After founding Design Within Reach, Rob Forbes started PUBLIC, a San Francisco-based bicycle company. PUBLIC designs and sells urban bikes, as well as cool gear that makes biking more enjoyable.
Q: Why bicycles?
The 20th century was dedicated to cars and freeways and parking lots. Let’s dedicate the 21st century to design, people, and their communities. Bikes can play a part. Also, I look at the entire world through the lens of design and I simply adore the iconic form of the bike.
Q: Do you remember your first bike?
One of the first bikes I had as a child was a blue Schwinn that I won at a carnival in Pasadena. When I stepped on the brakes it would change gears – cutting edge technology at the time.
Comfort – both visually and physically. It has to fit into your life easily and be right for the functionality you’re looking for, whether that’s exercise, transportation to work or a way to relax. Choose a color that makes you smile.
Q: What’s the best city for biking?
Any city will do. Biking is just fast walking, and it’s the best way to explore an area and its surrounding communities. Berlin is hard to beat. It’s huge and flat, and in Germany, the car drivers respect cyclists. You can get to every park and museum easily and there are beer gardens and sausages at every turn.
Q: What’s the best city for watching people on bikes?
Parma and Bologna in Italy are great – you’ll see the most sexy older folks in the world pedaling around there.
Q: What’s next for PUBLIC?
We’re less than a year old, but already there is huge interest in our bikes internationally. I could see us opening a store in Amsterdam or a similar bike-friendly city. We’re also seeing an increase in requests for custom bikes, which is very exciting, and we’re working with a number of large companies who want to make bikes available for employees to get around their campus-like layouts.
Q: Any closing thoughts?
I encourage everyone to get on a bike. Take a spin and see how differently the world looks. And sign up for the PUBLIC Bikes newsletter and we’ll keep you posted on bike events and stories from around the world.
—- DWR invites you to test ride a PUBLIC bike at one of these DWR Studios: Scottsdale, Boston, Charlotte, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Miami, Berkeley, Los Angeles and New Orleans.