I need to take a minute here.
Sheldon Brown died yesterday evening.
I found his website when I got my first real adult bike, in the summer of '06. His info got me started on bikes, and so much has been an extension of those hours spent in the basement of my sister's townhouse--studying that beat-up old Peugeot, then Sheldon's site, then the Peugeot again.
Sheldon's blog, updated yesterday. And his inspiringly upbeat take on MS.
It was always a little odd to communicate with him by email. He had his own way of getting a point across, which was always direct.
Now I can see that I was a little nervous whenever I wrote him--I was simply starstruck.
Sheldon was an example of the kind of man I hope to be one day. He loved his family dearly, as his website shows. He was a thinker, an intellectual even, but he also had a knack for practical and the mechanical. That combination has become rare these days, and there is a generation of folks like me that are lucky to have had Sheldon around to share with us.
To my mind, no one individual could claim more responsibility for the popularity of fixed gear bikes. Sheldon preached the fixie sermon. Enough bike geeks tried it, and liked it, that a couple of the cool kids caught on. Now young folks in skinny jeans crisscross this town and every other. Some of us are going to grow up and become the next generation of bike consumers, and it will be interesting to see how Sheldon continues to influence us in 20 or 30 years.