Archive for the ‘John Crandall’ Category

Going nowhere fast

October 19, 2019

The leaves are changing faster than what remains of Il Douche’s mind.

Ever been stuck in the mud, or the snow?

You get out of your rig to evaluate the situation, consider your options, and compute the probabilities. Eventually you arrive at a conclusion.

“Well, shit.”

Everyone else is motoring gaily along and yet here you are, mired to the hubs in a mess of your own making.

“Well, hell.”

And, no, I’m not talking about our national political quagmire, though, yeah, that too.

“Well, fuck.”

This was simply a matter of me taking my eye off the seasonal ball for a second, and suddenly, boom, here it is, half past October and I haven’t ventured beyond the city limits more than a couple of times all year.

Thus there was something of a piling on, envy-wise, this week.

Old Town Bike Shop’s John Crandall and his wife, Kathy, rolled through town on a short motor tour of the Southwest. The neighbors headed north for a weekend in Taos. And Herself, a confirmed non-camper, sallied forth with a friend to overnight with the Sierra Club at Chaco Culture National Historical Park before Il Douche’s pals decide to strip-mine, drill, or otherwise frack the place all to hell and gone.

“Well, goddamnit all anyway.”

This last was particularly irksome. The Chaco junket had come up in casual conversation some time back, but I have the memory of a Mac 128K and some data gets overwritten in fairly short order.

Suddenly the trip got scrawled on the calendar in the kitchen and I found myself pressed into service as quartermaster officer, furiously inspecting, rejecting, and selecting neglected bits of this, that and the other. Camp stoves and cookware; sleeping pads and bags; and various creature comforts of our modern age (the BioLite PowerLight is a charming little torch/lantern/charger combo, particularly so when paired with SiteLights.)

All for a trip that I was not taking.

You know how your dog looks at you when you’re loading up for a car trip? Imagine my expression as we muscled all this gear into the companion’s Honda CR-V. Things they thought they needed and things I thought they needed — including two bicycles, because of course they were taking bicycles too and there was no bike carrier on this auto.

Like Rufo’s little black box in Heinlein’s “Glory Road,” the thing had to be bigger on the inside than the outside. I should’ve taken a picture. Sardines in a can have more elbow room.

The spartan Camp Dog, featuring the North Face Expedition-25, at McDowell Mountain Regional Park, circa 2016.

I was not consulted as regards the tent, and when I caught a glimpse of the companion’s eight-person (!) tent in its sack, I knew immediately what Private Pyle’s body bag must have looked like. Especially if they stuffed Gunny Hartmann in there with him.

There was no time to dig out the old North Face Expedition-25 and provide instruction on setup and takedown, so I kept my lips zipped. But I’ll bet that cavernous sonofabitch got cold last night.

Me, I was toasty in the old king-size with a couple of unauthorized cats. Today is shaping up to be sunny and warm, and I have a new review bike to ride, a Cannondale Topstone 105.

But I’ll be riding it on the same old roads, and you what they say about familiarity.


Speaking of downs

September 4, 2009

The guy who sold me the bike pictured below, John Crandall, has had a setback in his recovery from a bicycle-auto collision. Wife Kathy reports that he took a digger in the bathroom and dinged up his left knee. He’s had surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon and will be sporting a cast for two months.

That’s the bad news. The worse news is, that’s the same leg with the broken femur, so John’s rehab obviously will be extended. It must be maddening — he was making good progress, out of the wheelchair and using crutches occasionally, and spending a couple days at the shop each week.

Kathy says John’s not quite ready for visitors, if you’re so inclined. Meantime, think good thoughts in their direction.

The view from the seventh floor

June 10, 2009
It's only a flesh wound. . . .

It's only a flesh wound. . . .

I popped round today to see “Crash” Crandall and his wife, Kathy, and am delighted to report that the Old Town Bike Shop honch’ seems very much like his old self, albeit with a few broken bones, some hardware installs and plenty of sutures, all overlaid with a thin veneer of hillbilly heroin, a.k.a. Oxycontin.

John is doing three hours of physical and occupational therapy a day in the Memorial Hospital rehab unit, entertaining more visitors than the shot-up Don Vito Corleone, and contemplating the complexities of chaos theory. (Dude is not your average shop owner. But then if you are acquainted with John, you already knew that.)

I laid a few silly gifts on him: an XL Mad Dog jersey to replace the one the medicos cut off him, quipping that by the time he gets back on the bike he’ll need an XL like the rest of us fat bastards (yeah, right; I rock a XXL and a fat John Crandall is gonna be something like an M); one of my old bike-racing medals (doctored to read “Sticking the Dismount”); and an itty-bitty toy bicycle given to me at Interbike one year by (I think) the infamous alien lobbyist and apologist Gregg Bagni.

