Partner Store Spotlight: BFF Bikes, Chicago

March 22nd, 2018

  We understand that local bike shops have long been at the heart of the cycling community. Beyond a bike, you can find knowledgeable staff and group rides with potential new friends. Although we sell our bikes mostly online, we are still a strong member of that community and want to help you be a… Read more »

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We understand that local bike shops have long been at the heart of the cycling community. Beyond a bike, you can find knowledgeable staff and group rides with potential new friends. Although we sell our bikes mostly online, we are still a strong member of that community and want to help you be a part of it too!

 

More than 140 bike shop locations across the country are currently a part of our Partner Store Program.  With this program, PUBLIC bikes ordered online from us can be sent to your local store and professionally assembled, zero hassle. Our partner store will notify you when your bike is fully assembled and ready for pick-up. You will also receive a walk-through and basic fitting upon pick-up.

 

We are proud to spotlight our partnership with BFF Bikes in Chicago as a part of our Assembly Partners program.

 

ABOUT BFF BIKES

Founded in 2014, owners Annie & Vanessa didn’t want to merely create the only women-specific bike shop in the midwest, they wanted to create a community of women cyclists who would support and encourage each other regardless of ability.

 

Annie & Vanessa, BFF Bikes founders (& actual BFFs).

 

THE BFF SHOP

From city cruisers to hill crushers, BFF Bikes proudly offers a vast collection of quality bikes. In addition, they carry a unique collection of top quality, well-designed, women-specific apparel.  Everything is hand selected by their excellent staff of women who love to ride and love to share what they do.

 

Inside the BFF Bike Shop (featuring PUBLIC bikes)!

 

They have a full-service shop that prioritizes quality over quantity so you can be assured your bike is given thorough and detailed attention to keep you happily rolling. From flat-fixes, brake adjustments, wheel builds, to complete overhauls, their expert mechanics do it all.

 

If you want to learn how to do some of your own maintenance, learn more about bicycles, or just have some fun you can join their clinics. BFF Bikes clinics cover a wide variety of topics ranging from beginner to expert, and with names like “Give-A-Shift” you know they’re bringing their sense of humor and fun to it.

 

THE BFF COMMUNITY

The BFF community is made up of women at every level of cycling. Whether a woman is riding with children, commuting downtown, racing around the country, or all three, BFF Bikes is a space where she can find what she needs.

 

“This is more than a bike shop. It’s a community that no matter what level of cyclist you are, everyone is welcoming and encouraging! Oh, yeah, and they have great bikes, gear, and service!”

– Leslie W., customer

 

For women who want to compete, they have the BFF Bikes Racing team. BFF Bikes Racing is now the largest women’s racing team in Chicago. Their wildly successful beginning as USA Cycling’s 2015 Women’s Club of the Year has helped them grow their team – made up of women competing in all levels of cycling through many disciplines including road, cyclocross, mountain, and track.

 

 

Kris Caudle, BFF Bikes Racing team member kicking some ass.

 

For women who just want to cruise and possibly meet a new BFF, they host a wide variety of group rides through Chicago and beyond. They even have weekend “BFF Bikes to Beer” rides so you can discover new friends, new routes, and new brews all at once.

 

Group ride with BFF Bikes (looks fun, right?).

 

Being in the sometimes cold climate of Chicago, they even offer off-season options such as indoor training classes or Camp BFF, which allows you to get away to Arizona to train in mountainous terrain for a week.

 

Considering all of their offerings, it’s no wonder they are a favorite in the Chicago area.  

If you ever find yourself nearby, make sure to roll by to say hey and maybe join on a group ride:

BFF Bikes

2113 W Armitage, Chicago, IL 60647


 

BFF Bikes on working with PUBLIC as an Assembly Partner:

“We love being a PUBLIC Partner Store. PUBLIC makes getting your perfect bike simple (and stylish!), and we make sure it’s safely built and properly fitted. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing people’s smiles when we reveal their new PUBLIC bike. When the dream bike they found on PUBLIC’s website becomes a reality inside our shop, it’s incredible to be a part of. Partnering with PUBLIC allows us to get more people on more bikes. What could be better than that?”

– Kelly, BFF Bikes

 

Search by zip code for our Partner Stores near you.

If you don’t see your favorite shop, shoot an email to dealers@publicbikes.com with your recommendation.

