Remembering Our Friend Robin Williams
Trips for Kids is celebrating our friend, sponsor and former Trips for Kids Honorary Advisory Board Member, Robin Williams, by asking people to share their bicycle-related memories of this true icon. This year is the five-year anniversary of his passing.
Did you know that Robin was a bicycle fanatic? He especially loved road riding, and was often seen riding Marin County’s beautiful roads and trails (the area where our flagship Trips for Kids Marin chapter is located).
Robin’s career spanned four decades. Whether you remember him as the crazy alien 'Mork from Ork’ who tried leading The Fonz back to his home planet, or starring in a slew of unforgettable movies such as Good Morning Vietnam, The Dead Poet's Society, and Goodwill Hunting, or riding and goofing off at the Tour de France, it's hard not to know who Robin Williams is.
To Trips for Kids Founder Marilyn Price, well, he was just a nice guy named Robin who would stop by our ReCyclery to donate his personal bikes, parts and swag to Trips for Kids, or attend one of our fundraising events to lend his support. Marilyn shared, "I have nothing but great memories of the times I met Robin. The first time was in 1996 after an article had appeared on me in a bicycling magazine as a local hero. I was out on my bike advertising our Summer Bike swap and I always carried my swap fliers with me and passed them out to all bicyclists I would run into. I saw a group of bicyclists outside a coffee shop in Mill Valley (CA) and stopped to give each of them a flier. I did notice that one was Robin. When I handed them out he said 'I just saw you in a bicycling magazine'. I answered back 'You look pretty familiar too' and walked away. I couldn't believe I said what I did as I am not a clever person."
After that, Marilyn would find herself running into Robin at other local bike shops and biking events. "I met him several more times, once at a Sausalito bicycle shop and then at one of our swaps as he had joined us to check it out. He would stop by our shop a few times a year to drop off his bicycle donations and we would chat briefly. Sometimes I would ask him to autograph one of the items he donated. When in conversation with me he was not the comic we would just talk as you would talk to anyone." Robin also joined our Trips for Kids Honorary Advisory Board.
One of the many items Robin provided Trips for Kids during his time with us was his 2006 Bianchi San Jose single speed road bike which he donated to Trips for Kids Marin’s ReCyclery Bike Shop in the fall of 2012. In 2013, it was purchased via auction by the husband of Trips for Kids board member Pat Gallery at the Trips for Kids 25th Anniversary Gala. Pat and her husband generously decided to donate the coveted bike to our new national program this year, so that another Robin Williams fan could have the opportunity to own this bike while also helping to raise money for Trips for Kids.
Beginning, Thursday, April 18 through Sunday, April 28, this autographed piece from Robin's vast bicycle collection will be auctioned off on eBay to benefit Trips for Kids. This particular Bianchi bike provides fond memories for another Trips for Kids staff member. "I remember that day pretty vividly - when someone larger than life steps into a room, it makes a permanent imprint," shares Andy Phelps, Trip for Kids Support and Sponsorship Manager.
“Robin walked in to the Marin ReCyclery the day after his manager had already dropped off several 30-gallon bags of Robin’s clothes and shoes along with two of Robin’s bikes including the Bianchi San Jose bicycle. Robin had evidently found even more items to donate to the ReCyclery as he had another 30-gallon bag filled with more clothes.”
Andy continues, “I knew this was a great opportunity to have him sign his bike which I had already tucked away the previous day in a back container for safekeeping! Armed with a brand-new silver sharpie, I led Robin back to where his old bike was and asked him to sign it, anywhere he wanted to." Robin took this particular signature to a new level, choosing to include a hand-written joke only Robin would think to write on his bike along with his name. Due to its "R rated” nature, we can't share the joke here, but if you are a fan of Mr. Williams and this bike interests you, we encourage you to read the full bike auction description before you bid. It is most certainly a conversation piece.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of his passing. For many of his fans it is hard to believe he is no longer with us. “What I would say about Robin is that he was one of the nicest people around and would interact not like the star that he was but just person to person. Without a doubt I was affected by his death and so wish he were still with us today as do millions of other people all around the world,” reflects Marilyn.
Mr. Williams was many things to many people, a gifted quick-witted comedian; a brilliant award-winning actor; an avid bicyclist, environmentalist, humanitarian, father, husband, and for some just an all-around good guy. For all of us at Trips for Kids who had a chance to get to know him or follow him through his career, we just remember him for his enormous heart.
Robin’s character John Keating in Dead Poet’s Society said, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” Robin, your words, your ideas, your presence in our community changed our world and your passing left a hole that will never be filled. “O Captain! my Captain,” we salute you.
Please share your memory of or tribute to Robin in the comments section below (don’t be shy).
Help us spread the word by including #RememberingRobin in your comment or other social media posts.
Visit our eBay auction to learn more about Robin William’s 2006 Bianchi San Jose single speed road bike.