April 14th, 2016

woman-specific bicycle

Images via flickr from here, here and here

A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, as the feminist slogan goes. But does a woman need a women-specific bicycle?

The short answer is: No. The long answer is: Every woman, man, and fish that wants to cycle should find a bike that accommodates their lifestyle and feels comfortable in their body proportions. They should shop for a holistically chosen bike—one that factors in their hobbies, health, pregnancy status, affinity for skirts, limb lengths, intended cycling needs and adventures—but not a gender-specific one.

Still, you’ll often find women-specific bikes that try to fill a gap in the market. As a female or gender-nonconforming shopper, cycling culture can feel overwhelmingly male. (Women ride bikes only a third as often as men do, according to Jeremy Singer-Vine, data editor at Buzzfeed.) As a result, many bikes on the market cater to traditionally masculine aesthetics and body proportions. The women-specific bikes hope to whisper: It’s OK! You’re welcome, too, in this culture of bike tubes with logos so large, they practically shout.

woman-specific bicycle

The PUBLIC C7i Dutch-style step-through bike.

It’s part marketing, and part functional: Women-specific bicycles aim to fit the female body, accounting for shorter torsos and longer legs by offering women a more upright position. From cycling’s early days in the 19th century, “women’s bike” often refers to a Dutch bike or step-through frame that accommodates full skirts and doesn’t require flashing onlookers while mounting the bike (even though we all might be able to name men who love skirts and women who hate them).

Limb proportions aren’t so easily broken down by gender, either, says Kevin Bailey, head fitter of 3D Bike Fit in San Francisco. “You will hear in general that women’s legs are longer and torsos are shorter versus men’s,” Bailey writes in an email. But in the bike fitting community, “we find it’s all over the map, even more so in diverse populations as it really comes down to each individual’s bone structure differences.”

woman-specific bicycle

Instead of choosing a catchall option, cyclists should think about their own bodies and personal needs. When choosing a bike, women—and almost everyone—should consider:

    • Stem length. The stem—the tube that connects the handlebar to the fork on the front wheel—should be long enough to apply pressure on the front wheel and keep control over the steering, especially when you’re going downhill, Bailey says. If your bike is too long, it’ll handle “slow like a limo.” If it’s too small, it’ll be “twitchy” (think: circus bear wobbling on a tricycle).
    • Head tube length. The metal tube that connects the handlebar to the bike frame should be long enough so that you don’t round your back. With a slumped back, your lower leg muscles disengage, putting more strain on your knees and wearing you out. It disrupts the “kinetic chain,” Bailey writes. “A bike ride should feel like you’re not in a hurry to finish due to discomfort. Even after a long ride, you should not hurt or have a hard time standing up, feeling no back strain whatsoever.”
    • Saddle width. Another stereotypical female body proportion? Child-bearing wide hips. But here’s a bubble burster: “The common belief that women have wider hips than men is not supported by scientific data,” writes Lori A. Livingston in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. But if you happen to have wide hips, you’ll want to choose a wider saddle. Bailey breaks it down based on what he’s noticed: “Most women run 120 mm to 150 mm with the norm usually at 125 mm. Men have a norm of 110 mm ischial width [Ed. note: that’s “hipbone width,” for you non–anatomy geeks]. I have seen both sexes vary a lot.” In short, measure your body before picking that perfect, $100 leather saddle—only to find out it’s not so perfect for your hips.
woman-specific bicycle

Image by @mysquirrel at 30 weeks, on her last bike ride before giving birth.

  • Pregnancy. Pregnant women should take extra care, as a fall could be harmful to the baby. “Activities like jogging, using a bicycle, or playing racquet sports might be riskier as you near the third trimester,” warns the Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, some women feel that governmental agencies are overly cautious, and that cycling into the third trimester helped them bear the symptoms of pregnancy. Pregnant riders should raise the handlebars and get a wider, more padded saddle, recommends the British cycling charity CTC.
  • Fashion. Adored by women, men and the Scottish alike, skirts are wearable while riding any bike. In a diamond-frame bike, the top tube keeps the skirt far from the gears. But a Dutch bike will accommodate the full length and girth of any A-line so that it still drapes fashionably over your legs, and you can modestly get on your bike. If you wear light-colored or high-quality duds, you might want to protect them from exposed, greasy gears by choosing a bike that comes with a chain guard.
woman-specific bicycle

The Diamond frame PUBLIC R24 City Road Bike.

