November 18th, 2016

Written by PUBLIC founder, Rob Forbes.

Despair, a tough word to parade around, has been a frequent emotion throughout this election process and outcome. Shock, fear, anger, and resentment have been in the air as well, felt in red, blue, and purple states alike. We all despair over an election where, for the first time, both major political party candidates had significantly low approval rankings.

Rural red small town America has voted its despair at the loss of jobs, declining prospects for the future, fear of foreigners, and other reasons. Blue urban America despairs at the roll back of progressive principles, women’s rights, the environment, and more. No one can be truly happy. For the victors, the gratification is that the others did not win. Indeed, where is the love?

What transcends despair? Many things come to mind: music, beauty, nature, food, pets, friends, to name a few.

Our suggestion – go ride a bike.

Ride 100 miles to burn off the stress.

Ride into a small town and have a coffee or beer with people you do not know.

Ride to the country, forest, or beach to get close to the power and beauty of nature.

Ride a bike to a National Park and see what wonders can he had when we take care of your environment.

Ride to lower your own carbon footprint.

Ride with your child on the backseat and try to feels like a kid again.

Ride to get away from the persistent media blitz.

Ride to feel the sensation of independence, freedom, and empowerment.

Ride to someplace local where love and care are being shown, like your pet’s shelter. Take home a rescue dog or cat.

Ride now to be a part of your community, like our Do Public Good Project.

Ride in the future to a national event like the Million Women March in DC.

There are many unknowns right now, but this remains a fact: If we stand still we will fall over.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
-Albert Einstein

October 31st, 2016

do public good

Image via Blog Spot

There’s a lot of good in this world and we want to make it known. Starting this month, we’re launching the #DoPublicGood project. Each month we’ll highlight people or organizations that do good by bike. And we’ll be taking part ourselves. Follow us on Snapchat (publicbikes) and every Thursday watch our story as we pick up donated food and bike it to a shelter in the Bay Area through Food Runners.

If you have a nominee for #DoPublicGood, please let us know in the comments and if selected, we’ll send you both a PUBLIC gift certificate.

do public good

Image by Jenny Oh Hatfield

For November we thought it fitting to highlight a very special Bay Area bike event that takes place just once a year around this time called Supermarket Street Sweep. It’s an “allycat” or urban bike race-style event where volunteers courier pounds of food from participating grocery stores via their bikes to a local food bank.

Supermarket Street Sweep is in its 11th year, and it almost went into extinction until the San Francisco Cycling Club decided to take up the reigns just a few months ago. (Kudos to you SFCC!)

One of Supermarket Street Sweep’s original founders, Jenny Oh Hatfield, explains the premise, “For our event, participants buy food from a list of participating shops and that food is directly donated to the SF & Marin Food Banks at the end of the event. Cyclists can compete in three categories: SPEED (bring back the required amount of food the fastest within the race’s time limit); CARGO (bring back the most food); TEAM (this is a new category and up to 5 people can work together to bring back the most food.) Racers carry back their hauls — via backpacks, panniers, cargo bikes and trailers — and all of the groceries are weighed by the food bank and our team of volunteers.”

do public good

Image by Jenny Oh Hatfield

You don’t have to be a hardcore cyclist to participate. Hatfield says that part of the fun is seeing the diverse group of riders that this event brings. “We get road racers, commuters and even kids who have a ton of fun helping such an important charity. We structure the format so if you wanted, you could spend the afternoon riding around with your friends and bring back as much food as you like to the food bank.”

do public good

Image by Jenny Oh Hatfield

And the amount of food people transport on two wheels for the event is incredible. In 2015 over a hundred racers took part and hauled more than 12,200 lbs of food. One racer alone carted over 1,000 lbs!

Registration is open for this year’s Supermarket Street Sweep that takes place on Saturday, December 3rd 2016. Stay up to date on announcements and prize previews on Instagram and Twitter (sfstreetsweep). If you’re not in the Bay Area, you can still get involved by visiting to find a similar event in your neighborhood.