 

Do Good By Bike: Vol 8 – The Mike’s Bikes Foundation’s Africa Projects

March 7th, 2018

#DoPublicGood is a project highlighting people or organizations that do good by bike. Each month we’ll be shining a spotlight on those who enrich communities all over through their two-wheeled advocacy. You can read our past #DoPublicGood profiles here. If you have a nominee for #DoPublicGood, please let us know in the comments and if… Read more »

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#DoPublicGood is a project highlighting people or organizations that do good by bike. Each month we’ll be shining a spotlight on those who enrich communities all over through their two-wheeled advocacy. You can read our past #DoPublicGood profiles here.

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.


 

Ken Martin, Mike’s Bikes CEO, with Mike & Debbe, Bicycle Warehouse Owners, in Lesotho visiting Tumi, owner of a Mike’s Bikes Sister Shop.

 

This month we are proud to spotlight our partner, Mikes Bike’s, and their Africa Projects which help put bicycles directly in the hands of people in developing Africa. So far over 26,000 bikes have shipped, and the changes these bikes make in their communities and in the lives of the owners is profound.

We interviewed Ken Martin, CEO of Mike’s Bikes, who had just gotten back from delivering a shipment of bikes to Zimbabwe. Read below to hear him tell more about the Africa Projects and how you can get involved.


 

Please describe what the Africa Projects are all about.

We wanted a way for us to do a bike donation program that was cost effective and sustainable. Many of the bike donation programs give their bikes away for free, but for us it was key to create a sustainable program that taught the value of the bike.

We went through a few iterations of the projects to land where we are now, with four main distribution centers in Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho. Instead of handing out the bikes for free, our distribution partners in Africa sell them for the cost of shipping and import duty to local shops and business people who then sell the bikes into their local communities at affordable prices, using the capital to keep their shops running, hire local workers, and promote cycling. This helps with the long-term value and impact of the bicycles.

 

Mechanics all around Southern Africa are learning valuable skills in bicycle maintenance.

 

Tell us more about the local shops you sell to and how they help benefit the community.

When we began the program, we were helping to set up “Sister Shops” that would keep the bikes running after they were delivered to Africa. We quickly noticed that this was key in keeping the program sustainable. We were setting them up to function beyond our initial donations. They were using the tools we gave them to operate their own small business which then helped them provide for their family and give back to the community.

 

Tumi’s Bicycle Shop was initially set up as a “Sister Shop” but over the years has evolved into a bustling business in Maseru, and is looking at setting up a pump track next.

 

We decided to broaden our model and distribute to more shops and business people who could spread the value of the bike across Africa. We support them in developing their own individual business models in order to best service the area in which they live.

For example, in Roma, Lesotho they built a pump track and rent their bikes out to kids who want to ride. If a kid can’t afford to rent a bike, they can earn free rentals by working in the community garden, which then provides fresh produce for people in the area.

Another example is a woman named Aggie, who doesn’t run a shop but acts as an independent businesswoman who specializes in soft goods. Her bike is her only mode of transportation, and she uses it every day, rain or shine, to navigate her huge network of suppliers and customers. We are one of the distributors where she is able to get her supplies.

 

Can you highlight a personal story from one of your visits?

There are so many. The best are stories are when we get to see the passion the African people have for bikes.

The Lesotho Sky is a hardcore mountain bike stage race in Lesotho that top riders from over 21 countries come to compete in. Years ago, a 15-year-old named Mekke showed up with an old, beat-to-hell hybrid bike with bald tires, and wanted to ride. Although he couldn’t pay the entrance fee, ride organizers Christian and Darol let him ride because of the sheer devotion he showed for the sport. He didn’t win, but he didn’t come in last either. He became friends with Christian and Darol, our distribution partner outside Maseru, and he’s now working at the new bike shop there. Even without supplies, Mekke wanted to ride. Now with our program he gets to work every day doing what he loves, spreading his passion for bikes.

 

How can people get involved?

Donate your old bike and gear!

In Northern California, you can bring used bikes to any of our twelve Mike’s Bikes locations.

In Southern California, you can bring your used bikes to any Bicycle Warehouse or bring your used apparel and gear to one of Kit Up Africa’s drop off points, run by Adam Austin.

Full sustainability is the goal, but until we get there, the projects cost money to operate.  You can support our efforts monetarily by donating online.

