Each new frame by Tony Pereira is greatly anticipated by lovers of fine bicycles, and this noble 29er was no exception. It wowed the judges at the 2012 NAHBS, enough for them to slap one of their coveted awards on it — for Best Mountain Bike. It caused a sensation on the internet a week ago when Tony uploaded photos of it, but there’s s special story behind it that wasn’t told: it’s a tribute to Tony’s very good friend, Jeff Bates, who was taken well before his time by skin cancer.
Tony was kind enough to share an insight into his and Jeff’s friendship with us: “All framebuilders have stories about the first bikes they built. The very first one is almost always built for the builder, the second one for the builder’s best riding buddy. For me, that was person was Jeff Bates.”
“I met Jeff while working at the Wild Rose bike shop in Salt Lake City, Utah, back in the 90s. We mountain biked together every chance we got. If you asked Jeff to go for a ride the answer was always “heck yeah!” Jeff was super fit and could always make us suffer on the climbs, and he absolutely ripped on the descents.”
“He could wheelie and stoppie, back it in to the corners and dust you every time. He loved riding the best of the best, and every bike he ever owned was just that. Jeff and I became close friends. I met my wife, a friend of Jeff’s wife, at a party they held about 10 years ago. I watched him become an amazing father 8 years ago, when his son was born.”
“In 2006, Jeff was diagnosed with skin cancer. He fought hard and beat it into remission, but late in 2010 the cancer came back with a vengeance. Friends rallied to show support; we put together a fundraiser to help ease the financial pain of medical treatments, so Jeff could focus on the fight.”
“Jeff was able to attend the fundraiser last April. He was blown away by the outpouring of support from friends and the cycling community he loved so much. With the help of some generous people in the bike industry, I was able to donate a complete custom 29er singlespeed mountain bike to the cause, which was raffled off through a drawing. I chose a singlespeed 29er because it was the kind of bike Jeff loved to ride the most.”
“The bike you see here was built for the winner of the drawing. It is exactly the kind of bike Jeff would have loved, and is the latest evolution of the first bike I built for him. I call it the Jeff Bates Racer. To top it off the bike won a “Best Mountain Bicycle” award at NAHBS in 2012.”
“On August 27, 2011, Jeff beat his riding buddies to the finish line of life. His spirit lives on in every bike I will ever build.
Thank you, Jeff.”
Tony wishes to thank our industry friends who so generously donated to this project:
…And we’d like to thank Tony for sharing Jeff’s story with us. Maybe ‘Rest In Peace’ is a little out of place here. Jeff, keep shredding. May the single trail upon which you ride extend forever forwards, and be full of well-cambered twists and turns.