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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 02-25-10, 05:52 PM   #1
rdjohannes
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Thank You, Sheldon Brown

Since we can't thank him personally any more, it seemed right to post him some thanks today on the forum. I've probably learned more from him re bike repair than any source I've ever encountered.
Last summer he was my source when I rehabed a 1960's BSA 3-speed.
This week it was a 1990's Trek mountain bike with a cross-threaded (right-hand) bearing cup stuck in the bottom bracket. I was ready to try a big adjustable wrench on those skinny wrench flats, until I thought, "there must be a better way," and I checked Sheldon Brown. If you haven't tried his universal fixed cup tool, it's brilliant and it works perfectly! It's just a 5/8 bolt, nut and washers. You also need a hefty socket wrench, or in my case a socket and breaker bar because that fixed cup was really fixed. Now Im ready to install a threadless bottom bracket.
Thank you, Sheldon, for another old bike on the road.
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Old 02-25-10, 05:59 PM   #2
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There does not seem to be a day that goes by that I don't reference something Sheldon provided even if that is only his gearing calculator... he was a good mentor and I still find that even if I know an answer he always said it better.

I am also reminded of him because every day I go out to my shop and see a little fixed gear folder hanging there and he was the inspiration for that in more ways than one.

Will always regret never being able to have met him in person.
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Old 02-25-10, 07:12 PM   #3
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I think about Sheldon every time I ride my fixed gear. Or size a chain. Or wrap a handlebar. Or close a quick release.
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Old 02-25-10, 08:09 PM   #4
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It was from reading his material that I decided to try building an old but worthy steel 10 speed frame up into a single speed. Without his writing about the joys of fixie and single speed I doubt that I'd have evern bothered to try it. That bike gave me a lot of great rides for almost a decade until I replaced it with a Redline single speed as an early retirement gift to myself.

His wisdom and wit affected so many up to now and thanks to whoever is keeping his website going will continue to inform, encourage and illuminate the bicycle scene for years to come.

And if the internet were to die then I can think of many worse things to publish than a loosely organized journal of all the different pages from his website.
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Old 02-25-10, 08:37 PM   #5
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Well, coasting is a pernicious habit.

90% of what I know about bike mechanics, I learned from Sheldon Brown. Tinkering led to my finding him on the web. Reading Sheldon Brown gave me the confidence to volunteer at the bike coop. And that gave me much joy.

I will always be grateful.
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Old 02-25-10, 08:50 PM   #6
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I can never be sure, but I think I met him. I went into the Bicycle Collective in Cambridge in 1981, and a tall man in a big beard greeted me. It was probably Sheldon. (Also, his friend John S Allen was a semi-regular in the shop I worked in in Cambridge, which was then called Bicycle Workshop. John taught me most of what I know about Sturmey Archer hubs and inspired me to buy and modify a Raleigh Twenty.)

I encountered Sheldon's posts on Usenet and probably interacted with him there, too.

Sheldon showed his passion through his writing, and I'm sure he was a warm character in person, good to know. He wrote clearly and humorously.
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Old 02-25-10, 09:08 PM   #7
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What a legacy Sheldon Brown left! If I can reach and positively impact the lives of as many people as he did, I'll be happy.

He also was kind enough to respond to private messages regarding bicycles.

A great human being!
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Old 02-25-10, 09:11 PM   #8
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Whatever your beliefs are for what comes after (if anything) it is a tribute to him that he's touched so many in such a positive way. He lives on in the knowledge he had and in the generosity and humor with which it was dispensed.
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Old 02-25-10, 09:22 PM   #9
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I got a charge out of posting to the same threads that the legendary Sheldon was also posting to when I started hanging out at BF.
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Old 02-25-10, 09:28 PM   #10
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I feel I shall never know as much as he did about bikes...
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Old 02-25-10, 11:09 PM   #11
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Just today, I built wheels using Sheldon's awesome instructions. The third set, in fact, thanks to his work.

It's wonderful to remember great people... but maybe this is also a good reminder that we should express more gratitude to people while they're still alive. Especially given the overall tone of bikeforums. =)
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Old 02-25-10, 11:25 PM   #12
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I feel I shall never know as much as he did about bikes...
+1. After 30 years of working on bikes at home and on the job, I still find things I didn't know about on his pages. Not only that, he shared his knowledge in a concise and understandable fashion. That, more than the breadth of his knowledge, is what I admired most about him.
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Old 02-26-10, 12:07 AM   #13
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he is the reason i felt confident enough to pick up a wrench in the first place, not to mention to go down the road at my own pace. ride in peace.
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Old 02-26-10, 05:22 AM   #14
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He achieved the ultimate goal as a human being IMO: making life better for people around him.

