February 12th, 2016


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


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.

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.


Rob Forbes
PUBLIC Founder

January 19th, 2016

Wander By Bicycle
Riding a bicycle allows you to feel more connected to the city you’re riding in. You simply see the world differently from behind a handlebar. When on a bike it’s a cinch to stop whenever and wherever you want. If you see a cool cafe or mural you just pull over. No need to worry about parking or traffic.

There’s nothing better than to explore a new city by bicycle. As you plan your 2016 journeys, here’s a few articles to inspire your wanderlust.

And if you’re looking for tips and information on where to explore by bike in places in select cities, we recommend Bikeabout. Its handy, curated bike guides in North America are created by locals and provide plenty of inspiration.

You might even consider staying at a Kimpton Hotel where all 63+ properties provide free custom PUBLIC bikes for guests to wander beyond their hotel walls.

Make 2016 the year you wander by bike. We’ve got the bikes to help you do it.

BONUS: Here are a few routes recommended by PUBLIC Employees.

From Shaun in LOS ANGELES: I always first recommend our 22 mile long beach bike path. It stretches all the way from Will Rogers Beach (near Santa Monica) to Torrance. If you were to ride the whole path, you’d pass through Playa Del Rey, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo.

If you want to get a “local” feel of the City, then riding along Santa Monica’s first green bike lane through the streets is another great option. It passes through Main Street and then connects to Venice and into Marina Del Rey (recommendation to ride through Abbot Kinney blvd and connect to the Marina via Marvin Braude Bike Path, which takes you along the inlet)


Marvin Braude Bike Trail / The Strand. Image via Wikipedia.

From Nicole in SAN FRANCISCO: Bike from the city of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge to the waterfront town of Sausalito and then take the ferry back. Sure, it’s a popular route, but it’s popular for a reason. The views of the water and the city are unparalleled and Sausalito is a sweet place to visit.

Wander By Bicycle san francisco bike travel

View of Golden Gate Bridge from Sausalito. Image via Wikipedia.

From Sean in SEATTLE:  A fun casual ride on relatively flat land is the Elliott Bay Trail (Terminal 91 Bike Path), which takes you along the waterfront and through SAM’s (Seattle Art Museum) Outdoor Sculpture Park and Myrtle Edwards Park, and winds up at Smith Cove Park & the Elliott Bay Marina. You’ll get great city views of the skyline and Ferris Wheel (and Mt. Rainier when visible!) can be seen here.


Elliot Bay Trail. Image via Wikipedia.

From Gen in PORTLAND: The Waterfront Loop in the heart of the city is popular for river views. Also worth noting is the Tilikum Crossing (just opened in Fall). It’s the first major bridge in the US that bans cars.

Wander By Bicycle portland bike travel

Waterfront Park. Image via Wikipedia.

January 19th, 2016


We’re happy to announce that the winner of our PUBLIC + Betabrand Giveaway is Eric G. from New Orleans, LA. Cue the wild applause! Eric joins the annals of our many past contest winners.

This NOLA resident is an avid cyclist already covering over 100 miles weekly between trips back and forth to pick up his daughter from school, biking to work and running errands. Eric notes, “Since Hurricane Katrina the city has installed over 100 miles in bicycle infrastructure so it makes my over 100 miles in bicycle commuting every week a lot safer.”

Thanks to his daily commuting and occupation as a pedicab driver in New Orleans, Eric knows the city well. “New Orleans is 8th in the nation for bicycle commuting and has a Silver Level ranking as a bicycle friendly community, according to the League of American Bicyclists. Surrounded by the most unique architecture, age-old Live Oak trees, and the waters of Bayou St. John, make cycling in my city a breath taking experience. I consider myself spoiled to both ride a bicycle and drive a pedicab for a living in New Orleans.”

Last year in a visit to his local bike shop, Dashing Bicycles, Eric purchased a PUBLIC M7 that he commutes with daily. His wife, however, doesn’t have a bike and this giveaway will allow her to commute alongside Eric. Eric says, “I look forward to both of us commuting more by bicycle and taking weekend trips to the Lake Front, City Park, and the French Quarter. We’re super excited about gearing up with Betabrand’s Bike to Work collection to improve comfortability and visibility on our pair of PUBLIC Bikes!”

