Sheldon Brown (1944-2008) inspired a generation of bicycle lovers.
Cycling lost one of its greatest heroes when Sheldon Brown died on February 3rd, 2008. In cycling communities around the world Sheldon was famous for his knowledge and his warm sense of humor. He seemed to know everything about bicycles, and he freely shared his vast knowledge with everyone.
Sheldon remained active until the end of his life. Very shortly before he died of a heart attack, his last message on an Internet bicycle forum was an answer to a technical question. As usual, he gave good advice with authority and encouragement. I think he made cycling more enjoyable for many riders and mechanics. He certainly inspired me to enjoy riding at my own pace and to take good care of all of my family’s bicycles.
I think Sheldon inspired many of us in other ways, too. He wrote with authority and confidence, but there was always something joyful about his Web pages and his comments on Internet forums. His positive regard for people set the tone of many discussions. As far as I know, Sheldon never once expressed hostility in his writing. This gentle and sometimes funny bicycle guru became a legend long before his death as his wise advice promoted the wholesome pleasures of cycling. He will be missed.
I suppose few people outside of the cycling world have ever heard of Sheldon Brown, but he inspired me along with a whole generation of bicycle lovers. May he rest in peace.