Consider me one of those Sheldon - RIP brother.
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Old 02-26-10, 08:05 AM   #15
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I also was in awe of him and his knowledge, and I've used his web postings countless times. I don't think I ever would have gotten the nerve to build my own wheels without his wheelbuilding pages.

One mark of the outstanding nature of his character was the fact that he took the time to answer my emails about various things, even though he said he received an average of over 300 such emails a day. His responses were short and to the point (as I'm sure they had to be) but always nicely worded (nothing remotely like, "what a stupid question, idiot!" even though I'm sure some of my early queries were ones he had answered hundreds of times) always helpful, and always accurate.

I also like the fact that he seemed like such a kook! I enjoy non-conformists. I'm so sorry he died so young, but thank's Sheldon for leaving your website behind (and thanks to Harris Cyclery. I'll buy from them before others as a thank you for their site.)
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Old 02-26-10, 09:30 AM   #16
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I didn't catch on to him until right before his death but I was always awestruck by, not only his breadth of knowledge, but the way in which he freely, openly, and thoughtfully imparted that knowledge onto the rest of us plebes. I doubt anyone that deals with bikes for fun or a living hasn't, in some way, been touched by Sheldon. He was one of a kind...
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Old 02-26-10, 03:06 PM   #17
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Wow. I didn't know he had died until reading this post. I'm a bit in shock.

What a combination of semi-hero and completely accessible he was.

I remember over ten years ago being awestruck that he was posting and having conversations on Usenet Newsgroups, all the while that everyone else was using him as their authority and quoting him and answering almost every newbie post with a link to his site.

What a great guy. And he left his mark in a great way. He lived it right.
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Old 02-26-10, 05:15 PM   #18
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I think the greatest compliment I have ever received was to have been compared to Sheldon Brown even though that is so very far from the truth... what I know about bicycles is a little drop in the bucket compared to what he knew.

We shared a common love for the bicycle and appreciated how this simple machine can have such a profound effect on one's health and well being and at one time I thought we were the only two guys on earth who appreciated Bio Pace chain rings.

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Old 02-26-10, 07:19 PM   #19
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Sixty Fiver, since your name advertises your age, I can say that at age 45, you are on your way to becoming the next Sheldon Brown. The secret will be to save your writings on web pages rather than let the stream through the ether here. Or do both, if you can.
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Old 02-26-10, 11:33 PM   #20
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Sixty Fiver, since your name advertises your age, I can say that at age 45, you are on your way to becoming the next Sheldon Brown. The secret will be to save your writings on web pages rather than let the stream through the ether here. Or do both, if you can.
I would just repeating the things I learned from Sheldon Brown...

If I can continue to share my passion for old bicycles like my beloved Raleighs and not become a retro grouch I will think I am doing very well...
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Old 02-27-10, 08:10 AM   #21
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I just moved the religion sidebars to their own thread in P&R.
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Old 02-27-10, 10:16 AM   #22
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After I posted on Thursday, I started to count up the Sheldon Brown legacy in my collection: 2 Biopace bikes (a Panasonic DX 5000 and a Trek 830), 1 English 3-speed, and 3 bikes with cottered cranks, which he taught me to repair. Maybe my next project has to be a single-speed conversion.
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Old 02-27-10, 03:55 PM   #23
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After I posted on Thursday, I started to count up the Sheldon Brown legacy in my collection: 2 Biopace bikes (a Panasonic DX 5000 and a Trek 830), 1 English 3-speed, and 3 bikes with cottered cranks, which he taught me to repair. Maybe my next project has to be a single-speed conversion.
Build a fixie 3-speed! I really, really wish Sunrace/Sturmey-Archer had had the guts to call their S3X fixie 3-speed hub the "SB" edition.
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Old 02-27-10, 03:57 PM   #24
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Build a fixie 3-speed! I really, really wish Sunrace/Sturmey-Archer had had the guts to call their S3X fixie 3-speed hub the "SB" edition.
I thought it was only possible to build a 2 speed fixed SA hub...
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Old 02-27-10, 09:56 PM   #25
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test post
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