Mike Augspurger was born in 1956 in Fort Wayne Indiana. He began building, modifying, and racing, bicycles, mini bikes, go-karts, and motorcycles shortly after that. Finally preferring motorcycle trials, he specialized in that for 6 years. At 18 he attended motorcycle mechanics school. Next was a 3 year employment in the machine shop of a machine manufacturing plant.
In 78 he moved to Amherst MA to attend Hampshire College. Immediately after graduation, he started in a Pattern shop just north of boston. He worked there for 6 years minus a 9 month leave of absence that allowed some time to work at Fat City Cycles. There he built some of the first observed trials specific bicycles in the US.
In 85 Augspurger competed in the first bicycle trials Nationals in Reno NV, earning National number 3. He was also a bicycle trials event organizer. First were the 4 years of the Ross Race in Wendell MA, then 4 years at the Mt. Snow mountain bike race. All the while running the “First Sunday Trials” events in the Boston Area. It was at Fat City where he met Gary Helfrich who was experimenting with welding titanium. In 86 they left Fat City to start Merlin Metalworks, the first modern titanium bike frame brand. His exposure to wheelchair sports came here.
The grandfather of wheelchair racing, Bob Hall, was a close neighbor and they worked together on several projects. The first sketches of the One-Off handcycle came in 87. After 2 years at Merlin, Augspurger left there to start building custom titanium bike frames as One-Off Titanium Inc. In 97 he stopped building custom titanium frames and titanium frame repairs to start developing an off-road specific handcycle. In 98, one of the early prototypes, was ridden by a T-4, completely unassisted, to the top of Mt. Snow VT. This was the first of many first ascents up mountains all over the world including Mt. Kilamanjaro, Mt. Fuji, Mt. Elbert (highest in CO), Talcot Mountain in CT.
The 5 stages of an invention:
Stage 1. Describe your idea, and people think you are crazy.
Stage 2. Make a prototype, and people say..., "He/she just needs to get it out of her system."
Stage 3. "Maybe your idea has some merit, I might be able to help".
Stage 4. "That's obvious, I thought of that years ago".
Stage 5. "That's obvious, I thought of that years ago. Except I would have done it right".
Read the One-Off Titanium Timeline
and incredicble document archive
at the Museum of Mountain Bike Art & Technology
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