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JoeyMac 03-20-08 01:23 PM

Your Favorite Sheldon Advice
Yesterday I was riding home from work on my regular commuter, and I thought about how I probably wouldn't still have this bike if it weren't for some sage advice that I received from the late Sheldon Brown. I had posted on here last September shortly after joining the site and becoming more serious about cycling, and I wasn't sure what to do with a broken bike. Here is the thread:

Sheldon was the first to reply, and right away convinced me that the bike was worth getting fixed. I did and that bike once again became my regular commuter and I have put hundreds of miles on it since.

What have you learned from Sheldon, either through this site, his site, or from an email from him? I think this is the best way to remember a great man, by remembering his knowledge he was so generous to pass out. So what's your favorite Sheldon Advice?

SweetLou 03-20-08 02:34 PM

When folding steel bead tires, wrap them with red straps, other colors won't work.
I don't know how much trouble that has saved me. :)

genec 03-20-08 03:57 PM

He was just there... I remember wanting to order some parts and wasn't sure what would fit my bike... so I dropped him a line and got a response and a follow up almost immediately.

He was great.

caloso 03-20-08 04:03 PM

I was thinking about Sheldon this morning as I installed a new cassette and chain. I used his Big-to-Big-plus-one-link method of chain sizing. It was quick, easy, and perfect. And then I didn't bother to re-lube the chain because he said that the Shimano factory stuff was better than anything that I could add.

So I just took the bike off the stand and rode away. Silent pedaling and perfect shifting. Like a brand new bike!

Thanks, Sheldon, wherever you are.

dmac49 03-20-08 04:58 PM

When a poster inquired on how to properly clean a chain Sheldon replied ... take each link apart and use a q tip being very careful to not miss anything. You are with me on every ride Sheldon.

HandsomeRyan 03-20-08 05:13 PM

More than any specific advice he ever gave me was the way that he ALWAYS took a moment to answer my questions.

When I think about all the things I never get done because "I don't have the time", then I look at the way he found time not just to answer the questions of one person, but the questions of thousands of people! That selfless sharing of information is what I will always remember him for.

rodrigaj 03-20-08 06:55 PM

When I got back to road riding, I stumbled across his site. I learned that I should brake with the front brake. Simple advice, but so right.

StephenH 03-20-08 07:55 PM

I liked his Agent W ad. That was great. And a few others like it.

hoss10 03-20-08 08:03 PM

When I was going nuts about what hubs to use on my new custom bike, I read Sheldon's advice it saved me my sanity and a ton of money.

keithm0 03-20-08 08:32 PM

Best Sheldon advice ever:


mlts22 03-20-08 10:49 PM

He gave me excellent instructions on how an adult can learn to ride, who has never ridden a bike before.

phidauex 03-23-08 03:06 PM

I remember reading about fixed gears on his page, and thinking "wow, that looks kind of silly." Then I read about the fixed gear dismount method where you pop off the back of the bike, and decided I had to build one! That was several years ago, and I'm still riding it and loving it. Since then, based on Sheldon's instructions, I've taught several other people to build fixed gears, and become a proficient wheel builder. I'm building up my fourth bike from scratch (including wheels) now, and it is all thanks to Sheldon.

I think his best advice, which is spread in an even layer across all of his other advice, is, "Don't worry. You can do it." Whether it was building bikes, fixing bikes, learning to ride a bike, whatever, his message was one of calm confidence. Don't worry, you'll be fine! It'll be fun! People get so gosh darn serious about things sometimes, and he always had a realistic, positive view. The view of an expert, who was also a real human.

As a side note, I'm amazed at how respectful people are towards him. It seems like so often when someone passes on, and it gets posted about on the internet, someone always posts comments like, "Dood, he looks like a child molester!! Haha LOL!". But no one has done that toward Sheldon. When he was alive, and posting here, even when people disagreed with him, they always did so in a respectful way. Something about him just didn't inspire malice in anyone, even when he was being a little sarcastic. Its a testament to his life, and speaks volumes about the impact he left on the cycling community.


Roody 03-23-08 03:38 PM

I read the entire glossary on his website on a slow night at work (Shhh!). Now I know what the hell people on this forum are talking about.

I also like his locking system for bikes--chain through the frame, the front wheel, and the rack; u-lock through the frame and the rear wheel.

FLYcrash 03-23-08 06:54 PM

When I was overhauling my first old Sturmey-Archer hub, I emailed Sheldon about the bearings. The ball retainers were out of stock at Harris Cyclery, and I wanted to know what to do. Rather than dismissing my (stupid) idea of using industrial-type cartridge bearings, he simply mentioned that it would be a very major job to do the machining to get them to fit! Talk about not underestimating strangers!

Then he told me to use loose balls, and I did, and everything went swimmingly.

Rest in peace, Sheldon.

lisarmarshall 03-23-08 10:21 PM

I wish I had the chance and privilege of asking him a question. It's funny how you can be so heartsick and lonely for a person you never met. I can honestly say that I think of him every time I am on my bike.

Ride In Peace Sheldon.

hotbike 03-24-08 09:01 AM

Sheldon Brown was the first to reply when I announced I was building a wheel around a Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub with coaster brake.

Here is a link to the thread:

Little Darwin 03-24-08 09:16 AM

I think for me it wasn't a specific piece of advice, but more his attitude in general.

I think one aspect of that attitude is that problems and solutions are approached with a "Why not?" rather than a "Why?" And that when someone learns why or why not... they should share that knowledge and let the recipient do with it what they will.

I realized through his example that cycling definitely can be one way to express individuality.

And, I thought recently of all of the good April Fool's stories on his web site... many of them were completely unbelievable, but they all made me smile or laugh. A few days from now will be the first April 1st since his passing. I will miss especially miss him then.

SweetLou 03-25-08 11:08 PM

You never know, Sheldon (pbuh) might have already made the April Fool's Day joke. Maybe someone at Harris will post it. At least, that is what I have been hoping for a while now. I was reading them again a couple of days before his death. I was wondering what this year's will be. Then he passed away and that was one of the first things that came to me.

I always thought he put a great deal of work into them, something that he didn't just throw together at the last minute.

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