Images courtesy of Ezra Caldwell
I must admit I was a little nervous when I started drafting up my profile of bicycle builder and sometime artist Ezra Caldwell—as I admitted in a footnote, it's a little nerve-wracking to portray a terminally ill Renaissance Man as a real human being (I also worry that the "Bike Cult Show Builder Profile" designation may have dissuaded some readers from the outset; biased though I may be, I'd recommend it to just about anyone). Nevertheless, I was glad to have the opportunity to share his story with those who may not have heard it before, and true to form, Caldwell sent a very nice thank-you note shortly thereafter.
Meanwhile, Caldwell's real-time autobiography continues to unfold on his blog, "Teaching Cancer to Cry," where he recently chronicled his preparations for the Bike Cult Show (he's also posted some photos from the show itself on his photography site). The two-day show was dedicated to him and served as the occasion to launch the charity auction of his last bike, the Ultimate Tight Ass (a.k.a. the UTA):
I put this thing together with the express purpose of building myself what I felt was the ULTIMATE mountain bike (the fact that it may well turn out to be the ultimate bike I build is a bit of a twist!), to ride until I was no longer healthy enough to do so, at which point I would auction it off for some sort of cancer related charity. In the end our decision was to donate the proceeds to the Visiting Nurse Service of NY Home Hospice Program.
Caldwell posted details about the auction, which ends tomorrow at 2pm EST, following an account of his decision to donate the proceeds to the non-profit organization (including a passionate argument for palliative care), as well as a short description of the bikes that he would be exhibiting. As its name suggests, the UTA is the third and final bicycle in the cheekily-named "Ass" series (yes, pun intended). Its progenitors are the Assless—his gut reaction to being forbidden from sitting on a bicycle saddle was to build a seatless bicycle—and the Hardass, a street thrasher that ended up on the trails (and eventually inspired the UTA).
Caldwell is currently accepting bids for both the Assless and the UTA on the Fast Boy Cycles website. Moreover, you can see them both in action and loads of making-of porn of the UTA in a short film by Caldwell's friend Sam Newman, featuring a more in-depth explanation of how this trio of bicycles represents his journey. Again, it's well worth the 15 minutes of your time—save it for later if you have to, but keep in mind that the bidding ends tomorrow, Wednesday, September 4, at 2pm EST.