Monday, February 04, 2008

RIP: Sheldon Brown

Official notice of his passing.

Sheldon Brown was THE Internet bike tech guru for many years. He worked at Harris Cyclery, a family-owned shop in Boston, and it was one of the first shops with a Net presence.

Among other things Sheldon put together a fabulous listing of bike tech articles, which became a standard reference. We did a bit of correspondence over the years, and I got a small thrill when I found that he had linked to my website, mainly due to my page on the Raleigh Twenty folding bike, of which he was a fan.

Sheldon's health had been suffering over the past two years, and he'd been diagnosed with MS. It was heartbreaking to read how he could no longer ride a upright bike, and even with his stable Greenspeed trike he could not ride as far as he used to. He talked about his travails in his journal, and he was posting right up until the final day.

Rest in peace Sheldon. You were an inspiration to far more people than you may have been aware, and certainly to me. I started my website because of people like you - people that so freely gave their knowledge to others. You will be missed...

2 comments:

Lcf said...

Of course, Sheldon was probably one of the best bike mechanics in the world.
His knowledge about everything, ranging from old 1960 french bikes to modern disc brakes was simply incredible.
These obvious statements would have made him just a great talented man.
But he was more than that.
He shared his experience & knowledge on the Internet since 1995 (!).
He answered to all emails and was present on many technical forums.
He made the effort to write in french when coming to french newsgroups.
This guy was just amazing.
What I truly regret is not having be able to go the the USA and express him my deep consideration.
What I will probably do is picking up the front plate of my oldest bike (it was tailor-made for my beloved and missed grandfather, and Sheldon pages helped me a lot during the weeks I've worked on this bike to make it run again) and send him to the family together with the printout of the small condolence page I've set-up at http://www.livre-dor.net/livre.php?livredor=74227
I would like this plate is placed on his grave as perpetual aknowledgment from me for the help he gave us along the time.
And all this support was free... I live in France and ordered sometimes at Harris just to show my support, but if I did not buy, he would have answered anyway.
Symbols everywhere... today, I did not take the modern bike to commute.
I took the old one in a self-tribute to the Man, and this morning, I stopped seing a desperate old cyclist woman walking pushing her bike.
The rear wheel was just not tightened, and she was very happy I helped her.
It took me 30 seconds for me to show her how to do and fix it.
I wish Sheldon was looking me from above, because few years ago I would not have stopped. And he's for a great part of this passion.
You already miss.

Trikebum said...

Hi Mark,
Long time no see.
I too am saddened at the passing of that generous and sharing man.
Thanks to him and others like him on the net, I learned enough bike mech to be self sufficient on my long distance trike tours.
Barry Davidson
http://transportationcyclist.blogspot.com/