In celebration of Banana Republic‘s 35th anniversary, we’re delving into yet another inspiring story that reflects the trailblazing nature of our beautiful City by the Bay. Part two of the series features Rob Forbes – founder of Design Within Reach and PUBLIC, a San Francisco based bike and gear company. His bikes are best known for their distinguishably attractive design and urban practicality. It’s no wonder that after spending an afternoon with Rob at their South Park Headquarters, a PUBLIC bike is now at the top of my wish list.
The birth of PUBLIC bikes: We founded PUBLIC in 2008 in the middle of the recession. I had been watching the urban cycling movement exploding abroad for a few years, seeing things like the Parisian Velib bike share program and numerous other examples all throughout Europe. I was also super impressed with the youth biking movement in US cities like San Francisco at that time, seeing women riding around on custom fixies, watching the growth of groups like the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. It was obvious that the US was on the verge of something exciting in urban biking. All these events made it possible for me to envisage our company, write a business plan, and rope in some investors. We launched PUBLIC in April of 2009.