First Look: Public Bikes
Public kicks off its Oakland store opening with a food, drink, and bike celebration.
photos by Brandon Weight
Dan Nguyen-Tan, in between adjusting seats for test rides, wiped the sweat off of his brow. Customer after customer dropped by his Oakland shop wanting to test ride new Public bikes, even as the heat crept towards 90 degrees. But the weather couldn't persuade Dan nor visitors to avoid Public Bikes' party on Saturday.
Public has a few great reasons to celebrate. It's built a national following with European-styled bikes, reaching riders as far out as Atlanta and New York while still catering to locals around its San Francisco headquarters. And it just opened its third retail store, the first in the East Bay.
"We're really excited to be a part of the neighborhood, and be active in supporting our neighbors," Nguyen-Tan said.
The neighborhood is Jack London Square, and near the nightlife Public found a great working space. The 15,000 square-foot warehouse hosts storage for Public, along with workstations for bike mechanics and a large retail store.
Local bikers got a first glance of the store. Stacked wine crates housed grips and bells, and a nearby wall displayed larger accessories like helmets and bags. A full staff was on hand to answer questions, offer suggestions, and, like Nguyen-Tan, let riders see just how comfortable Public bikes are.
In the warehouse, visitors enjoyed ice cold beverages and buckets of snacks while watching the mechanics put together their ride of choice.
Even vendors that Public invited were bike-centric. A portable grilled cheese stand served up delights, while the Big Wheel Cookie Co. paid a visit with organic ice cream sandwiches – perfect for the warm weather outside.
For now, the store is open Friday to Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., but Nguyen-Tan is open to expanding hours.
"This is very experimental for us," Nguyen-Tan said. "We're excited to see what kind of traction we can get here."
Public Bikes, 205 Alice St. (at 2nd St.), Oakland, (510) 251-1581, publicbikes.com.