I was saddened today to learn of the death of Sheldon Brown; husband, father, musician, and quite probably the most accomplished bike geek ever to pedal the earth. He has suffered from multiple sclerosis since the fall of 2006, but apparently succumbed last night to an acute myocardial infarction.
Though I could not find evidence of them via Google’s archive (which only goes back to 1996), I recall reading Sheldon’s usenet posts as far back as 1990 or 1991. Though the signal-to-noise ratio of the rec.bicycles.* newsgroups varied over the years, his contributions never wavered from the clear, informative and amusing, particularly his April Fool’s Day posts. As long as I have been interested in the technical arcana of cycling, he has been a leading resource. He leaves behind a true encyclopedia of bicycles at www.sheldonbrown.com. I consider it the best general-purpose bike website in existence, and I’d venture to say that’s a widely held opinion among bike nerds. He did it out of his love for bicycles, and in that is a true role model for “giving back” to a community of like-minded folks.
Though he was a manager at the relatively local Harris Cyclery (and, I assume, the prime mover behind their considerable Internet business), I only had the pleasure of meeting him once. Like so many others, I know him primarily through his writing. But I’d like to think that he’d appreciate this quote from Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love:
Whatever God there be, please take care of this fine person. He always did his best.
Farewell, Captain Bike.