October 17th, 2016

new public bike bag

It’s challenging to find just the right bag. Period. But it’s even more challenging to find just the right bike bag. That’s why we’re proud to introduce The PUBLIC Bag Collection. These bags are our solution to the problem of a day-to-night bike bag that, well, doesn’t look like a bike bag.

new public bike bike carryall bag new public single bike bag pannier

There are plenty of technical bags on the market that you can load up for bike camping or torrential downpours. And we’re thankful for them. But those bags aren’t the ones you want to take into a meeting or theatre or restaurant. They can be cumbersome, and frankly, uncomfortable to try and squeeze between seats at the movies or tuck between the bar and your barstool. After so many years of awkward bag encounters, we knew it was time to fix this.

new public bike bag single pannier tote bag new public bike bag tote single pannier

We partnered with our friends at Detours to learn from their expertise in bag design and manufacturing, and for the past year we’ve been prototyping, testing, tweaking, and riding these bags all over San Francisco and Seattle. With feedback from our riders, we’ve come up with what we believe are the best looking bike bags that don’t look like bike bags.

Crafted of comfortable cotton canvas, these bags are built to look good and hold your stuff. There are interior laptop sleeves and thoughtful pockets to keep you organized. Plus, reflective details to keep you seen and waxed cotton bottoms for added durability.

new public bike bag single pannier tote bags

The Tote and the Carryall bags feature generous haul handles so you can easily carry them when off the bike. In fact, we’ll place a bet that while you’re toting these babies around town no one will guess they can attach to your bike’s rear rack with a simple click. We didn’t just design these bags to fit perfectly onto our PUBLIC bike racks (which they do), we tested them on every other rack we could find.

new public bike bag double pannier new public bike bag handlebar bicycle bag

We think these bags will become your new best friend (next to your bike). The kind of item you always wished you had and now will wonder, how was I ever managing before?

We created a few videos so you could get to know the bags better. Check them out below and then let us know, #whatsinyourPUBLICbag


Go Bananas: PUBLIC Tote Single Pannier from PUBLIC Bikes on Vimeo.


The Bag For All Occasions: The PUBLIC Carryall Single Pannier from PUBLIC Bikes on Vimeo.


Love Is In The Bag: PUBLIC Handlebar Pouch from PUBLIC Bikes on Vimeo.


Clowning Around: The PUBLIC Urban Double Pannier from PUBLIC Bikes on Vimeo.

October 14th, 2016


Last year Pulitzer Prize author David McCullough published a book The Wright Brothers about Wilbur and Orville Wright. The book chronicles their extraordinary journey towards making their mark in aviation history.

Not as well known is that the Wright brother were actual bike mechanics who had their own company called Wright Cycle Company during the early bicycle boom. The money from their bicycle business – selling and repairing popular “safety bikes” like the Wright Cycle Company’s Van Cleves model that laid the foundation for our contemporary city bikes – helped fuel their other endeavors, including their aviation experiments.


Here’s an excerpt from McCullough’s The Wright Brothers:

“[By 1892 the Wright brothers] had also taken up bicy­cling, and as Wilbur reported, they had lately headed off on a ‘run’ to the south, down the Cincinnati Pike, stopping at the County Fair Grounds to pump around the track several times. From there they continued on to Miamisburg up and over numerous steep hills to see the famous prehis­toric Adena Miamisburg Mound, largest of Ohio’s famous conical-shaped reminders of a vanished Native American civilization dating back more than two thousand years. In all they covered thirty-one miles.

“Bicycles had become the sensation of the time, a craze everywhere. (These were no longer the ‘high wheelers’ of the 1870s and ’80s, but the so-called ‘safety bicycles,’ with two wheels the same size.) The bicycle was proclaimed a boon to all mankind, a thing of beauty, good for the spirits, good for health and vitality, indeed one’s whole outlook on life. Doctors enthusiastically approved. One Philadelphia physician, writing in The American Journal of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children, concluded from his observations that ‘for physical exercise for both men and women, the bicycle is one of the greatest inventions of the nineteenth century.’


“Voices were raised in protest. Bicycles were proclaimed morally haz­ardous. Until now children and youth were unable to stray very far from home on foot. Now, one magazine warned, fifteen minutes could put them miles away. Because of bicycles, it was said, young people were not spend­ing the time they should with books, and more seriously that suburban and country tours on bicycles were ‘not infrequently accompanied by seductions.’

“Such concerns had little effect. Everybody was riding bicycles, men, women, all ages and from all walks of life. Bicycling clubs sprouted on college campuses and in countless cities and towns, including [the Wright brothers home town of] Dayton, [Ohio]. … In the spring of 1893 Wilbur and Orville opened their own small bicycle business, the Wright Cycle Exchange, selling and repairing bicycles only a short walk from the house at 1005 West Third Street. In no time, such was business, they moved to larger quarters down the street to Number 1034 and renamed the enterprise the Wright Cycle Company.”