Congratulations again Eric and many happy trails!

Sign up for our e-newsletter to hear about our next giveaway!

January 12th, 2016

reinventing the underpass in Toronto

Underpass Park in Toronto, Canada

What comes to mind when we write “freeway underpass?” It’s likely that whatever you pictured didn’t involve thoughtfully composed landscaping, actively used pathways or cool art installations. This article by Alissa Walker explores how cities across the country are reinventing the underpass, perhaps one of the most neglected of city spaces.

reinventing the underpass in Miami

Rendering of The Underline in Miami, Florida

Reinventing public space into something that’s actually usable for the public is near to our hearts. Examples we’ve written about before are projects like PROXY in San Francisco and the High Line in New York City, two urban areas that were reinvented from parking lots and derelict elevated railway lines, respectively, as spaces for people to hang-out, play and enjoy.

Inspired by Alissa’s article, we set out to find a few more examples of reclaimed underpass space in cities near PUBLIC Stores. If you’ve been to an underpass park or live near one, drop us a line with a photo and we’ll add your city to this list!

1. Burnside Skatepark in Portland, Oregon
reinventing the underpass in Portland
Once a renegade spot for illegal skateboarding, Burnside Skatepark was getting so much use it eventually won favor from the community and became city approved.

2. I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Park in Seattle, Washington
reinventing the underpass in Seattle
Cool story. The I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Park in Seattle was built by a team of volunteers and includes over 2 acres of bike track and walking paths. It’s part of a larger 7.5 acre park.

3. SoMa West Skate and Dog Park in San Francisco, California.
reinventing the underpass in San Francisco
The SoMa West Skate and Dog Park in San Francisco includes a sanctioned space for skaters to shred and a little artificial turn for letting city dogs run around.

4. Proposed Wildlife Overpass in Los Angeles, California.
reinventing the underpass in Los Angeles

Ok, so not an underpass, but worth mentioning. This proposed 165-foot-wide, 200-foot-long overpass would allow large carnivores like wildcats and bobcats a means of getting from one set of mountains to the other without ending up as roadkill.

Christine writes: “San Jose just finished a public art project under two underpasses in downtown.”


Art display under Highway 87 in San Jose, Photo by San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs.

SM writes: “New Orleans has a skate park called Parasite built under the freeway. It was built by Tulane City Center, a LLC ran by Tulane Faculty, Tulane School of Architecture Students and community member/organizations.”

December 27th, 2015

“The bicycle is an instrument of peace. It’s the most democratic means of transportation for all mankind.”
– Massimo Cirrus & Sara Zambotti

We love the bike for the simple pleasure it brings to us –– the smile it puts on our faces and the way it helps us connect with our local communities.

When reflecting on the true nature of the holidays and the crazy, often violent world we live in, two Italian radio hosts are encouraging us to reflect on the bike’s role in history and its humanitarian benefits.

The hosts, Massimo Cirrus and Sara Zambotti of the Rai Radio 2 network in Italy, are nominating the bicycle for the Nobel Peace Prize. “The bicycle is an instrument of peace,” they write on their blog. “It’s the most democratic means of transportation for all mankind; it does not cause wars and pollution; and it decreases car accidents.”

While the Nobel Peace Prize is generally given to individuals or organizations, think about the bike as a messenger of peace the next time you take a spin. The bicycle helps reduce our dependency on oil, it supports healthier lifestyles, and makes our cities more livable.

The bicycle was viewed as wheels of change – a liberating vehicle by early feminist leaders. Susan B. Anthony wrote: “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”

And the bicycle, as World Bicycle Relief admirably states, “helps people prosper” by closing the distance to schools, jobs, and sources of water and food. Watch the video below.

While we sometimes take for granted the bicycle as a democratic instrument of peace and empowerment, we also love that almost anyone can ride a bicycle – rich and poor, young and old, and yes, even Nobel Peace Prize winners. We rounded up a few examples below.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR, 1964 Nobel Peace Prize Winner


Martin Luther King Jr riding a bike.