 

Boitshepo Lesele racing in Botswana in apparel donated through Adam Austin’s program in Los Angeles.

 

 

Is an internal gear hub right for you?

February 14th, 2018

  At PUBLIC, we offer two different types of multi-geared bikes. The first type is known as an “internal gear hub”. With an internal gear hub, the chain and gearing system are encased in a sealed mechanism so you don’t have to fret about the chain falling off. The internal hub keeps the chain on… Read more »

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At PUBLIC, we offer two different types of multi-geared bikes. The first type is known as an “internal gear hub”. With an internal gear hub, the chain and gearing system are encased in a sealed mechanism so you don’t have to fret about the chain falling off. The internal hub keeps the chain on and the grime out. Also, an internal gear hub allows you to shift while coasting, back pedaling, or even at a complete stand still. That’s a handy feature if you are hitting a lot of red lights or are stuck in stop and go traffic. If you see an “i” in any of our models, that means they have one of these fancy internal gear hubs like our PUBLIC C7i, D8i, and M7i bikes.

The second type is an external drive system called a “derailleur”. With an exterior derailleur, 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 C7, V7, and R24 bikes have this type of gearing.

Depending on where you live and how you ride, an internal gear hub or external derailleur might be better for you. We asked our PUBLIC team members to share their top reasons for riding an internal gear hub.

 

Here is what they said:

1. “Being able to shift while not pedaling can make starting from a dead stop, like at a stop light, very handy.”

– Brian Popplewell, Community Engagement Manager

This makes the internal gear hub much more user friendly and welcoming to new riders back on their bike for the first time in years. It’s the only drive system that allows you to change gears while coasting or from a stand still, which is a much more practical option for those commuting in terrains with a consistency of stop and go traffic.

 

PUBLIC D8i | 8-Speed | Diamond Frame

 

2. “All the gears are internal and are not exposed to the elements of the road such as debris and dirt.”

– Tom Jensen, Facilities Manager

Not only does this lead to fewer maintenance requirements, but it keeps your bike looking great. An additional benefit is no more grease stains from gears on your clothes, which is ideal for the work commuter.

 

PUBLIC C7i | 7-Speed | Step-Through

 

3. “SUPER low maintenance.”

– Lizzy Allbut, Procurement Manager/Bike Buyer

There is less need for maintenance thanks to the protection of the internal gear hub leading to less wear and tear. There are no misalignment issues when shifting, meaning no “crunching” of the gears. Tune ups are as easy as aligning two dots, meaning you can do minor adjustments yourself, no mechanical experience required!

 

PUBLIC M8i | 8-Speed | Mixte Frame

 

4. “Beautiful bikes like PUBLIC are that much more beautiful without a derailleur.”

– Ken Martin, CEO

Mid-century modern meets the bicycle, with the internal hub keeping the lines clean. The internal hub makes the rear of the bike look as streamlined as the rest of the bike by hiding the gears, cables, etc. The perfect choice for those who want function and fashion.

 

SHOP ALL INTERNAL HUB BIKES >

 

 

Favorite Bicycle-Themed Halloween Costumes

October 23rd, 2017

If you have a bike, you have the makings for a great costume. We found some hilarious and creative examples of people who incorporated their bikes into their Halloween costumes with total success. Turn your bicycle into your spirt animal. Even Skeletons Ride PUBLIC. Inspired by the 2014 Burning Man theme Caravansary, we had an artist… Read more »

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If you have a bike, you have the makings for a great costume. We found some hilarious and creative examples of people who incorporated their bikes into their Halloween costumes with total success.

Turn your bicycle into your spirt animal.

Even Skeletons Ride PUBLIC.

Inspired by the 2014 Burning Man theme Caravansary, we had an artist friend of ours transform a PUBLIC bike into a desert-worthy camel.

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You’ve heard of the Headless Horseman, right? Change up the myth by transforming into the Headless Biker.

3…2…1…blast off on your rocket-powered bike. Transportation to and from your Halloween destinations is a breeze.

All you need is a red hoodie, a front basket and a cardboard cut-out of your favorite alien.

If you loved the Neverending Story, then this is the bike costume for you.

Transform your bike into a four speed: Walk, trot, cantor or gallop.

A grey suit, bow tie and red bike are all that’s required for this classic Pee Wee Herman costume.