September 20th, 2016

We are extremely honored that the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City selected our PUBLIC Sprout V1 pedal kids bike to be part of their Fall 2016 product assortment. The MoMA is often identified as one of the largest and most influential museums of modern art in the world, and the design bar is extremely high when it comes to the products they include in their store. So it’s pretty cool and flattering to see the Sprout V1 featured in their Fall 2016 Catalog along with so many other inventive, well-designed and fun products.

Our PUBLIC Sprout kids bikes follow the same design-oriented pedigree as our grown-up PUBLIC bikes. They boast great style with classic PUBLIC touches like painted-to-match fenders and chainguard, and color-coordinating, comfortable seat and grips. And in addition to good looks, this is a kids bike build with rough and tumble kids in mind. The durable steel frame, quality coaster brake and rust-free chain, means this stylish kids bike is built to last. To the park, to school or just around the block, the PUBLIC Sprout kids bike merges form with function and we’re so proud the MoMA thought so too!

Learn more about the Sprout V1.




September 15th, 2016


We’re pleased to announce that PUBLIC San Francisco in Hayes Valley will host author Nate Cavalieri to discuss the new Lonely Planet book Epic Bike Rides of the World.

Join us for drinks, snacks, and inspiration for your next epic journey. This event is free and open to the public, but please RSVP so we can prepare.

Where: PUBLIC San Francisco, 549 Hayes b/t Laguna and Octavia
When: 7-8pm, Thursday, Oct 20
What: Author Nate Cavalieri, who contributed to the North America’s Pacific Coast chapter, will share stories and photos of his favorite epic rides, including his own experiences riding the Tour de Afrique and China’s Wild West routes. And come meet other fellow dreamers and doers ready to plan their next adventure.

Please RSVP on Facebook. Also anyone who RSVPs using the Eventbrite ticket link and attends our October 20 event will be entered into a raffle to win a copy of Epic Bike Rides of the World.

Fall Foliage and the road in Vermont at Smugglers Notch.

Quiet roads and colourful leaves in Vermont in the book chapter Americas: The Covered Bridges of Vermont, © Naphat Photography / Getty Images

According to Lonely Planet, the world’s leading travel media company, Epic Bike Rides of the World will help readers “Discover 200 of the best places to ride a bicycle in this beautifully illustrated hardback. From easy-going, family-friendly rides and urban sightseeing routes to epic adventures off the beaten track, you don’t have to wear Lycra to see the world on two wheels. Inclusive, accessible and inspiring, the 200 rides feature 50 first-hand cycling stories and details of how to do the ride. Full-page photography, illustrations and maps add visual appeal. Destinations range from France, Spain and Italy, for the world’s great bike races, to the wilds of Mongolia and Patagonia.

The book is organized into regional chapters for rides in Africa, the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. Basic information about the best times of the year to plan a trip are included, as well as suggested places to starting places and routes.

Overview of Þingvellir National Park, Thingvallavatn.

Magical Thingvellir National Park in Iceland in book chapter Europe: Ring Rd, Iceland, © Gary Latham

At PUBLIC, we’re not just regular commuters and recreational cyclists. Our team has traveled by bike in diverse places such as Mongolia, Chile, Italy, Montana, and all over California. And we’ve also offered our own ideas in our blog post “A Beginner’s Guide: Top 5 Bike-Friendly Travel Destinations“.

We’re excited to meet fellow (aspiring) bike travelers and learn from Lonely Planet author Nate Cavalieri. Who knows…maybe we’ll plan a trip to Namaqualand to go flower viewing by bike.

Track through the blooming flowers in Namaqualand

Track through the blooming flowers in Namaqualand in the book chapter Africa: Tour d’Afrique, © Marie-Anne Aberson Meijers / Getty Images

September 7th, 2016

We’re excited to announce that we’re partnering with Sony’s Future Lab Program to help introduce the prototype Concept N to the Bay Area and beyond.

Our flagship PUBLIC store in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley will serve as a hands-on demo location between September 15-October 6 where visitors to our 549 Hayes St store can test out Sony’s new wearable technology Concept N.

You might also recognize our Slate Blue PUBLIC R16 flat-bar city road bike in the video above.

What is Concept N? It’s a neckband-style wearable device, designed by Sony’s Future Lab Program, that allows you to listen to high-quality sound, hands free, through an open-air speaker.


