Pay tribute to the mighty Sheldon Brown

Sheldon BrownEarlier this evening I learned with great sadness that Sheldon Brown, the mighty, generous and wonderfully eccentric cyclist and repository of so much bicycle knowledge, has died. On behalf of everyone who helps to make The Bike Show, I extend our deepest sympathies to Sheldon’s family and friends.

Despite being a regular visitor to his encyclopedic website, I never had the pleasure of meeting the man, although he did twice appear on The Bike Show. Kieron Yates met and interviewed him for the show on the joys of fixed wheel touring and I made a rather primitive remix of Sheldon’s own homage to classic English three speed bicycles. Sheldon was usually quick on the uptake with new technologies and back in 2005 he made a few podcasts of his own.

In the fullness of time, The Bike Show will produce a proper tribute to Sheldon. If you want to your own memories and thoughts about the great man to be part of that show, then you can leave a video, audio or written tribute using the Comment link at the bottom of this post. It should work with any computer webcam/microphone and there is a preview available before you press ‘send’. Tell the listeners of The Bike Show what Sheldon meant to you and to your life on two wheels.

Image from John Prolly

18 thoughts on “Pay tribute to the mighty Sheldon Brown

  1. A sad loss to the bicycle world. His website became my bible for information on hub gears and I regularly used his online gear calculator.

    My condolences to his family.
    His website, hopefully, will live on for the benefit of future generations.

  2. Sheldon was one of a kind. British cyclists recognised him, the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC) awarded him a Certificate of Merit for contributions to cycling. The world of cycling is somehow smaller.

  3. I finally met Sheldon “Cap’n Bike” Brown some years after corresponding with him on the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition’s mailing list. Sheldon urged me to write more, and to get a fixed-gear bicycle. I’ve done a little of the former, but I now own two of the latter, one of which he built for me. And although starting to ride a fixie was a little daunting, that form has become my daily commuting bike, surviving Boston’s snowy, icy, wet winters better than any multi-speed bike ever could. Did Sheldon influence my life? Yes, he did. For me, every day is different — and better — than it was, for knowing him.

    — Tom Revay
    Dedham, Massachusetts

  4. Pingback: Thanks Sheldon.. « Comfortable, useful , interesting bikes

  5. I exchanged email with Sheldon about funny old bikes in the earlier days of the web, and when I set up – charming fellow and old bike advocate – hope youre cycling wherever you are now… a great loss and a gentleman – my condolences to his family

    Mike – Greenwich,UK – V-CC

  6. Pingback: RIP Sheldon Brown » Greg’s Soapbox / Therapy Couch

  7. I only knew Sheldon through his websites and a couple of brief email exchanges when I had questions.

    What he gave me was more understanding of bikes and their parts and more confidence in setting myself as a person who now uses bicycle as my primary transpo.

    He’ll live on through each of us who learned from him. Even though he has passed on, the resources he created will continue to teach and educate people who do not know even know his name today.

    People like him change the world a bit at a time and death won’t stop that.

  8. I cannot claim to
    know the man and my brief encounter was both fun and memorable. I even
    have a photo to document the event. Like most things I get involved with,
    this chance meeting comes with a story.

    I was walking around the bike show at Cirque 05 with Mike Schmidt. Walking
    down one of the aisles I noticed Sheldon had stopped to take a photo of my
    RIGI bike that was on display. I was kind of excited to see him taking a
    photo of my bike that I quickly took out my camera to take a photo of him
    taking a photo of my bike. Well I fumbled a bit and had lost the chance to
    get this photo or so I thought.

    Mike saw what I was trying to do and yelled over to Sheldon asking him to
    recreate that pose so I could get my photo. Well Sheldon did just that and
    added his own bit of humor at the same time. So you will see in this photo
    Sheldon Brown taking a photo of my RIGI bike (the green one second in
    line)with his tongue hanging out.

    I had the opportunity to introduce myself and have a brief conversation.
    He told me that he never saw one of these (RIGI bikes) in person and
    wanted a photo for his collection. So I got to see Sheldon merging two of
    his hobbies. Photography and bicycles and for a brief moment shared some
    of that world with him.