Make a political statement like these Latvian cyclists. Erect a bamboo structure in the shape of a car and wear it while you ride to demonstrate how much more space cars take up versus bikes.

Eschew candy in favor of pac-bites and make sure you go everywhere in a maze-like fashion on your Pac Bike.

Introducing The PUBLIC V-Lite

October 18th, 2017

We’ve taken our popular, single-speed, diamond-frame PUBLIC V1 and sleeked it up to create the lightest weight PUBLIC bike to date, the new PUBLIC V-Lite. The PUBLIC V-Lite comes in Deep Navy, Sage, and Deep Pink colors. This bike is available for pre-order now and will be ready to ship to customers during the first… Read more »

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We’ve taken our popular, single-speed, diamond-frame PUBLIC V1 and sleeked it up to create the lightest weight PUBLIC bike to date, the new PUBLIC V-Lite.

The PUBLIC V-Lite comes in Deep Navy, Sage, and Deep Pink colors. This bike is available for pre-order now and will be ready to ship to customers during the first week of November.

For this no-frills commuter bike we swapped in a lighter-weight saddle and handlebars and nixed the fender, chain guard and kickstand altogether. This bike is perfect for riding on mostly flat or moderate terrain and if you need to carry a bike up a flight of stairs.

The PUBLIC V-Lite might be our nothing-but-the-basics commuter bike, but it still sports the same high-quality, low-maintenance single-speed drive train that’s built to withstand the daily grind.

Puncture-resistant commuter bike tires deliver our signature smooth ride, even on rough city streets, and strong dual-pivot caliper brakes let you ride hard and stop on a dime in any traffic jam.

You also won’t find a simpler delivery option than our Assembly Partner program that delivers a fully built and mechanic-tuned bike to a shop near you at no additional cost, zero hassle. You’ll be out riding in minutes.

Make sure to also explore our other diamond-frame commuter bikes.

Pink Preoccupation

December 31st, 2010

We were in Taiwan a couple of weeks ago meeting with our manufacturing partners. The Taiwanese are foodies and the local blue-collar lunch cafes are a real treat. They are unpretentious places with sparse décor, but offer beautifully colorful dishes of fresh greens, fish, noodles, etc. I noticed that pink was the dominant color on… Read more »

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Pink PastimePink PastimePink Pastime

We were in Taiwan a couple of weeks ago meeting with our manufacturing partners. The Taiwanese are foodies and the local blue-collar lunch cafes are a real treat. They are unpretentious places with sparse décor, but offer beautifully colorful dishes of fresh greens, fish, noodles, etc. I noticed that pink was the dominant color on the tables and walls, and then I began seeing it everywhere around us – on the streets, in the sinks, on signage, on guys’ shirts in the factory, in the hotel lobby, everywhere. Pink is as ubiquitous in Taiwan as Orange is in Holland.

Spotting color is a good sport; determining the cultural relevance is a bit trickier. The origin of pink is tied to roses. Victoria’s Secret (of course) has tried to claim it. Communists were called “pinkos” when I was a kid. Blake Edwards used pink (and Peter Sellers) to create the most famous feline in cinematic history and a highly memorable Henry Mancini soundtrack. We found it was a favorite color in the hip Portland biking scene a few years ago, and we wrote it up in Men In Pink. Our friends at Rapha like it a lot.

Google ‘Pink’ and you will get a wide range of interpretations: girly, gay, sexy, connected to tranquility. Chasing pink around Taiwan was a stress-reducing activity, so we’re nominating the softer, less violent red as “best cure for jet lag.”

 
Pink PastimePink PastimePink PastimePink PastimePink PastimePink PastimePink PastimePink PastimePink PastimePink PastimePink PastimePink Pastime

Dad, Let’s Hit the Road.

December 26th, 2010

Put yourself in the position of a young child. You are given the choice of how to get to school, or to the store, with one of your parents on any given day. Do you want to go: Buckled up or strapped down in the rear seat of a car with a view of the… Read more »

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Kids & BikesKids & BikesKids & BikesKids & BikesKids & BikesKids & BikesKids & Bikes

Put yourself in the position of a young child. You are given the choice of how to get to school, or to the store, with one of your parents on any given day. Do you want to go:

  • Buckled up or strapped down in the rear seat of a car with a view of the back of a seat and someone’s head? or
  • Sitting in front of a bicycle cart with the wind blowing in your face, fresh air, and a 360-degree view of the world with your parent behind, at the helm

This would be an easy choice for most kids. It would be like asking a dog if he would rather have his car window rolled up or down. But kids and dogs do not get to make these decisions on their own. Parents decide these things, based mostly on convenience, safety, or on fear. And thus we have major differences in various countries and cultures.

