On Saturday, March 23rd, Marin Museum of Bicycling raised over $5000 to help support fallen comrade Charlie Cunningham. In 2015 Cunningham crashed his bicycle and remains in treatment for severe complications suffered during his recovery.
The evening got going with a silent auction of items donated by Charlie’s cohorts, creators of the sport of mountain biking. Live auctions were preceded by the closing of the week-long eBay auction of a specially built Cunningham Homage Bike, which the 14 attending Mountain Bike Hall of Fame members dutifully signed. The winning bid was $5500, by Victor Brito of Fairfax.
The Cunningham Relief Fund was the brainchild of the Good Guys, a worldwide vintage-bike group founded by bike collector Lars Weber of Switzerland. Lars instilled among his Good Guys a culture of giving. Members trade among themselves, helping those in need.
The highlight of the evening was the surprise showing of a 1994 film interview of Cunningham in his Fairfax machine shop and home. The audience was spellbound by Eloise Christensen’s 20-minute window into Charlie’s life at the height of his game. Nary a dry eye in the silenced crowd. It was in fact the first screening ever. Stunning.
Since the 1970s, Charlie Cunningham has contributed immensely to mountain biking. In 1979 he produced the first aluminum mountain bike, prototype for hundreds he would build in Fairfax. Cunningham’s “CC Proto” includes many firsts in the sport, and is in the Museum’s permanent display. In 1982 Cunningham, along with Steve Potts and Mark Slate, co-founded Wilderness Trail Bikes (WTB), an industry leader of great fame.
Auction items from mountain bike luminaries: Yeti founder John Parker’s welding lid brought in $1000. Martha Kennedy’s “Salsa” velvet painting, donated by Salsa founder Ross Shafer, fetched $500. Ibis (Scot Nicol), Mountain Goat (Jeff Lindsay) and Dirt Rag (Maurice Tierney) items, along with Charlie Kelly’s signed “Fat Tire Flyer” book and Wende Cragg’s 1980 Cunningham riding print, brought in more for the cause.
The Marin Museum of Bicycling is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) educational non-profit organization in Fairfax, California. The museum is a comprehensive bicycle museum and cultural center. Open since 2015, the museum is also home to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. For regular hours, admission fees and membership information, please click here to visit the website.
Intro photo by Sierra Salin