A Very Special Auction – For a Good Cause
If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. – Mother Teresa
In addition to being a blogger and bike obsessive, I am also a fairly charitable person; I belong to a charitable fraternity, I raise money to fight cancer, and I give prayers scribbled on scrapes of paper to the homeless when they ask me for money. I care. Fortunately, in this great big messed up world of ours, many of us are givers, and help our fellow man without being prompted. Frank the Welder (or FTW) is one such “giver”. If you are not familiar with Frank, read a little more about him here, at the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame website. Frank has taken Mother Teresa’s saying to heart and is auctioning his personal bike on eBay to benefit a one special family. The bicycle that he is auctioning is a one of a kind Yeti “ultimate” .
I asked Frank why this bike was important, and he told me, ” At that point in time (ed. the late eighties) people on MTB’s were experiencing a lot of problems with the chain clinging to the rings while shifting under load and causing severe chain jam between the chainstay and chainrings. Richard Cunningham of Mantis (later MBA magazine) came up with the idea (or at least applied it) of mounting the chainstays above the BB shall in a style known as “elevated chainstays”.
Zapata Espinoza of MBA mag approached my boss, John Parker about building what he thought was the “ultimate” bike of the day. My co-worker, Chris Herting built a prototype frame to suit their needs for the magazine article. People began to request a production version of the bike and my job was to produce the drawings and tooling to process the materials to make the production bike.
There is one “prototype” that was made during the process. Chris, John and I worked together to achieve the aesthetic qualities and I fabricated the sample and figured out how to tool the job. The entire rear section was built out of bits and pieces of rear sections I had cut apart for that purpose.
That frame was spray-bombed flat black with a few black colored squares. I think it sold for $3600 a few months ago. ”
While he was busy being a pioneer in the early MTB movement, he would get away to vacation in California, and (of course) kept a bike there at a friends house. The bike he kept there is probably the second or third production “Ultimate” , and it is fitted out with with lots of very special gear, like handbuilt Campagnolo wheels, prototype bar ends, and Bullseye cranks.Unfortunately, as this human vessel is a frail one, the wife of Frank’s friend has been battling cancer, and all of the stuff that goes with it. Even more unfortunately, in today’s modern world, much of what “goes with” cancer is financial hardship. It’s no different for Frank’s friends, and in order to alleviate some of their financial hardship, Frank is auctioning off this one of a kind early Yeti mountain bike – the one he kept at their house. In addition, Frank will be including a ton of ephemera from the early days of Yeti, so this bike will be one that your grandkids can take to “Antiques Roadshow in Space” – and because they will have the provenance, this bike will be worth millions more in space credits than if it were just a centuries old mountain bike.
All of the U.S. dollar proceeds of the auction will go directly to Frank’s friends. This isn’t some foundation doing this, where there are a group of directors that have to be paid first, or a fundraising drive for a giant concern, like the charity rides that most cyclists (including myself) take such pride in doing. This is one person, selling a one of a kind bike, and giving the money to help a family who has fallen on hard times.
The auction ends Saturday the 26th – so if you were considering joining the Black Friday fray, perhaps you should take the money you were going to spend to get some fat cat 1 percenter even richer and buy this one of a kind bike, and help some other good folks that need it. Even if you can’t bid, tell someone you know about this, and all of you bloggers that read the website please spread the word to your readers. The holiday season is approaching, and what better way to kick it off than helping raise money for one family that needs it?