A customer of mine instant messaged me the other day, all excited to discover that Sheldon Brown was on a Bike Friday. Sadly, a close inspection of the picture and his website revealed that it was just another one of his Raleigh Twenties, which he claims “with suitable equipment […] can approach the performance of a Bike Friday at a much lower price.” While I have my doubts about that, I can say that Sheldon Brown has a nearly encyclopedic website about bike-everything. He’s got some quirky ideas and likes Biopace but he is a fellow fixed gear freak and is familiar with just about every obscure component known to man, even French ones. If there’s a piece of info you need about bikes, it’s probably on his website.
He’s made little Harris Cyclery on the map because of his overwhelming bike lust and constant presence over all the bike-related spheres on the Internet. The online store is very impressive and makes getting lots of hard-to-find parts easy. Heck, you can even special order through them care of big time distributor Quality Bicycle Parts. And all this is because of Sheldon’s computer savvy & passion for cycles.
The bad news is that though neither of these interests have waned for Sheldon, his ability to enjoy the latter has. I was shocked to see a post on the fixed gear mailing list saying that he would not be participating in the Interbike demo because he could not ride. He provided a link to his journal that included comments about MRIs and not be stable on the bike. Looking deeper, he’s got a page specifically to monitor the progress of his health issues. It seems the latest is that he cannot ride anything besides a Greenspeed trike and even that’s a little shaky.
It seems that he has developed the very rare and mostly untreatable primary-progressive version of Multiple Sclerosis. There’s currently not too much hope for slowing it or stopping it. It’s almost that same grim prognosis that Lance Armstrong was given so long ago.. almost. In any case, Lance rallied the troops together to get the support he needed to beat it. Why can’t we do the same thing for this equally important luminary of the bike industry? First off, send Sheldon your love and best wishes. If you have extra money, donate to the MS Society. If you don’t, consider becoming a rider in the MS Bike Tour (which is in nearly every state) and work hard to raise funds for the Society. This will provide the money necessary to do the research to find a treatment for this debilitating disease. And hopefully we can get Sheldon fixed again. No pun intended.