Supporters and Listeners of Michael Starchild's fundraising efforts over the last couple of months, sorry for such the long delay in updates, but I bring sad news: Mike passed away at the young sprite age of 72 just 1 month ago on May 7 due to a long 1 month intensive battle against interstitial lung disease (aka pulmonary fibrosis). He spent the last 2 weeks of his life in the ICU at Sutter Davis Hospital fighting for his life, but this was one battle that he was not able to conquer. Mike was a Bike legend known around the world, but most recently known to the communities of Davis, Truckee, and Ashland. His passion for bicycling and his love for keeping the world on human pedal powered mobiles will never be forgotten. Thank you all immensely for your support for Mike during his fight for his life, but the universe turned the wheels in another direction than we were hoping for. He couldn't have made it as long as he did if it wasn't for you and your support.
Please Join us in a celebration of his life this coming Saturday, June 7th from 12-5PM at The Bike People Bike Shop, 423 L st, Suite D, Davis, CA 95616. Bring a dish or drink to share, bring your stories about biking whether you knew Mike or not, and if you play music then bring your instruments as there will be an open mic. If you are unable to come celebrate with us, then the next time you set out for a bicycle ride think of Mike who devoted his life to spreading the joy of seeing the world through the wheels of his pedal powered mobile.
If you would like to help in other ways, you are still welcome to donate to this fundraising page as any and all donations will go to The Bike People Bike Shop to keep it alive in honor of Mike and his legendary presence as the bike mechanic who lovingly served the community of Davis and beyond. Kim, his loving partner, and Will, his apprentice, will continue to keep the bike shop open as long as customers keep coming servicing their bikes using the skills and knowledge that Mike taught them both over the many years of his commitment to putting old and used bikes safely back on the road.
Thank you and keep riding in the spirit of the Starchild Legend!
Mike is still in the ICU and his journey may be coming down to an end if he can't continue to climb this giant mountain. At this point no one knows which direction it's going to turn and time will only tell. Please keep Mike in your prayers, your thoughts, your best interests, and think of him when you set out for the long ride. He has been a bike legend icon for so many people and his wish is that everyone else out there becomes that free spirit rider icon for all that look up to you. Ride safe friends and take a deep breath in honor of Million Mile Mike!
Mike's in the hospital again! He was having difficulty breathing last Friday, and running a high heart rate for 3 days. I took Mike to the ER where we waited for 5 hours for then to run lab tests and decide that he needed to be admitted to the hospital again. After just one night on the med-surg unit he was transferred on Saturday night to the ICU due to increase trouble breathing and concerns that he had pneumonia again. The docs are hoping that his worsening condition is due to the pneumonia, but cannot be totally clear that it's not a worsening of his interstitial lung disease. Concerns are that he was released too early last time before the infection was cleared and it's just been brewing on a low burner for the 2 weeks that he's been out. Or that his condition is worsening.
What Mike really needs is to get pulmonary testing from the pulmonologist (lung specialist) to find out the severity of his interstitial lung disease. But without health insurance the testing and visit with the pulmonologist is going to be expensive (over $500). Furthermore, there is a chance that Mike may need a lung transplant if his condition continues to get worse.
Whatever support you can give will continue to go directly to Mike's medical expenses as his situation is unique in that at this point he's not even eligible for Medi-Cal because his birth certificate was burned in a hospital fire in the 50s and no copies have been found as of yet. We are working to get him coverage as an undocumented citizen, but that is easier said than done. So until these matters can be resolved every visit has to be paid out of pocket. But thankfully there is charity available to help cover his hospital visits thanks to the many people who have donated funds to help people like Mike get back on his feet and home safe :-)
Please keep him in your thoughts, especially for you bicyclists, and we'll keep you updated as results come in. Thank you for you're continued support!
Your support is still needed for Mike to make his transition into a mentorship role from being the sole proprietor of his bike shop! Even the smallest amount can make a huge difference from everyone who wants to support a legendary bicyclist. Believe me when you hear some of his stories (soon I will post some) about his biking adventures around the world, you will be amazed!
Besides being a mentor now to young bike enthusiasts, he would like to write a book about his travels, stories, and adventures touring the world on his pedal powered mobile for all to enjoy, share, and experience. But without your support this will be a difficult task to undertake since he can no longer physically work in the bike shops to earn his living.
If everyone was able to donate just $25 (thats 5 lattes, or 1 restaurant outing, or 1/2 tank of gas, or 2 bottles of wine or a case of beer, or even that laundry money you found in your pockets after the wash) your small contribution could go such a long way. Mike lives a very simple life and really doesn't need much, but medical expenses far exceed his simplicity.
Please do consider supporting someone who has given so much to the world by living a life of simplicity and with an extremely low carbon foot print to help encourage other bicycling enthusiasts what they can really achieve!
