Posted by Editor on 03/6/09
Canada's three-time Olympic medallist Curt Harnett has provided some of his memories about Canadian bicycle manufacturer Joe Gardin, who passed away earlier this week (see Daily News earlier today):
I think "Soprano's" when I think of the first time I met Joe, as he sat behind his massive desk in his not so small office on Mavis Road. He was intimidating, he didn't pull any punches and I learned very quickly that he didn't suffer fools wisely. But he had a heart larger than the sun. The moment he decided to let you into his world, he threw you the keys - and yes, as Denise pointed out, that included ambling up and down the aisles of his warehouse with a shopping cart and no cashier waiting for you on your way out.
It seemed that no request was too big or too small. Bike needed to be built? No problem. You needed someone to pass water up to us at Springbank? No problem. You needed to borrow a car for a couple days/weeks/months? No problem, you chose the one you wanted from his stable at home.
And, although I outgrew the training rides around Acton with a man that had no business wearing Lycra, all full on espresso and homemade salami, I never outgrew Joe Gardin.
It was something special to stand next to Joe and Giorgio (Gardin Bicycles master frame builder) as we discussed adjustments, some subtle and some not quite so, to my new bike for the season. We quickly built a trust that remained with me throughout my career as we constantly pushed the limits as to what Columbus tubing could do and what it was meant for, to varying degrees of success and failure.
In 1996, we both retired from the competitive bike racing business, just as we had started it; with passion, creativity and a lust for feeling the wind blowing through our hair (one of us did have more hair than the other).
That's who Joe was and that's how Joe lived. I will miss him.
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