The turning point for podcasting was the day that Robin Williams spent an hour and a half in Marc Maron’s garage. No one had ever asked before what brought joy to the man who brought us so much joy. As a nice surprise, they spent a lot of time talking about how much Robin Williams loves riding a bicycle. Now, more than two years since his passing, his children are putting up 87 of the bikes in his collection for auction. The proceeds will help fund two charities he cared deeply about: The Challenged Athletes Foundation, which gives grants and support to athletes with disabilities, and The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, which funds research for people with spinal cord injuries. These bikes span Williams’ intense career but do not interrupt it. These were Robin’s playthings when he wasn’t being everyone’s plaything. Here are our favorites of the auction haul. (Oh and in case you're wondering the ZIPP in the photo above is also available.)
Unicycle, Schwinn: How much fun do you think Robin Williams had wheeling this out for guests? The man took to sobriety in later years, so just imagine him bringing this out instead of another bottle of Armagnac when you came to see him in the south of France.
Electric Scooter, Z Turbo: You know the look on his wife’s face. “Robbie, what are you going to do with that?” Those are the precious moments you remember as you go through a person’s things after they’re gone. You remember the days—the days you’ll never get back, the smiles on your faces and the wind in your hair when you both went for a ride. Also, I’m sure there’s a great story to “Missing left handle grip.”
The Original Runt Mini Bike, Just Go: Look at how much bigger the chainwheel is than the actual wheel! This is like the opposite of riding that giant-wheeled velociped! Also note that it has full suspension, so you’re expected to pull some kind of sick tricks.
Beam, JP Morgen: This one is a beast from the San Francisco '80s. Riders were looking to get a road bike out on the mountain trails. It’s astounding, honestly, how the bicycle is such a simple and perfect design that no one had ever been able to improve, or perfect. This was definitely Mork & Mindy money.
Master Pista, La Carrera, Futura 2000, Colnago and La Carrera: You got $22,000? Legendary Italian cyclist Ernesto Colnago ended his career after a devastating crash and went on to build bikes for olympic winners in 1960 and 1972. Get this guy!
Responsorium, Dario Pegoretti: Just in case you get outbid on that Pista, this could be yours at $20,100. This hand-painted bike is the closest to owning a work of auctioned art. “According to Chad Nordwall, owner of high-end California bicycle store Above Category, where Williams was a regular customer, Williams kept Pegoretti bicycles in his house in anticipation of his next ride.”
Chopper Hog Roadster, Schwinn: Where do you even ride this thing? It’s single speed with a laid-back saddle and cockpit. It’s about $2k. So if you’ve got that to blow on the bike version of a “conversation piece,” you have my blessing.
Mark V, IRO: For real. I’m including this one because this is a bike-auction priced bike that Robin Williams used to ride around and work on voices with. This is like when a company has a fire sale. Only that company is Robin Williams and you’re giving $1,200 (current bid) to some great charities and getting a bike.
Guv'nor, Pashley: This hand-built British beaut is less of a steal. But, “Guv’nor?” Can you imagine Robin Williams riffing on the name of this thing and leaving the staff in stitches while they tried to run his Amex?
Electric Bike, Picyle: This was a dotcom-era outfit in San Fran circa 2000. It’s about the same price as a used motorcycle from that era. But it can take you maybe three miles on heavy batteries. Still, it looks fun!
Derringer, Derringer: Bikes like these were the hoverboards of the Great Depression: cheap, dangerous and, for some reason, delivery guys all had them.
Touring Bike, Unknown Maker: This bike was so thoroughly restored that no one even knows who made it. Maybe Robin Williams himself? Oh Captain, my captain!