Monday, February 11, 2008

Sheldon Brown R.I.P.

When the internet started up it was full of kooks and geeks, many of whom were obsessive about something. Some of them also turned out to be great human beings who would end up helping endless strangers, sort of by mistake. They carved out a little bit of cyber-space for their interest and slowly, probably without any intention of ever doing so, became stars in their little but now globally expanded world. Sheldon Brown was one of those pioneers: compiler of endless info on gearing ratios, tyre sizes and the best ways to oil a chain was one of those people. He turned his love of cycling into a resource useful to and used by probably hundreds of thousands round the world - people like me who could never remember which way you are meant to be pulling to unscrew a pedal (it's not as easy as it sounds with opposite threads and all that!) or weren't really sure what was happening inside the bottom bracket but wouldn't admit defeat and take their bike to bike shop and pay for someone else to do it. I was even using his website just on Saturday whilst I put my new crankset on and moved the front mech on my commuter, so it was with real sadness that I just read that he had died last week. The Boston Globe has a nice obituary for him, as does Wired. My sympathies go to his family.

Thanks for all the help Sheldon, the atmosphere is a little bit cleaner because of it.

1 comment:

Elaine said...

Wow...he and I built up my bike before I headed for Helsinki. He was a really terrific guy. How odd that I get this news from you rather than in the local paper. :)