  • Cycling style. Do you want to pedal at maximum speed on a 60-mile ride in the country? Or use your bike for a city commute of just two miles? Different cycling styles will call for different bike fits. With a diamond frame that angles your body more parallel to the ground, you’ll have extra stamina for a longer, faster ride. But upright Dutch bikes might be preferable if you have a short city commute—they give you a better view of your surroundings, including pedestrians and cars.

The irony is: Despite the market selling women-specific bicycles, women might actually be better at accommodating their bodies to all sorts of bikes. “Women tend to be more flexible, and sometimes, it’s easier to bike fit them because they have less muscular restriction and usually better hip flexion or less hamstring tightness than men,” Bailey writes.

Ultimately, don’t let your gender alone choose your bike. Instead, find what’s comfortable in your body—and your life.

April 13th, 2016

600-duo-corral-grid

We’re all about making the world a more sustainable and healthier place through thoughtful urban design and sustainable transportation. So we got a special kick out of a recent public project in San Francisco that transformed a single car parking spot on the corner of Fell and Divisadero into a bike parking corral for 12 bikes with a vibrant, colorful street mural underfoot.

bike corral mural

Eric Tuvel in the bike corral.

We caught up with the mastermind behind this bike corral mural, Eric Tuvel (pictured above). Read on for more about Eric, how this project came about, and how you can implement a bike corral mural in your city.

PUBLIC: You’re both a visual designer and a bicycle advocate? Tell us more about your background.
Eric: My background in Graphic Design started in undergrad, which is where I started commuting by bike to class and to get around campus. As I pursued my master’s degree in City & Regional Planning, I began applying my design background to cities and commuting by bike became more about shaping how people move around the city. Before joining the SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) as a Transportation Planner in the Sustainable Streets division, I was the Design and Program Manager at the SF Bicycle Coalition. It was there I got more involved in advocacy and the biking community of San Francisco and fused my design/planning background with my love for biking.

PUBLIC: What was the inspiration behind this bike corral mural concept?
Eric: In my first position at the SFMTA I managed the bicycle parking program. As I started siting and surveying for sidewalk racks and on-street corrals, I started to see the various ways people tried to bring art into these bike parking facilities. Talking with my coworker one day, the idea just hit us and we thought, “What about painting a mural underneath the corral on the street?” It was really serendipitous.
Once the idea was planted in my head, I was determined.
I started running it by staff at various city agencies to get the approvals I needed. As for the mural that was installed, it was done by Bay Area artist Kristin Farr. She selected colors from the streetscape at the location to come up with the palette for the piece. She was selected by the sponsor, Madrone Art Bar, and was great to work with on the project. The piece is titled “Diamonds on Divis”.

PUBLIC: What were the major challenges to getting this bike corral mural implemented?
Eric: The major challenge was creating a process for something that hasn’t been done before. The main thing I did was talk to as many people as I could and loop in all the city departments and stakeholders I could think of. It’s a really positive project so overall everyone was supportive but there were some small concerns we were able to work through and got everyone on board. The other unforeseen challenge was the weather! Scheduling a time to paint was a little tricky with the recent fits and starts of rain we’ve had.

bike corral mural

Image courtesy of SFMTA.

PUBLIC: How is this project funded?
Eric: “Diamonds on Divis” was funded privately by the Madrone Art Bar. They applied for a corral in 2015 and we approved the location. When I came up with the idea, I thought Madrone was the perfect partner for the first one as the corral wasn’t installed yet and Madone is an art bar. I brought the idea to Michael Krouse, the owner, and he was on board right away. I feel lucky that we had a partner that was so easy to work with and was supportive from the beginning.

