Rock The Bike

Sheldon Brown made me feel proud to be from Newton, Mass

I heard the sad news that Sheldon Brown, one of the Internet’s enthusiastic purveyors of cycling knowledge, has died. If you’ve ever tried to figure out the difference between 7-speed and 8-speed chain, V-brakes and cantilevers, chances are you ended up in encyclopedic pages of . And if you were a kid growing up in Newton, Mass, Brown’s bike shop, Harris Cyclery, is where you might have bought your first mountain bike. It’s certainly where my dad took me. As a teenager, I worked at a competing shop in neighboring Belmont; I don’t have strong memories of Brown.

Sheldon Brown’s internet sensibilities were ahead of his time. By placing such importance on quality information, he gradually built a loyal following of mechanics both professional and homespun. His site is also surprisingly easy to use.

To give you a sense of his character, here’s what Sheldon Brown, here’s what he had to say about the quirky plastic eagle zip-tied to his helmet in the above picture (shown on every page of this site):

My “Panache” is a plastic eagle which probably began life at the top of a small flag pole. It is a road find. It is held on to my old Bell Image by a plastic zip tie.

This is a marvelous conversation piece, and has broken the ice on a great many contacts with strangers. Someone on the ‘net once said he thought it was cool, but that he could never do something like that, ’cause he still cared what people thought of him. Well, I too care what people think of me! I hope people will think that I am:

  • Independent minded.
  • Original.
  • A person with a sense of humor.
  • Somebody who doesn’t take himself too seriously.

I believe that Igor conveys these attitudes as well as any clothing accessory could.