One of the most visible differences between US cities and cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam is that kids and parents are both highly visible on the streets in those foreign cities. They are everywhere omnipresent. I saw so many young parents with children on the streets on bikes that I actually asked one mother if the birth rate was especially high in Denmark. She laughed and replied: “No, our birth rate is actually one of the lowest in Europe. But the government makes it so easy for us to take our kids out on trips that you just see more of us in Public.”

Almost 50% of young children get around Copenhagen on bikes with their parents. It looked like these percentages were higher in Amsterdam. One in four parents in Copenhagen have a specially designed bicycle rig – cycle carts – for hauling their kids around town and are given special bike storage spaces on their neighborhood streets.

I have to believe that this bodes well for a child’s development. What is the lifetime value of experiencing the world from the front of a bike versus the rear seat of a car in early youth? What is it worth to learn to approach the world with a sense of adventure instead of fear? From where do we get our sense of confidence, independence and social connection? How cool is it to spend time with your parents doing something physical and fun everyday?

These thoughts were on mind as I watched so many parents pedaling their kids around the city. My Mom did not pedal me around in Pasadena where I grew up – we rode bikes ourselves, but I do remember how cool it was when my Mom got a convertible car. What is the value of fresh air and wind alone?

I cannot advocate the Amsterdam/Copenhagen bike mode for parents in many US cities that are not very bike family-friendly at this time. But I wish I could. What would it take to make more of those Danish kidmobiles common on our streets? It will take governmental policy, community leadership, courageous smart Mayors, separated lanes for bicycles, and a lot more people riding and having fun on their bikes. Let’s get there.

– Rob Forbes

Photos taken in Amsterdam and Copenhagen

Also, this week at PUBLIC:
Free Shipping Ends Tonight
PUBLIC Jobs
Special Deals On Clothing

 
Kids & BikesKids & BikesKids & BikesKids & BikesKids & BikesKids & Bikes

Mile Highs and Lows in Colorado

December 21st, 2010

A quick trip to Colorado last month put us in the Denver International Airport on our way to Boulder, CO. We don’t know of two greater contrasts in transportation designs in one region. The experience was a study in the extremes we see in our modern world. The Denver International Airport has been on the… Read more »

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Mile Highs and Lows in ColoradoMile Highs and Lows in Colorado
Mile Highs and Lows in Colorado

Boulder Bike Lane

Mile Highs and Lows in Colorado

Vecchios

Mile Highs and Lows in Colorado

Vintage at U Bikes

Mile Highs and Lows in Colorado

Public in Boulder Rack

A quick trip to Colorado last month put us in the Denver International Airport on our way to Boulder, CO. We don’t know of two greater contrasts in transportation designs in one region. The experience was a study in the extremes we see in our modern world.

The Denver International Airport has been on the design radar since its inception in 1994. It rises out of nowhere in the high plains, like modernist Bedouin tents. Inside it feels like a study in efficient mobility with everyone everywhere in motion. The architecture firm, Fentress Architects, designed the airport and it lives up to their slogan “Inspired Design for People.” A speedy tram zips you to terminals. There are elevators, horizontal conveyor walkways, and escalators in every space. They whisk you around like magic inside the space. But once you get your bags and look for public transportation, it smacks you. You are stuck. You are 15 miles from anywhere. Denver is one of the few major airports in the entire world that is not connected to its city by some form of rail. Taxis and rental cars are your only way out. OK, there are buses (sort of) but who wants to pack into a bus, especially after a plane flight? It is as if the car rental agencies and taxis conspired to form a monopoly. Maybe they did. How uncivilized.

