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Back in the saddle

Ten years ago, about the time he learned he was going blind, former bicycle racer Stan Moore sold the bicycle shop his father, Ralph Moore, had started in 1959.

Moore had worked at the bike shop since his high school days, and he continued to operate his family's swimming pool supply store located next door on Crater Lake Avenue, but Moore thought he was finished with the bicycle business.

Now, at age 60, he's back at it, saying he can feel and touch his way along any bike, tune it, replace spokes and diagnose and fix anything that’s wrong with a bicycle.

Moore's bright red shop at 722 Crater Lake Avenue houses both his bicycle business and Moore’s Pool and Spa, which has been at the present site for 35 years. His parents died in 2001 and 2013. Marty Hammond, who bought Moore's bike shop 10 years ago, expanded and moved Marty's Cycle down the street to 712 Crater Lake Ave. last year.

Moore’s blindness hasn't hindered him in the pool business, says Diane Paulson, his employment specialist with the Oregon Commission for the Blind. Using his sense of smell — and water testing done by his wife, Carina — he can pinpoint and remedy pool malfunctions. She also does the front office tasks.

“I love it. Most of the work is tuning and adjusting everything,” he says of fixing bikes. “We have first-class service, and I enjoy people a lot, and they are totally OK with me doing the work.

“As for being blind, it has disadvantages — like if I drop something and can’t find it, and I sometimes run into a few walls. So I’ve got to be really focused and not be thinking about something else. I’m constantly learning how to do it. I’ve also learned not to leave things on the floor, to never go barefoot and to make sure the kids (ages 12 and 14) don’t leave Legos around.”

Ten years ago, Moore was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that gradually “closed off” his vision. By 2013, his sight was essentially gone, says Carina.

Last year he decided to get back in the saddle, so to speak, bringing his old shop back to life with the help of Paulson and Carina.

“I feel fantastic about it. Stan has the ability to remember what everything looks like, in his mind,” Carina says. “We didn’t want him sitting there, listening to books on tape. He’s got a genuine heart, and this has really lifted his spirits.”

The shop focuses on BMX bikes. He sells some used, reconditioned bikes and handles consignments, and he plans to branch out to other types of bikes soon.

Moore was in his 20s when the BMX craze started. In 1977 he was a prime mover in developing the BMX course at Medford’s Bear Creek Park.

“The kids back then had nothing to do,” he says. “I started it and made the track and got the parents involved. When the new BMX track was built in 2000, I was part of that, too.”

Paulson’s job with the Commission for the Blind is to do marketing and promotion in the community and to encourage and advise Moore and others to move forward with successful work. Moore also has a hearing impairment that keeps him from riding buses and getting out on his own, although he is able to fly with the help of airline attendants.

“It is not stopping him from having goals, dreams and capabilities,” Paulson notes.

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.

Clarification: A previous version confused the owners of Moore's bike shop and Marty's Cycle.

Despite blindness, Stan Moore, left, still rides a tandem bike, here with Glen Gann on East Vilas Road. Mail Tribune / file photo
Stan Moore hasn't let blindness stop him from working in the job he loves, selling and repairing bicycles at his Medford shop. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell