no one line


Thank You Mr Brown
February 3, 2010, 4:00 pm
Filed under: bikes, fixed gears, fun, no one line, the cycling world

Today is the second anniversary of the death of Sheldon Brown.

It seems strange that a bicycle mechanic from Boston would gain international attention to the point that “Sheldon Brown” would become a verb in internet lingo. Its meaning is simple: look it up on Sheldon Brown’s website, because he has the complete information and concise instructions.

What length bottom bracket spindle do I need? Sheldon Brown it. I want to build my first wheel – how? Sheldon Brown. How do I measure chainline or BCD? Sheldon Brown. Always.

His popularity grew in part because of his article Fixed Gear Bicycles For The Road, which was a portal into fixed-gear cycling for many novices. His article had it all: explanations of fixed gears from soup to nuts that managed to be both basic and thorough. No better portal to cycling could be found: the combination of a knowledgeable wrench with a flair for archival and arcane memory, skilled at clear communication; and the fixed gear bicycle, which in its simplicity and unique, unusual ride experience got countless people back into the saddle after long absences, reigniting passion for the bike the world over. Forget rants about hipsters. When I started riding one, I knew that riding a fixed gear was fun and unusual and it was the start of an ongoing love affair with cycling. The gateway to much more.

For that, I have Mr. Brown to thank.

I’ve always tried to approach death and grieving in combination with thanksgiving, and while Mr Brown died before we met (though after several email exchanges, during which he was friendly, open to persistent questions, and informative), I regretted never meeting him and appraising his eccentricity in person. But I’m thankful that when my curiousity was roused and I googled “fixed gear” lo these many years ago, his website was there to greet me and to provide both enthusiasm and a rich volume of information.

What an introduction to the cycling world.

Thank you, Sheldon Brown.

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1 Comment so far
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Sheldon Brown was a quirky guy with a great passion for his children, wife, and career/hobby.

As great of a job he did with his site, comparing that to the success (so far) of his children in their individual fields has led me to believe he was a greater man that most of us will ever know.

Comment by lalahsghost




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