PUBLIC: If you’re an art and bicycle enthusiast outside of San Francisco, what should this person do to replicate a bike corral mural in another city?
Eric: First, learn more about what the city process is for something like this. Start with the department that installs bike parking in the city. The process might not be clear, but be persistent and keep talking to folks. Don’t be discouraged by how long it might take because the results are worth the work.

bike corral mural

PUBLIC: What’s next to expand this concept to other parts of San Francisco?
Eric: The next steps would be to evaluate the current bike corral mural, or “bikelet” as I’ve been calling it, over the next few months, primarily to see how it holds up to the elements. We are definitely interested in expanding the program and partnering with other organizations. We encourage interested organizations to contact us and we will be looking into proactively outreaching to businesses that are applying for or already have bicycle corrals. If people are interested they can contact Bikeparking@sfmta.com.

April 7th, 2016

public rider profile
Through insightful Facebook comments, glittering Instagram snapshots and daily social media chatter, our PUBLIC community never ceases to inspire. So we thought we’d start a monthly series highlighting an image shared on social media by a PUBLIC rider that caught our eye, and learning a little more about the rider behind the shot.

This month it’s Darcy from Fayetteville, AR. She took the photo above of her Slate Blue PUBLIC V7 and we can’t think of a better way to sum up Spring.

Darcy writes about her hometown of Fayetteville…

“Fayetteville is home to a city bike trail called the Razorback Regional Greenway. It’s a 36 mile, mostly off road, paved trail that stretches from South Fayetteville up to Bella Vista. It connects riders to many city attractions and hot spots all over NWA. I love to take my PUBLIC V7 out on the trails on Sunday afternoon—riding and stopping along the way for a coffee or even some shopping. It’s definitely a favorite way to spend an afternoon.”

And she describes the inspiration behind the photo…

“On the day I took this photo it was finally starting to get warm and I was excited to take my camera out for some photos of some fresh blooms I had been seeing around town. I am a blogger (Helloluvvy.com) and taking my bike out to explore and take photos is something I do regularly. This tree, not far from my home, was absolutely amazing. I took lots of pictures of it for the blog and since I think my PUBLIC V7 is also amazing I added it in the photo.”

Thanks for sharing your story, Darcy. We look forward to highlighting next month’s inspiring rider!

April 5th, 2016

Limited Edition Chrome Bikes

Chrome tipped front forks and rear triangles were long popular with competitive cyclists as a way to protect their expensive racing frames from getting scratched during quick wheel changes in a race. We tip our hats to the legacy of chrome bicycles by offering this heritage finish across our D model line of premium diamond-frame city bikes, including our single-speed PUBLIC D1, 7-speed PUBLIC D7, and 8-speed internally geared PUBLIC D8i.

Limited Edition Chome bikes

1945 Rene Herse Racer, via reneherse.com.

Legendary European artisan bike builders like René Herse and Alex Singer would often fully chrome their handmade custom bicycles to lend them both an elevated aesthetic and a durable finish, reflecting the bicycle’s owner investment in quality in commissioning a custom built model.

Limited Edition Chrome Bikes

Special Edition PUBLIC D8i Champs Elysees

Although chrome was used less often in the later 20th century, some of the most desirable bicycles in the world continued to incorporate signature chrome elements, from the American classic Schwinn Paramount to Italian dream machines from makers like Colgnago and Pinarello.

Today, true chrome is rarely found on production bicycles, and only a handful respected names like Bianchi and Soma are keeping this artisan tradition alive.

Limited Edition Chrome Bikes

Our Limited Edition, Chrome D1 Bike

Rarely do the ideals of form and function meet so perfectly in a single design solution. We are proud to celebrate this beautiful, durable, heritage finish, available for a limited time only across our D model line of premium city bikes, starting at just $399. Check out our PUBLIC Chrome bicycles here.

April 1st, 2016

PUBLIC U1 Unicycle

Ever since we launched PUBLIC over five years ago, customers have asked us: When are you going to design and produce a PUBLIC unicycle?

At PUBLIC, we think bicycles are the most efficient form of transportation. And the unicycle, in our humble opinion, is truly Mass Transit For One.

No longer simply the transportation mode of choice for street performers and circus acts, the unicycle is becoming more commonplace in cities around the world. While hoverboards are gaining all the latest headlines, the unicycle is quietly re-emerging as a retro-alternative.

