the end of an era
I know I'm late in posting about this - but Sheldon Brown has passed on.
Sheldon's writings were an integral part in my return to cycling. When I bought the '62 Dawes at the Anderson Jockey Lot and got it home back in '97, I had no clue what I really had. I went online and boom, there was the Harris Cyclery site with gobs of information about vintage British lightweights and Sturmey-Archer gearhubs.
I browsed around the site for a while, and got suckered in by Sheldon's fixed-gear information ... and never really looked back. Within weeks I had purchased a battered old Raleigh Lenton frameset from Jim Cunningham at CyclArt, and soon thereafter built up my first fixed-gear. The crucial bit was an 18T SunTour 3/32-in cog I ordered from Sheldon himself.
Who knows how many times since then that process was repeated? A ramble through the fixedgeargallery site would probably unearth hundreds of incantations of Sheldon Brown's name - which doesn't even get into the numberless legions of single-speeders and gearhub folks and even derailleur-equipped cyclists who, either directly or through his writings, he helped along the way.
Ainsley and I pondered it the other night and concluded that he probably put more people on fixed-gears than has been seen since the late 19th Century. With time, I think he may become one of the all-time most influential cycling writers ever, period.
Tomorrow, as I do every day, I'll ride to work. The bike will be fixed, of course. And my original 18T SunTour cog from Sheldon will be waiting on the off side in case I need a lower gear.
Here's hoping his writings, like those of the late Ken Kifer, will be maintained on the internet for many years to come, and that future cyclists will come to enjoy his work as much as those of us who already know it, and mourn his loss.