The Sheldonbrown.com website will continue to act as an invaluable point of reference for everything bike maintenance-related as it has done for more than two decades now, it has been confirmed.
As we reported on Saturday (see our original article below), there had been concerns among some social media users that the website might disappear following the news that Harris Cyclery, the Boston bike shop where Brown worked until his death in 2008, was closing its doors for good last weekend.
We had asked for more information, including the implications for the site, via the message form on the Sheldonbrown.com website’s page on Facebook, and advised that we planned to publish our article on Saturday afternoon UK time, but as we mentioned in the piece, we had not received a reply at the time of publication.
We received a reply yesterday afternoon, directing us to a post on the Facebook page and asking us to quote it in full, which we are happy to do, and we are delighted that Brown’s body of work will continue to help cyclists find the solution to their bike maintenance issues.
Here’s what they wrote:
Ah, the hand-wringing. It seems to have started with a post on the road.cc blog by someone who posted an inquiry here but didn't wait for our response.
Harris Cyclery has closed after a 70-year run, hit hard by pandemic supply issues.
Sheldonbrown.com got its start when Sheldon worked at Harris Cyclery, and we are very grateful to Harris Cyclery for its support. But, since 2010, sheldonbrown.com
(except for the /harris pages) has floated its own boat, through online advertising.
We don't know yet what other affiliation we may find, or whether we'll go it alone, but you may rest easy. Ride your bike, and feel free to come to us for help keeping it in top shape.
Here is our original article:
“As always, Sheldon Brown has the answer” – often abbreviated to AASBHTA – has become a much-used term on cycling forums for almost three decades whenever someone raises a technical question, but there are concerns that the website he developed which acts as a treasure trove of information on all kinds of cycle maintenance topics may disappear following the news that the bike shop that hosts it, and where Brown worked until his death in 2008, is to close for good tomorrow.
We are hopeful that Sheldon's website https://t.co/BudWm7cKRX will continue to be supported despite Harris's closure. This would be a sad loss for people caring for their cycles and understanding how these amazing machines operate. pic.twitter.com/Zy6ERt4ttg
— London Cycling Campaign (@London_Cycling) June 11, 2021
Since Brown passed away at the age of 63 following a heart attack – he had earlier been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis – his widow, Harriet Fell, and family friend John Allen have maintained the technical pages of Sheldonbrown.com, hosted by Harris Cyclery, whose staff have looked after the commercial pages.
Described in his obituary in The Times as having an “encyclopaedic” knowledge of bikes and how to maintain and repair them, his website – engagingly written, and laced with humour – contains all kinds of information and advice for everyone from novice cyclists through to seasoned mechanics who refer to it for example when encountering some component they are unfamiliar with.
The store in Boston, Massachusetts announced that it is closing in a statement on its website, saying:
We, Harris Cyclery of West Newton, Mass., have come to the moment of saying good-bye. We do so with some sadness, but we do also without regrets. For seventy years, this family-owned business has served the bicycle riding community and it has been our pleasure. We’re proud of what our many thousands of loyal customers, both local and online, have allowed us to achieve over that time.
Earning the trust of the buyer and of the service customer in any business can be daunting. But over time, by our activities (school rider safety, police bicycles, raffles and community contributions, and many other engagements) and by word of mouth, we did feel that our reputation for value and integrity was part of the universe of cycling in Boston’s western suburbs and beyond.
For these successes we thank our many, many clients for their trust and support. We are thankful too to the many manufacturers’ representatives who supported us as a smaller business in the trade. And of course, in the years of our operation, there have been many smart, creative, and dedicated employees who contributed to the vision and helped build the reputation of our store.
So it’s hard to say farewell, there are so many memories for us all. But we say keep riding, keep safe. Good bye.
I recently used the Sheldon Brown method for transferring my bike fit across to a new bike. Tbh I am ashamed I didn't think of it myself, but sometimes it's so bleeding obviously you overlook it. Which is where the wealth of experience of S.B comes into its own.
— FastOrFarCoaching (@FastOrFar) June 11, 2021
It looks as though the https://t.co/A6eHFvtuPI team are making a backup of the site so the knowledge won't be lost completely.
— Paul (@designedpluto) June 11, 2021
We’ve messaged the Facebook page of Sheldonbrown.com to find out whether the closure of Harris Cyclery will affect the website, and will let you know their response once we hear back from them.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.