Who Is Yo Eddy!?

Lifelong Fat-fan Brendan Shafer shares his memories of Yo Eddy! which have shaped his mountain biking life from a very young age. You can follow him on Instagram @brendanoshafer.

The hollow eyes of the crude visage seemed to stare right past me – its serrated teeth and bandaged chin lending the impression that this dude was bad. And by bad, I mean good.

My brother and I had just received matching Yo Eddy! T-shirts, almost matching anyway. His was grey, mine: bright pink. It was the single gnarliest possession of my young life. I was sure that this figure represented the absolute most that a dude (or dudette) could strive to be: Mohawked, bruised, bones literally showing. This was a mountain biker.

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A smattering of FAT collectibles from my childhood

At the time I had no idea that this gritty drawing by a guy named Mike Papaconstantine would have such an influence on my idea of attitude.

The year was roughly 1990. I was five or six years old back then and my brother was a few years older. My dad owned a Yo and always referred to that bike as such – ‘the Yo!’. I still have vivid memories of gazin   g down at the top of bizarre segmented fork and seeing the face of Yo Eddy! gleaming effervescently, seemingly hovering above the ‘wild cherry’ paint scheme. I didn’t know much, and I still don’t, but that shit was badass.

I must have been pre-occupied with the character for quite some time thereafter. Kids of that age, who knows what they’re thinking?! Somehow, I got the idea to write the folks at Fat City trying to express my enthusiasm. I don’t recall what I specifically compiled in that first communiqué, but amazingly I received a response that I had long forgotten about until a few years ago when I uncovered the letter during a visit to my parent’s house. Apparently I wanted to know the answer to the big question: Who is Yo Eddy!?

I’m a firm believer that people need to experience self-discovery first hand. Could I tell you, word-for-word, what that letter specifically said? Of course I could… But that might ruin the child-like intrigue and excitement that you may feel if you’re still reading this crappy story. I will tell you this – the letter from Fat City was signed with one phrase: “Catch Big Air”.


Brendan-letter
The response letter sent to me from FCC in 1991

I remember watching my dad on the Yo Eddy! one day. He pulled a wheelie, looped out and crashed pretty hard. HA! That’s what Yo Eddy! was all about I thought. He eventually sold that bike and later bought a similar Yo Eddy! that had been built in the New York factory. I think he sold that before I graduated High School. My brother and my dad were carpenters together – still are. My brother’s gray Yo shirt gradually faded and became covered in wood glue, varnish, blood, and sawdust. I think it finally sprang a leak and disappeared. Sometime between then and now, I decided I wanted to be a bike racer. I had a Mohawk in high school inspired by Yo Eddy! A math teacher once joked in class that I had that haircut to piss off math teachers.

I’m almost 31 now and ironically just landed my first “real” job teaching math at a high school in the mountain bike capitol of the world, Durango Colorado. I coach our high school mountain bike team and work for Ron Andrews of ‘King Cage’ on the side. I still spend my free time collecting random Yo Eddy! crap. That’s why I was stoked when I heard rumors that Yo 2.0 was in the works. I’m saving for a new version of the classic frame but until then, you can find me on ebay, engaging in bidding wars for small collectibles. As I write this, I’m watching the timer run out on a patch that reads ‘FAT’ in classic sans-serif font. I plan to snipe the auction at the last second, hopefully for under fifteen bucks. My apologies if I outbid anyone who’s reading this.

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My dad on his Saratoga-built Yo, carting my sisters around central Vermont

Here in Durango, there’s one other Fat Cog living nearby. If you have to ask ‘what’s a Fat Cog’, your Internet chat room style vintage bike geekdom is seriously in question. Pretend you didn’t say anything. Anyway, my buddy (lets call him ‘ameybrook’ or @ridevintagemtb) and I still get together once a week or so to ride our Fats. If you’re ever passing through the mountain bike capitol of the world, post it on Fatcogs, we’d love to shred.

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2015: Wearing my FAT 2.0 t-shirt on the trail in Durango with fellow Fat Cogs

1 Response

  1. Cool post!

    Being a few years older then Brendan, I was already the alleged adult when I became the Fat City fan. I purchased my first Fat Chance in 1986 and still own that bike, along with a pile of old school Fat City stickers, catalogs, and shirts. Many miles and memories associated with that original Fat Chance, including the day I purchased it from Ridgewood Cycle, as in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Shop employee letting me test ride his personal Fat, before placing my order. Cool stuff indeed.

    In 1993, I scored a nice deal on a used 1991 Yo Eddy and rode that awesome bike for many years – by this point living in the Seattle area – and digging the east coast connection to my mountain bike roots. Many off road miles and a few races piled onto that Yo Eddy frame, through 1999 or so, when I semi-retired it. Thought I’d never sell it, but did so in 2014 to help fund a new mountain bike for my 16 year old son. A worthy cause and a chance to make another Fat fan enjoy the Yo Eddy dream.

    After years of thinking Fat Chance could be successfully reborn, was excited to see this happen with Chris Chance involved. At the moment, a new Yo Eddy not quite in my short term financial picture, though would love to score one eventually. I wish nothing but success for this launch of the new version of Fat City.

    I’ve babbled about Fat City over the years via my blog, coincidently named Yo Eddy. If interested, a piece on my ’86 Fat Chance:
    http://yoeddy.blogspot.com/2009/01/personal-rides-fat-chance.html

    And my ’91 Yo Eddy:
    http://yoeddy.blogspot.com/2009/08/personal-rides-fat-chance-team-yo-eddy.html

    A label search of “fat chance” on my blog will bring up various other Fat related ramblings and photos, if so inclined.

    Enjoyed this post and it sparked me to spell out some of my Fat stories,. Now with the new Fat Chance in full swing. more folks can add the existing stories – full circle indeed.