When the medicos send John home — perhaps in a week, says Kathy — it will be to a house augmented by a wheelchair ramp, as broken femurs take a while to heal, and the busted shoulder and wrist make crutches unlikely for a spell. But I doubt he’ll need the ramp, chair or crutches for long. John’s a tough ol’ bird, and I’m certain he won’t stay grounded.

Sys-tem failures

June 9, 2009
Now there's a Mavic wheel for ya: Open Pro rims, stainless-steel DT spokes and Dura-Ace Hubs. And the only thing cracked, broken or bent is the sumbitch ridin' it.

Now there's a Mavic wheel for ya: Open Pro rims, stainless-steel DT spokes and Dura-Ace hubs. And the only thing cracked, broken or bent is the sumbitch ridin' it.

I don’t want to turn this site into a poor imitation of the DrunkCyclist “Biker down” series, but you really should check out this article by VeloNews editor in chief Ben Delaney — especially if you’re riding a Mavic R-Sys wheelset (even a post-recall version). He had a post-recall front wheel explode underneath him during a race and took a header, breaking his shoulder.

Ben and I have always ridden Mavic wheels, and will continue to do so — but only steel-spoked models. For years the wheel of choice around here was the Excel Sports Cirrus, a pair of 32-hole Open Pros laced to Dura-Ace hubs with DT spokes. That wheel has been replaced by the Nimbus, which uses Ultegra hubs, but I’m still riding my old Cirrus wheelsets on two ‘cross bikes. Nary a broken spoke in many a bumpy mile.

I also like the Neuvation wheels — I have a pair of R28 SL3s on my road bike, and they’ve been rock-solid (plus the prices are killer, especially right now).

• John Crandall update: Kathy Crandall reports that John had a good day yesterday — pain under control with medication and “lots of physical therapy,” including a device similar to a recumbent bicycle. “In occupational therapy he got to take a shower … first one in 11 days,” she adds. I’ll bet that felt good.

• One less psycho on the roads: And finally, the driver who killed two Colorado Cyclist employees is in the hoosegow for three years. Barbara Thomas was stoned on prescription morphine and barbituates and driving without her glasses when she swerved her 1986 F-350 into a pack of cyclists at 26th Street and Westend Avenue, killing Jayson Kilroy, 28, and Edgar “E.J.” Juarez, 30.

Police reportedly said Thomas had been shoplifting at the Safeway on West Colorado Avenue and clipped a man’s car in the parking lot before driving off toward the fatal collision. She also had quite the rap sheet — an outstanding summons for a hit-and-run two months previous, four shoplifting convictions, a citation for drinking in a vehicle and minor traffic infractions, according to the Bibleburg Gaslight.

That a 64-year-old woman who takes 18 daily meds to control pulmonary disease and arthritis is rolled away to the slammer in a wheelchair, clutching an oxygen tank, is not a moment for glee. But I can’t conceive of any suitable alternative. Unless it would be jailing the family members who let her careen around town, full of drugs, in a one-ton truck.

• Plenty more where she came from: You think that’s bad? Take a squint at this. There are 53,201 people who have three or more drunken-driving offenses in Colorado? Jesus H. Christ. I may never ride the roads again.

John’s new ride

June 5, 2009

As expected, John Crandall didn’t remain immobile for long — wife Kathy reports that the old throttle jockey is rockin’ a motorized wheelchair. “As you can imagine, he’s aced it already!” she writes.

John is also enjoying plenty of physical and occupational therapy. Psychotherapy would seem like another must-have item, given his years in the bicycle business, but electroshock at this stage would probably be a bad idea. Just think of John rocketing around the sick bay, sparks shooting from his fingertips as he wheels the chair this way and that.

Kathy also tipped us to John’s room and phone numbers at Memorial (7652A and 365-2741, respectively). The rules are no visitors until after 5 pm. on weekdays so John can undergo therapy and catch some rest between sessions (weekends will be more flexible). I may try to pop by tomorrow and snap a pic for those of you from out of town.

In the meantime, I’ve spoken with John by phone and he sounds like — well, like John. He knows what he’s up against — “It’s going to be a really long rehab,” he concedes — but he’s already gotten a good, if painful, start on the long road home.

Happily, John has a great staff to keep an eye on the bottom line at Old Town Bike Shop while he gets himself back in the game. If you’re planning to spend any money on velo-toys in the near future, I recommend you spend at least some of your stimulus package there. You’ll be glad you did, and so will John.