Several of us at PUBLIC have had a chance to try Concept N. We’re particularly excited that you can hear clear voice-navigation to help you find your way around your city, easily use voice-recognition to find resources and places, and even take photos and video of your surroundings without taking your smartphone out of your pocket or bag.

The open-ear headphones, if you choose to use them, allow you to listen to music or news while still hearing what’s happening around you. The device feels very lightweight around your neck. If you wear collared shirts, it can also fit nicely under your collar too.

Right now, the prototype is only available in the Bay Area for a very select, limited number of participants who can provide feedback on how they use the device in their daily lives. Between September 15-October 6, you can demo Concept N at our Hayes Valley PUBLIC store at 549 Hayes.

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can apply to participate in the early adopter program for Concept N.

After you apply to be considered for the program, The Future Lab Program will invite potential participants to several special events in San Francisco in late September and October.


August 16th, 2016

The long Labor Day weekend is nearly upon us and that means you’ll have extra hours to slip in a longer bike ride and even crack open the pages of a good book. So why not combine the two? Here’s our round-up of the best bike-related books for all types of riders, readers and long weekends.

therider-PMFor the literary cyclist:

The Rider (1978) by Tim Krabbe

Holland author Tim Krabbe originally published this cult classic in the Netherlands, and the sports novel has sold more than 100,000 copies. It tells the first-person story of a nail-biting race in the Tour du Mont Aigoual, entering the protagonist’s head as his thoughts whirl as quickly as his legs. We have a window into how he sizes up fellow riders:

“Lebusque is really only a body. In fact, he’s not a good racer. People are made up of two parts: a mind and a body. Of the two, the mind, of course, is the rider.”

For the historical biker:

Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) (2011), by Sue Macy

More than just a fun way to get around, the bicycle paved the way for women’s rights. Learn how this incredible mode of transportation broke stereotypes, changed fashion and granted women more mobility—and with it, power.

For the pedaling doodler:

The Epiplectic Bicycle (1998), by Edward Gorey

With his clever storytelling and Edwardian drawing style, illustrator Edward Gorey has crafted a wild tale about a journey on a bicycle’s seat—and handlebars. The short, precious book is fit for both children and adults with childlike wonder.

For the spin-happy goofball:

French Revolutions (2001),  by Tim Moore

A true, hilarious telling of Moore’s crazed attempt to retrace the path of the Tour de France. The British humorist is determined, and he actually crosses his own finish line. Healthy doses of self-deprecation, biking history, and quirky French shop clerks give this travelogue plenty of personality.

For the mobile mechanic:

The Bike Deconstructed: A Grand Tour of the Modern Bicycle (2014), by Richard Hallett

Hallett disassembles the bike to examine its every part and show how each bolt and bracket contributes to the whole. Half history tour, half ode to mechanics, this book will become a favorite of the cyclist who believes the bike is so much more than the sum of its parts.

For the cycling cultural connoisseur:

Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling (2010), by Eben Weiss

Biking is more popular than ever. To understand its many subcultures, from the urban sophisticates to the spandexed athletes, this amusing guide will help you navigate through the tribes—and maybe blush once Weiss has accurately pegged own your group.

August 8th, 2016

bike basket

A bike basket might sound like a frivolous addition to your bike. Think again. A bike basket can spell the difference between daily frustration and fun, and transform your wheels from merely good-looking to utilitarian to boot.

With a basket on your bike you can bring Fido along on your rides, take the weight and stress off your back and transport heavier items more easily.

There are lots of different types of bike baskets out there and a few factors you need to consider when choosing one. We break down the factors and offer a quick quiz at the end to help you identify your basket type.

To Wicker or to metal?

Bike baskets come in a variety of materials like wicker, metal or synthetic. Wicker and synthetic bike baskets are usually tightly woven so you can toss in small items and they won’t fall out. This is something to consider if you’re looking for a quick way to stash your wallet and keys on your ride. Metal bike baskets are typically able to accommodate more weight. Many times, they affix more permanently to your bike so you don’t have to worry about removing them when you go into a store and if you make an unexpected stop you’ll never be without a means of carrying any items you pick up. Metal baskets usually have a wider spacing between their bars so you can’t just throw in your keys or wallet as they might slip right through. Consider adding a liner to avoid this problem.