PUBLIC U1 Unicycle

Our PUBLIC U1 Unicycle features a steel fork-style frame, matching painted rims, leather Brooks saddle, alloy seatpost, integrated kickstand, and high-performance cranks. We’re offering our unicycle in our signature Red, Orange, and British Racing Green colors.

And each unicycle comes with our PUBLIC Trieste Coffee Cup Holder so you can ride highly caffeinated while showing off your awe-inspiring balancing skills.

Since we only plan to produce a few hundred PUBLIC U1 Unicycles, we encourage you to pre-order now for only $99. They will be available to ship one year from now on April Fools’ Day 2017.

If you’re one of the first 25 customers pre-ordering our PUBLIC U1 Unicycle, we’ll also throw in special limited edition PUBLIC colored juggling balls and a multi-purpose clown suit for your daily commute or street performance.

Click here to pre-order your PUBLIC U1 Unicycle now. And if our unicycle doesn’t fit your riding needs, make sure to check out all our other PUBLIC bikes.

As we like to say about the PUBLIC U1 Unicycle, “It’s half the wheels and twice the fun!”

March 15th, 2016

Written By Rebecca Huval

celebrating green bike lanes

Green on green in Vancouver, Canada.

On the upcoming holiday celebrating all things Irish and green, we should also pause to celebrate the green bike lane. These ribbons of color do more than brighten up an otherwise dull road—they give cyclists a sense of safety, create clarity for drivers, and announce to everyone on the road that bikes belong there. We’ve written about various colors in public spaces, including green bike lanes, in our past blog post “Rolling out the Green Carpet in San Francisco.”

Celebrating the green bike lane

Green bike lanes in Portland, Oregon. Image By Steve Morgan

In the past decade or so, these highly visible routes have rolled out in the United States, from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles. Portland was a leader in the early days, implementing green lanes at a time when there were no clear federal guidelines on bike lane colors. Then, in 2011, the US Department of Transportation officially approved green to mark bike lanes. It was chosen because of its visibility.

Celebrating the green bike lane

Green bike lanes in Santa Monica, California.

That, and because all the others were taken—blue for handicapped spots, even purple for specific toll plaza approach lanes. Now, as one California city’s website explains, “Bright green painted bike lanes are sweeping the nation, and Santa Monica is no exception.”

Celebrating Green Bike lanes

Blue bike lanes in Denmark. Image via Wikimedia.

We in the United States aren’t the first to paint our bike lanes, but we have claimed green as our own. Starting in the early 1980s, Copenhagen painted blue strips to mark the safe zone for cyclists to cross an intersection. On the other side of the spectrum, bike lanes are often red in Amsterdam and even in that country we celebrate with green: Ireland. But a few other countries, including France and Spain, share our green streak.

celebrating green bike lanes

Green bike lanes and rainbow crosswalks in Seattle, WA.

So on St. Patrick’s Day, let’s celebrate Ireland, the color green—and the growth of visible bike lanes across the United States and internationally.

March 10th, 2016

PUBLIC Santa Monica

Los Angelenos rejoice!

PUBLIC Bikes Santa Monica is now open. This is our first ever Southern California store to serve the greater Los Angeles region.

Located at 2714 Main Street, the heart and soul of Santa Monica, the store will serve locals and visitors Monday through Saturday, 11am – 7pm and Sundays, 11am – 6pm. PUBLIC is beyond thrilled to finally introduce its urban bikes and stylish gear to the LA scene. The Santa Monica PUBLIC store features our entire collection of PUBLIC bikes for sale and test riding, along with a large variety of PUBLIC accessories and gear.

Visit our PUBLIC Santa Monica store page for details on special in-store promotions going on in March and how you can enter to win a PUBLIC bike!

We’ve written before about why we’re excited to be joining the Santa Monica bike party and our reasons keep growing. Recently, Los Angeles announced it’s newly updated “Mobility Plan 2035” that sets new priorities for safety, access and reliability for all modes of transportation,

Plus, LA is on the verge of a city-wide bicycle movement. Santa Monica recently launched its first ever Bike Share program with great success, and according to the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), more Angelenos are riding their bikes year after year. LA is also building out hundreds of miles of new, protected bicycle lanes, creating a commuter cycling culture that’s helping to shape the future of its communities.

