Robin Williams: Cyclist

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The bicycle world lost one of its biggest fans this week when Robin Williams was found hanged in an apparent suicide on Monday.

Last year, Williams wrote at a Reddit Ask Me Anything:

“My favorite thing to do is ride a bicycle. I ride road bikes. And for me, it’s mobile meditation.”

Williams and Armstrong meet troops on USO tour

Williams and Armstrong meet troops on USO tour

His love for bikes and biking became well-known when he was often seen riding with his friend, Lance Armstrong. Williams showed up on talk shows in bike gear.

But bike shop owners in coastal towns of Northern California knew of Williams’ bike addiction for years.  The Hollywood Reporter sent a staff writer there to find out about Williams as a bicyclist. Soo Youn learned that Williams supported all the bike shops.

“One of the world’s funniest men rode through these small towns on customized ultra-light bikes, his infamous body hair contrasting with the shaved legs of other serious road cyclists, giving away his identity. … So Williams would bike through these towns, completing an informal loop of bike shops, coffee houses and book stores.”

One bike shop worker said Williams had started as a mountain bike fanatic, but his agents got him to switch because they thought it was too dangerous.

The Bicycling website promoted a piece written in 2003 by Dan Koeppel — “Robin Williams: I’m lucky to have bikes in my life.” At that time, Williams stored at least 50 exotic bikes in a garage in San Francisco’s Sea Cliff neighborhood.

“Williams says he draws creative inspiration from all that gear: ‘When I see a beautiful bike, I know a guy worked really hard to make those welds, to make it not just functional. And I think it’s the same [with acting.] It’s the details, the sense of a craftsman at work, getting it right.’ “

From what I’ve been reading, Williams didn’t collect bikes just to own them. He loved riding them. And although he sometimes participated in group rides like Ride for the Roses in Austin, he mostly rode to enjoy the scenery.

Williams once told Wall Street Journal reporter Jason Gay that cycling was “the closest you can get to flying.”

He will be missed. He talked about bicycling on the Daily Show last year.

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  1. Such a sad loss. I’m sure that many of us would have loved to join him on a few rides.

      • bertha tredray on September 24, 2014 at 4:10 pm
      • Reply

      I was so sad and have been now for weeks that he was in so much pain he found no other way out. this is only the second public figure (princess Diana’s funeral being the other) that I’ve cried for. I think I loved the man. even my husband whose a pretty tough dude got a gulp in his throat.

  2. The family of Robin Williams,
    I want to offer my deepest condolence to your family at this time. My
    prayer & thought are with you at this time. It is very tragic to lose such
    an fine artists, comedian& father, too. Robin Williams was a comedian
    who could make people laugh. My prayer are with you at this time for
    your family. I love Robin Williams a whole lot. He was a funny guy,too.
    I am going to close, but I will be thinking of your family at this time, too.
    Sincerely Yours,
    Bonnie j Wiseman

  3. You never realize how much someone you never met can touch your life until they are gone. So sad. I did read that Robin was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s and feared he would no longer be able to cycle as a result. In my mind, this makes it even more tragic as cycling has been shown to help alleviate Parkinson’s symptoms.

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