And I’m also going to bring…

Do you fancy having Fido along? Will you be lugging your laptop and lunch to and from the office? Or transporting bags of groceries? Asking yourself what you want to carry in your bike basket will quickly narrow down your options. A lightweight basket that attaches to your handlebar will be great for carrying lightweight items like your lunch, purse, wallet or a jacket. If you want to make your baskets really work for you because you’ll be carrying heavier items like a loaded backpack or even your puppy, consider a metal basket that directly attaches to your bike or a metal or wicker bike basket that attaches to your front or rear bike rack. Both options are solid in construction and able to accommodate heavier weights.

Business in Front. Party in Back.

Along the lines of how much you’re looking to carry in your bike basket is the question of where you want your weight to be distributed—in the front of your bike or the rear of your bike. Generally, your rear rack is a better place for heavier items, as most rear racks can accommodate between 20-50lbs. So if you’re looking for a bike basket you can really load up, consider one that mounts or attaches to your rear rack. A front basket will add weight to the front of your bike, but when carrying lighter items that weight will be negligible. Front bike baskets put items within arm’s reach, so if you’re stopping constantly to Instagram your awesome rides, having your phone always at the ready could be great. If you like the look of a front basket and still want to carry heavier items consider getting a bike basket that mounts to a front rack or metal basket that mounts to your front axle or fork.

What’s your bike basket type? Take this quiz to find out!

You’ll primarily be carrying this in your basket:

  1. Small dog
  2. Keys, wallet or purse
  3. Backpack/knapsack and laptop
  4. A quart of milk, bag of apples, veggies and bulk granola.

Your basket will mainly be used for:

  1. Cheery cruises around town, with no particular destination.
  2. Causal jaunts to meet up with friends.
  3. Daily commuting to and from work.
  4. Running errands and hitting your favorite weekend farmers market to stock up.

You mainly ride your bike to the:

  1. Park
  2. Café
  3. Office
  4. Grocery store

If you mainly answered A, we recommend a front basket, so your puppy is always in your sight. If your dog is tiny, consider the Nantucket Cisco Rectangular Bike Basket. If your dog is small, consider a rack mounted front basket like the PUBLIC Wooden Rack Basket or the Wald 151 Front Metal Basket.

If you mainly answered B, we recommend a lightweight front basket that attaches to your handlebars, with a tight weave so valuable items don’t slip through. Consider the PUBLIC Front Bike Basket,  Nantucket Lightship Front Basket or Nantucket Cisco Lidded Front Basket. All are built for holding lighter items and things like keys and won’t slip through the tight weaving.

If you mainly answered C, you’ll need a heartier basket so consider something that attaches to either your rear or front rack like the PUBLIC Woven Basket, PUBLIC Wooden Rack Basket or Basil Basket.

If you mainly answered D, you need a more substantial basket option for carrying all those weighty market goods. The Basil Basket and Wald 582 Folding Basket are good options as a bag of groceries will slip into either nicely. The PUBLIC Metal Basket is a popular option for grocery grabbing.


August 3rd, 2016

Shoka Bell

At PUBLIC, we love products that marry beautiful design with straight-forward functionality to make our lives easier on bicycles.

This is why we’re excited about the Shoka Bell – a bell that improves safety, navigation, security, and visibility. The Shoka team has designed an impressive, multi-functional bell that we think our PUBLIC customers will want.

In the words of our friends from Shoka, the Shoka Bell “combines a navigation system, front light, security alarm and bell into a single unit that can be mounted on a handlebar. Simply connect the bell to a smartphone via bluetooth and enter a destination, Shoka Bell will guide you to your destination with clear turn by turn directions and chooses the safest route every time.

“Shoka Bell features eight sounds, controlled by the intuitive joystick, for every bike ride. Honk for a car, a polite ding for pedestrians, or even record your own message. There is an automatic volume control that adjusts the ringtone volume to the surrounding noise so you can always be heard. Through the app custom ringtones can be created and even more sounds are available to download for free.”

Shoka light

As avid city riders, we know that one of the most important accessories is a bicycle bell for safety in communicating with others about your presence. Also many of us use our smartphones to help navigate our city streets when riding our bicycles around town.

A front light for nighttime visibility is essential. And if someone attempts to move your bike without your permission, wouldn’t you want to be alerted?

Shoka theft alert

The Shoka Bell offers so many feature benefits wrapped into one small handlebar mounted device.

The sample Shoka Bells have already received numerous innovation awards, but the team needs our help to support manufacturing, tooling, software development, and other key milestones.

We encourage you to take a close look at the Shoka Bell and consider supporting their Kickstarter campaign to fund Shoka’s initial production.

Shoka colours