Meet the Courageous Bespoke Bicycle Builder With Months to Live
In 2007, Ezra Caldwell launched Fast Boy Cycles to introduce the world to the most beautiful bespoke bicycles on the market. He pursued this craft in New York City, after leaving a 10 year career as a dance instructor. Caldwell learned learned how to work with his hands as a kid in his dad's studio and has applied these skills ever since to create custom bikes with incredible detail.
He does this with an eye on the local economy. "I believe in domestic manufacturing. I feel that this country loses a bit of its soul every time a factory closes and jobs are moved overseas," he writes on his website.
In 2008 Caldwell was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. That meant that under doctors orders he wasn't allowed to ride a bike—his very livelihood. Instead of giving in to this reality, he challenged it by building a seatless bicycle to ride to doctors appointments, and elsewhere. Around the same time Caldwell learned of his cancer, he began the touching, honest and uplifting blog teachingcancertocry.com, to document his journey as a builder and a cancer survivor through photographs and text.
On it he remembers what led him to create an "assless" bike. He remembers, "From the start of this thing, the notion of not being allowed to ride a bike has been the biggest problem for me. I’d like to stress that it isn’t a pride issue. It’s purely practical. Once you’ve gotten used to getting around the city on a bike, other methods just seem ponderous."
Caldwell's most recent entry is a tough one. He's just getting over having a broken arm, a torn ACL and a dislocated shoulder, all due to biking accidents. "We’re two weeks away from the beginning of June, which will be 6 months from the time that the docs suggested that I had 6-8 months to live. I guess it’s possible that whatever increased levels of pain and fatigue I’m feeling are purely due to the anxiety/depression of that reality," he writes.
Caldwell is courageous to let us into his world in this way. His openness made him the subject of a film by Made by Hand, which debuted last year. After watching how Caldwell lives life to the fullest while battling this disease, at the very least it will inspire others to do the same.
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Images via Ezra Caldwell