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Friends pay respect to Sheldon Brown

Sheldon Brown (1944-2008)

Sheldon Brown (1944-2008)


Bike-tech wizard Sheldon Brown died of a heart attack on Sunday. He was 63.

The longtime webmaster and tech guru for Harris Cyclery in West Newton, Massachusetts, had suffered for some years with a mystery ailment that was finally diagnosed as primary progressive multiple sclerosis, which eventually took him off his two-wheelers and into the saddle of a recumbent trike. In typical fashion, Brown took the upbeat view of his illness, writing on one of his many websites that MS was “not so much a “tragedy” as a Really Major Inconvenience.”

Many a cyclist came to know Brown through his technical articles at the Harris Cyclery website (www.harriscyclery.com). He seemed to know at least something about absolutely everything, from servicing English three-speeds to wheel-building to modern single-speed conversions, and generously fielded questions via e-mail and on the Usenet newsgroup rec.bicycles.tech from experts and newbies alike.

After falling ill, he continued to write extensively — about bikes, trikes and the maintenance thereof, MS, films, books and the 2008 presidential campaign, during which his allegiance gradually shifted from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama, in part because his daughter, Tova, was working for him. She, along with son George and wife Harriet Fell, are among those who survive him.

A pair of Brown’s colleagues — VeloNews technical writer Lennard Zinn and Bicycle Retailer & Industry News tech editor Matt Wiebe — have written short pieces to mark his passing. You can read Zinn’s tribute here and Wiebe’s obituary here.

A memorial site with guestbook has been set up at sheldonbrown.blogspot.com