John Crandall update

June 4, 2009

Kathy Crandall advises that John has been shifted to a new room in rehab at Memorial Hospital. She’ll provide room and phone numbers later today for would-be visitors.

One caveat: No visits until after 5 p.m. on weekdays so John can do his therapy and get some rest. Weekends will be more flexible.

“He’s already, as you can imagine, very involved in his physical therapy,” says Kathy. “He’s even helping his therapist to adapt the equipment! Thank you all for caring so much.”

The first step on a long journey

June 2, 2009

Kathy advises that John Crandall is being transferred to a rehab unit today. Boy, the medicos sure don’t let you lounge around in the sack anymore, do they? You could be a disembodied head in a glass jar after a sneak attack by killer robots and they’d sic’ the physical therapists on you after 24 hours of bed rest. “Come on, pal, up and at ’em, you’ll never get any better just floating around in that jar. OK, deep breath — now drop and give me twenty.”

John Crandall update

June 1, 2009

Kathy Crandall writes thusly:

Shoulder surgery went well.
They were able to plate it … as opposed to the alternative (shoulder replacement)
I’m still thinking Thursday or Friday (before John’s ready for visitors), but if it’s sooner, I’ll post.
I’ll check out the old fart tomorrow.

Good news. I’ve always said I’d rather get screwed than replaced. Here’s hoping John feels likewise.

Happy Bike Month

June 1, 2009
Two wheels good, four wheels bad. But internal combustion still helps.

Two wheels good, four wheels bad. But internal combustion still helps.

Bike Month finally comes to Colorado in June (we’re a little slow). Naturally, the weather has gone to hell, with showers and thunderstorms in the forecast all week long. Bugger. I’ll bet it won’t slow down the guy we saw cycling through the Garden of the Gods yesterday, the dude with two prosthetic legs. Somehow I doubt a little precip’ will turn him into a weepy little girl.

I’m another story, of course. A sensitive artiste. Dribble a little water on me outside of cyclo-cross season and I melt away like the Wicked Witch of the West; what a world, what a world. Nevertheless, I plan to reprise my usual Bike Month vow, which is to leave the Forester parked as much as is possible for a lazy fat bastard.

That should be a little easier this year as I have expanded the collection of “bicycles” in the Mad Dog fleet. In addition to the usual Bike Month workhorse, a Soma Double Cross with rack, panniers and fenders, there’s the Vespa LX50 — which under Colorado law is classified as a “motorized bicycle.” So I’ll ride the scooter whenever I’m feeling a tad fragile or don’t want to turn up someplace all sweaty and fragrant.

While we’re on the topic of healthy pursuits, my man Hal Walter over at Hardscrabble Times advises that Phil Maffetone’s latest iteration of his popular book “In Fitness and in Health” is now available from Hal edited this fifth edition, along with a couple of others, and he and Phil are collaborating on a new blog with news about the book, health and fitness tips, recipes and other goodies. Swing on past and take a gander.

And finally, Kathy Crandall advises that Old Town Bike Shop’s John Crandall, injured in a bike-car crash, undergoes shoulder surgery today and may be ready for visitors by Thursday or Friday. Think good thoughts and stay tuned.

Na zdarov’e!

May 31, 2009

A toast to Denis Menchov and Rabobank mechanic Vincent Hendriks, who between them managed to save the big Russian’s maglia rosa after he crashed short of the line in today’s rain-lashed final stage of the centenary Giro d’Italia.

I was casually rooting for LPR’s Danilo Di Luca, based on his balls-to-the-wall attacking style, but nobody can say Menchov didn’t have the final win coming. He had the legs and the brains, and that pretty much seals the deal unless someone else is better equipped in both departments. Nobody was in this Giro, not even the relentless Di Luca.

Elsewhere, you’ve been expressing lots of good thoughts in comments about my friend and neighbor John Crandall. Between work, cooking and visitors, I haven’t been able to pay him the attention he deserves, so thanks for filling in for me.

I’ve been buying bikes, parts and service from John and the Old Town Bike Shop crew since I moved back to Colorado from Oregon in 1983 or thereabouts, and I’ve never gotten anything less than stellar treatment. And it’s not because I’m that Patrick O’Grady, either — John and the gang go the extra kilometer for all their customers, not just the ones who happen to work for bike magazines. And John has more on his mind than simply putting folks on top-shelf two-wheelers, as this story from the Bibleburg Gaslight shows.

I obviously haven’t been to visit John yet, and I understand another surgery is planned for tomorrow, so it may be a while before I have a chance to pay my respects in person. I’m sure his wife, Kathy, will chime in from time to time — Kathy, if this suits you as a forum, by all means put it to whatever use you deem proper — and between the two of us, we’ll keep you posted.