Sunday, August 12, 2012

Return of a Public Bike: Thoughts on the C7

A Public Bike has returned to the E.V.L household - and has actually been hanging out for a couple of months now. I mentioned in a brief post back in early June that I was eyeballing a special edition color of the C7 from Public Bikes, and while I'd like to believe that I have some self-control, I decided to hunt down a local partner to see if it would ride the same as the J7. You may also recall that I was in love with the color of the special edition model, but after riding the larger size locally, I realized that the small size remaining in the Golden Gate Bridge color would probably not be ideal. Plus, I'd have to have it shipped (and goodness knows we haven't had the best luck with shipping bikes to/from us).
*Image from Public Bikes
You might say I was actually a bit hesitant to go and test ride the bike. While I'm typically all in for a day of trying out different bicycles, I was concerned that I would either love the bike again and want to buy it, or I would realize that it wasn't for me. Yes, I understand that those are really the only two possibilities (like it, or don't), but it meant that there was finality about to take place. Of course, curiosity won out, and off we went.
This is where we found the C7... sitting... waiting.
There was only one model and one color in stock when we arrived, but it didn't matter to me because I just wanted to do a test ride to see if it would be a possibility. Truthfully, it was all the good things I remembered, about the J7:  Easy to ride (I showed up in flip flops and a skirt and it was no issue to shuffle down the road with ease) and comfortable (the saddles have been made wider since the J7, it seems). It was even faster than I recalled the J7 being, but admittedly, I had tinkered with the design probably more than I should have by changing out parts. I forgot what a joy it is to easily slip on and off a bicycle when I'm just running around town, wearing whatever I happen to have on.
Fully outfitted C7 - Man, it's bright!
After deciding that I really didn't need to have a special edition color on the C7, and realizing that I could purchase this locally for almost half the cost of buying and shipping from San Francisco, I was sold. I would never have thought I'd buy another orange bicycle (it really isn't my favorite color), but the price was right, and it came equipped as needed with some additions thrown in from the shop. It's a bit of a misfit with the non-matching rear rack, but, honestly, I think it makes it stand out as an individual. Nothing needs to be too matchy-matchy in life, I think.

What's changed since my last round with Public? Well, for starters, I've learned my lesson with changing out too many things. It simply altered the way the bike rode and made it difficult to find comfort again. Additionally, I know the personal limits of how far I can ride an upright bicycle, and I need to abide by those rules, so that I don't end up in situations that cause me to think that this type of bicycle isn't for me. I've learned my lesson (at least, I hope).
Handmade African basket... just enough to tone down the bright orange (maybe).
I think one of my favorite additions to the bike is the basket, and I hope it will stand the tests of time. I've already loaded both the basket and bicycle down on several occasions, strapped things to the rear of the bike (I've even hauled some small paintings around), and at times looked pretty much as though I was moving on a bicycle, and it's been amazing. I am extremely happy that I went ahead with the purchase, and I'm sure it will serve splendidly as the transportation bike.
The brightness is really not coming through in these photos... it is definitely not easy to miss.
As for the color... well, at least I'll be seen by cars. The color has actually grown on me the more I've used this bike, too. It makes me happy to see it each time I get on, and I suppose that says quite a bit. Maybe the universe was trying to tell me that I need at least one orange bike in my life, and so, I've made my peace with the color.

If anyone is considering Public Bikes as an option for a city bike, Melanie Suzanne has offered her initial thoughts on her C8 (with the internal hub), and some follow up on modifications, so it might be worth popping over to read her thoughts as well.

*More photos here, if you have interest.


  1. Sneaky woman! I'm so glad that you're enjoying the new ~*ORANGE*~ bicycle. The purple in the basket is a lovely foil against the frame.

    I really do need to make another C8 review post, but I'm still futzing with the new saddle, trying to find a good position. Part of my problem may be that I'm still trying to ride it like my hybrid instead of treating it like a different beast.

    1. I am enjoying the bike... although I wasn't really trying to be sneaky so much as attempt to figure out if it would become a regular ride again.

      Can't wait to hear what's happening with your C8. :O)

  2. I've been perusing your test ride reports and just put in an order for a C8. I liked the Linus well enough but the welds were not attractive. Thanks to you and Melanie Suzanne for all the info!

    1. I'm so glad you have found a bike that you think will work well for you, and I hope you thoroughly enjoy it! :O)

  3. I just received the PUBLIC C7 Bike in cream. I got M/L size and I am "5'7" in height. The bike is great but I feel it is too large for my body and the wheels are so incredibly large. It rides really nicely but I am wondering if perhaps the S/M would have been a better size for me?

    1. Paola,

      I would talk to Public. They do have a 30-day time frame that allows for returns if you're not in love with the bike. Especially if you just got the bike, they should be able to help. Part of the feeling of largeness may be due to the style (the loop frame). It tends to feel a little larger, in my experience. Perhaps one of their other models (like the M7 or M8) would feel better to you? Again, I'd chat with them about how you're feeling about your C7. I don't know that getting a smaller size would help that feeling of bigness, but perhaps it would. I'm several inches shorter than you, and I bought the large because I was concerned that the smaller size would be too small. I have found that I prefer the ride/feel of their diamond frame bikes (such as the V7 or D8), and I suspect (though I've never ridden one myself) that their mixte versions would ride a little more like the diamond frame. Perhaps you just need to find the right model for you? Again, I would highly recommend chatting with Public Bikes about all of this before your time expires so that you can hopefully exchange for one that will work better for you. Good luck. I hope you find the right bike for you.


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