Sheldon Brown (bicycle mechanic)

Sheldon Brown (bicycle mechanic)

Infobox Person
name = Sheldon Brown

image_size =
caption = Sheldon Brown and "Igor" while icebiking
birth_name =
birth_date = birth date|1944|7|14
birth_place = Boston, Massachusetts
death_date = death date and age|2008|2|3|1944|7|14
death_place = Boston, Massachusetts
death_cause = Heart attack
resting_place =
resting_place_coordinates =
residence = Newtonville, Massachusetts
nationality = American
other_names = Christopher Joyce (nom de plume); Carapace Completed Umber (alter ego)
known_for =
education =
employer = Harris Cyclery
occupation = Bicycle mechanic, Webmaster, Writer, Photographer
home_town = Marblehead, Massachusetts
title =
salary =
networth =
height =
weight =
term =
predecessor =
successor =
party =
boards =
religion =
spouse = Harriet Fell
partner =
children = Tova and George
parents = George Matson Brown and Madalyn Joyce Brown
relatives =

website =
footnotes = [cite web |url= |title=Sheldon Brown's Home Page |accessdate=2008-02-04 |last=Brown |first=Sheldon |publisher=Sheldon Brown]

Sheldon Brown (July 14, 1944February 3, 2008) was an American bicycle mechanic and technical authority. [cite web
last = Kerber
first = Ross
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Homespun wisdom
work = The Boston Globe
publisher = NY Times Co.
date = 2008-02-08
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate =2008-02-08
] He maintained a website containing articles relating to bicycle mechanics and maintenance, as well as a [ glossary] of bicycling terminology. His trademark beard and plastic helmet-mounted eagle, [Citation
last = Brown
first = Sheldon
title = About My Helmet
access-date = 2007-05-24
] Igor, were matters of frequent comment.


Sheldon Brown was "parts manager, webmaster and general tech guru" of Harris Cyclery, a bike shop in West Newton, Massachusetts. He was an enthusiast for old and unlikely forms of bicycles and cycling including Raleigh and English three-speed bicycles, [cite web |url= |title=Servicing English Three Speeds |accessdate=2008-02-05 |last=Brown |first=Sheldon |publisher=Sheldon Brown] the Sturmey-Archer hub in general, tandems, and in particular fixed-gear cycles. He repaired cameras, and was an accomplished amateur photographer and his site is illustrated with his work.


Brown wrote a guide to wheelbuilding, available on his website. He also established the mirror sites of the technical work of Damon Rinard and others.

With Galen Evans and Osman Isvan, Brown developed a method to determine and compare bicycle gear ratios. His method, which for any combination of front chainring, rear cog, wheels size and crank length, results in a pure ratio that Brown terms the "gain ratio." This method purports to be the only formula that takes into account crank length in addition to chainring, cog and wheel size. [cite web |url= |title=Gain Ratios |accessdate=2008-02-08 |last=Brown |first=Sheldon |publisher=Sheldon Brown]

Brown was a frequent participant in online cycling forums such as the Usenet newsgroup and His April Fool's Day articles [cite web |url= |title=Bicycle Humor |accessdate=2008-02-05 |last=Brown |first=Sheldon |publisher=Sheldon Brown] were awaited by the online cycling community. On some groups, links to his site in response to technical questions were flagged with the abbreviation AASHTA (As Always, Sheldon Has The Answer).


In 2004, Brown was recognized for his contribution to cycling by the UK's Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC). Brown wrote the Mechanical Advantage column for "Adventure Cyclist". His site is referenced in the technical library of the CTC. [Citation
last = Juden
first = Chris
title = Cranks & Bottom Brackets Q&A
access-date = 2007-05-24

Illness and death

Brown developed a nerve deterioration over the last years of his life. After losing his ability to balance an upright bicycle, he continued pedaling by using a recumbent tricycle. [cite web |url= |title=The Bright Side of MS by Sheldon Brown |accessdate=2008-02-05 |last=Brown |first=Sheldon |publisher=Sheldon Brown] In August 2007, Brown was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Brown died on February 3, 2008 after a heart attack. [cite web |url= |title=Sheldon Brown: 1944 - 2008 |accessdate=2008-02-05] [cite news |first=Gary |last=Boulanger |title=Sheldon Brown: 1944 - 2008 |url= |work=BikeRadar |publisher=Future Publishing Limited |location=Bath, England |date=2008-02-04 |accessdate=2008-02-04] A gracious email was sent by his family on August 31,2008; "Just this past Sunday, we held a family ceremony to scatter Sheldon's ashes at sea. We miss him dearly and cherish all the letters and emails that people have sent. Though it has taken us a long time to reply, we do want to let you know that your memories and condolences are greatly appreciated. He lives on through his writings and all the people who appreciate so fondly.-- Harriet, Tova, and George.".


External links

* [ Sheldon Brown's Homepage]
* [ Harris Cyclery Homepage]
* [ Memorial page]
* [ Times (London, UK) obituary]

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