and are not delivered to subscribers, anyone who catches a roll is lucky, and money can’t buy luck! Throwing the work from a moving bike means there is no time for any stereotypes when choosing recipients of the art rolls, as distributors often have to react fast and spontaneously.”

August 12th, 2010


This Large PUBLIC C3 in Black is one of a handful of sample Black bikes PUBLIC produced recently. In mid-November, we’ll introduce a limited production of Small and Medium Black PUBLIC D8s, which can be ordered and reserved now.

We have one Large Black PUBLIC C3 for sale for $700 before sales tax.

If you can’t pick up the bike in San Francisco, we’ll need to charge you an additional $125 to ship the bike “Ready to Ride.”

To purchase the bike, please send inquiry to customerservice@publicbikes.com.

August 12th, 2010


This Standard PUBLIC V7 in Black is one of a handful of sample Black bikes PUBLIC produced recently. In mid-November, we’ll introduce a limited production of Small and Medium Black PUBLIC D8s, which can be ordered and reserved now.

We have two Standard Black PUBLIC V7s for sale for $600 before sales tax.

If you can’t pick up the bike in San Francisco, we’ll need to charge you an additional $125 to ship the bike “Ready to Ride.”

To purchase the bike, please send inquiry to customerservice@publicbikes.com.

August 12th, 2010


This Standard PUBLIC C7 in Black is one of a handful of sample Black bikes PUBLIC produced recently. In mid-November, we’ll introduce a limited production of Small and Medium Black PUBLIC D8s, which can be ordered and reserved now.

We have one Standard Black PUBLIC C7s for sale for $600 before sales tax.

If you can’t pick up the bike in San Francisco, we’ll need to charge you an additional $125 to ship the bike “Ready to Ride.”

To purchase the bike, please send inquiry to customerservice@publicbikes.com.

August 10th, 2010

Mayors and HelmetsCopenhagen Mayor Frank Jensen (right)

Mayors and HelmetsDanish “World Cup” helmets

Mayors and HelmetsMayors and HelmetsMayors and helmets

Denmark has a long tradition of helmets and head protection used for battling wartime opponents and confronting freezing winters. So they must know their stuff about protecting noggins. When we visited Copenhagen last month we took note that only a minority of the cyclists wore bike helmets in the city. We saw Nutcase helmets on kids, racing helmets on bike messengers, and some chic hats on women’s heads. But scarves were more common than helmets. The Mayor himself, the figurehead for the biking conference we attended, chose not to wear a helmet in the 2000 person bike parade we all took through the city.

Was he making a statement? Of course, he is a politician after all and very conscious of his public image and opinions. I did not interview him, but I can wager his rationale. He has reviewed the data over the last ten years in Copenhagen enough to know that bike safety is first and foremost a function of the number of people riding bikes and protected streets. He was campaigning to reduce the fear element associated with cycling. Many people think that cycling is unsafe and helmets often confirm this assumption. He was communicating what recent urban bike studies have shown — there is safety in numbers.

Serious injuries have declined by 20% in Denmark in the last decade as cycling has increased 20%. The same trends are seen in other cities. Take New York for a local example. Cycling is up 66% from 2007 -2009 and injuries are down 50%.

The key to safe riding is related to a range of factors: the number of riders overall, driver awareness, separate lanes, safe streets, and intelligent riding. At PUBLIC we are advocates for the concept of urban cycling as fast walking. The most entertaining dissertation I have read on helmet usage may be in David Byrne’s book and come from his personal efforts to cope with this issue.

Back to Mayors. Would Mayor Gavin Newsom ride a bike without a helmet? Probably not. Why? In the U.S., the infrastructure and culture for bicycling is far behind places like Copenhagen, so helmet use is generally encouraged.  Also driver awareness and respect here in the U.S. are much lower.  But Mayor Newsom was front and center today right in our SOMA neighborhood for a bike lane painting ceremony to mark the end of the painful injunction that has kept us in the dark ages.  Check him out painting the new bike lane. Now San Francisco can roll with the rest of the U.S. 
We love to see our Mayors taking action around the country on behalf of alternative transit. Mayor Bloomberg of New York, with Janette Sadik- Kahn, has been the poster child in recent years. But Mayor Daley of Chicago recently implemented the B-Cycle bike share program, throwing down the gauntlet: 



“My goal is to make Chicago the most bicycle-friendly city in the United States.”
 


We welcome the competitive spirit almost as much as new bike lanes.