DESMOND TUTU, 1984 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Desmond Tutu riding to fight TB.

JIMMY CARTER, 2002 Nobel Peace Prize Winner


Jimmy Carter riding a bicycle.

BARACK OBAMA, 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner


Barack Obama riding a bicycle.

November 30th, 2015

We asked a few of our favorite tastemakers, writers, and trendsetters who also happen to ride PUBLIC bikes to share their top bike apparel. Their responses range from vintage dresses to classy bike gloves and prove that you can really wear anything (even a wedding dress) while riding a bike!

A Beautiful Mess Shares Their Top Bike Apparel
Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman | @abeautifulmess
Elsie and Emma of A Beautiful Mess love to wear vintage or handmade dresses with tights or leggings when they ride their PUBLIC C7 bikes. They love this vintage inspired holiday-themed dress from Modcloth.

A Cup of Jo Shares Her Top Bike Apparel
Joanna Goddard | @joannagoddard
Joanna of A Cup of Jo likes wearing any loose dress (She’s sporting one from Madewell in this shot) because it’s easy to hop on and off her PUBLIC C7 step through bike in a dress. She also favors high waisted jeans because “you don’t have to worry about your jeans riding down when you’re riding!” She thinks Madewell makes the best high waisted jeans.

Jessica | @hapatime
Jessica of Hapatime loves wearing Converse sneakers when she goes for a spin on her PUBLIC V7 and also recommends sweater dresses because they keep you warm and cool at the same time during the crisp Fall weather.

Tablehopper Shares Her Top Bike Apparel
Marcia Gagliardi | @tablehopper

Marcia of tablehoppper rides her PUBLIC mixte everywhere and finds that a pair of white leather Giro LX cycling gloves is the perfect accessory. These gloves have a classic look to them, with just enough modern performance features. We’re excited that our favorite restaurant columnist was recently selected the winner of Time Out New York’s Win the Ultimate New York Life competition. Prepare to read insightful, fun dispatches from NYC next year from Marcia!

Emma Chapman | @emmaredvelvet
Though not recommended for daily riding, if you’re a bike lover who’s about to tie the knot you might consider getting a snap of you in your wedding gown while riding a bike. Risky, perhaps. But the result, beautiful. Emma of A Beautiful Mess proves it’s entirely possible with this gorgeous photo of her wearing her handmade wedding dress while riding her PUBLIC C7.

Weylie | @weylie
It’s all about comfort and practicality for Weylie. When she’s riding her PUBLIC Bike she’s usually running errands or meeting up with friends, which is why causal outfits that suit the occasion are her go-to. Her go-to closed toe casual shoes are Nike.

November 23rd, 2015

It’s a bike. It’s a disco ball. It’s…the Karaoke Rickshaw. For most of us, a bike is simply a way to get around. But with lots of creativity and ingenuity, bikes like the Karaoke Rickshaw can bring together a community of friends and strangers in public spaces over song, dance, and laughter.

We first spotted the Karaoke Rickshaw on a lunch break outside our office in San Francisco. Even though it is San Francisco, a city full of characters and silly traditions, it’s not often you see a rolling, shiny karaoke disco ball-shaped vehicle.

We’re drawn to the fact that the Karaoke Rickshaw brings smiles to faces and also brings something (singing) that’s largely done inside into the public realm.


Inspired by an article from The Guardian entitled “Playable Cities: the city that plays together, stays together”, we wrote in a previous blog post about some of the playful activities and events in several cities that connect people:

“By riding a bike, you instantly become a more connected part of your community and a little happier. It’s the reason why one of our taglines is “Ride a Bike. Smile More.” Since the concepts of fun and urban engagement are important to us, we took notice when a recent article on the importance of “play” in cities passed by our monitors.”

And that’s why the Karaokoe Rickshaw got our attention. It invites “play” in our public spaces – and helps people feel connected and, yes, a little happier.

Watch the below video to see some of the fun.