I wrote this article to celebrate National Bike to Work Day. Please note below that PUBLIC has a sale on that expires today.

For the last two years, I’ve lived about a block away from South Park. Earlier this year, I snapped a photo at a new bicycle store that had popped up late last year:
South Park, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Apple iPhone 4
1/15 sec @ ƒ2.8, iso 100, 3.85mm (37mm)

The exterior is both striking and very àpropos of this hotbed of Web 2.0:

Outside public bikes

Outside PUBLIC bikes
South Park, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Olympus E-P2, Lumix G 20mm 1.7 ASPH
17 exposures (auto mode), iso 200, 20mm (40mm)

These display bikes are cleverly locked to the stand. They are also all test-rideable.

Model showroom

Model showroom
PUBLIC Bikes, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Olympus E-P2, Lumix G 20mm 1.7 ASPH
1/400sec @ ƒ4, iso 200, 20mm (40mm)

There is also a basket of flyers for passerby too shy to come in to the store. From the catalog flyer, I learned that the dog, Simone, is not for sale. 🙁 The day we came inside, Simone wasn’t in but Dawn’s dog, Riley, was subbing for her. He’s not for sale either. 🙁


PUBLIC Bikes, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Olympus E-P2, Lumix G 20mm 1.7 ASPH
1/250sec @ ƒ3.5, iso 200, 20mm (40mm)

That would have been the end of things had we not recently decided to move to the Richmond district on the other side of the city. The move necessitates commuting and running errands by bicycle, and Marie had no bicycle she could confidently ride and safely lock. We spent days looking at and test-riding bicycles around the city. And, for some reason, we kept coming back to PUBLIC bikes.

The first time we stopped by, a person on his way out tried to convince her to try one of the bicycles—she didn’t have the time that time. (We would later find out that he was the founder of the company.)

Continue reading about buying a PUBLIC bike after the jump.

GPS everywhere and in everything

My computer has a GPS in it using the same SIRFstar III chipset as my hiking handheld, which also doubles as my cycling GPS.

On the Mac, it appears as a “USB-serial” device whose driver is made by Prolific Technology which, coincidentally, makes the driver for my camera GPS receiver. Like all SIRFstar III GPSs, getting the acquisition took only a second, but a fix took a minute.

Great! Now what to do?

GPS + Google Earth = fun

[gps madness after the jump]Continue reading

Flatting in Illinois

My last blog entry reminded me of something that happened to me in graduate school. My first four years on my bike, I hadn’t a single flat. That summer day I was riding to Florida Ave. for pickup soccer and I was late. In the apartment, I grabbed my bike, slung my cleats across my shoulder and started cycling. I lived at the opposite end of Champaign-Urbana at the time.

Because of where I was coming from and the time, I decided to cut through on the university bike paths. I almost never do this because the condition of the bike paths are poorly maintained.

At one point there were what must have been two hundred junior high school girls practicing cheers in various groups. I guess it was a summer camp or something. Oh well, no matter. I’ll just stick to the path and barrel by them.

That’s when Murphy reared his ugly ass.

[My Illinois flat story after the jump.]Continue reading

Review: Continental Ultra GatorSkin

My last tires were Avocet Road 30 700x23C kevlar. I’m always partial to road tires with the least amount of tread on them and I love the head-turning advertising Avocet did on these back in the early 90’s. When I saw a pair on closeout, I had to buy a few to keep around in case I tore up a tire on a distance tour. Sure the tire case looks like human skin, but they’re light and cool to have around.

A couple years back, I decided that I better start using the tires and put them on my commute bike. But now I’m flatting too much. I guess 10 year old rubber just can’t take road and running path that forms the bulk of my commute. I’ll fold them up and keep them around if something drastic ever happens.

I’m sick of picking out rocks and thorns that always seem to puncture the rear tire casing. so I picked up a new set of commute tires from Performance. Unfortunately, their selection was pretty shitty so I resorted to trying Continental again:

Continental Gatorskin

Continental Gatorskin
Sunnyvale, California

Nikon D200, Nikkor 18-200mm f/2.8G VR
SB-800, Gitzo G1228LVL tripod, Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead
2sec @ f/5.6, iso 100, 116mm (174mm)

[Review after the jump]Continue reading