Thursday, February 07, 2008

Goodbye Sheldon

The world is a poorer place for the passing of Sheldon Brown this week, from a heart attack at age 63. Widely considered the cycling world's foremost mechanical guru, he maintained a sprawling and encyclopedic website on all things bike that is far and away the best such resource on the internet. If you don't know the site, do yourself a favour and check it out. It's the sort of place that makes for hours of pleasurable diversion.

Despite his enyclopedic knowledge Sheldon Brown was not a know-it-all, in contrast to so many who infect the byways of the internet. His writings were infused with his love of cycling, a self-deprecating sense of humour and more than a touch of happy eccentricity. But if you wanted to know whether a 27 inch tyre would fit a 700c wheel, or the gear ratios of an old Sturmey Archer hub or any of the other arcania of cycling, the answer was likely to be on Sheldon's website. And if it wasn't - a post on any of a number of bicycle forums often brought an insightful reply from the man himself.

He said Igor, the eagle on his helment, symbolised how he viewed himself and how he wanted the world to view him: independent minded, original, a person with a sense of humor and somebody who doesn't take himself too seriously.

Sheldon Brown was all that and more. He will be missed.

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