Just a few more reasons why we’re in the Santa Monica state-of-mind and think it’s the perfect time to set up shop in Santa Monica.

We are very excited to tell you what we’ve got in-store for you (did we mention we love a good pun?). PUBLIC Bikes is celebrating its Santa Monica store opening with its first (of many) monthly “Go PUBLIC” bike rides. This inaugural first ride on March 26 is going to be sweet (see, we warned you) because it involves doughnuts! Click on image below for the yummy details.

600-GO-PUBLIC-Ride
Our goal is to make the PUBLIC Santa Monica store a community hub where people come to live, learn and ride. Sign up for our e-mail list below for more details and updates.

Sign up for Santa Monica updates:

March 9th, 2016

600-GO-PUBLIC-Ride

PUBLIC Bikes is celebrating its Santa Monica store opening with its first (of many) monthly “Go PUBLIC” bike rides. Invite your friends on Facebook.

This inaugural first ride is going to be sweet (pun intended)!

We’ll meet at the PUBLIC Bikes store at 2714 Main Street in Santa Monica at 11am, then make our way through Main Street into downtown Santa Monica.

Our destination: the delicious and infectious Sidecar Doughnuts.

Your first doughnut and coffee is on us for the first 24 people who show up on the ride who also RSVP on Eventbrite. You must register using the ticket link above to qualify for the free doughnut and coffee. And if you’re not one of the first 24 registered riders, please still show up and enjoy the ride!

This is a BYOB (Bring Your Own BIKE) event. The casual round trip bike ride is ~4 miles. We’ll be riding on streets with traffic as a group.

This is a casual bike ride. You don’t need to be a PUBLIC customer or ride PUBLIC bikes. This is open to anyone who shares our passion for bicycles and doughnuts.

UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS
We have some other fun things planned for the Spring and Summer as well.

  • Earth Day volunteer ride to give back to the community.
  • In May, we will inaugurate The PUBLIC GOOD, a series of co-branded content series with GOOD which will feature prominent figureheads within the design, art and cycling community to discuss urbanist, sustainable topics.
  • During the month of May, we are partnering with LA Metro to promote Bike Month by hosting a Bike to Work Day Pit Stop and to co-sponsor an event with a local non-profit.
  • In June, PUBLIC will take part in Santa Monica’s first ever “open streets” event to celebrate the sustainable community.
  • Each month something new and exciting will be happening at our PUBLIC Santa Monica shop – in-store “pop-ups” featuring local artists, designers and businesses, along with classes, programs and partnerships. Our goal is to make the PUBLIC Santa Monica store a community hub where people come to live, learn and ride. Sign up for our e-mail list below for more details and updates.

 

Sign up for Santa Monica updates:

February 12th, 2016

image3

Our new PUBLIC Santa Monica retail store will be led by fun, creative, energetic bicycle advocates. One of these advocates is Shaun, who we think is also pretty funny – and if you’ve caught his improv shows, you’ll agree. Read below to learn more about Shaun.

PUBLIC: Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a Florida native, born and bred in Palm Beach County, and attended Florida State University. After graduating, I moved to California and have resided in Los Angeles for 6 years now. Before joining PUBLIC, I worked as the Site Manager and Tour Director for the Santa Monica Bike Center, the largest cycling commuter facility in the nation, equipped with showers, lockers, a full & self-service repair shop, bicycle rentals and tours. It’s one of the greatest resources for cyclists in Los Angeles. I am a huge fan of food and have an awfully dangerous sweet tooth. Fun fact: I’ve never had a cavity.

PUBLIC: What do you like best about Los Angeles?
Los Angeles is a melting pot of cultures, creativity, cuisines, activities, lifestyles, and everything in between. The city is a great cultivator for big ideas, artistic expression, and collective endeavors. To top it off, it also has beautiful beaches and phenomenal weather year round, which is why you’ll find me spending the majority of my time on the Westside, near the ocean.