    RIP Sheldon


    Sheldon Brown

  9. Pingback: RIP Sheldon Brown at they made me do it

  10. With all the stuff he did, I was amazed that he had the time, and took the trouble to reply to an email from me. Best website I’ve ever used for learning bike maintenance on. Never to be forgotten, thanks Sheldon, wherever you now are.

  11. The first and only time I met Sheldon we didn’t even know at first that the other was bicycle obsessed. I met him, a fellow bass as you might imagine, at a Winter Sing in Central Mass. We sang together, side by side, for over an hour before a break took place. Of course it didn’t take long, once we started to chat, for the topic of bikes to come up.
    But I remember him singing…and what a sight and sound that was! God bless you Sheldon Brown, here’s hoping you are singing on a bicycle. (If that isn’t paradise then what is?)

  12. we might also remember another cycle enthusiast and evangelist for the two-wheel way of life, the great journalist, prodigious columnist, and creator of, among many characters, Miss Penny Farthing.
    I refer of course to Miles Kington

  13. Many of us have written Sheldon to clear up questions or read his website inside out to educate ourselves, find cycling facts or technical info. Through the years I’ve grown to appreciate, respect and rely on his particular spin on bike lore and truthful down home humor on the subject. My beginnings would not have continued on my bike if it were not for Sheldon’s answers to my novice and girlie questions. Thank you.
    May all cyclists pass on his wisdom to others new to the sport. Despite our blues his passion was bright like his favorite color red. Peace to you, your family and Igor.

  14. Thank you Bike Show for breaking the news in the kindest best way possible. I always enjoy reading Sheldon’s writing and website. Most recently, I was following the story of Sheldon’s battle with MS with concern. It was hard to hear about Sheldon having to forgo many of the cycling activities which he was accustomed to, but it was heartening to learn how he managed to accomodate the changes. It made me feel so sad to learn of Sheldon’s death – so unexpected, and a very personal loss to so many people who knew Sheldon.

    If anyone wishes to share their thoughts about Sheldon, you can visit a specially set up blog memorial.

    Thank you to the Bike Show for featuring Sheldon in earlier programs, and for sharing the very sad news of Sheldon’s death.

    It’s amazing. What a great guy! I think the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square should have a statue of Sheldon on his bike. Thanks for everything Sheldon!


  15. Sheldon Brown Memorial Ride, Sunday 6th April

    A ride through central London to commemorate legendary bike mechanic Sheldon Brown, who sadly passed away on February 3rd, 2008, will take place on Sunday 6th April.

    The ride has been organised by members of the London Fixed Gear and Single-Speed forum ( in memory of Sheldon, whose encyclopaedic knowledge of bicycles was admired and respected by cyclists world-wide.

    The ride will start at 1.30pm at Speakers Corner in the north-east corner of Hyde Park, and will be a slow-paced ride suitable for all (approximately 8 miles).

    Details available at-

    One Sheldon Brown’s obituary is here-

    Here’s a leaflet to distribute-

  16. I don’t recall how I got started on the whole English 3 speed thing. I remembered them from my youth of course (I’m 51). Anyway I finally picked up an old blue Robin Hood at the Salvation Army for $25.00 for my Chinese wife who said she wished she had a simple bike to poodle around the neighborhood on. I liked the bike so much I started looking for and English 3 speed for myself, and that’s when I found Sheldon’s site. I sent an email hardly expecting any response and whammo, a few days later the gentlemen replied. Had a great little exchange and long story short, I now have 2 Raliegh Sports, 1 “Monkey Wards” Hawthorne, 1 pretty blue & white Hercules and the first and still wife favorite, Robin Hood, replete with wicker basket, all classic English 3 speeds. I learned a lot and became of fan of Sheldon and the Harris shop, where I brought in my clunkers to be made ride-able again, hauling them up from Rhode Island. Sheldon’s kindness, sharing and knowledge brought back a lot of fun for my wife and I, who now peddle down the Blackstone Valley Bike Path here in Woonsocket, RI on our genuine gum walled Nottingham stock, listen to the river alongside and the lovely “tick, tick, tick” of the pawls in our hubs. My sincere and heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. I was just a passerby.

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