Since I have been writing this blog, I have linked to many sites that I consider to be great resources for anyone interested in the mechanics of the bicycle. Nowhere on the web can you find better resources than the many bike pages created by Sheldon Brown. Though I have never met Mr. Brown, I first bookmarked his bicycle glossary and fixed gear pages about ten years ago. Ten years! That is a really long time in Internet years, and Sheldon has been providing great information about bikes on the web for just that long. I don’t think it is an understatement to say that he has been an inspiration to many people over the last ten years, many of whom, like me, only know of him from his website. When I first found his pages in the mid to late nineties, I remember thinking that I had really stumbled onto something great. Back then, this portrait of Sheldon at the top of the pages, with a bushy dark beard and an eagle mounted on top of his helmet, immediately caught my attention. Today, his hair is a bit grayer and the beard seems to be getting shorter, but the amount of great bike content on his site, especially that related to fixed gears and single speeds, has continued to grow.
I was saddened to read recently on Bike Friday Walter’s site that Sheldon can no longer ride a bike. Unfortunately, he has primary-progressive MS, a version of the disease that is rare and mostly untreatable (read more directly from Sheldon on his health journal). Walter points out that Sheldon can still ride his Greenspeed trike, but even that is a bit shaky. Toward the end of his post, Walter mentions the MS 150 bike tours that take place all over the United States. I think he is on to something; everyone who values Sheldon Brown’s significant contributions to the bicycle industry should consider raising money for MS though these organized rides. If you can handle doing the whole ride on a fixed gear, that’s even better.
Photo from sheldonbrown.org