– Rob Forbes

 

PUBLIC Helmet

We sell helmets at PUBLIC, and we love them. And we encourage people to wear protection if they are riding fast, in dangerous areas, or where cars propose a threat. That Danish Mayor probably straps on a helmet when he is late for a meeting across town and biking over icy pavement. But we will also continue to lobby for safe streets, slow riding, driver education, and more Mayors on bikes.

 

July 22nd, 2010

Danish Modern on the StreetsDanish Modern on the StreetsDanish Modern on the StreetsDanish Modern on the Streets

When was the last time you saw a carpenter carrying a ladder on a bike while drinking coffee, or woman carrying two purses on handlebars, or a newspaper chain guard, or a pink bike-parking facility on the street? Danes are known for pragmatic design and keep efficiency at the core of their bicycle culture. Riding bikes is good fun in Denmark, so no surprise that one third of Danes use a bike on a daily basis.

The Danes have a longstanding reputation for design based on principles of practicality and simplicity. The 20th century Danish Modern movement advanced these ideals. They pioneered sustainable woods (teak), enduring metal (stainless steel), and they turned recycled wood scraps into plywood, which led to some of the most iconic pieces of modern design. Legendary designer Nana Dietzel told me once that there was a reason for their pragmatism: Danish designers mostly came from backgrounds in cabinetry, not architecture. They are makers, not theorists.

While Danish Modern faded as a movement in the latter part of the 20th century, the Danes have resurfaced as international leaders in design of the contemporary “livable” cities movement—Copenhagen is the poster child. Danish city planner/designer Jan Gehl is as widely respected for his city design as Arne Jacobsen for chair design. We witnessed this Danish practicality and attention to detail in design examples seen on the streets:

  • Separated and protected lanes for bicycles and pedestrians
  • Ubiquitous bike carts to haul kids and instruments
  • Covered bike-parking areas to protect from weather
  • Train cars earmarked for bikes
  • Bikes with racks for carrying almost anything: children, ladders, plants, etc
  • Public bike racks done artfully and efficiently for storage
  • On street storage for large bike carts
  • Street signals that solve basic safety issues
  • Tile wedges to lessen curb bouncing

As pragmatic as they may seem with their common sense design approach, it is their resourcefulness, humor and style and that make them especially relevant. And filmmakers like Mikael Colville-Andersen and Copenhagen Cycle Chic are making biking more than a practical option.

 
Danish Modern on the StreetsDanish Modern on the StreetsDanish Modern on the StreetsDanish Modern on the StreetsDanish Modern on the StreetsDanish Modern on the StreetsDanish Modern on the StreetsDanish Modern on the StreetsDanish Modern on the Streets

July 20th, 2010

Heads Up in TaiwanHeads Up in TaiwanHeads Up in Taiwan

In Taiwan the buildings stretch upward and a sea of scooters flows between them like no place we know in Europe. The scooter population is such that separate lanes have been set-aside for them on some freeways. Parked scooters dominate the sidewalks. Huge packs of scooter riders mass at stoplights where the car drivers allow them to go first when the light changes. They have special scooter-specific graphic messages on the pavement.

In short, scooters set the pace and the tone for movement around their cities. They are like the taxis in New York, except that they lack color. They form a sort of moving grey monolith – like government issued, anonymous machines. There is none of the style or glamour of the Vespas in Italy, but neither is there the noise level. These scooters are much quieter than their European counterparts, and Taiwan lacks groups of kids noisily terrorizing peaceful piazzas or quiet streets. In Taiwan scooters create an omnipresent, but fairly quiet, visual and auditory background drone.

The helmets on the riders of these non-descript scooters are, on the other hand, all about diversity. Sitting at a busy intersection watching the throngs of riders go by, I noticed many styles and colors of helmets, most refreshingly free of any commercial branding. Offer a population a very limited range of choices and they will still find ways to express their individuality. The bouquet of helmets scooting by made for an optimistic contrast to the otherwise pervasive asphalt gray.

 
Heads Up in TaiwanHeads Up in TaiwanHeads Up in TaiwanHeads Up in TaiwanHeads Up in TaiwanHeads Up in TaiwanHeads Up in TaiwanHeads Up in TaiwanHeads Up in TaiwanHeads Up in TaiwanHeads Up in TaiwanHeads Up in Taiwan
 

PUBLIC Helmets

Protecting your noggin is important, and we try to make the daily ride a little more fun – and your head little more visible – at the same time. We sell a few helmets that are not designed for scooters but bikes.

Special Deals this Month

Free shipping on bikes. A good way to view the details of our bikes is on this short video clip courtesy of Fast Company.
Apparel Sale. All of our clothing is On Sale.