PUBLIC: Tell us some fact or background about yourself that might surprise people.
When I’m not at the PUBLIC store in Santa Monica, you can find me performing at a variety of comedy theaters in Los Angeles, as well as teaching improv at the Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica. I’ve been acting and performing for almost 10 years. It’s a huge passion of mine and I’m afraid I’ll be doing it way past my prime (which probably already happened). If you happen to see one of my shows and had a really bad experience, I’m sorry, and no, I cannot give you a refund.

PUBLIC: What’s your experience riding bikes in Los Angeles?
Before moving to LA, I decided to leave my car behind in Florida, with family instead of hauling it across the country. After arriving in SoCal without my gas-guzzler, I immediately made the decision to purchase a cheap beach cruiser and quickly realized that it was one of the most efficient ways to get around my new home; and while getting around LA without a car is not exactly easy, it’s also not impossible. I found that when biking to work I wasn’t sitting in traffic and worrying about finding a parking spot, which in LA, can turn what should be just a 10-minute drive into a 45-minute ordeal. When it came to short-distance trips, cycling proved to be, for the most part, faster and easier. I was hooked. I’m proud to say that I’ve been car-less ever since, and I’m going on 6 years now!

PUBLIC: What are your favorite routes or places to visit by bicycle in Los Angeles?
Believe it or not, my favorite ride also happens to be one of the most “touristy” rides. Nevertheless, the Santa Monica Beach Bike Path is a beautiful ride that truly defines the character and personality of LA. With its twenty-two miles of dedicated bike path, almost exclusively along the beach, and its gorgeous views of the coast-line, including access to vacation destination beach cities such as Santa Monica, Venice, Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beach, this one-of-a-kind beach path is a “must-do” when visiting LA.

PUBLIC: What are you looking forward to in leading the new PUBLIC Santa Monica store?
Biking changed my life. It helped me to appreciate my surroundings, to care about the earth, to be more aware of my environmental footprint, and to take care of my health. It also empowered me with the freedom and confidence to carve my own path in life, in whichever way works best for me. In leading the new PUBLIC Santa Monica store, I am most looking forward to helping others discover the power of biking.

February 5th, 2016

sean-conroe

Our PUBLIC Seattle Store Manager Sean Conroe is a cool guy. So cool that even Seattle Magazine profiled him a few years ago in a “Love Thy Neighbor” feature for his innovative urban agriculture work.

We’re now lucky to have him leading our Seattle team. If you’re a local Seattle organization or company seeking to collaborate with us, stop by our Seattle store and introduce yourself to Sean.

PUBLIC: Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Western NY and spent 5 years in Las Vegas before moving up to Seattle. I’ve been here in the Emerald City for 12 years — time flies! Prior to PUBLIC, I worked to launch Pronto, Seattle’s bike share system with 500 bikes around the city. When not riding bikes, I’m often seeking out new adventures in the Pacific Northwest.

PUBLIC: What do you like best about Seattle?
Summer time? But honestly, what isn’t there to like about this town? From coffee to creativity to culture, Seattle has got it all.

PUBLIC: Tell us some fact or background about yourself that might surprise people.
I started an urban farming non-profit in 2009 that worked to connect people, place + produce using underutilized urban spaces right here in the city. Within a year, we had 2 farms up and running, and grew over 1,000 lbs. of food which right right back into the neighborhoods it was grown.

PUBLIC: What’s your experience riding bikes in Seattle?
I started Streets + Beats, a fundraising bike ride for the urban farming organization, and lead that for ~4 years which was a fully supported bike ride ranging from 50-75 miles. Aside from organizing that ride, I also worked with the American Diabetes Association to execute the Tour De Cure. On my own time, the 11 of the 12 years I lived here were car-free, which meant I walked, biked and used our public transit system the entire time. I got to know the city pretty well for which streets to avoid the hills!

PUBLIC: What are your favorite routes or places to visit by bicycle in Seattle?
The Elliott Bay trail through the Olympic Sculpture Park into Magnolia is one of the most enjoyable — especially during summer where you can hop off at one point and forage all the wild blackberries you want before riding down to Golden Gardens and enjoying a bon fire with friends.

PUBLIC: What are you looking forward to in leading the new PUBLIC Seattle store?
Bikes to me offer a sense of empowerment and freedom, and I’m thrilled be a part of the decision making process for folks looking to ride, wether recreationally or for commuting.