Nearby, Boulder is the opposite extreme i.e. very civilized. The city is designed to encourage people to walk, ride bikes, take public transportation, and reduce their dependence on cars. There are bike trails and well-signed paths everywhere and bike racks of all shapes and sizes all around town. For bike geeks there are several amazing bike stores like University Bikes (an amazing collection of vintage and modern bikes) and Vecchio where you can test ride a PUBLIC. For novice riders they even have a website, Go Bike Boulder that tells you how to get from A to B on a bike. With 300+ miles of bike paths within the 24.5 square miles of the city, this is very helpful. Boulder is not Amsterdam, but bikes do set the pace around downtown and you’ll see the full range of bikers from costumed nighttime bike parades to Lycra clad bike tri-athletes. And maybe the highest sign of civic enlightenment was that the bikers seem to obey the laws and leave the downtown pedestrian mall for pedestrians. Perhaps kudos goes to the City of Boulder for offering support and easy access to Bicyclists Rights and Responsibility on their comprehensive website. This is all very optimistic and idealistic – other cities could learn a lot from this example. The bike industry advocacy and educational organization Bikes Belong is headquartered there and it certainly belongs there.

What the Denver International Airport and Boulder have in common is that they are somewhat insular communities that attempt to provide the best mobility experience for people within their walls. However, they do not deal with the regional issues i.e. what to do when you are outside of their community. For this planning we do need government involvement, legislation, and public advocates.

It is our hope for enlightened transportation planning, whether that means high-speed rail or bike lanes.

Take Action. Vote.

And with another election season upon us, we encourage everyone to vote for candidates who prioritize sound transportation, bicycle and pedestrian-oriented land-use planning. And if you live in California, a strong NO vote against Proposition 23 is important. It’s worth a bike ride or stroll to your polling booth to vote NO against the disastrous, backward Proposition 23 that’s largely funded by big oil companies. This issue is not complicated.

Win a New PUBLIC bike

Ladies G7 OrangeWe have been besieged by requests from customers since the day we launched for an affordable all-purpose city bike. Our design team put this request on our fast track and we will have two new bike models here by mid-November. We are having a contest to win one of these bikes. So here is a chance to be one of the first to ride one, and for free. The bikes will be priced at $495. We will have full specifications up next week, but you can get a sneak preview and enter the contest today.

Tretorn Rainboot

Tretorn Skerry Reslig Rain Boot
We will be adding a wide range of new products this fall, including new Tretorn shoes like these Skerry Reslig rain boots. Made from all natural and PVC-free rubber, these 100% waterproof boots were originally designed for heavy-weather sailing. Which also makes them a welcome solution for biking on rain-soaked city streets and sidewalks. They could even make puddles fun again.

 

PUBLIC’s in the Public

December 16th, 2010

Our bikes are showing in up all kinds of places. We feel very fortunate to have them sprinkled all around the US after only a few months of opening shop. This is a thank you to our fans, a gallery of nationwide photos of our bikes and clients, and an invitation to our South Park… Read more »

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In front of Anish Kapoor sculpture in Chicago

Anish Kapoor sculpture by Ron Wu

Under Brazilian dancers

Under Brazilian dancers

In bike parking lots in Denmark

Denmark

In front of politician’s podiums

In front of politician’s podiums

Next to Frank Gehry in New York

New York

In meadows in the Rockies

Rockies

At the beach

At the beach

Our bikes are showing in up all kinds of places. We feel very fortunate to have them sprinkled all around the US after only a few months of opening shop. This is a thank you to our fans, a gallery of nationwide photos of our bikes and clients, and an invitation to our South Park party this Saturday in San Francisco. Here’s partial list of where PUBLIC bikes have been spotted:

  • In bike parking lots in Denmark
  • At numerous Farmers Markets
  • In lingerie stores
  • Next to Frank Gehry in New York
  • Under politicians rear ends
  • In meadows in the Rockies
  • At the beach
  • In magazine store windows
  • In artist studios in Brooklyn
  • In SOHO shoe stores
  • Chopped into rickshaws
  • In boutique hotels
  • At ballparks
  • Hung on gallery walls
  • At Design Within Reach
  • In O Magazine and Martha Stewart Living
  • In J Crew catalogs
  • In blogs like Treehugger
  • In numerous other media
  • On the streets in 40 states

At some of the best bike stores and retailers in the US:

More Photos…

We have an ulterior motive in displaying these photos . . . We’d like more. We plan to display them in our store and on our blog. Photos are only one way for us to share our story and the fun. We’ll be taking photos at our party this weekend and we welcome shots, videos even more so, from around the country. You can even upload photos to our Flickr pool and Facebook.

