The following article was written by Stephanie Earls for the Colorado Springs Gazette. It talks about Jason Carr and his father Dean. Jason and his wife Tina own The Antique Gallery of Colorado Springs. The Mall just celebrated its 25th anniversary. Congratulations!
If you were a kid in a certain neighborhood in Minneapolis about 17 years ago, and you had an old, ratty, snagglespoke bike so broke no repair guy wanted to touch it, Dean Carr was the bike man for you.
Carr loved bikes, especially the ones that needed it the most.
“Dean loved working on the old, tattered bikes that most of us in the shop would run away from,” wrote Kevin Ishaug, owner of Freewheel Bike in Minneapolis, in a memorial blog post after Carr’s death in 2005. “He was a throwback to a time when things were simple, bikes had wheels with spokes, they were steel and if you were lucky, it had a few gears.”
Carr’s son Jason grew up in Colorado, 1,000 miles away from his father. What Jason knew of his biological dad back in Minnesota came from stories his mom told about how Dean was a master folk guitarist who was friends with famous artists like Leo Kottke and Bonnie Raitt. Jason had no natural musical ability and wondered what other gifts or inclinations he might have inherited from his dad. Father and son didn’t meet until Jason was in his mid-30s. “We didn’t look alike at all. My dad had lots of dark curly hair and I didn’t get that,” said Jason, now 48. “We were alike, but just on the inside. We’re definitely seriously mechanically inclined tinkerers.”
The elder Carr’s abiding passion, as Jason discovered was — handlebars down — bicycles. “My father lived in a big apartment building and he had a spare apartment in the basement that was filled with bicycle frames and parts and tools that he used to build into bikes for neighborhood people,” said Jason. “He rode nearly every day for fun and transportation in Minneapolis, where I imagine many of those rides were quite cold and slippery.”
As it turned out, Jason only had time for a few, too-brief visits with his dad. “I regret only one thing in my life and it is not getting to Minnesota and spending lots of time with this man who was absolutely wonderful,” he said. “But I learned a lot about him at his funeral and during subsequent trips to meet his wonderful friends in Minneapolis.”
The father-son journey of discovery continues in the Springs, as well, on two skinny tires.
“I have begun riding in the past few years because I inherited a couple of great bicycles from my father,” said Jason, whose stepfather taught him to ride a bike.
One of those bikes — a Trek 660, his dad’s “daily rider” — is now Jason’s daily rider. “It’s scratched up and rode hard, but he fixed it up with all the nicest parts and it’s a super nice bicycle,” said Jason, ticking off a list of highlights his father added on: Brooks leather saddle, Cinelli handlebars, Capagnolo Super Record cranks, Modolo brakes, Arrow wheels and a vintage Vetta trip computer.
“Real bicycle guys look at it in awe at all the cool stuff on it, but when I first brought it back I had no idea how cool it was,” said Jason, “Little by little people and Internet research revealed all the great things that he did to the bike. It seemed only natural that he would ride a junky looking bike that was actually a very great performer. That’s my style as well with many things.”
Jason also inherited a top-of-the-line Raleigh Professional that his dad bought new in the mid-1970s and only rode a few times.
For years Jason kept it on display atop a tall shelf at his Wasatch Avenue store. It was for sale but priced about $1000 over estimated value.
“That’s my ‘I don’t want to sell it price,’” he said.
A few years ago, he affixed a new tag. It reads “Not for Sale.”