Thank you so much to everyone who came out to the benefit and for everyone's support. The benefit was a great success and Mike was extremely thrilled to see so many warm faces and it brought tears of happiness to his eyes. Everyone's love and support lit up his heart! The amount of encouragement and love that everyone has given him has been just what he needs so that he can continue on his mission to mentor young bikers and focus more on sharing and teaching his knowledge and skills instead of doing all the work himself since he physically cannot work on bikes anymore due to his condition.
Mike is still going to need as much support as you are all willing and able to give so that he can continue to make this transition happen without excess strain and stress as his body is already stressed out enough having to be on full time oxygen for the time being.
Please do continue to share his story and mission with everyone you know that may be interested in supporting a bike legend and to help a life-long bike enthusiast continue to spread his wisdom and passion for keeping bicycles on the road and in good hands!
Don't forget about the benefit and bike auction tomorrow, Saturday from 12-5PM in Davis at the bike shop. There will be 10 really awesome bikes up for sale (some fully refurbished and some awesome and unique vintage bikes ready for your investment to have The Bike People refurbish) from road bikes to high end mountain bikes. Some of the brands of bike for sale include: vintage Schwinn, 1960 Vintage Huffy (not like the crapy new ones), hand-made from Windsor road bike, Ross stainless steal frame, handmade frame Vintage Schwinn road bike, Breezer and Mike's own custom made Gary Fisher that is worth $2,000 on the market, but will be auctioned off starting less than $1,000 (pics posted). A few specs on Mike's high end quality built bike: full suspension, Hayes cable actuated front disc brake, sugar 4, Rear brake is a deore LX v-brake with koolstop brake pads, Cane creek AD-5 rear shock, 26in wheels, 9 speed cassette, Deore hollow tech triple sprocket crank, shimano platform/SPD pedals. His bike is probably going to be one of the best hand built bikes you will find ANYWHERE as no manufactures build bikes like he does!
For those wondering how Mike contracted interstitial lung disease, the doctors believe that it is primarily from his many years of working with machinery and inhaling fine particulate matter (like dust, but from metals). Over time the fine particulate matter creates scarring in the lung tissue and causes there to be deterioration of the lungs, in particular of the fine alveoli (little air sacks that hold oxygen and allow for air exchange), which then causes airway constriction and breathing difficulties.
Mike's message out to all the bike mechanics, welders, grinders, or anyone out there who works with machinery is to wear a fine particulate matter mask and protect your lungs! It's not that working on bikes is harmful to your health, it's the stuff that you breathe in when rebuilding bikes that can be harmful and there are safe and effective ways to protect your lungs and still do what most bike mechanics love to do - rebuild!
Current update as of 4/10: Mike is out of the hospital - yay! But he is to stay on oxygen possibly for life or until his lungs show they have healed well enough to breath independently. He will still need lots of help as he is limited with his ability to get around since he cannot bike nor drive and can only walk short distances before he runs out of breath. But he's doing much better as of now.
Michael (Washington) Starchild, a bicycle mechanic and owner of The Bike People bike shop in Davis, CA is a true "old world" mechanic. At the age of 72 he had been car free since 1961 devoting his life to riding bicycles and had gracefully surpassed over one million miles on his two wheeled pedal powered mobiles. For over 50+ years Michael had worked in bike shops throughout many states and recently for the last 3 years serving the city of Davis.
Michael Starchild, passed away at the young sprite age of 72 just 1 month ago on May 7 due to a long 1 month intensive battle against interstitial lung disease (aka pulmonary fibrosis). He spent the last 2 weeks of his life in the ICU at Sutter Davis Hospital fighting for his life, but this was one battle that he was not able to conquer. He was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease just 1 month before he passed, primarily caused by decades of welding, metal grinding, and working hard endless hours in his bike shop doing what he does best and possibly due to touring the world in polluted environments that he had to pass through from car exhuast.
Mike just 2 days in the ICU before he passed away, SDH
Brief history of Mike: Three years ago, Michael's mission became to keep old rusted out bikes on the roads in Davis and not in the dumpsters. With a humble nature, Michael succeeded by approaching every old rusted out bike he could get his hands on as a new artistic project to turn the "old into new." He has refurbished each bike into a fully functioning, safe riding, and stylish bicycle for anyone to enjoy. The kind of bike work that Michael did is unlike most bike mechanics - he completely dissembles each old rusted bike, thoroughly cleans every part inside and out, and then rebuilds each bike from the ground up into something amazing. Michael has put thousands of once forgotten "dumpster" bikes back on the roads and has served the Davis community and beyond with continued support to maintain the historical pedal powered icon of Davis.
Join us in a celebration of his life this coming Saturday, June 7th from 12-5PM at The Bike People Bike Shop, 423 L st, Suite D, Davis, CA 95616. Bring a dish or drink to share, bring your stories about biking whether you knew Mike or not, and if you play music then bring your instruments as there will be an open mic. If you are unable to come celebrate with us, then the next time you set out for a bicycle ride think of Mike who devoted his life to spreading the joy of seeing the world through the wheels of his pedal powered mobile.