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.

February 3rd, 2016

With the advent of cars decades ago as the dominant means of transportation, city planners and developers reshaped our public and private spaces to accommodate the storage of these personal vehicles.

By making it easy to find free or subsidized low cost parking, many cities simply encouraged more people to own and drive cars which simply resulted in more congestion and environmental problems.

Since cars take up so much space, people have always tried to find ways to store them vertically to reduce their ground-level footprint. This series of photos, “Vertical Parking“, shows how cities have attempted to accommodate the car through the decades.

The photo below is in New York City in ~1920.

An elevator parking lot, where the cars are hoisted up on individual platforms to save space, early 1920s. (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


This one below is in Chicago in ~1941.

A vertical parking lot structure in Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, c. 1941. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)


If we spent as much effort and resources trying to house people, instead of cars, think about how different cities would be?

In contrast, a few cities like Amsterdam face an entirely different dilemma – how to accommodate the shortage of bike parking spots?

BikeParking-CentraalStation_0Photo credit: Poom!/flickr

In the article, “Amsterdam mulls underwater bike garage as available parking for cyclists dwindles,” Amsterdam is even exploring ways to go vertical but in a different direction than up.

Most cities have more available parking than people think. For example, it’s estimated in San Francisco alone, where people complain about lack of car parking all the time, that San Francisco has enough street parking space to fill the entire California coastline.

The problem is multi-faceted, but there many steps cities can do to improve parking and create better spaces for people. However, we think the biggest bang for taxpayer buck is for cities to be less obsessed about accommodating the car, but more focused on making other transportation options more accessible and safer to a wider number of people.

Not everyone is going to bike, walk, or take transit. But by making those transportation choices safer and easier for more people, it means less people driving and looking for parking. And hopefully, as more cities are successful in shifting people’s choices on how they get around, it will create a new set of good problems – like how to accommodate more bikes, more pedestrians, and more public transit riders.

The urbanist writer Lewis Mumford once wrote, “The right to have access to every building in the city by private motorcar in an age when everyone possesses such a vehicle is the right to destroy the city.” Instead of focusing on creating more space for cars, which has destroyed the character of many neighborhoods and cities, let’s focus on building beautiful, enlightened cities for people.

February 1st, 2016

public-c7i-internal-gear-hub
internal-gear-hub-vs-external-derailleur

We offer two types of gearing on our bikes. The first type is called an “internal gear hub.” An internal gear hub is where the chain and gearing system are encased in a sealed mechanism. You can’t see the chain, thus it can’t fall off and dirt and grime can’t get inside. An internal gear hub is also the only type of gearing that allows you to shift when you’re at a complete stop or coasting. That’s a handy feature if you’re in a lot of stop and go traffic. Our PUBLIC C7i, D8i and M7i bikes have this type of gearing.

The second type is called an “external derailleur.” It’s the kind where you can see the chain on the outside of the gears and is most likely the type of gearing you had on your very first bike. Our PUBLIC C7V7R16 and R24 bikes have this type of gearing.

Depending on where you live and how you ride, internal gear hub or external gearing might be better for you. We asked our PUBLIC team members to advise on when an internal gear hub might be the right choice and their advice is below.

Our customer service department, aka Justin says an internal gear hub could be the best choice for you for 3 reasons:
1. Internal hubs are easier to maintain than derailleurs. Internal hubs only really require the rider to maintain proper tension in order to achieve smoother shifting and the occasional lubrication. Derailleurs and cassettes require frequent cleaning and lubrication to maintain smooth shifting. Derailleurs and cassettes also experience more frequent wear and tear due to the chain flexing and twisting in between gears.

2. I find that the one of the biggest advantage of the internal gear hub versus external gearing is the overall reliability of the hub. All moving parts and the gears are completed sealed within the hub protecting you from dirt, water, debris and other road elements that would likely affect an external shifting mechanism. The shifting is quite smooth from one gear to the next, unlike the clunky gear shifting you may experience with a derailleur. Derailleurs are prone to being being or damaged due to elements of the road, while internal hubs are quite difficult to damage. Plus, they have a 2 year warranty unlike Shimano derailleurs.

3. I find that the internal hubs are much more user friendly and welcoming to riders getting back on bikes. It’s the only drive system that allows you to changes gears while coasting or from a stand still. A much more practical option for those commuting in terrains with a consistency of stop and go traffics.

Our Store Operations Manger, Juls thinks an internal gear hub might be right for you if:
1. You can do minor tune ups yourself, no mechanical experience required. It is just a matter of lining up 2 dots in a window!

2. If you’re a parent, an internal hub is great for pairing with a Yepp Maxi seat. Parents don’t have to worry about rogue snacks or toys falling into the gears. Plus, because you can change gears whether you’re stopped or coasting it can be an easier ride if you have a lot of stops and starts on your route.

 

January 28th, 2016

LA Bike-Friendly
Los Angeles is perpetually slammed by urbanists for being a sprawling, car-centric culture — earmarked by freeways, congestion and poor public transportation. This is an oversimplification. LA was built around the car, but there are amazing new transportation developments taking place.

I grew up in Los Angeles right next to the Pasadena Freeway, and I am well aware of the changes that have evolved in recent decades. In many communities there has been a sea change of sorts—a move away from the car and a focus on a lifestyle that supports sustainable transportation.

bike-friendly LA

If you live in parts of the West Side of Los Angeles or have visited recently you can’t help but notice the huge proliferation of all types of bike riders — from weekend road warriors to daily commuters to surfers on cruiser bikes. There are miles of bike lanes along the beach, and a slew of bike rental shops and city bikes for rent.

What I don’t understand is why no one acknowledges that in these parts of the West Side Los Angeles region there appear to be more bike lanes and bike riders than almost anywhere else in California (other than perhaps sections of San Francisco and some college towns). In my opinion, the Santa Monica and Venice areas may be among the best life/work set-ups in California for someone not wishing to commute by car.

Santa Monica just launched a new bike sharing program. And soon there will be a LA Metro line providing train service to Santa Monica. When this Santa Monica station opens, you’ll be able to take your bike on a fast train from downtown LA to within a few blocks from the ocean. Just think – you’ll never be “stuck” in highway traffic if you choose a more accessible, fast public transit option.

CicLavia is the largest open streets event in North America and it’s changing how residents think about transportation and healthy living. You can keep up with the latest in transportation-related news by reading Streetsblog LA.

Just take a look at a few lists of the top “US Cities To Ride” here and here and you’ll find no mention of Los Angeles anywhere. Perhaps this is because we focus on LA’s insatiable appetite for freeways, and simply do not see what’s really going on there in terms of alternative transportation.

In any case, this fuels us even more to prove that the Los Angeles region is thinking differently about transportation with the opening of our PUBLIC Santa Monica shop at 2714 Main Street in mid-March. We’re super excited to be opening up on Main Street to help grow this already booming bike community.

robsignature

Rob Forbes
PUBLIC Founder