Our Rear Basket on Sale

PUBLIC BasketWe designed this simple, lightweight rear basket with a spring-loaded quick release, so you can easily attach and remove it from your rack. By removing it from the bike in just a few seconds, it transitions into a shopping basket equipped with a handle. It fits on most standard racks, and that’s one of the many reasons it’s been so popular.

Eurocars at Eurobike

December 8th, 2010

Our post last week, That Blind Spot drew a lot of feedback. It’s pretty easy to point to the problems car culture inflicts on the US and to wag fingers at poor transportation ‘design’. The irony of our local community – the ‘progressive’ Bay Area – succumbing to this collective blindness stands out as somewhat… Read more »

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Sea of Cars at Eurobike

Sea of Cars at Eurobike

Next Bike stand at Eurobike

Next Bike stand at Eurobike

Next Bike Rentals

Next Bike Rentals

Next Bike text message

Next Bike text message

Next Bike Advertisement

Next Bike Advertisement

Bicycles as far as the eye can see

Bike parking lots in Amsterdam

Our post last week, That Blind Spot drew a lot of feedback. It’s pretty easy to point to the problems car culture inflicts on the US and to wag fingers at poor transportation ‘design’. The irony of our local community – the ‘progressive’ Bay Area – succumbing to this collective blindness stands out as somewhat comical. This irony is not unique to the US. Let me tell you what I came across in Germany at the annual Eurobike show last week.

Eurobike is the Mecca for bicyclists. It may be five times the size of the US Interbike show. Getting to Friedrichshafen, the town closet to the show, is a treat and hopefully a taste of all travel in the future. You fly into Zurich, walk 100 yards to a train that speeds you silently at 100 mph to Romanshorn. You hop a ferry and have a beer with pals during an hour-long ride across the lake, disembarking in Friedrichshafen, where you can walk to your hotel. You’re feeling profoundly envious of the European public transportation system – the last car I thought about was the taxi in San Francisco taking me to BART (Bay Area Regional Transit).

Getting to the bike show the next morning brought me back to the reality of car traffic. The show is held in a remote suburban location and only accessible by cars and buses. The three-mile trip may take you an hour. Traffic is backed up for 20 miles in all directions with people in their cars trying to get to a bike show. The exhibition area is surrounded by fields of cars and feels stunningly like a racetrack event. This sea of cars really puts the ‘iron’ in irony.

These traffic-jams last all four days of the show. Remember, this is a show to celebrate bikes – amazing pieces of design that give us all independence and efficiency. The irony of it all seems lost on the leaders of the bike industry. How much sweeter it would be if we all rode bikes from our hotels to the show located in a city or community where bikes serve a social purpose? What if the parking lot looked like what you find in so many cities like Amsterdam?

Solutions are always more interesting, and I found one on the first day. I was standing in a long line waiting for a bus after the show, tired and cranky like everyone else. I noticed a small line of rental ‘Next Bikes’ outside the convention hall. I inquired. The bikes were all spoken for, but the guy thought there might be one in a remote location. He used a wireless GPS system and located a bike nearby. In thirty seconds he hooked me up to the online service and sent me a text with the location, serial number, and lock combo of my bike. After a 15-minute walk I was on my free bike and riding blissfully back to the hotel with that special pleasure of passing all the car traffic leaving the Eurobike show. I used the bike during my four-day trip and dropped it off outside my hotel where I simply called the service to tell them I was done. The rental price was $1 Euro for four days. (The ads on the bikes apparently pay for the costs of the system.) All of this is made possible by wireless technology, free enterprise, and local entrepreneurs.

Let’s not delude ourselves by nostalgic thinking that bikes alone are the answer to mobility. We need modern technology. Bike geeks love technology and we have such a tradition for innovation in our own backyard. We must be able to make this work at home, no? Grassroots innovations seem more likely than relying on governmental action or waiting for the bike industry to come around (which is having too much fun watching kids fly on bikes over hills, and it does look like fun).

 

Mellow Johnny’s

Mellow Johnny's Inside

Mellow Johnny's Inside

Mellow Johnny’s is well known because it’s owned by Lance Armstrong, but better known for the adjoining Juan Pelota café, the showers for sweaty bikers, a bike service center, and the best selection in Austin of lifestyle clothing and bikes for racing and city commuting. I love it for its low-key local architecture. Check it out when in Austin. Also check out our other test ride locations around the country – we just added a few more.